Looking to Invest Your 2023 Social Security Windfall? Buy These 2 Top Dividend Stocks.

Social Security recipients have something to look forward to.

Retirees and other beneficiaries are about to get their biggest benefits increase in years. The Social Security Administration will announce the 2023 cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) sometime this fall, and after a year of sky-high inflation, it's likely to be the biggest since the early '80s. That's because Social Security benefits are adjusted each year based on a subset of the Consumer Price Index, which has been up more than 8% year over year in recent months.

If you're looking to take advantage of the Social Security COLA windfall, one of the best ways to do so is by investing that money into quality dividend stocks. If you're a retiree who loves getting quarterly dividend checks, keep reading to see two great income stocks that are on sale today.

1. Target

Sure, Target (NYSE: TGT) has been bruised and battered in the recent retail malaise. Its profit plunged in the second quarter as the company was plagued by excess inventory and a consumer shift away from discretionary categories such as home and electronics that had been popular during the pandemic.

While the retailer expects some headwinds to remain for the duration of the year, that shouldn't distract dividend investors from the long-term opportunity here. It's worth remembering that the stock is still up about 200% over the past five years, displaying a track record of outperformance.

Target has become a top-performing retailer by differentiating itself from its peers. It's invested significantly in its same-day fulfillment services, including its curbside pickup program, Drive Up, which saw sales jump more than 2,000% during the pandemic. Unlike competitors such as Amazon and Walmart, Target has eschewed the marketplace model, and the vast majority of its online sales are fulfilled by its stores, making them much more profitable. That's enabled the company to have an operating margin that's significantly better that Amazon, Walmart, or Costco, its closest competitors.

Target has also found success in the brick-and-mortar channel. It continues to expand through its new small-format store concept, giving it access to underserved neighborhoods in cities and college towns that other big-box chains don't have. It's also found success with its owned brands, as it now has at least 10 private labels that generate $1 billion or more in annual sales. Not only do owned brands build customer loyalty, since those products aren't available at other retailers, but they also generate higher margins for Target than name-brand products do.

Though the retailer lacks a reputation as a dividend powerhouse, the stock currently offers a 2.7% dividend yield, well ahead of the S&P 500's at 1.6%. Better yet, Target is a Dividend Aristocrat, having raised its dividend for 50 years running.

Over the long term, the company is targeting high-single-digit adjusted earnings-per-share growth, and that along with the dividend and the stock's cheap valuation makes it a great place for dividend investors to put their Social Security raise.

2. JPMorgan Chase

Bank stocks are well known as dividend-payers, but not all of the big banks are equal. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve has imposed stress tests to determine whether banks have enough capital to pay or raise dividend. When the pandemic started, the Fed also suspended share buybacks for most banks and prevented them from raising their dividends, though it lifted those rules last year.

Compared with its big-bank peers, JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM) record is nearly spotless. The nation's No. 1 bank by assets didn't need a bailout during the financial crisis, as many of its peers did, and it's mostly avoided the kind of scandals that have plagued rivals Wells Fargo and Citibank.

As a result, JPMorgan's dividend is more reliable than those of its big-bank peers, and it has returned cash to shareholders annually for at least 50 years. Currently, it offers a dividend yield of 3.5%, and with a low price-to-earnings ratio, it has plenty of room to raise that payout.

Bank stocks have flopped over the past year amid increasing concerns about a recession, and JPMorgan shares have fallen by a third from their peak last fall. However, now looks like a good time to buy the stock. Its most recent earnings report was solid, and though profit fell in the quarter, that was only due to an increase in provisions for loan losses, a protection against an economic downturn, after a year in which it released more than $2 billion from its loan loss reserves.

In addition, higher interest rates tend to favor banks as long as the economy remains healthy, because they can collect more on the spread between loans and deposits, known as net interest income (NII). In the second quarter, JPMorgan said net interest income increased 19% to $15.2 billion, and rising rates should fuel further growth in NII.

Finally, JPMorgan Chase's forward price-to-earnings ratio is just 10, giving it a low payout ratio with plenty of profit to support a 3.5% dividend yield. That low price also sets the stock up for a rebound when the economy bounces back.

If you're a retiree looking for a safe income investment that looks like a good candidate to beat the market, JPMorgan looks like a great bet.

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JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Jeremy Bowman has positions in Amazon, Target, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Costco Wholesale, Target, and Walmart Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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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