Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.
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 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 effect of this drop in rates is substantial: over 20 years, the change in yield for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries is over $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.
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
We feel that these dividend-paying equities - as long as they are from high-quality, low-risk issuers - can give retirement investors a smart option to replace low-yielding Treasury bonds (or other bonds).
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 approach to recognizing appropriate stocks is to look for companies with an average dividend yield of 3% and positive average annual dividend growth. Numerous stocks hike dividends over time, counterbalancing inflation risks.
Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.
AbbVie (ABBV) is currently shelling out a dividend of $1.18 per share, with a dividend yield of 7.32%. This compares to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 3.57% and the S&P 500's yield of 2.82%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $4.72 is up 11.46% from last year.
Astrazeneca (AZN) is paying out a dividend of 0.93 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.8% compared to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 3.57% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.86 is flat compared to last year.
Currently paying a dividend of 0.55 per share, Best Buy (BBY) has a dividend yield of 4.34%. This is compared to the Retail - Consumer Electronics industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2.2 is up 11.11% 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.
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 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.
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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AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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