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How to Maximize Your Retirement Portfolio with These Top-Ranked Dividend Stocks - July 27, 2020

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.

The tried - and - true retirement investing approach of yesterday doesn't work today.

For example, 10-year Treasury bonds in the late 1990s offered a yield of around 6.50%, which translated to an income source you could count on. However, today's yield is much lower - currently under 2% and probably not a viable return option to fund typical retirements.

That means if you had $1 million in 10-year Treasuries, the difference in yield between 1999 and today 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.

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 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 current low risk, low yielding Treasury and fixed-income alternatives.

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.

Atlas (ATCO) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.13 per share, with a dividend yield of 6.88%. This compares to the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield of 2.28% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.81%. In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.5 is flat compared to last year.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) is paying out a dividend of 0.36 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.1% compared to the Computer - Networking 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 $1.44 is up 2.86% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.28 per share, Douglas Emmett (DEI) has a dividend yield of 3.91%. This is compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.24% and the S&P 500's current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.12 is up 7.69% from last year.

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.

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.

Bottom Line

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


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Seaspan Corporation (ATCO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Douglas Emmett, Inc. (DEI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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