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2 Stocks to Supplement Your Social Security Income

By Lawrence Rothman, CFA – Oct 19, 2020 at 12:05PM

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These are stable companies with a history of raising their dividends.

In the next decade, with the baby boomer generation aging, one out of every five people in the U.S. will have reached retirement age. That means many people are in a position to collect Social Security payments, or they will in the near future. However, recent data shows that the median Social Security check paid to retirees is about $1,500, and it is under $1,300 for those collecting disability payments. So, if you are collecting Social Security checks, your wise course of action is to supplement that income to lead the kind of retirement life you want.

Stocks that offer secure and growing dividends will help you accomplish this goal. Below are two companies that make the grade.

A piece of paper with words retirement plan written on it.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola (KO -0.53%) is the world's largest non-alcoholic beverage company. Its well-established brands include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite, which are four of the top five best-selling soft drink brands in the world. It is also adapting to shifting consumer preferences by offering products such as water, juice, and plant-based beverages.

Its first-half business was hurt by governments shutting down venues such as restaurants, theme parks, and stadiums. This drove Coca-Cola's second-quarter non-GAAP revenue down by 28%. However, CEO James Quincey stated: "We believe the second quarter will prove to be the most challenging of the year." While management declined to provide guidance for this year due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic, it did note that volume trends had improved from April, which was down 25%, to a mid-single digit decline in July. It attributed this to improvements in the away-from-home channel (e.g. bars, restaurants), and strong demand from people buying for home consumption.

So you can sleep well owning this solid company. The business also generates a prodigious amount of cash flow, and Coca-Cola is very committed to paying its dividends. Despite a weak second quarter, its free cash flow, which is operating cash flow minus capital expenditures, for the first half of the year was $2.3 billion. This easily covered its $1.8 billion of dividends.

The board of directors raised April's quarterly dividend payment by a penny to $0.41, which brought its streak to 58 straight years. This makes Coca-Cola a Dividend King, an S&P 500 company that has increased dividends for at least 50 straight years. At the current stock price, it offers a 3.3% dividend yield.

2. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.39%) has a stable of well-known and respected brands such as Band-Aid, Neosporin, Tylenol, and Sudafed. This accounts for about 17% of annual sales. Its pharmaceuticals business, which produces treatments for areas such as immunology, infectious disease, neuroscience, and oncology, represents the largest share of its sales. The last area is medical devices, which medical professionals use in areas such as orthopedics and surgery.

Despite the lingering effects of COVID-19 on its results, Johnson & Johnson's third-quarter adjusted sales rebounded to a 2% increase, showing the strength of its products. This comes after the pandemic hurt second-quarter results, with its adjusted sales declining by nearly 9% since the pandemic caused hospitals to postpone procedures and people to curtail certain consumer product purchases.

Including the weak second-quarter results, its payout ratio is 62%, so there is a nice cushion. After boosting its April dividend, its streak is also 58 years. Paying $1.01 a quarter, Johnson & Johnson's dividend yield is 2.7%.

For those of you looking to supplement your Social Security income, these are strong companies that should continue to raise their dividends.

Lawrence Rothman, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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