After retirement, most investors' priorities shift. Instead of pursing growth, the focus becomes income and capital preservation. That said, there's no reason to get out of stocks completely. There are plenty of stocks that can deliver the income and safety that retired investors need, while still providing upside potential over the long run. With that in mind, here's why our investors think retirees should take a closer look at Realty Income (NYSE: O), Safety Insurance Group (NASDAQ: SAFT), and Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM).
It's tough to find a more reliable dividend stock
Matt Frankel (Realty Income): Net-lease real estate investment trust Realty Income is one of the most reliable dividend stocks in the market. The company yields 4.7% based on its current share price, and has increased its monthly dividend rate 93 times since listing on the NYSE in 1994.
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Realty Income's business model generates consistently rising income, making it an ideal dividend investment for retirees. The company owns more than 5,000 properties, most of which are occupied by recession- and e-commerce-resistant businesses such as drug stores and dollar stores.
Tenants sign long-term leases with initial terms of 15 years or more, with rent increases built right in, which minimizes vacancy risk and creates a predictably growing revenue stream. Even better, under a net lease structure, Realty Income doesn't have to worry about variable costs such as property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. All of these are the responsibility of the tenants.
Not only is Realty Income an excellent stock for dividend investors, but it is a total return investment, meaning that it can appreciate in value as the underlying properties do. In fact, Realty Income has averaged a total return (dividends plus share price growth) of 16.4% annualized, nearly doubling the performance of the S&P 500.
There's safety in these numbers
Rich Smith (Safety Insurance Group): What do you look for when buying stocks for retirement? A modest stock price? A rich and sustainable dividend? In a word, a "safe" stock? How about a stock that offers all of these attributes -- and even has the word "safety" built into its name?
Meet Safety Insurance Group.
Priced at just 19.5 times trailing earnings, Safety Insurance stock boasts a price-to-earnings ratio 25% below the average for the S&P 500, and its projected 15% annual long-term growth rate is 50% faster than the average growth projected for the S&P 500. Safety insurance pays a 4% dividend yield today, and a 70% payout ratio leaves room for increasing that dividend over time. Between the 15% growth rate, and the 4% dividend yield, Safety Insurance Group offers a 19% total expected return -- roughly in line with what you would look for in a stock that costs 19.5 times earnings.
Quality-wise, Safety Insurance isn't the best insurer on the block (I think that's Chubb). But Safety Insurance generally achieves property and casualty combined ratios of below 100% (the rule of thumb when investing in insurers). It scored a 96.1% combined ratio last year, and has kept its combined ratio in the 90s through the first three quarters of this year as well.
Storing up good things for retirees
Keith Speights (Iron Mountain): Throw a dart at a list of the top companies on the market, and there's a good chance the dart will land on a company that does business with Iron Mountain. Nearly all of the Fortune 1000 use Iron Mountain's services, which include records and information management, data storage, and document shredding. This impressive list of customers makes Iron Mountain a leader in its niche market.
It's also a leader among dividend stocks that are ideal for retirees. Iron Mountain's dividend currently yields 5.9%, and appears to be relatively safe, thanks to the company's strong recurring cash flow. In addition, Iron Mountain expects to increase its dividend by at least 4% annually.
Of course, retirees don't mind getting some growth along with solid income. Iron Mountain should be poised to deliver on that front, too. The company anticipates a robust increase in demand for data storage and management in North America in the coming years. Opportunities for growth in emerging markets appear to be enormous as well. Iron Mountain is also looking to make additional acquisitions, with projections of $450 million to $600 million in deals between 2018 and 2020. Wall Street analysts think that the company will grow earnings by an average of 32% annually over the next five years.
Iron Mountain stock might look a little pricey right now with shares trading at 30 times expected earnings. But given its fantastic dividend and strong growth prospects, this stock appears to be a solid pick.
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