Here’s an eye-opening statistic: older Americans are more afraid of running out of money than of death itself.
Also, retirees who have constructed a nest egg have valid justifications to be concerned, since the traditional ways to plan for retirement may mean income can no longer cover expenses. Some retirees are now tapping their principal to make a decent living, pressed for time between decreasing investment balances and longer life expectancies.
The tried – and – true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn’t work today.
For example, 10-year Treasury bonds in the late 1990s offered a yield of around 6.50%, which translated to an income source you could count on. However, today’s yield is much lower – currently under 2% and probably not a viable return option to fund typical retirements.
That means if you had $1 million in 10-year Treasuries, the difference in yield between 1999 and today is more than $1 million.
In addition to the considerable drop in bond yields, today’s retirees are nervous about their future Social Security benefits. Because of certain demographic factors, it’s been estimated that the funds that pay the Social Security benefits will run out of money in 2035.
Unfortunately, it looks like the two traditional sources of retirement income – bonds and Social Security – may not be able to adequately meet the needs of present and future retirees. But what if there was another option that could provide a steady, reliable source of income in retirement?
Invest in Dividend Stocks
As a replacement for low yielding Treasury bonds (and other bond options), we believe dividend-paying stocks from high quality companies offer low risk and stable, predictable income investors in retirement seek.
For example, AT&T and Coca-Cola are income stocks with attractive dividend yields of 3% or better. Look for stocks like this that have paid steady, increasing dividends for years (or decades), and have not cut their dividends even during recessions.
Going beyond those familiar names, you can find excellent dividend-paying stocks by following a few guidelines. Look for companies that pay a dividend yield of around 3%, with positive annual dividend growth. The growth rate is key to help combat the effects of inflation.
Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.
Foot Locker (FL) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.38 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.31%. This compares to the Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry’s yield of 0% and the S&P 500’s yield of 1.85%. In terms of dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $1.52 is up 10.14% from last year.
Invesco (IVZ) is paying out a dividend of 0.31 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 6.84% compared to the Financial – Investment Management industry’s yield of 2.52% and the S&P 500’s yield. Taking a look at the company’s dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.24 is up 3.33% from last year.
Currently paying a dividend of 0.19 per share, Manulife Financial (MFC) has a dividend yield of 3.95%. This is compared to the Insurance – Life Insurance industry’s yield of 0.55% and the S&P 500’s current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $0.76 is up 12.04% from last year.
But aren’t stocks generally more risky than bonds?
Overall, that is true. But stocks are a broad class, and you can reduce the risks significantly by selecting high-quality dividend stocks that can generate regular, predictable income and can also decrease the volatility of your portfolio compared to the overall stock market.
Combating the impact of inflation is one advantage of owning these dividend-paying stocks. Here’s why: many of these stable, high-quality companies increase their dividends over time, which translates to rising dividend income that offsets the effects of inflation.
Thinking about dividend-focused mutual funds or ETFs? Watch out for fees.
If you’re interested in investing in dividends, but are thinking about mutual funds or ETFs rather than stocks, beware of fees. Mutual funds and specialized ETFs may carry high fees, which could lower the overall gains you earn from dividends, undercutting your dividend income strategy. Be sure to look for funds with low fees if you decide on this approach.
Regardless of whether you select high-quality, low-fee funds or stocks, looking for a steady stream of income from dividend-paying equities can potentially lead you to a solid and more peaceful retirement.
Generating income is just one aspect of planning for a comfortable retirement.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.