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Improve Your Retirement Income with These 3 Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - January 30, 2020

Zacks Equity Research

Here's an eye-opening statistic: older Americans are more afraid of running out of money than of death itself.

And older Americans have legitimate reasons for this worry, even if they have dutifully saved for their golden years. That's because the traditional ways people manage retirement may no longer provide enough income to meet expenses - and with people generally living longer, the principal retirement savings is exhausted far too early in the retirement period.

Retirement investing approaches of the past don'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.

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.

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

Dividend-paying stocks from low-risk, high-quality companies are a smart way to generate steady and reliable attractive income streams to replace current low risk, low yielding Treasury and bond options.

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.

One way to identify suitable candidates is to look for stocks with an average dividend yield of 3%, and positive average annual dividend growth. Many stocks increase dividends over time, helping to offset the effects of inflation.

Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.

Bridge Bancorp (BDGE) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.24 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.06%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 1.76% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.77%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.96 is flat compared to last year.

IBM (IBM) is paying out a dividend of 1.62 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.71% compared to the Computer - Integrated Systems 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 $6.48 is up 3.18% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.31 per share, Invesco (IVZ) has a dividend yield of 7.03%. This is compared to the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield of 2.22% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.24 is up 3.33% 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.

An upside to adding dividend stocks to your retirement portfolio: they can help lessen the effects of inflation, since many dividend-paying companies (especially blue chip stocks) generally increase their dividends over time.

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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

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Bridge Bancorp, Inc. (BDGE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Invesco Ltd. (IVZ) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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