A retiree's dividend investments need two core qualities above all else: generous dividend yields and a business that will keep delivering those payouts for many years to come.
That might sound like a simple and common combination, but many companies that deliver on one of these promises will fail on the other. So, we asked a handful of your fellow investors here at The Motley Fool to share some long-haul dividend ideas.
Read on to see why our investors would recommend putting International Paper (IP 0.05%), PepsiCo (PEP -1.06%), and International Business Machines (IBM 1.09%) in a dividend portfolio for your golden years.
A Dividend Aristocrat with 22 billion-dollar brands
Leo Sun (PepsiCo): PepsiCo's all-weather portfolio of $22 billion beverage and packaged food brands -- which include its namesake soda, Frito Lays snacks, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, and Naked Juice -- withstood many economic downturns in the past.
That's why its annual revenue and net earnings more than tripled between fiscal 1996 and 2016, while its stock soared nearly 240% over the past two decades. Analysts expect its revenue and earnings to respectively rise 1% and 8% this year when it reports its full-year earnings on Feb. 13.
The driving force behind PepsiCo's rise is CEO Indra Nooyi, who was appointed as the company's CEO in 2006. Under Nooyi, PepsiCo diversified its portfolio toward healthier products to counter the growing consumer aversion to sugary sodas and junk food.
That shift put PepsiCo in a better strategic position than its main rival, Coca-Cola (KO -0.22%), which lacks a packaged foods business to offset waning demand for its carbonated beverages. PepsiCo's forward P/E of 21 is also slightly lower than Coca-Cola's forward P/E of 23.
PepsiCo currently pays a forward dividend yield of 2.7%, which is much higher than the S&P 500's current yield of 1.8%. That dividend is supported by a payout ratio of 64%, and PepsiCo has hiked that payout annually for over four decades. Therefore, PepsiCo is an ideal stock for retirees looking for a conservative income investment.
Don't feel blue over Big Blue
Anders Bylund (IBM): Big Blue has been in the doldrums since 2012. That's when CEO Sam Palmisano handed the reins over to his successor, current CEO Ginni Rometty, and the company started pursuing a brand new strategy.
Rometty took Palmisano's one-stop-shop for all of your information technology needs and started shaping it into a more specialized business model. The so-called "strategic imperatives" driving the new version of IBM include artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data security, and mobile applications. Focusing on these high-growth opportunities makes good sense, but it forced the company to shed many of its less exciting and not terribly profitable operations. So, the top line has been sliding lower for six years now, often right alongside slimmer operating margins as well.
Strategy makeovers can be painful. During Rometty's reign, IBM shareholders have seen their holdings trading sideways, even if you reinvested dividends along the way. At the same time, the S&P 500 market index more than doubled.
But IBM's dividend payouts also doubled in six years. Paired with the stalling stock chart, that trend took IBM's dividend yield from 1.4% to 3.9%.
The company stands at an important crossroads right now. The last two earnings reports have shown year-over-year revenue growth for the first time under Rometty, and strategic imperatives now account for roughly half of Big Blue's quarterly revenues. At long last, the new strategy is gaining traction -- and IBM never lost its commitment to strong dividends.
So, we're looking at a well-worn household name, looking back at more than a century's worth of history and forward to a new era of potential growth. Those dividend checks will not only keep coming for the next few decades, they should also keep growing.
Industrial packaging powerhouse
Maxx Chatsko (International Paper): Retirees looking for the perfect dividend stock should strongly consider International Paper, one of the leading manufacturers of corrugated paper products. That's a fancy piece of industry jargon used to describe what most of us simply call "cardboard." Call it whatever you want, but it's a surprisingly lucrative business that allows the stock to support a 3.2% dividend yield -- and it could get even better.
International Paper is piggybacking on the exploding trend of online shopping. It's basically a downstream investment from Amazon. After all, nearly all of the widgets and gadgets you purchase online are shipped to your home in...cardboard boxes. The company's low-cost manufacturing footprint is perfectly suited for the opportunity.
Recent full-year comparisons are a bit deceiving because the company offloaded several lower margin businesses. The general result: lower sales with comparable earnings power. The good news is free cash flow has continued to grow in recent years. In fact, International Paper hasn't delivered less than $1.6 billion in free cash flow since 2007. The great news is, management has promised to return 40% to 50% of that directly to investors. Simply put, this boring dividend stock is perfect for retirees.