When it comes to picking stocks for a retirement portfolio, there’s a lot that comes into play. We need safer stocks, but we also need long-term price appreciation. A dividend would be nice, but we can’t overlook the business fundamentals just because of the yield.
When it comes down to it, picking the right retirement stocks is actually pretty difficult. If we were to build a portfolio, we’d want all of the best attributes.
Between the stocks, we need a combination of yield, balance sheet power and modest to strong growth. Of course, high-quality businesses will oftentimes have several of these attributes.
Let’s look at seven retirement stocks to supplement one’s 401k:
- AT&T (NYSE:T)
- Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY)
- 3M (NYSE:MMM)
- Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
- Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG)
- Walmart (NYSE:WMT)
- Federal Realty (NYSE:FRT)
But what’s important is getting a little bit of everything — the best of the best from these holdings. Not every pick will be for every investor, but it gets the ball rolling with some momentum.
Retirement Stocks to Buy: AT&T (T)
Some investors may consider AT&T an interesting candidate to lead off with, given its sluggish stock performance and high debt load. However, T stock has several positives going for it.
First, the stock pays out a hefty dividend, yielding 7.2%. That’s more than six times the yield of the 10-year Treasury bond. So when an investor is searching for retirement or dividend income, AT&T has to at least be on the list.
Further, while a slew of big acquisitions may have bloated the balance sheet, some of those acquisitions have paid off big time. Specifically, the Time Warner deal drastically increased AT&T’s free cash flow, which is great for both the dividend and debt. Additionally, it gave AT&T HBO Max, which is quickly gaining traction in streaming.
If management can reduce the debt here, AT&T could be a winner.
Another dependable dividend payer? 3M.
Unlike AT&T, 3M doesn’t pay out a sky-high yield. However, the dividend pays out a respectable 3.3%, nearly three times more than the 10-year Treasury yield. More importantly though, 3M has raised its dividend for more than 60 consecutive years.
Despite the high inflation of the 1980s, the dot-com crash near 2000, the financial crisis in 2008 and the novel coronavirus, 3M has been there for its investors. There’s little reason to believe that won’tremain true going forward.
While the stock hovers near its 52-week high, it’s still down about 35% from its five-year high. To some investors, that’s a warning sign. For others though, that suggests an opportunity.
If 3M can retake those prior levels, it will build a considerable cushion of gains for long-term shareholders. And remember, that’s on top of the dividend they’ll continue to collect.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
Bristol-Myers Squibb doesn’t seem to get the love that it deserves. The stock trades at a paltry 8 times this year’s earnings estimates. That’s despite it being a great company with excellent assets and a strong pipeline. Remember, Bristol-Myers recently acquired Celgene, adding a robust suite of products to its portfolio.
As it stands, analysts expect almost 9% revenue growth this year and 16% earnings growth. The company’s recent earnings report reiterates that strength. BMY beat out both earnings and revenue estimates and raised the bottom of its full-year earnings outlook.
On top of all of this, the company pays out a 3.2% dividend yield.
So we have a low-valuation, solid growth dividend stock on our hands. Worst case, the stock never gets the love it deserves and continues to trade at about 8 times earnings.
Maybe though, investors will value this name more and will be willing to pay a higher premium. We’ll see. Until then, there’s always the dividend.
What is Apple doing on a list of…retirement stocks?
Well, the company is a titan among titans. It has one of the strongest brands, balance sheets and businesses in the world. Not including this company feels borderline irresponsible.
Admittedly, it doesn’t have a big sexy dividend, paying out just a 0.6% yield. However, it’s not all about the dividend.
A skeptic could argue that it’s one BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) moment away from becoming irrelevant. But at this point, it’s really hard to imagine that happening, at least anytime soon.
Apple has perfected the holy grail of business. It sells its products at an incredible profit. Beyond that though, it uses those products — now with more 1.5 billion active devices — to generate Services revenue. That Services unit is about twice as profitable as its hardware business and growing faster than the overall business.
To me, that’s the holy grail; profiting on your first wave of products to generate a second, more profitable wave of business. And how’s business going?
Well, Apple just reported earnings of $1.68 a share, beating expectations by 27 cents. Revenue of $111.43 billion grew 21.4% year over year and beat estimates by more than $8 billion.
I don’t know what’s more impressive: The $111.4 billion in sales or the fact that it was $8 billion ahead of the consensus. Or how about that both earnings and revenue came in above even the highest estimate on Wall Street?
Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG)
Okay, you’re just trying to make people mad. Now Alphabet is on the list of retirement stocks too?!
Friends, we need to stop looking at tech stocks as super high-flyers with rich valuations and no profits. These types of stocks exist of course, but many of the most profitable businesses in the world are in tech. Just consider all of Alphabet’s positives.
First, it owns the two highest-ranked websites in the world: Google and YouTube. Second, its balance sheet is quite robust.
In its most recent report, Alphabet reported total assets of $319 billion, with cash and equivalents of $136.7 billion. Alphabet carries just $13.9 billion in long-term debt. If anything, this company could make some major acquisitions and still be okay.
Speaking of that most recent report, earnings of $22.30 a share came in more than $6 per share ahead of estimates (beating the consensus by an eye-popping 40%). Revenue of ~$57 billion beat expectations by more than $4 billion and grew more than 23.5% year over year.
These numbers are semi-ridiculous.
Better yet? Alphabet stock trades at less than 30 times earnings (especially noteworthy if Alphabet continues to earn significantly more than analysts expect). Consensus expectations call for double-digit earnings and revenue growth this year, next year and likely for years to come.
This storied retailer has really shined over the past few years. The company has all but cemented itself as an industry pillar, as Walmart refused to be disrupted by either the mega shift toward e-commerce or the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, both brought out the best in Walmart.
On the latter front, the company was able to swiftly adapt to the Covid-19 situation. Deemed essential, Walmart remained open for business while many others were forced to close. That’s not necessarily good news for the economy, but the fact that Walmart stayed open bodes well for the company. Its order-online-and-pickup option was a great alternative for shoppers, while the company has continued to reward its employees.
Finally, Walmart’s e-commerce efforts can’t be ignored. In a day and age where the internet continues to create waves, Walmart refused to go down like so many of its long-standing peers. J.C. Penney, Sears and K-Mart are a few that come to mind.
Last quarter — and this was on November 17, before the holidays — Walmart beat on earnings and revenue estimates and topped same-store sales expectations. E-commerce sales erupted 79%. Simply put, Walmart has kept with the times and it will continue to do well for years to come.
Oh yeah, and it kicks out a 1.5% dividend yield, while estimates call for 13% earnings growth in the coming year.
Federal Realty (FRT)
I really love the opportunity here in Federal Realty. Often considered the bluest of blue-chip REIT holdings, it’s very hard to get this name on a deep discount.
Although it’s a REIT, Federal Realty doesn’t pay out an astronomical dividend. However, the yield is a very respectable 4.65% — four times the 10-year yield. While attractive, it’s hardly the most attractive part when it comes to FRT.
Only twice since 2010 has Federal Realty paid out a dividend yield of more than 3.6%. In fact, getting this stock with a yield of 3% or more has been considered lucky by many investors. So the fact that we can scoop up shares with a yield north of 4.5% is incredible.
Even better, FRT has not only paid but raised its dividend for 62 consecutive years, doing so most recently in August.
The REIT landscape has been shaken up due to Covid-19. That has created depressed stock prices, but also a long-term opportunity for investors willing to buy and hold. For retirement purposes, a discounted high-quality payer may be just what investors are looking for.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell held a long position in T and AAPL.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the other securities mentioned in this article.