Are you worried about not having enough money to live off during retirement? One way you can improve your financial situation is by holding some top dividend stocks in your portfolio. Their recurring cash flows will give you some extra money that you can use on day-to-day expenses.
A safe way to secure that recurring income is by investing in Dividend Aristocrats. These are companies which have long track records of paying dividends -- as well as increasing them -- over the years. Two such stocks that can generate significant cash for your portfolio are Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP). Let's take a closer look at them.
Mega-pharmacy chain Walgreens pays an attractive dividend that yields more than 4% per year. If your nest egg had $100,000 you could afford to invest in this healthcare stock, you'd be earning $4,000 per year just in dividends. And that amount would likely continue to increase over the long term.
In July, the company announced it would be raising its dividend for the 46th year in a row. It's a modest 2.1% increase, but over time that compounding can mean much more dividend income. If Walgreens were to raise its dividend by at least 2% annually over the next 10 years, it would turn $4,000 of yearly dividend income into a little less than $4,900. And there's plenty of room for that to happen as over the past 12 months the company has generated $4.2 billion in free cash and paid out just $1.6 billion in dividends.
While some long-term investors may be worried about the potential for online giant Amazon to wrest away market share from the popular pharmacy chain, Walgreens is making moves to strengthen and diversify its business. In October, it announced it would be the majority owner of primary-care operator VillageMD with a $5.2 billion investment that will increase its stake in the business from 30% to 63%. Walgreens plans to open 1,000 primary-care clinics at its stores by 2027.
With an even greater involvement in healthcare, Walgreens should become a more versatile and stable investment in the long run, which makes it an even better option for dividend-oriented investors.
Another top dividend stock for your portfolio is snack and beverage company PepsiCo. Its dividend yield is a more modest 2.6%, but it's still better than the S&P 500's 1.3%. And like Walgreens, PepsiCo has been increasing its dividend payments for decades. Its streak sits at an impressive 49 years. One more increase next year and PepsiCo will officially become a Dividend King.
Its latest increase was a 5% bump-up to the payout. If the company were to keep increasing its dividend at that rate, its dividend would rise over the course of a decade by 63%. That means on a $100,000 investment today, annual dividend income of around $2,600 would grow to more than $4,200 in 10 years. That's by no means a guarantee of happening, but it's an example of the power of dividend growth and why retirees should prioritize these types of investments over stocks that don't make regular rate hikes.
PepsiCo is in a slightly tighter cash position than Walgreens as it has paid out $5.7 billion in dividends over the past 12 months -- or 86% of the $6.7 billion it reported in free cash during that time frame. And while that isn't much of a buffer for the company to continue making big rate hikes, I'm optimistic about its future, especially as PepsiCo seeks to differentiate its operations with new, plant-based products.
PepsiCo announced a joint venture with food company Beyond Meat this year, and it plans to roll out plant-based beverages and snacks in early 2022. Expanding its reach to more health-conscious consumers could unlock a significant opportunity for the company. Analysts from Research and Markets project that the plant-based food market will grow at a compound annual rate of 11.9% to more than $74 billion by 2027.
PepsiCo has a safe and stable business, which has generated an 11% net profit margin over the trailing 12 months even amid the pandemic. And its future looks even brighter with the economy recovering from COVID-19 and more growth potential out there through plant-based foods. The stock is a solid dividend (and growth) investment you can safely count on to generate recurring income for your portfolio for many years.