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Improve Your Retirement Income with These 3 Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - December 10, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Believe it or not, seniors fear running out of cash more than they fear dying.

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.

In the past, investors going into retirement could invest in bonds and count on attractive yields to produce steady, reliable income streams to fund a predictable retirement. 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s hovered around 6.50%, whereas at the time of this article, the current rate is under 2% and looks to stay low thanks to an accommodative Fed.

While this yield reduction may not seem drastic, it adds up: for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries, the rate drop means a difference in yield of more than $1 million.

And lower bond yields aren't the only potential problem seniors are facing. Today's retirees aren't feeling as secure as they once did about Social Security, either. Benefit checks will still be coming for the foreseeable future, but based on current estimates, Social Security funds 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 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 current low risk, low yielding Treasury and fixed-income alternatives.

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.

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.

DiamondRock Hospitality (DRH) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.13 per share, with a dividend yield of 4.75%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.09% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.8%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.5 is flat compared to last year.

Edison International (EIX) is paying out a dividend of 0.61 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.45% compared to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 2.97% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2.45 is up 1.24% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.14 per share, First Horizon National (FHN) has a dividend yield of 3.49%. This is compared to the Banks - Southeast industry's yield of 1.8% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.56 is up 16.67% from last year.

But aren't stocks generally more risky than bonds?

Yes, that's true. As a broad category, bonds carry less risk than stocks. However, the stocks we are talking about - dividend -paying stocks from high-quality companies - can generate income over time and also mitigate the overall volatility of your portfolio compared to the stock market as a whole.

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.

Bottom Line

Pursuing a dividend investing strategy can help protect your retirement portfolio. Whether you choose to invest in stocks or through low-fee mutual funds or ETFs, this approach can potentially help you achieve a more secure and enjoyable retirement.

Generating income is just one aspect of planning for a comfortable retirement.

To learn more ways to maximize your assets - and avoid pitfalls that could jeopardize your financial security - download our free report:

Will You Retire a Multi-Millionaire? 7 Things You Can Do Now


This helpful guide offers our viewpoints about strategic retirement investment planning, based on decades of experience helping our clients prepare for financial security during their golden years. Get Your FREE Guide Now
 
Diamondrock Hospitality Company (DRH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Edison International (EIX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
First Horizon National Corporation (FHN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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