20+ Difference Between Preferred Stock And Common Stock

Preferred stock and ordinary stock are distinct in many ways. Investors in preferred stock often do not have voting rights, whereas those in ordinary stock typically have one vote for every share held.

Among investors, the ordinary stock tends to be more well-known than preferred stock. Common and preferred stock gives investors a claim to a portion of a company, and both can be used to anticipate and capitalize on the company’s growth.

Comparison Between Preferred Stock And Common Stock

ParameterPreferred StockCommon Stock
DefinitionPreferred stock normally does not come with voting rights; rather, acquiring preferred stock is necessary to collect dividends or profits at a more expeditious pace than ordinary stock. Preferred stock may be either an asset or a liability for the company. In most situations, the right to vote is not often included with preferred stock.Common stock shareholders have various rights that they are entitled to, including the right to vote and the right to receive dividend payments from the company.
PriorityInvestors who own preferred stock get rewarded later than bondholders and debtholders but earlier than those who hold conventional stock. Bondholders and debtholders receive their rewards later than preferred shareholders. Investors who own preferred stock are given their payments first, followed by bondholders and debtholders.Common shareholders are considered owners of the firm; nevertheless, they do not get any advantages from their ownership position since the company does not satisfy any of the standards they have set for themselves.
Profit distributionPreferred investors can obtain benefits regardless of the success or failure of the firm they have invested in. These benefits may be received even though the company they have invested in may or may not be successful. These benefits are guaranteed regardless of how well their investment performs.If there is no profit, the owners of common stock will not get any payment, regardless of the kind of compensation that would have been due to them in this scenario.
Voting rightIn any circumstance, persons who own preferred shares do not have the ability to vote in shareholder elections. This is the case even if the election is for the board of directors. Even if they are stockholders, this will still be the case. It does not matter what the specifics of the situation are; this is something that will always be the case.The corporation’s common shareholders have the right to have their opinions considered on various issues relevant to the organization’s functioning.
ParticipationSuppose the company is compelled to enter liquidation. In that case, it is customary for the liquidation preference to provide non-participating preferred shareholders with a return on their investment in addition to any accumulated and unpaid dividends. This is done as part of the standard operating procedure. This takes place in the scenario in which the liquidation preference is utilized.The shareholders who own ordinary shares are entitled to receive a distribution of the corporation’s remaining assets.

Major Difference Between Preferred Stock And Common Stock

What exactly is Preferred Stock?

Preferred stock differs from ordinary stock primarily by not providing the holder with voting rights.

As a direct result of this fact, preferred shareholders are not permitted to participate in the election of board members or the establishment of a business strategy.

In truth, preferred stock behaves similarly to bonds; with preferred shares, investors are generally guaranteed a set income in perpetuity.

Key Difference: Preferred Stock

  • Dividends given to preferred stockholders take precedence over those paid to ordinary stockholders and are often more lucrative. 
  • These payouts are usually stated as a percentage of face value and might be fixed or determined relative to an interest rate index such as the London InterBank Offered Rate. 
  • Participating shares may pay extra dividends that are calculated by common stock distributions or the company’s profitability.
  • Preferred stock is a hybrid asset that may be considered debt and equity due to its fixed dividend payments and its potential for price appreciation. 
  • As a result, this is attractive to investors that prioritize certainty in their cash flow projections. A dividend payment is entirely up to the corporation’s board of directors. 
  • Unlike common stock, preferred stock symbolizes ownership in a corporation and the right to receive dividends and other distributions made by the firm. 
  • Preferred shareholders have a higher claim on assets than regular stockholders and a lower claim than bondholders in the case of a liquidation. 
  • Some investors choose preferred stock because it offers advantages similar to those of both bonds and ordinary stock.

What exactly is Common Stock?

Common stock, which is the sort of stock most investors buy, is a portion of ownership in a company.

When individuals speak about stocks, they are typically talking about common stock. In reality, the large majority of stock is issued in this manner.

Common shares provide a claim on earnings (dividends) and bestow voting rights. Investors most typically receive one vote per share held to elect board members who supervise the important decisions made by management.

Key Difference: Common Stock

  • A common stock gives you a residual claim on a company’s earnings. Unlisted businesses are those that are too tiny to fulfill the standards of a stock market. 
  • Investors who buy shares of stock in a corporation are sometimes called “shareholders” because of their ownership stake. 
  • However, this does not allow shareholders to enter the company’s workplace and demand ownership of any furniture or equipment. 
  • Everything here belongs to the company, which is a separate legal entity. Investors are the rightful owners of this residual claim. 
  • Investors and dealers may buy and sell shares of common stock on exchanges. Dividends are a potential benefit for common stock investors. 
  • In the 400 years since then, stock exchanges like the London Stock Exchange have sprung up all over the globe, listing hundreds upon thousands of firms. 
  • A public exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the National Stock Exchange, exchanges stocks of many of the largest publicly listed U.S. corporations.
  • The NYSE has 7,417 listings and a market worth of roughly $53 trillion as of the first quarter of 2022, making it the largest stock exchange in the world. 

