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 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Juniper Networks (JNPR) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.22 per share, with a dividend yield of 3%. This compares to the Wireless Equipment industry’s yield of 0% and the S&P 500’s yield of 1.63%. The company’s annualized dividend growth in the past year was 4.76%. Check Juniper Networks (JNPR) dividend history here>>>
Mercantile Bank (MBWM) is paying out a dividend of $0.34 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.97% compared to the Banks – Midwest industry’s yield of 3.49% and the S&P 500’s yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 6.45% over the past year. Check Mercantile Bank (MBWM) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $0.28 per share, Manulife Financial (MFC) has a dividend yield of 5.92%. This is compared to the Insurance – Life Insurance industry’s yield of 0.04% and the S&P 500’s current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 4.98%. Check Manulife Financial (MFC) 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.
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.
You may be thinking, “I like this dividend strategy, but instead of investing in individual stocks, I’m going to find a dividend-focused mutual fund or ETF.” This approach can make sense, but be aware that some mutual funds and specialized ETFs carry high fees, which may reduce your dividend gains or income, and defeat the goal of this dividend investment approach. If you do wish to invest in a fund, do your research to find the best-quality dividend funds with the lowest fees.
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.
Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR): Free Stock Analysis Report
This article originally appeared on Zacks
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