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.
Retirement investing approaches of the past don't work 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 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.
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
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.
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 3.14%. This compares to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 3.65% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.71%. 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>>> Brookfield Infrastructure Partners ( is paying out a dividend of $0.38 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.98% compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.92% and the S&P 500's yield. The annualized dividend growth of the company was 6.25% over the past year. BIP Quick Quote BIP - Free Report) Check Brookfield Infrastructure Partners ( BIP Quick Quote BIP - Free Report) dividend history here>>>
Currently paying a dividend of $0.29 per share,
Corporate Office Properties ( has a dividend yield of 4.77%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.92% and the S&P 500's current yield. Annualized dividend growth for the company in the past year was 3.64%. CDP Quick Quote CDP - Free Report) Check Corporate Office Properties ( CDP Quick Quote CDP - Free Report) dividend history here>>> But aren't stocks generally more risky than bonds?
The fact is that stocks, as an asset class, carry more risk than bonds. To counterbalance this, invest in superior quality dividend stocks that not only can grow over time but more significantly, can also decrease your overall portfolio volatility with respect to the broader stock market.
An advantage of owning dividend stocks for your retirement nest egg is that numerous companies, particularly blue chip stocks, raise their dividends over time, helping alleviate the impact of inflation on your potential retirement income.
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.