Here's a revealing data point: older Americans are scared more of outliving wealth than of death itself.
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.
Your parents' retirement investing plan won't cut it 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 the current rate is much lower.
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.
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.
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 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 low risk, low yielding Treasury and fixed-income alternatives.
Look for stocks 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.
Ameren ( is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.63 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.02%. This compares to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 3.27% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.78%. The company's annualized dividend growth in the past year was 6.78%. AEE Quick Quote AEE - Free Report) Check Ameren ( AEE Quick Quote AEE - Free Report) dividend history here>>> Axis Capital ( is paying out a dividend of $0.44 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.22% compared to the Insurance - Property and Casualty industry's yield of 0.31% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 2.33% over the past year. AXS Quick Quote AXS - Free Report) Check Axis Capital ( AXS Quick Quote AXS - Free Report) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $0.24 per share,
Kite Realty Group ( has a dividend yield of 4.78%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry's yield of 4.93% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 26.32%. KRG Quick Quote KRG - Free Report) Check Kite Realty Group ( KRG Quick Quote KRG - Free Report) dividend history here>>> But aren't stocks generally more risky than bonds?
Yes, that's true. As a broad category, bonds carry less risk than stocks. However, the stocks we are talking about - dividend -paying stocks from high-quality companies - can generate income over time and also mitigate the overall volatility of your portfolio compared to the stock market as a whole.
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.