Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.
Also, retirees who have constructed a nest egg have valid justifications to be concerned, since the traditional ways to plan for retirement may mean income can no longer cover expenses. Some retirees are now tapping their principal to make a decent living, pressed for time between decreasing investment balances and longer life expectancies.
In today's economic environment, traditional income investments are not working.
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.
While this yield reduction may not seem drastic, it adds up: for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries, the rate drop means a difference in yield of 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
Dividend-paying stocks from low-risk, high-quality companies are a smart way to generate steady and reliable attractive income streams to replace current low risk, low yielding Treasury and bond options.
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.
MDU Resources ( is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.21 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.69%. This compares to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.65% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.65%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.83 is up 2.47% from last year. MDU Quick Quote MDU - Free Report) NRG Energy ( is paying out a dividend of 0.3 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.9% compared to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 3.51% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.2 is up 900% from last year. NRG Quick Quote NRG - Free Report)
Currently paying a dividend of 0.28 per share,
Corporate Office Properties ( has a dividend yield of 4.64%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 3.87% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.1 is flat compared to last year. OFC Quick Quote OFC - Free Report) 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.
If you're thinking, "I want to invest in a dividend-focused ETF or mutual fund," make sure to do your homework. It's important to know that some mutual funds and specialized ETFs charge high fees, which may diminish your dividend gains or income and thwart the overall objective of this investment strategy. If you do want to invest in fund, research well to identify the best-quality dividend funds with the least charges.
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