Believe it or not, seniors fear running out of cash more than they fear dying.
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.
The tried-and-true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn't work today.
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.
The impact of this rate decline is sizable: over 20 years, the difference in yield for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries is 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
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.
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.
New Jersey Resources ( is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.39 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.09%. This compares to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.2% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.72%. The company's annualized dividend growth in the past year was 7.59%. NJR Quick Quote NJR - Free Report) Check New Jersey Resources ( NJR Quick Quote NJR - Free Report) dividend history here>>> Perrigo ( is paying out a dividend of $0.27 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.24% compared to the Medical - Products industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 5% over the past year. PRGO Quick Quote PRGO - Free Report) Check Perrigo ( PRGO Quick Quote PRGO - Free Report) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $1.25 per share,
Prudential ( has a dividend yield of 5.83%. This is compared to the Insurance - Multi line industry's yield of 1.86% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 4.17%. PRU Quick Quote PRU - Free Report) Check Prudential ( PRU Quick Quote PRU - 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.
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.