5 Tips for Better Retirement Investing

Most of us know that investing is a necessary part of a successful retirement. Most of us can’t hope to save up what we need for a successful retirement. Whether you are hoping to use dividend stocks for stable cash flow, or whether you are trying to build up a huge nest egg to live off, just putting money in a savings account isn’t going to provide a large enough return.

You need investments if you hope to boost your retirement savings to a point that offers you sufficient financial resources. If you are trying to improve your retirement investing plan, here are 5 tips that can help:

1. Max Out Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Your first step is to max out tax-advantaged retirement accounts. You can contribute to IRAs and to 401(k)s. There are Roth versions of these plans as well. Contributing to tax-advantaged plans can lead to tax deductions now, or to tax-free earnings later. Whatever you choose, though, the tax-advantage can provide you with a way to put your money to better use. Do what you can to max out the tax-advantaged accounts you are eligible for, and you’ll get more out of your money.

2. Choose Investments with Low Fees

One of the things that can leak away your wealth is fees. Many people waste their money on high-fee funds. Before you invest in a fund, or add anything else to your retirement portfolio, consider the fees. Your retirement nest egg will grow much slower when you are paying a 2% yearly administrative fee. Instead, look for low-cost funds. There are many that have fees of between 0.5% and 1%.

3. Concentrate on Asset Allocation

One of the most important indicators of success for an investment portfolio is asset allocation. Carefully consider your mix of stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, and other assets. Also, remember to periodically rebalance as you approach retirement and your risk tolerance changes.

4. Start as Early as Possible

It’s never too early to start investing for retirement. In fact, the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. Start investing as early as you can. Even if you have to start small, with only a few dollars a month, just begin. Compound interest works best in your favor the longer you invest. Make sure that you are investing as much as you can, as soon as you can, and your nest egg will grow a little bit faster.

5. Make it Regular and Automatic

In order to find success with retirement investing, you need to be consistent. Invest regularly. You can even make your investments automatic. Have the money deducted from your paycheck. You can also set up automatic plans with many brokers that help you set up automatic debits from your checking or savings account to the brokerage account. Be smart about your investing, and make it a regular thing. You won’t have to think about it, and your money can be working for you.

Stock Picking Based on Company History

When you are choosing dividends so that you can begin building an income stream, it is important to consider your options and choose carefully. There are a few items you should consider as you look for the best dividend stocks, and one of them is payment history. You want to follow the trends in dividend payment at the company so that you can get an idea of whether or not the company is likely to continue at the same rate.

Some of the things to pay attention to when considering the dividend payment history of a company include:

Dividend Yield Average

The dividend yield average can tell you a lot about a company’s dividend. When a stock is trading with a yield above its average it could possible be considered undervalued, or under bought. When a stocks is trading with a yield less than its average it may be over bought. The yield average can also help you get a quick idea of where the stock stands now compared to recent years. Stocks with a dividend yield far above its average may be in trouble unless this higher than average yield is due to significant dividend growth.

Dividend Growth Rate

One of the things you can do is look at the dividend growth rate over a period of five years. You can get this number annualized, but year to year there may be more volatility. If you want a number that smooths the volatility, the five-year dividend growth rate can be helpful. The hope, of course, is that you see an increase in dividends over time. Our general target is to find stocks that have a dividend growth rate of 5% or more.

Dividend Payment History

Another thing you can do is check to see how long the company has kept with its schedule. Has the company been paying out dividends at a steady rate for the last five years? 10 years? 25 years? The long the company has of solid dividends, the better off you are likely to be. Our safe dividend list covers companies that have increased its dividend for 25 years or more.

Dividend Cuts

Also look at the history of dividend cuts. During times of economic trouble, it is common to see cuts, but you want to see also that the dividend was raised against after the trouble eased. A red flag is if you look and see that dividends cuts have proceeded even thought the rest of the industry is doing well, or if economic growth is happening.

Net Income Growth Rate

This is a look at the rate at which the company’s income grows. Understanding how the company’s income is increase is important. This is because dividends are based on profits. If a company’s past performance shows that the net income is decreasing, it could be a sign that dividends will be cut soon.

Industry Performance

You also want know the outlook and performance of the industry as a whole. Look at the past performance of the industry to get an idea of whether or not things have been moving steadily forward. Next, consider the possible prospects for the future. If the company is in a company that has seen steady growth for the last few years, and has good prospects to continue on course, then it is likely that the company will see success and the dividends will keep coming.

In the end, there’s no way to completely predict what any company will do with its dividends. However, if you look at the company’s past performance, you can get clues as to what might happen next. We also like to use analyst ratings to help predict future price targets on the highest yielding dividend stocks.