Not a day goes by where I don't dream about being retired. Waking up whenever I want, planning out my day of leisure and doing what I want when I want to. (Am I right?) But sitting down with those lucky individuals who have reached that sought-after pinnacle in life can oftentimes be so discouraging. Please allow me to explain.
You see, it never fails. Retirees consistently deliver depressing advice to a young daydreamer like me, planning my early retirement. All I seem to hear is:
Ahh, you're way too young to retire! You've got at least another 40 years to go before even considering. I mean, you wouldn't even like it. Three weeks out of the workforce and you'd be itching to get right back in. Just forget about it, kid. Come back and see me in a few more decades.
I know most of you out there probably scoff when you hear a young professional say they're "looking forward to retirement," but in my case, I say it with complete honesty. I think most retirees would agree finally letting go of their careers if retiring allowed them to keep busy with more enjoyable activities. Call me young and misguided, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to this one day and I consider myself lucky to have discovered this goal so early on in life. Since I recognized this in my early 20s, this has allowed me to develop a sound strategy for the future in hopes retirement may come sooner, rather than later or (gasp) maybe never at all.
My strategy involves contributing to my 401(k) up to my employer's match, maxing out my Roth IRA each year and contributing what's left to a portfolio of roughly 25 dividend-paying stocks in order to take advantage of the power of compounding.
Here are five dividend-payers I've found with a market cap of at least $1 billion, paying a dividend yield of 4% or higher with a forward P/E ratio of 12.5 or lower. Some I own, some I'd love to own when I find some fresh capital.
1. Exelon Corporation (EXC) is my favorite electricity-related holding. Though I may be a young guy, I still love utilities for their ridiculously sensible business models and ability to generate strong cash flows. EXC is currently sporting a forward P/E of 12.5, a dividend yield of 5.5% with a payout ratio of 56%. As a shareholder, I feel very comfortable being a part owner in EXC while reinvesting my dividends at these current prices. In fact, I've been purchasing up shares of this powerhouse over the last few months on dips below $39 a share, and I look forward to holding this steady company for years to come.
2. GlaxoSmithKline ADR (GSK) engages in the creation and discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical products. GSK is currently offering a forward P/E of 11.5, a 5.0% dividend with a payout ratio of 69%. According to estimates from our government, American drug purchases may nearly reach $500 billion by the year 2016. Drug production and discovery is supported by a rapidly aging population and specialized drugs for specific diseases have become the focus of much of the drug industry. For the foreseeable future, drug companies like GSK would appear to be good investments for retirees looking to collect a steady income stream.
3. AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) discovers and develops prescription medicines for a variety of diseases and operates in more than 100 countries worldwide. The stock is sporting a forward P/E of 6, a dividend yield north of 6% and a payout ratio of 37%. AZN's consistent revenue stream and history of rising dividends suggest it may be a good candidate for retirees' investment accounts. Again, just like in the case with GSK, healthcare costs are projected to increase significantly, so owning a piece of this industry may perhaps be suitable for an income-generating portfolio.
4. BP plc (BP). I know it's difficult to believe this stock would ever make it on a list of possible income-generating assets after the unfortunate incident of 2010, but many believe BP has a place in retirees' portfolios. With a forward P/E of 6, a dividend yield of 4.5% and a payout ratio of 21%, BP at least deserves a consideration. Exxon Mobil (XOM), BP's largest competitor, predicts the population of the world will hit 8.7 billion by the year 2040, and with expanding populations and the rising economic wealth of third world countries, oil will be in great demand. Companies such as BP that concentrate on exploration, refining and selling are certainly in a position to capitalize on this future demand and will likely dish out strong dividends for many years to come.
5. Siemens AG (SI) engages in technology dealing with electronics and electrical engineering in respect to healthcare and activities in the field of energy and industry. SI is sporting a forward P/E of 10, a dividend yield just above 4% and a payout ratio of 32%. Despite being a very strong brand, Siemens does face various risks, such as the rising cost of raw materials and regulation changes, but with that said, this company has posted impressive return on equity while keeping debt levels reasonably low. SI is certainly an option for retirees looking for strong brands with impressive histories of dishing out dividends.
For the foreseeable future, I suppose I'll continue to stick with my plan of investing a significant portion of my paycheck in dividend-paying stocks while dreaming of a comfortable retirement. Though it very well may be decades until I'm able to retire, at least I'm on a solid, consistent, wealth-building path and have something to look forward to. To all the retirees out there: congratulations and I envy you. See you in a few decades.