Nike just gave investors approaching retirement some great news. Image: Nike.

Stocks are an important part of everyone's investment strategy, and just because you're approaching retirement doesn't mean that you should stop investing in stocks. With decades of retirement ahead of you, you need assets that will grow in value and provide you with useful income to cover your living expenses. With that in mind, let's take a look at three stocks that offer a compelling combination of growth and income.

Just do it with Nike
The aging Baby Boom generation has heightened awareness of the need for preventive efforts to maintain wellness and avoid injury and illness as people grow older. That has led to a revolution in the athletic apparel space, and longtime leader Nike (NYSE:NKE) has remained immensely successful even in the face of heightened competition in the fast-growing industry.

Nike recently announced the latest in a series of shareholder-friendly moves. The company said it would spend $12 billion on a stock repurchase plan, giving the share price further support even at all-time highs. At the same time, Nike said it would split its stock 2-for-1 and raise its dividend by 14%. Even after the increase, the athletic apparel company's dividend yield will remain unimpressive at just 1%. But Nike's share-price performance over the long haul has been stellar.

Newer players in the industry have even faster growth rates than Nike. Yet given its much-larger size, Nike has done a great job of staying ahead of the competition and using its scale to capitalize on growth opportunities that its peers can't find. That bodes well for investors of all ages.

Bank on Wells Fargo
The banking sector has rebounded sharply since the financial crisis, but some banks have done better than others. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) offers an attractive combination of positive attributes, and conservative investors can appreciate the true value of a reliable financial institution.

Wells Fargo suffered just as much as the rest of its big-bank peers in 2008 and 2009, but since then, it has recovered all of its lost ground and headed higher still to reach new all-time highs. An emphasis on smart mortgage lending and other traditional banking services helped Wells Fargo recover more quickly from the housing meltdown. While it didn't entirely escape the fines and regulatory actions that the entire banking sector faced, Wells did get through the process more easily than some competing banks. Investors have rewarded that with better multiples to book value, yet the stock's valuation remains reasonable.

Wells Fargo has also seen its dividend rise, with a solid 2.7% dividend yield at current levels. For those in or near retirement, Wells Fargo offers needed stability along with valuable quarterly income.

Connect with Verizon
Phone companies used to be considered utility stocks, and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) still offers a 5% dividend yield that closely resembles what you'll get with most electric utilities. Yet Verizon has plenty of growth potential as well, with the boom in wireless demand enhancing the value of its network assets as it aims to lead the industry forward.

Verizon has been smart about its growth strategy, doubling down on its U.S.-centered focus by taking complete control of its Verizon Wireless business. It has also taken steps to divest itself of lower-performing lines of business, with strategic sales of landline assets and other antiquated technologies to other telecom providers. That has given Verizon valuable cash to invest toward boosting its holdings of wireless spectrum and other capital expenditures to improve its network quality. Some are concerned about a potential price war in the industry, but Verizon has worked hard to stress its breadth of coverage and overall quality, and that should help it pay dividends for years to come.

If you think your 60s is a time to pull back on your stock exposure, think again. With good growth prospects and the ability to create portfolio income, these three stocks are worth a closer look to help you do what you want with your finances for the rest of your life.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Nike and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2016 $52 puts on Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool recommends Verizon Communications. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.