When choosing the best stocks for your retirement, it's no time to start playing games. You want to go with the best companies in the business for their respective industries that provide a combination of opportunity and security.

We asked three Motley Fool investors to identify stocks they feel fit the bill, so read on to understand why they chose AT&T (NYSE:T), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), and Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM).

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It pays to own this telecom giant

Keith Noonan (AT&T): Trading at roughly 13 times forward earnings estimates and backed by a tremendous returned-income profile, AT&T is a standout value investment for retirees. 

Stocks that pay substantial dividends create a source of passive income that can provide a valuable safety net in your non-working years, but it's important to look for companies that offer dividend growth and strong business foundations rather than just chasing yield. AT&T checks all of those boxes. The stock yields a whopping 5.1% and the company has delivered annual dividend growth for 32 years running -- a record that exemplifies dedication to rewarding shareholders. 

AT&T is also a cash machine, generating $15.8 billion in free cash flow over the trailing-12-month period. Its payout ratios of 76% of free cash flow and 66% of earnings aren't exactly low, but they still leave considerable room for payout growth -- particularly as the company implements cost-saving measures and continues to repurchase its own shares.

On the operational side of things, AT&T is currently the largest wireless carrier in America and, through its DirecTV subsidiary, the largest pay-TV provider. If its planned acquisition of Time Warner goes through, AT&T will also immediately become a leader in content. Between its strength in wireless, its DirecTV satellite television wing, and the pending addition of a leading media company, that makes for a very compelling package -- and one that would put AT&T in good position for a future that's likely to see big growth in mobile content distribution. The company's position in wireless networks also makes it a good pick-and-shovel stock for investing in connectivity-based tech trends like the Internet of Things.

With its low earnings multiple, great dividend, and sturdy business, AT&T is a top stock for retirement portfolios.

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Checking off all the boxes

Keith Speights (AbbVie): One of my favorite value stocks for retirement accounts isn't just a value stock. AbbVie checks off all the boxes -- value, growth, and income. Shares of the big biotech trade at less than 11 times expected earnings. By comparison, the S&P 500 (of which AbbVie is a member) trades at 18 times expected earnings. I'd say AbbVie definitely qualifies as a value stock. 

What about growth? Wall Street analysts project that AbbVie will grow earnings by an annual average rate of more than 14% over the next few years. The company claims the top-selling drug in the world with Humira -- and sales for Humira continue to climb. AbbVie's current No. 2 drug, Imbruvica, is on track to become one of the top five best-selling cancer drugs. And the biotech boasts one of the best drug pipelines in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Then there's income. AbbVie's dividend currently yields around 3.6%. What's more, the company is in great position to raise its dividend in the future, since AbbVie uses less than 61% of earnings to fund its dividend program. Dividend hikes are a way of life for AbbVie, which has a track record of over four decades of dividend increases including the time before it was spun off from parent Abbott Labs

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A lockbox of value

Rich Duprey (Iron Mountain): There's a lot to recommend Iron Mountain as a great value stock for retirement, even though it sports a price-to-earnings ratio north of 50. It promises consistent growth at a reasonable price considering how overheated the stock market as a whole is.

Iron Mountain is structured as a real estate investment trust, meaning it is required to pay out the vast majority of its profits as dividends to investors. The reason it offers consistency and reliability is because its services are so vital to companies. What started as a simple paper document storage company has evolved into a massive, global data storage center housing 89 million pieces of media, 1 billion medical images, and over 682 million cubic feet of space dedicated to storing hard copies of critical corporate documentation in over 1,400 facilities in 52 countries.

Just as Iron Mountain has evolved as the marketplace for the types of data that needs protection and storage, so, too, it is offering malleability in geographic representation. Two years ago, the data storage REIT saw less than 15% of its revenues derived from emerging markets, but earlier this year it was almost 18%, and it believes that 20% of its revenue by 2020 will have been diversified into these regions.

All of this is achieved by providing investors with a generous dividend yield of almost 6% on its $2.20 payout. Its growth plans include sustainable, compounded annual revenue growth of 5.3%, and adjusted funds from operations growth of 8.2%, leading to annual 4% growth in its dividend.

Certainly, no stock grows in a straight line forever, but Iron Mountain has given investors a reasonable facsimile of one and should provide any retirement portfolio a great long-term value.


Keith Noonan has no position in any stocks mentioned. Keith Speights owns shares of AbbVie. Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.