Here’s an eye-opening statistic: older Americans are more afraid of running out of money than of death itself.
And retirees have good reason to be worried about making their assets last. People are living longer, so that money has to cover a longer period. Making matters worse, income generated using tried – and – true retirement planning approaches may not cover expenses these days. That means seniors must dip into principal to meet living expenses.
In today’s economic environment, traditional income investments are not working.
Years ago, investors at or close to retirement could put money into fixed-income assets and depend on appealing yields to generate consistent, solid pay streams to fund a comfortable retirement. 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s floated around 6.50%, but unfortunately, those days of being able to exclusively rely on Treasury yields to fund retirement income are over.
The impact of this rate decline is sizeable: over 20 years, the difference in yield for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries 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.
So what can retirees do? You could dramatically reduce your expenses, and go out on a limb hoping your Social Security benefits don’t diminish. On the other hand, you could opt for an alternative investment that gives a steady, higher-rate income stream to supplant lessening bond yields.
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 (NYSE:T) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) 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.
A rule of thumb for finding solid income-producing stocks is to seek those that average 3% dividend yield, and positive yearly dividend growth. These stocks can help combat inflation by boosting dividends over time.
Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.
Aramark (ARMK) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.11 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.4%. This compares to the Food – Miscellaneous industry’s yield of 0.32% and the S&P 500‘s yield of 2.66%. In terms of dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $0.44 is flat compared to last year.
CAE (CAE) is paying out a dividend of 0.08 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.03% compared to the Aerospace – Defense Equipment industry’s yield of 0% and the S&P 500’s yield. Taking a look at the company’s dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.33 is up 10.07% from last year.
Currently paying a dividend of 0.05 per share, Cedar Realty Trust (CDR) has a dividend yield of 25.97%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust – Other industry’s yield of 5.36% and the S&P 500’s current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $0.2 is flat compared to last year.
But aren’t stocks generally more risky than bonds?
It is true that stocks, as an asset class, carry more risk than bonds, but high-quality dividend stocks not only have the ability to produce income growth over time but more importantly, can also reduce your overall portfolio volatility relative to the broader 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.
You may be thinking, “I like this dividend strategy, but instead of investing in individual stocks, I’m going to find a dividend-focused mutual fund or ETF.” This approach can make sense, but be aware that some mutual funds and specialized ETFs carry high fees, which may reduce your dividend gains or income, and defeat the goal of this dividend investment approach. If you do wish to invest in a fund, do your research to find the best-quality dividend funds with the lowest fees.
Whether you select high-quality, low-fee funds or stocks, seeking the steady income of dividend-paying equities can potentially offer you a path to a better and more stress-free retirement.
Generating income is just one aspect of planning for a comfortable retirement.
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