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Improve Your Retirement Income with These 3 Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks

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Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.

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.

Your parents' retirement investing plan won't cut it 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 $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries is over $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.

So what can retirees do? You could dramatically reduce your expenses, and go out on a limb hoping your Social Security benefits don't diminish. On the other hand, you could opt for an alternative investment that gives a steady, higher-rate income stream to supplant lessening bond yields.

Invest in Dividend Stocks

As a replacement for low yielding Treasury bonds (and other bond options), we believe dividend-paying stocks from high quality companies offer low risk and stable, predictable income investors in retirement seek.

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.

Arrow Financial (AROW - Free Report) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.27 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.01%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 2.34% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.64%. The company's annualized dividend growth in the past year was 6.96%. Check Arrow Financial (AROW - Free Report) dividend history here>>>

Cathay General (CATY - Free Report) is paying out a dividend of $0.34 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.02% compared to the Banks - West industry's yield of 2.33% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 9.68% over the past year. Check Cathay General (CATY - Free Report) dividend history here>>>

Currently paying a dividend of $0.62 per share, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ - Free Report) has a dividend yield of 3.87%. This is compared to the Oil and Gas - Exploration and Production - Canadian industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 53.34%. Check Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ - Free Report) 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.

An upside to adding dividend stocks to your retirement portfolio: they can help lessen the effects of inflation, since many dividend-paying companies (especially blue chip stocks) generally increase their dividends over time.

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.

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.


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


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


Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ) - free report >>

Cathay General Bancorp (CATY) - free report >>

Arrow Financial Corporation (AROW) - free report >>

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