Here's a revealing data point: older Americans are scared more of outliving wealth than of death itself.
And retirees have good reason to be worried about making their assets last. People are living longer, so that money has to cover a longer period. Making matters worse, income generated using tried - and - true retirement planning approaches may not cover expenses these days. That means seniors must dip into principal to meet living expenses.
The tried - and - true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn't work 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 at the time of this article, the current rate is under 2% and looks to stay low thanks to an accommodative Fed.
While this yield reduction may not seem drastic, it adds up: for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries, the rate drop means a difference in yield of more than $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's a retiree to do? You could cut your expenses to the bone, and take the risk that your Social Security checks don't shrink. Or you could find an alternative investment that provides a steady, higher-rate income stream to replace dwindling 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.
For example, AT&T and Coca-Cola are income stocks with attractive dividend yields of 3% or better. Look for stocks like this 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.
AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) is currently shelling out a dividend of $1.07 per share, with a dividend yield of 4.92%. This compares to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 2.64% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.82%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $4.28 is up 11.46% from last year.
Costamare (CMRE - Free Report) is paying out a dividend of 0.1 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.5% compared to the Transportation - Shipping industry's yield of 0% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.4 is flat compared to last year.
Currently paying a dividend of 0.08 per share, Crown Crafts has a dividend yield of 4.73%. This is compared to the Textile - Home Furnishing industry's yield of 1.55% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.32 is flat compared to last year.
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.
A silver lining to owning dividend stocks for your retirement portfolio is that many companies, especially blue chip stocks, increase their dividends over time, helping offset the effects of inflation on your potential retirement income.
Thinking about dividend-focused mutual funds or ETFs? Watch out for fees.
You may be thinking, "I like this dividend strategy, but instead of investing in individual stocks, I'm going to find a dividend-focused mutual fund or ETF." This approach can make sense, but be aware that some mutual funds and specialized ETFs carry high fees, which may reduce your dividend gains or income, and defeat the goal of this dividend investment approach. If you do wish to invest in a fund, do your research to find the best-quality dividend funds with the lowest fees.
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.
Generating income is just one aspect of planning for a comfortable retirement.
To learn more ways to maximize your assets - and avoid pitfalls that could jeopardize your financial security - download our free report:
Will You Retire a Multi-Millionaire? 7 Things You Can Do Now