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Improve Your Retirement Income with These 3 Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - November 27, 2019

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.

The tried - and - true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn't work today.

Years ago, investors at or close to retirement could put money into fixed-income assets and depend on appealing yields to generate consistent, solid pay streams to fund a comfortable retirement. 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s floated around 6.50%, but unfortunately, those days of being able to exclusively rely on Treasury yields to fund retirement income are over.

The effect of this drop in rates is substantial: over 20 years, the change in yield for a million investment in 10-year Treasuries is over 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 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.

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.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.88.88 per share, with a dividend yield of 3%. This compares to the Retail - Restaurants industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.8%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of .52 is up 17.33% from last year.

Edison International (EIX) is paying out a dividend of 0.61 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.55% compared to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 2.99% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of .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 3.48%. 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 $0.56.56 is up 16.67% 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.

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

Seeking steady, consistent income through dividends can be a smart option for financial security in retirement, whether you invest in mutual funds, ETFs, or in dividend-paying stocks.

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
 
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Edison International (EIX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
First Horizon National Corporation (FHN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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