Determining what kinds of stocks are best suited for retirees isn't hard at all. The best stocks for retirees are those of companies that have solid and sustainable business models and that distribute a nice dividend. And if they also have strong growth prospects, that's even better.
Picking the best stocks that meet all those criteria isn't quite as easy. It's not an impossible task, however. I think Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP -3.30%), Digital Realty Trust (DLR 2.10%), and Public Storage (PSA -1.12%) definitely fit the bill. Here's why these are three great stocks for retirees.
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners owns and operates communications, energy, transportation, and utility infrastructure businesses across the world. These businesses include gas pipelines, ports, power transmission lines, railroads, telecommunications towers, toll roads, and water supply and transportation. The assets that the company owns change frequently, as Brookfield Infrastructure makes acquisitions of new infrastructure businesses and sells others to reinvest capital into the business.
The company's wide range of assets across multiple industries and countries provide significant diversification for investors. Brookfield Infrastructure also enjoys a nice moat, with significant barriers to entry for its businesses, including high capital costs, long-term customer contracts and relationships, and regulatory protection, in some cases.
Thanks to its solid business model, Brookfield Infrastructure has delivered compounded annual total returns of 15% since the company was formed in 2008. The company generates a stable cash flow, with operating cash flow of more than $1 billion over the last 12 months. Brookfield's dividend yields nearly 4% right now.
What about future growth? Brookfield Infrastructure thinks that it will be able to increase its dividend annually by 5%-9% and generate 12%-15% return on equity. The company should especially benefit from growth in data, municipal, and water infrastructures. All of this combines to make Brookfield Infrastructure Partners a potential gold mine for retirees looking for reliable income.
Digital Realty Trust
Digital Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns data centers and provides colocation and interconnection services. The company owns 182 data centers in more than 30 metropolitan areas across 12 countries.
Over 2,300 customers use Digital Realty Trust for data-center facilities. These customers include a "who's who" list of top financial services, technology, and telecommunications companies. Customers tend to stay with Digital Realty Trust because of the high costs of migrating to a new data center.
As a REIT, Digital Realty Trust must distribute at least 90% of earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends. The company's dividend currently yields nearly 3.2%. It has increased its dividend every year since its formation in 2004.
Retired investors also should be able to count on solid growth from Digital Realty Trust. My colleague Matt Frankel thinks the stock could double or even triple over the next 10 years. Is this optimism warranted?
I think so. Digital Realty Trust stock has nearly tripled over the last decade. With strong growth in demand for data centers a near certainty, the company should keep up its remarkable growth.
Public Storage is another REIT that I think is a great stock for retirees. The company owns properties for... drum roll, please... public storage. It's the largest operator of self-storage facilities in the world, with direct and indirect ownership of 2,374 self-storage facilities located in 38 U.S. states. It also has one self-storage facility in London, England, and has a 49% stake in Shurgard Europe, which owns 219 self-storage facilities across seven European countries.
There are several things to like about Public Storage's business model. Although contracts with customers are for short periods, the company still manages to keep its occupancy levels really high -- with an occupancy rate of 94.1% in the first nine months of 2017. And storage is something people need, even during tough economic times. During 2008, while the S&P 500 index plunged more than 38%, Public Storage's share price actually increased by 8%.
The company's dividend looks quite attractive, with a current yield of 3.8%. Public Storage has also increased its dividend by a whopping 300% over the last 10 years.
Wall Street analysts think that Public Storage will grow earnings by 17% annually over the next few years. That outlook seems realistic, in my view. The company continues to acquire more properties -- and people will continue to have more stuff than they know what to do with. As a result, Public Storage, like Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and Digital Realty Trust, looks like a solid stock for retirees to buy and hold for years to come.