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3 Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks: A Smarter Way to Boost Your Retirement Income - January 10, 2020

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Believe it or not, seniors fear running out of cash more than they fear dying.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

Corporate Office Properties (OFC - Free Report) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.28 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.77%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.21% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.78%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.1 is flat compared to last year.

Ryman Hospitality Properties (RHP - Free Report) is paying out a dividend of 0.9 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 4.26% compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.21% and the S&P 500's yield. Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $3.6 is up 5.88% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.88 per share, SL Green (SLG - Free Report) has a dividend yield of 3.92%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.21% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $3.54 is up 4.12% from last year.

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 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 interested in investing in dividends, but are thinking about mutual funds or ETFs rather than stocks, beware of fees. Mutual funds and specialized ETFs may carry high fees, which could lower the overall gains you earn from dividends, undercutting your dividend income strategy. Be sure to look for funds with low fees if you decide on this approach.

Bottom Line

Regardless of whether you select high-quality, low-fee funds or stocks, looking for a steady stream of income from dividend-paying equities can potentially lead you to a solid and more peaceful 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

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