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How to Maximize Your Retirement Portfolio with These Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - September 30, 2020

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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.

In the past, investors going into retirement could invest in bonds and count on attractive yields to produce steady, reliable income streams to fund a predictable retirement. 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s hovered around 6.50%, whereas at the time of this article, the current rate is under 2% and looks to stay low thanks to an accommodative Fed.

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.

Today's retirees are getting hit hard by reduced bond yields - and the Social Security picture isn't too rosy either. Right now and for the near future, Social Security benefits are still being paid, but it has been estimated that the Social Security funds will be depleted as soon as 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.

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.

Farmers National Banc (FMNB - Free Report) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.11 per share, with a dividend yield of 4.05%. This compares to the Banks - Midwest industry's yield of 3.62% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.66%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.44 is up 22.22% from last year.

Highwoods Properties (HIW - Free Report) is paying out a dividend of 0.48 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 5.72% compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 3.87% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.92 is up 1.05% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.57 per share, Kellogg (K - Free Report) has a dividend yield of 3.59%. This is compared to the Food - Miscellaneous industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2.28 is up 1.79% 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.

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.

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


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


Farmers National Banc Corp. (FMNB) - free report >>

Highwoods Properties, Inc. (HIW) - free report >>

Kellogg Company (K) - free report >>

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