Contrast Between Preferred Stock And Common Stock


  • Preferred Stock – Unlike ordinary stock or common shares, Preferred stock does not come with a vote.

    Preferred shareholders have no say in the election of board members, business policy, or corporate strategy formulation.

    The preferred stock serves a similar purpose to bonds in that investors are promised a fixed dividend or return on investment for the rest of their lives.
  • Common Stock- refers to the stocks or shares of proprietorship or ownership in a company to which most investors contribute.

    When people refer to “stocks” generally, they often refer to common stock. And in fact, this is how the vast majority of the stock is distributed.

    Shares of common stock solve the issue of who gets what part of the company’s earnings and give shareholders the power to vote.


  • Preferred Stock – Because preferred shareholders are entitled to fixed dividends, Company A would be obligated to make regular payments to preferred shareholders in the amount of $2.

    These payments would need to be made every quarter. The dividends accrued on preferred shares are carried over to the next period, and if they are not received, the whole amount of the dividends must be refunded.
  • Common Stock – The number of dividends distributed to common shareholders is subject to change, given that they depend on the organization’s overall financial performance.

    If the first quarter of the year was very successful for Company A, the company’s shareholders could be entitled to a dividend payment of $2.

    If they do not enter the second quarter, they can decide not to provide any information.


  • Preferred Stock – The dividends that holders of preferred stock are qualified to receive are the primary component responsible for determining the rate of return provided by preferred stock and is the primary factor responsible for determining the rate of return provided by preferred stock.

    Additionally, preferred stock is associated with particular tax benefits.
  • Common Stock – Returns on common shares are typically computed by adding any dividends that may be distributed at the shareholder’s discretion to any price appreciation or depreciation in the share price.

    This results in the total return on the common share. This is because shareholders can determine for themselves whether or not dividends should be paid out.

    A few significant exceptions to this standard practice should be noted.


  • Preferred Stock – When a corporation is forced into bankruptcy and liquidation, the favored owners get their payouts first, followed by the normal investors.

    When the firm’s assets are being liquidated, priority will be given to the preferred investors if the company files for bankruptcy.

    The vast majority of the preferred stocks venture capitalists invest income coupled with a liquidation preference that has already been determined (1X, 1.5X, or 2X).
  • Common Stock – Bondholders are afforded treatment superior to common shareholders and preferred shareholders;

    However, bondholders will not be entitled to any of the company’s assets until all preferred stockholders have been paid in full.

    This is because bondholders are treated in a manner that is superior to that of common shareholders and preferred shareholders.

Dividend distribution:

  • Preferred Stock – It is common practice to commit to the owners of preferred stocks that they will receive predetermined dividend payments at an interest rate that will be determined when the stock is issued. This is the case in a wide variety of situations.
  • Common Stock – Depending on the kind of distribution, dividends may be subject to taxation in various ways. This applies to dividends received on both ordinary stock and preferred shares.

    To clarify further, the minimum required holding time for dividends to be deemed eligible is ninety days for preferred shares. In comparison, it is only sixty days for ordinary stock if dividends are payable for periods that are longer than one year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How can one earn money off of preferred stock?

The dividend payments that come with preferred stocks guarantee a consistent flow of income over time.

Dividend payments on preferred stocks are typically fixed at a rate between 5 and 7 percent, and they are often greater than dividend payments on bonds of comparable maturities.

Additionally, they are paid out before the distribution of dividends on the common stock but after payments have been made to bondholders.

Q2. What are the advantages of having preferred stock?

Preferred stocks, however, often provide greater yields than regular dividend stocks or bonds issued by the same company.

This is one of the advantages of preferred stocks. Additionally, their dividend payments precede those tied to the company’s ordinary stock distributions.

If the corporation has a shortage of funds, the dividends paid on common shares will be reduced first.

Q3. Is purchasing common stock a wise financial move?

In the long term, returns on ordinary stock are often better than those on preferred stock.

Common stocks may provide substantial returns on investment if a business is successful, despite the high level of risk involved if the firm goes bankrupt.

One further significant distinction between common stock and preferred stock is that the latter is subject to the effects of changes in interest rates.

Q4. Is it possible to earn money off of common stock?

You will get dividends for as long as you keep the shares and capital gains when you finally decide to sell them.

Although buying common stocks is one of the essential methods for individuals to develop wealth, there is no assurance doing so will result in financial gain for you.

Your risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment objectives should all be considered before deciding whether or not to put money into them.

Q5. Are you worried about the amount of risk that comes with investing in preferred stocks?

These investments are sensitive to a high-interest rate risk, which is also known as the danger of decreasing prices in reaction to increasing yields.

Because preferred securities often have longer maturities or none at all, these investments are subject to high-interest rate risk.

This risk is sometimes called the threat of dropping prices due to increasing yields.

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