Retirees count on safe, dividend-paying stocks for regular income and to protect their wealth. Though they may not necessarily be the most exciting stocks on the market, these types of investments are just what people in their golden years need to avoid risk and reap the rewards of their portfolios.
While the market's high valuation has made it harder to find high dividend yields, there are still some good opportunities in the market. Below, three of our analysts discuss their picks for high-yield safe stocks, including National Retail Properties (NYSE:NNN), Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM), and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ).
Danny Vena (National Retail Properties): A real estate investment trust (REIT) can be a great addition to a retirement portfolio. These investment vehicles receive special tax treatment, avoiding typical corporate taxes, and in return are required to maintain dividend payout ratios of at least 90%. As a result, REITs typically produce higher yields than many other dividend stocks.
National Retail Properties invests in single-tenant net leased retail properties, which requires its tenants to pay for the operating expenses of their locations, including taxes, maintenance, and insurance. With fewer expenses, the company has more profits to return to shareholders.
What makes National Retail Properties even more compelling is the composition of its portfolio. You might be concerned about the trend away from brick-and-mortar retail, as more and more shoppers make purchases online. This company avoids shopping centers and strip malls, and its tenants typically offer services that can't be duplicated online, like restaurants, convenience stores, automotive service centers, and fitness centers.
National Retail Properties has initial lease terms of between 15 and 20 years, with contractual rent increases built into each lease. This provides reliable growth for its portfolio, which consists of 2,675 properties, with over 400 tenants in 48 states. Its strategy results in higher renewal rates and consistently high occupancy rates, currently at 99.3%.
Over the last 25 years the company has produced an average total return of 13.5%. National Retail Properties has increased its dividend in each of the last 28 consecutive years, and is currently yielding 4.5%.
Information is power
Daniel Miller (Iron Mountain): Ironically, retirees looking for a safe investment won't need to look much further than a company built to protect information. Iron Mountain, which received IRS approval to operate as a REIT in 2014, is a global leader in record storage. In fact, it provides its services to roughly 94% of Fortune 1,000 companies, and has more than 1,400 facilities dedicated to storing information for record-intensive industries -- think healthcare, law, and finance-type industries.
While Iron Mountain might be a new name to many investors, it's a trusted name in data management and offers consumers a compelling option to reduce the costs and risks of storing and protecting information assets. It's a safe investment due in part to its high retention of customers, low turnover and low maintenance capital expenditures. Going forward, management plans to grow the business by expanding into emerging markets as they begin requiring more data management, as well as adjacent businesses such as art storage.
There will always be global demand for secure data management options, and what's even better for retirees looking for stable income is that REITs are required by law to maintain dividend payout ratios of at least 90%. Currently Iron Mountain's dividend yield sits at 5.8%, making it a great option for investors seeking income.
Jeremy Bowman (Verizon Communications): There may be no safer sector than telecom, a highly regulated oligopoly with a captive market, and no telecom company is more dominant than Verizon. The nation's biggest wireless provider offers investors a defensive stock with a 4.8% dividend yield and a low P/E of just 12.3. As a provider of necessary services like phone and data, Verizon will fare considerably better than the broad market in a recession, and the company has plenty of room to raise its dividend as its payout ratio is a reasonable 59%. The company has also increased its dividends for 11 years in a row.
While Verizon has struggled to grow earnings in a competitive market, the company continues to add subscribers, with 603,000 additions in the most recent quarter, and is seeing growth in Fios and its new media business Oath, which came from the acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo. As consolidation continues in the telecom and media industries Verizion should benefit, and could add other assets to its media business. The proliferation of wearables like smartwatches should also help grow revenue over the coming years.
With a leading position in its industry, a defensive business model, and a strong and growing dividend, Verizon is great choice for retirees in search of safety.