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.
The tried-and-true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn't work today.
For many years, bonds or other fixed-income assets could produce the yield needed to provide solid income for retirement needs. However, these yields have dwindled over time: 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s were around 6.50%, but today, that rate is a thing of the past, with a slim likelihood of rates making a comeback in the foreseeable future.
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.
How can you avoid dipping into your principal when the investments you counted on in retirement aren't producing income? You can only cut your expenses so far, and the only other option is to find a different investment vehicle to generate income.
Invest in Dividend Stocks
As we see it, dividend-paying stocks from generally low-risk, top notch companies are a brilliant way to create steady and solid income streams to supplant low risk, low yielding Treasury and fixed-income alternatives.
Look for stocks 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.
Amgen (AMGN) is currently shelling out a dividend of $2.13 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.74%. This compares to the Medical - Biomedical and Genetics industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.76%. The company's annualized dividend growth in the past year was 10.23%. Check Amgen (AMGN) dividend history here>>>
Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) is paying out a dividend of $0.21 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.11% compared to the Banks - Midwest industry's yield of 2.82% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 5% over the past year. Check Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $0.39 per share, Cisco Systems (CSCO) has a dividend yield of 3.13%. This is compared to the Computer - Networking industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 2.7%. Check Cisco Systems (CSCO) dividend history here>>>
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.
A silver lining to owning dividend stocks for your retirement portfolio is that many companies, especially blue chip stocks, increase their dividends over time, helping offset the effects of inflation on your potential retirement income.
Thinking about dividend-focused mutual funds or ETFs? Watch out for fees.
If you prefer investing in funds or ETFs compared to individual stocks, you can still pursue a dividend income strategy. However, it's important to know the fees charged by each fund or ETF, which can ultimately reduce your dividend income, working against your strategy. Do your homework and make sure you know the fees charged by any fund before you invest.
Seeking steady, consistent income through dividends can be a smart option for financial security in retirement, whether you invest in mutual funds, ETFs, or in dividend-paying stocks.
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