Dividend stocks are a natural choice for a retirement portfolio. But picking the right ones isn't always easy. You've got to be strategic with your selections.
The highest yield dividend stocks are tempting, but can also signal an unsustainable payout. And a company unable to adapt to these rapidly changing times can introduce risk to your portfolio.
Well-run, resilient companies with a solid dividend track record are your ticket for retirement success. Taking these factors into account, here are three dividend stocks ideal for retirement.
PepsiCo: 2.83% dividend yield
This year marked the 48th consecutive year that PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) raised its dividend, despite the uncertainty introduced by the coronavirus pandemic.
PepsiCo possesses a diverse product portfolio packed with popular beverages and snack foods, such as Gatorade and Quaker Oats. This diversity helped it succeed in a roller-coaster year.
In its third quarter, PepsiCo revenue rose 5.3% year over year. Its free cash flow grew to $4.1 billion through the first three quarters of 2020, up from $3.2 billion last year.
Even when the company experienced beverage sales softness during its second quarter, its diverse product lineup came to the rescue. The Frito Lay and Quaker Foods North American food divisions, which represent nearly a third of overall revenue, saw 7% and 23% year-over-year sales growth, respectively.
Another key factor to PepsiCo's long-term success is its ability to evolve its products and experiment with new concepts. This helps it adapt as consumer trends change over time.
For example, PepsiCo acquired Rockstar Energy Beverages earlier this year to expand its presence in the popular energy drinks category. The company's nascent direct-to-consumer e-commerce business doubled U.S. sales in Q2 and nearly did so again in Q3. The company's willingness to keep pushing its business forward is a necessary trait to remain relevant in a constantly shifting world.
Target: 1.56% dividend yield
I'm a fan of Target (NYSE:TGT) because it's so resilient and adaptable. Along with selling consumer staples that are always in demand (another plus), Target successfully evolved its business to embrace consumer shifts to e-commerce.
This set Target up to not just survive a retail apocalypse that saw many storied brands collapse, but to thrive despite a global pandemic.
Target made its e-commerce evolution a natural extension of its existing operations. Curbside pickup, in which you order online and pick up at your local Target store, was already in place before the pandemic, and this kind of prescience set Target up for success this year.
The company saw revenue grow 21% year over year in its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31. While comparable store sales rose 10% year over year, its digital sales increased 155%. Its same-day services, which include curbside pickup, grew 217%.
Another trait making Target an attractive retirement stock is its solid dividend track record. The company raised its dividend for the 49th consecutive year in 2020. Its payout ratio hovers around a low 36%, so investors are assured Target can fund its dividend while continuing to invest in its business.
IBM: 5.27% dividend yield
IBM (NYSE:IBM) isn't an exciting stock, and in fact, the company is in the midst of a transition. But it quietly continues to make money, generating $4.8 billion in free cash flow over the first nine months of 2020.
While some investors may balk at a company in transition, IBM has existed for over 100 years for a reason: its ability to evolve. IBM is now aligning its business around cloud computing solutions, and to that end, it's been making acquisitions to strengthen its market position in a competitive field.
The strategy is working. Its total cloud revenue for the third quarter grew 19% year over year, and IBM's cloud business is among the top five cloud companies in the world in terms of market share.
Big Blue also possesses a solid balance sheet. It's got plenty of cash on hand with $14.4 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of Q3, up from $12 billion in Q2. This brought its total assets to $154.1 billion compared to $132.8 billion in total liabilities.
IBM's impressive dividend yield is eye-catching. Because the company consistently generates free cash flow and manages its financials well, the dividend is sustainable. In fact, IBM raised its dividend in 2020 for the 25th consecutive year. It's a solid company with a long-term dividend track record, perfect for a retirement portfolio.