If you’re a beginner investor, there are two things you must know. First, dividend-paying stocks outperform non-dividend-paying stocks over the long term, and second, the top returners are those that increase their dividends as often as possible.

With these facts in mind, let’s take a look at three stocks that raised their dividends this week, so you can determine if you should buy one of them today.

1. Home Capital Group Inc.

Home Capital Group Inc. (TSX:HCG) is one of Canada’s largest non-bank mortgage lenders with over $25 billion in loans under administration.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report on February 10, it announced a 9.1% increase to its dividend to $0.24 per share quarterly, or $0.96 per share annually, and this gives its stock a yield of about 3.8% at today’s levels.

Investors must also note that Home Capital Group has raised its annual dividend payment for 16 consecutive years, and this increase puts it on pace for 2016 to mark the 17th consecutive year with an increase.

2. Thomson Reuters Corp.

Thomson Reuters Corp. (TSX:TRI)(NYSE:TRI) is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report on February 11, it announced a 1.5% increase to its dividend to US$0.34 per share quarterly, or US$1.36 per share annually, and this gives its stock a yield of about 3.9% at today’s levels.

Investors must also note that Thomson Reuters has raised its annual dividend payment for 22 consecutive years, tying it with ATCO Ltd. for the fourth-longest active streak for a public corporation in Canada, and this increase puts it on pace for 2016 to mark the 23rd consecutive year with an increase.

3. Great-West Lifeco Inc.

Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO) is one of the world’s leading providers of financial products and services, including life and health insurance.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report on February 11, it announced a 6.1% increase to its dividend to $0.346 per share quarterly, or $1.384 per share annually, and this gives its stock a yield of about 4.3% at today’s levels.

Investors must also note that Great-West Lifeco raised its annual dividend payment by 6% in 2015, so this most recent increase puts it on pace for 2016 to mark the second consecutive year with an increase.

Should you buy one or more of these dividend dynamos today?

Home Capital Group, Thomson Reuters, and Great-West Lifeco raised their dividends this week, continuing their streaks of annual increases, and I think all three represent great long-term investment opportunities today. Foolish investors should take a closer look and strongly consider establishing positions in at least one of them.

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Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.