Utility stocks offer some of the most reliable returns in the market. And when it comes to your retirement, reliable income is the name of the game!
If you set up your retirement plan so the income you collect covers your day-to-day expenses, you’re in great shape.
And if your income grows from year to year, that’s a bonus!
Unfortunately, income is hard to come by these days.
The Fed has pushed interest rates to rock bottom to stimulate our economy.
Low interest rates can help businesses borrow money. They also help those living with lots of debt, so it makes sense that the Fed would lower rates to help with these situations.
But low interest rates can punish those who have responsibly saved. With low interest rates, you don’t get paid nearly as much for the money you’ve set aside.
Today, I want to help you generate more retirement income by introducing you to three plays that each pay you more than 4.5% on your investment.
Better yet, you should see your income continue to grow over time, helping to add more cash to your retirement plans.
Utility Stocks Are a “Boring Area” for Exciting Income
When I say the words “utility stocks” what goes through your mind?
If you’re like many investors, you may get an immediate feeling of drowsiness — like you need an extra cup of coffee to wake up.
That’s because utility stocks can be some of the most stable (and sometimes boring) stocks in the market.
After all, utility stocks like electric companies, water services and natural gas providers don’t do anything sexy.
They simply provide basic services and get paid a steady rate year after year.
Pretty dull right?
Well not if you love reliable income!
When you invest in utility stocks, you get paid a reliable dividend that corresponds to the underlying company’s reliable business!
And if you ask me, getting an income check that you can count on quarter after quarter is very interesting.
There are a few key things that I look for when I research the best utility companies.
I want to make sure the company has a stable business. I want to make sure they pay us a healthy amount of income. And I want to make sure that the company earns enough profit to be able to increase those payments over time.
Pretty simple, right?
Let’s take a look at how these key issues lineup with three utility income plays you can invest in today.
Retirement Income Play #1: Dominion Energy Inc. (D)
One of the best things we can do to minimize investment risk is to diversify into different areas of the market.
That way, if one area faces unexpected challenges, it’s likely that another area will be doing quite well.
Dominion takes that concept to heart when it comes to its utility business.
The company has an electric power network that serves the residential market, offers power to industrial customers and even provides electricity to some government agencies.
It also provides natural gas transmission to a similar assortment of customers.
And Dominion has a special division focused on renewable natural gas and LNG infrastructure.
These clean energy business areas are extremely important as individuals and companies move toward more environmentally safe ways of operation.
As an investment, shares of Dominion are especially attractive because of the company’s current 4.8% dividend yield.
Shares currently pay a quarterly dividend of $0.94, which adds up to $3.76 per share each year.
And over the past several years, Dominion has been steadily increasing its dividend, helping investors grow their income.
One concern I have for this income play is that Dominion is paying out the majority of its earnings to investors through dividends. So unless the company grows profits soon, it may not be able to afford to continue increasing its dividend.
Still, regulated utilities like Dominion are typically permitted to increase rates each year. And those rate increases should ultimately drive profits (and dividend payments) higher.
Retirement Income Play #2: The Southern Company (SO)
This income opportunity is headquartered in my home city of Atlanta, Georgia.
The Southern Company is also diversified into different utility services including electricity, natural gas, and renewable energy.
I was impressed to see that SO actually owns 30 different hydroelectric generating stations (typically dams with power turbines) along with three nuclear power plants (which are better for the environment).
SO has quite a wide reach, serving about 8 million electric and gas customers.
This gives me confidence that the company will continue to pay investors reliable dividends regardless of what’s happening in the economy.
After all, basic utilities like electricity and natural gas are the bills that customers pay first before deciding what to spend the rest of their money on.
If you buy shares of SO today, you’ll enjoy a 4.9% yield on your investment.
The company’s $0.64 quarterly dividend adds up to $2.56 per share each year. And the company has been steadily increasing its dividend each year, giving us a great shot at more income as the years go by.
Over the next year, SO is expected to grow earnings to $3.32 per share. So there is still room for SO to continue to increase its dividend as the company profits continue to grow.
Retirement Income Play #3: Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)
Our last income play comes from a utility company that’s diversified throughout the Southeast and Midwest of the country.
Duke Energy serves customers in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Florida and Ohio. And it offers natural gas and electricity to both residential and commercial customers.
With 22 wind facilities and 126 solar facilities, Duke is working hard to keep up with the times and transition to clean energy generation.
Investing in shares of DUK will pay you a 4.8% yield, thanks to the company’s $0.96 quarterly dividend. And the company just increased its quarterly dividend last month.
On an annual basis, this adds up to $3.86 in income per share. And since DUK is expected to earn $5.22 per share in profit next year, there’s plenty of room for the company to continue to increase payments to investors.
Investing in the newest tech opportunities, electric car manufacturers and space exploration stocks may be exciting. And I love finding opportunities like this to grow your wealth.
But building a retirement plan with a reliable foundation of income is a great way to protect your capital, cover your expenses and give you the financial confidence to take some swings at other more speculative opportunities.