Social Security checks may not be enough for most retirees -- or aspiring retirees -- these days. A portfolio of dividend-yielding stocks could help supplement your income as you make the most of your senior years. 

AT&T (NYSE:T), Realty Income (NYSE:O), and STAG Industrial (NYSE:STAG) are three high-yielding investments. Two of them have a proven record of hikes as Dividend Aristocrats, and two of them even pay out their distributions monthly. I own all three, and that is with no plans to retire anytime soon. Let's go over why you should own them, too.

A person holds a hammer behind their back while looking toward a piggy bank.

Image source: Getty Images.


Let's start with a household name that may be the most controversial entry in this list. Telco stocks have been laggards in the new normal, and AT&T itself isn't helping its case with its hodgepodge of underperforming assets. AT&T's flagship wireless business is holding up just fine, and it's the biggest driver generating 42% of its revenue. It's still too early to write off its big-ticket WarnerMedia acquisition, and with media conglomerates taking off lately there could be some untapped appreciation in a segment that includes CNN, HBO, and DC Comics. 

It's largely a mess beyond that, as AT&T's legacy wireline business is on a gradual path to obsolescence and its DirecTV satellite television platform is facing wave after wave of quarterly defections. There could be some hope on that front, but first let's turn to AT&T's star attraction -- its quarterly dividend.

AT&T is currently yielding 7.1%. It's the only stock on this list that doesn't cut monthly dividend checks, but with the largest payout it's a quarterly distribution worth waiting for. AT&T has boosted its dividend rate for 34 consecutive years. It didn't stretch the streak to 35 earlier this year -- the way it has in recent years -- but the string of hikes isn't necessarily over. Reports earlier this week have AT&T on the verge of a deal to sell a significant minority stake of its fledgling DirecTV business. Unloading a chunk of its satellite television and U-verse business would help emphasize AT&T's stronger wireless and WarnerMedia properties that account for 60% of the revenue mix. More importantly for payout purposes the sale proceeds will make it easier for AT&T to increase its dividend again.    

Realty Income

There are just three real estate investment trusts or REITs that can be classified as Dividend Aristocrats by declaring at least 25 consecutive years of dividend increases, and Realty Income happens to be one of them. In fact, Realty Income is the best-known monthly dividend payer.

The hike streak continued in 2020 despite 85% of Realty Income's portfolio being tied to brick-and-mortar retailers. The good news here is that Realty Income has a diversified portfolio with roughly 600 tenants across more than 50 different industries. It also concentrates its investments in retail concepts that tackle services, non-discretionary retail like drugstore chains, and discount retail. In short, its investments are in all-weather chains that aren't as susceptible to an e-commerce disruption. With a current yield of 4.5% the monthly checks are literally splitting pennies, but the healthy trickle of income will come in handy alongside those monthly Social Security distributions.  

STAG Industrial

Don't let the name throw you. STAG stands for Single-Tenant Acquisition Group, meaning that this REIT invests in stand-alone industrial properties. We're often talking about warehouses here with strong e-commerce ties. STAG Industrial buys properties from businesses and leases them back to improve the tenant's cash flow situation, so even if the tenants stop paying rent they still have a valuable asset chip. 

Two weeks ago STAG came through with better-than-expected financial results. Revenue and, more importantly, funds from operation topped market estimates, and that's good news in sizing up future payouts. STAG Industrial's yield of 4.6% is decent, and in late 2014 it switched from quarterly to monthly distributions. 

In this climate of low interest rates, grabbing a piece of AT&T, Realty Income, and STAG Industrial is a smart way to give your Social Security checks a boost. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.