I’m looking for advisors and academics with tips on how investors can use dividend payout ratio to select stocks. I don’t need an explanation of the general calculation but would welcome thoughts on different ways the figure can be calculated using various income gauges. What do you consider to be the most or least valid or useful? Most important, what do you consider to be a reasonable payout ratio? What’s too much? Are there times a low ratio would be a red flag? Perhaps because earnings are being used in less valuable ways? Are the standards different for stocks in different industries? And what other factors should be taken into account, like one-time events that drive earnings up or down? In other words, I’d welcome any tips for using this gauge to be a smarter investor, especially for those seeking income. So what else should I be asking?