Paul Tracy

Most people are going to miss the biggest opportunity to money in the next decade.

I recently told you about the upcoming "dividend decade." I predict there will be no gain in the broader market during the next 10 years (adjusted for inflation). Instead, I believe dividends will account for all of the market's total return.

The reason is simple...

During the past 30 years, the United States has grown faster than any time in history. But that growth was fueled by debt. Household debt has soared from 60% of income to 120%.

Now we've reached a point where the average American can't easily take on any more debt. In fact, since the recession, the trend among U.S. households has been toward reducing debt. The bill is coming due on the largest segment of the American economy.

But as I said, this doesn't mean you need to jump out of the stock market. Rather you simply need to know where to invest.

You see, while I believe the market as a whole will remain flat, a carefully-selected group of individual stocks could still see capital gains -- in addition to steadily-rising dividend payments.

This distinction could make you a lot of money...

As you can see, since its spinoff, Philip Morris (NYSE: PM) -- a boring cigarette company -- has returned 113%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has gone nowhere. In that same period, Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) -- which makes toilet paper, diapers and Kleenex -- is up 65%, and Coke (NYSE: KO) is up 49%.

What do all of these companies have in common? First, they all operate boring, predictable businesses that see steady demand in any sort of environment. This means even in a slow-growing economy, these companies can prosper.

Second, they all have large international operations. These companies aren't focused solely on the U.S. market. Instead, they've built their businesses abroad, where growth is much faster.

Most important, they all have extraordinary track records of growing dividends.

I can't stress enough the importance of rising dividends on your returns -- especially in a flat market.