Just about all of us need regular income with which to survive. Most of us have that covered via our jobs, but retirees, by definition, are largely post-job. They still need income, though. Some will have substantial pension income, but not many -- as pensions have been going away for decades. Most of us will have Social Security income, but that's not going to provide a comfortable retirement for many: The average monthly Social Security retirement check was recently just $1,544, or about $18,500 per year.
Fortunately, if you have socked away and invested money over the years, you can park much of it in dividend-paying stocks, which will deliver welcome income. A $300,000 portfolio with an overall average dividend yield of 4%, for example, will deliver $12,000 annually, or about $1,000 per month. A $600,000 portfolio? $2,000 per month.
Here are three dividend-paying stocks to consider for your portfolio:
No. 1: Waste Management
Waste Management (WM 1.64%) is the garbage collection and recycling titan in America, with a market value recently near $47 billion and a dividend recently yielding 2%. That's a respectable dividend, and it's growing, too -- averaging an annual increase of 7% over the past five years.
You probably shouldn't expect rapid growth from Waste Management -- because it's unlikely that there will soon be 20% or 30% more trash to collect and recycle. On the other hand, it's also unlikely that Americans will soon generate a lot less trash. This is a rather resilient and dependable business -- which is a nice characteristic for a stock in a retiree's portfolio. Waste Management isn't just leaving it at that, though. It's making lemonade from its lemons, such as by converting landfill gases into energy.
Waste Management faced headwinds last year, as the pandemic shrunk its business collections, though residential collections picked up. It responded in part by trimming its costs, and as the economy and society recover, post-pandemic, it's planning to keep its leaner structure, which should boost profitability.
No. 2: ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil (XOM 0.24%) has had a rough year, with its stock recently down some 29% from its 52-week high. Since a dividend yield is simply a company's total annual dividend amount divided by its current stock price, yields go up when stock prices fall. So ExxonMobil was recently sporting a fat 7.7% dividend yield. That's certainly attractive for retirees who crave income.
The company hasn't been firing on all cylinders lately, and its trailing 12-month income is well below where it typically would be. If the company doesn't recover well, there's a chance that its dividend may be reduced or even eliminated, but companies try hard to avoid that. Even if ExxonMobil's payout is halved, it would be an appealing 3.85%.
So what's going on? Well, oil prices have been low, and demand for oil has cratered, too, with the pandemic keeping many people at home and many businesses in low gear. That's not going to last forever, though, and ExxonMobil's business prospects will eventually improve. Better still, it's being pressured to invest more in renewable energy, which may be a profitable move. The stock appears fairly valued or undervalued at recent levels, and offers a very fat dividend -- but keep an eye on this holding if you invest in it, to make sure its situation improves instead of deteriorates.
No. 3: Pfizer
Pfizer (PFE -5.12%) has been in the news a lot lately due to the successful COVID-19 vaccine it's offering with BioNTech. That's only one of many reasons to like Pfizer as a portfolio candidate for retirees. The vaccine is likely to deliver billions of dollars in revenue to the big pharmaceutical company, and more than was originally expected, as the vials ended up containing six doses instead of the presumed five.
Pfizer, with a market value recently near $200 billion, is far from just a COVID-19 vaccine company. It has many other drugs on the market, and many in development, tackling conditions such as heart and metabolic disease, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and rare diseases. Its pipeline recently featured more than 20 treatments in phase 3 clinical trials, meaning that they're getting close to being submitted for approval to the Food and Drug Administration and other jurisdictions' approving authorities. Not all will win approval, of course, but many are likely to, and some may become tomorrow's blockbusters. It's also notable that Pfizer has spun off its Upjohn business, which featured some of its older drugs that were coming off patent protection. That leaves Pfizer with more growth potential.
Finally, there's Pfizer's dividend, which recently yielded a handsome 4.3%. It's a growing dividend, too, having been increased by an annual average rate of 6% over the past five years. In the near term, increases may be more modest, as Pfizer is paying out much of its earnings in dividends already.
The more you look, the more you'll likely discover other tempting dividend payers. These three are among many worthy of your consideration. If any of them intrigue you, take a closer look.