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You can’t spend earnings! At first glance, this seems like an odd statement, possibly even incorrect. However, it is not only correct, but an important axiom for all types of investors. Through fraud and manipulation financial statements can be made to look quite impressive, but the cash that arrives in your brokerage account is real.

An increasing cash dividend keeps pressure on management to ensure the company is well run. If there are too many missteps, eventually the dividend will slip. Here are several stocks where management recently met the challenge by raising their cash dividends:

Hickory Tech Corporation (HTCO), doing business as HickoryTech and Enventis, provides integrated communication services to business and residential customers. October 3, the company increased its quarterly dividend 3.4% to $0.15 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 5, 2013, to shareholders of record on Nov. 15, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 5.4%.

Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) operates as an independent downstream energy company. October 2, the company increased its quarterly dividend 25% to $0.39 per share. The dividend is payable on Dec. 2, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Nov. 14, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 4.0%.

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:KRFT) operates as a consumer packaged food and beverage company in North America. October 2, the company increased its quarterly dividend 5% to $0.525 per share. The dividend is payable Oct. 25, 2013, to shareholders of record as of Oct. 11, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 4.0%.

LTC Properties, Inc. (NYSE:LTC) operates as a healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. October 1, the company increased its monthly dividend 9.7% to to $0.17 per share. The company declared a monthly cash dividend of $0.17 per share per month for the months of October, November and December 2013, payable on October 31, November 29, and December 31, 2013, respectively, to stockholders of record on October 23, November 21, and December 23, 2013, respectively. The yield based on the new payout is 5.2%.

Full Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

Disclaimer: Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently raised their dividends; it is not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.

Source: 4 Stocks Using Real Cash To Pay Higher Dividends