Many investors rely on stocks that offer dividend payments to supplement their retirement income. But how do you know that the company you’re looking at will continue to pay out steady dividends?

One of the best ways is to look at the company’s history of making dividend payments. Then you can see if it pays dividends sporadically or if it pays them regularly, every quarter.

Finding a company’s payout history is easy. Simply go to finance.yahoo.com and enter the company’s ticker symbol at the top. Once the company is pulled up, look to the menu on the left and click on “Historical Prices.” You’ll see an option that says “Dividends Only.” Choose that option and then hit “Get Prices.”

What you’re looking for is a company that has paid at least 12 straight quarters of steady or increasing dividends. When you find that, you can be pretty sure you’ll get the dividends you are looking for.

[Ed. Note: It’s not difficult to make smart choices when it comes to your investments. Charles Delvalle is a market analyst for Investor’s Daily Edge, a free online resource that explains what the financial news means to you – and how you should act today to make the most money with the least risk.]