Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.
And unfortunately, even retirees who have built a nest egg have good reason to be concerned - with the traditional approaches to retirement planning, income may no longer cover expenses. That means retirees are dipping into principal to make ends meet, setting up a race against time between dwindling investment balances and longer lifespans.
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.
That means if you had $1 million in 10-year Treasuries, the difference in yield between 1999 and today is more than $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.
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
Dividend-paying stocks from low-risk, high-quality companies are a smart way to generate steady and reliable attractive income streams to replace low risk, low yielding Treasury and bond options.
Look for stocks that have paid steady, increasing dividends for years (or decades), and have not cut their dividends even during recessions.
A rule of thumb for finding solid income-producing stocks is to seek those that average 3% dividend yield, and positive yearly dividend growth. These stocks can help combat inflation by boosting dividends over time.
Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.
Axis Capital ( is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.43 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.32%. This compares to the Insurance - Property and Casualty industry's yield of 0.96% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.8%. The company's annualized dividend growth in the past year was 2.38%. AXS Quick Quote AXS - Free Report) Check Axis Capital ( AXS Quick Quote AXS - Free Report) dividend history here>>> Pfizer ( is paying out a dividend of $0.4 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.59% compared to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 2.74% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 2.56% over the past year. PFE Quick Quote PFE - Free Report) Check Pfizer ( PFE Quick Quote PFE - Free Report) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $0.35 per share,
TrustCo Bank ( has a dividend yield of 4.2%. This is compared to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 2.15% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 2.75%. TRST Quick Quote TRST - Free Report) Check TrustCo Bank ( TRST Quick Quote TRST - Free Report) dividend history here>>> 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.
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.
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.