Will MetLife Help You Retire Rich?http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2012/03/14/will-metlife-help-you-retire-rich.aspx Dan Caplinger
March 14, 2012
Now more than ever, a comfortable retirement depends on secure, stable investments. Unfortunately, the right stocks for retirement won't just fall into your lap. In this series, I look at 10 measures to show what makes a great retirement-oriented stock.
MetLife (NYSE: MET ) is one of the best regarded insurance companies in the country. But insurance companies overall have had a lousy experience recently. Natural disasters have hit property and casualty insurers hard, while low interest rates and unreliable investing returns have hurt life insurers and other products. Can MetLife get past this challenging environment and thrive? Below, we'll take a look at how MetLife does on our 10-point scale.
The right stocks for retirees
Sure, you still want good returns, but you also need to manage your risk and protect yourself against bear markets, which can maul your finances at the worst possible time. The right stocks combine both of these elements in a single investment.
When scrutinizing a stock, retirees should look for:
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at MetLife.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.
With five points, MetLife gives conservative investors some but by no means all of the traits that they prefer in a stock. The insurance company finds itself on perilous ground with the Federal Reserve, suggesting that the company will have to raise more capital to make regulators happy.
MetLife offers customers a wide range of insurance products, ranging from various types of life insurance to annuities and employee benefits. But MetLife also goes beyond insurance, with a bank subsidiary that it's in the process of selling to General Electric's (NYSE: GE ) GE Capital and one of the largest reverse-mortgage lenders left in the industry. The company has a big presence not just in the U.S. but also internationally, especially in Japan.
That Japanese exposure hurt MetLife and some of its peers after the Japanese earthquake last spring. Aflac (NYSE: