Well-chosen dividend stocks can provide you with a reliable and steadily growing source of income -- one that could help to fund your living expenses in retirement.
The key is to find companies with strong competitive advantages and a commitment to growing their cash payouts to shareholders -- companies like the ones below.
By several measures, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) has built the best wireless network in the U.S. It's an industry where scale matters, and the more than $125 billion that the telecom titan has invested in its network since 2000 places it in a powerful competitive position.
Verizon's more than 100 million subscribers help it generate strong and predictable cash flow. During the first three quarters of 2019, Verizon produced $26.7 billion in operating cash flow, which, in turn, allowed it to return $7.5 billion to investors via dividends. Verizon has increased its cash payout for 13 consecutive years, and its shares currently yield a hefty 4.1%.
Although its FiOS business is shedding some customers due to cord-cutting, new 5G technology -- and the faster wireless speeds it allows -- is presenting Verizon with a powerful growth opportunity. The technology will also allow Verizon to deliver internet service wirelessly into people's homes that's on par with or faster than existing cable internet connections. Additionally, 5G will help to advance other cutting-edge technologies, such as virtual reality, self-driving vehicles, and the Internet of Things. Together, these markets should fuel demand for Verizon's new 5G services, and, by extension, further dividend increases for shareholders.
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is another dividend stock that can help to fund your retirement. The oil and natural gas giant has increased its cash payout by an average annual rate of 6.2% over the last 37 years. Its shares currently yield a sizable 5.1%.
Fears of electric vehicles reducing demand for gasoline have weighed on Exxon's shares in recent years, but even if this vision of the future does come to fruition, it's still many years away. For its part, Exxon estimates that an additional new supply of as much as 550 billion barrels of oil will be needed by 2040. To help meet this demand, Exxon expects to increase its production to approximately 5 million oil-equivalent barrels per day by 2025. Management believes doing so will allow the company to double its profits, without an increase in oil prices. And if ExxonMobil can reach these growth targets, investors who buy shares today should be well-rewarded.
Like ExxonMobil, investors have questioned Coca-Cola's (NYSE:KO) long-term viability in a world in which consumers are moving away from sugary drinks. But Coca-Cola is far more than a soda company, and many investors are underestimating its growth potential.
Coca-Cola's vast global distribution system allows it to bring new beverages to market at a scale that few other companies can rival. The beverage behemoth has expanded beyond soda into healthier drinks such as bottled water, nutrient-enhanced water, juices, and teas, with popular brands such as Dasani, Smartwater, Simply, and Honest Tea. It's also making a big push into the massive global coffee market with its $5 billion acquisition of Costa Coffee.
Coca-Cola's ability to enter new markets and adapt to changing consumer preferences should allow it to continue to drive its sales and profits higher. Its shares currently yield 2.8%, and with 57 straight years of annual dividend increases, you can expect Coca-Cola to continue to grow its cash payout to shareholders for many years to come.