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How to Maximize Your Retirement Portfolio with These Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - January 07, 2020

Zacks Equity Research

Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.

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.

For example, 10-year Treasury bonds in the late 1990s offered a yield of around 6.50%, which translated to an income source you could count on. However, today's yield is much lower - currently under 2% and probably not a viable return option to fund typical retirements.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Santander Mexico (BSMX) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.16 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.01%. This compares to the Banks - Foreign industry's yield of 3.15% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.79%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.21 is flat compared to last year.

Costamare (CMRE) is paying out a dividend of 0.1 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.03% compared to the Transportation - Shipping 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 $0.4 is flat compared to last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.38 per share, Foot Locker (FL) has a dividend yield of 3.92%. This is compared to the Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.52 is up 10.14% from last year.

But aren't stocks generally more risky than bonds?

The fact is that stocks, as an asset class, carry more risk than bonds. To counterbalance this, invest in superior quality dividend stocks that not only can grow over time but more significantly, can also decrease your overall portfolio volatility with respect 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.

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:

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
 
Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico S.A. B. de C.V. (BSMX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Costamare Inc. (CMRE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Foot Locker, Inc. (FL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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