TORONTO, ON (NEWS1130) – With Spain joining several other European countries and asking for a bailout, it’s becoming even more important to look at your investments as a long-term financial project.

A new survey from BMO shows almost three-quarters of you say market volatility is the “new normal.”

Based on this changing environment, it’s not surprising that the survey found 84 per cent of you are changing your investment habits.

Paul Taylor, Chief Investment Officer with BMO Asset Management, says a changing strategy makes sense.

“Well certainly the US market is in about the tenth year of a cyclical bear-market, and in that environment you do have to be focused on the quality of companies in your portfolio, and absolutely getting paid to wait,” explains Taylor.

By getting paid to wait, Taylor means seeking out dividend income from your portfolio.

Dividends are payments made by corporations to their stock-holders. Generally well-established, large international firms are more likely to pay dividends.

“We may be in a period where total returns are much lower, therefore dividend income represents a large portion of a client’s total return,” notes Taylor.

He adds that nothing is going to happen overnight and patience is importance.

What Taylor calls the “global debt super-cycle” could take up to five or ten years to unwind, meaning more market volatility is likely in the books.

Taylor believes it’s important to stay diversified.

“Yes diversification, yes focus on quality companies, and third, ensure that you have some sort of income cushioning your portfolio.”