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4 Dividend Stocks For Healthy and Wealthy Retirement

Americans are worried that they might not have enough money for retirement. Women who outlive their husbands are at special risk, with 40 percent of widows living almost exclusively on Social Security. There are a lot of worried retirees out there.

According to WebMD excessive worrying can lead to suppression of the immune system, digestive disorders, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, premature coronary artery disease and heart attack. This isn't the way to spend our golden years. Here are some things we can do about it today for a healthy and wealthy retirement tomorrow...

Have A Plan

Many people are putting money into various retirement vehicles, but they haven’t taken the time to envision how it is all going to come together and ultimately if it will be enough. We often will spend enormous amounts of time planning every detail of our vacation, but I have no idea what our estimated income or expenses will be when we retire.

As the old adage goes, ‘Everyone has a plan – failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Retirement planning does not have to be complicated, but not doing it will complicate your retirement. To help you start the planning process, take a look these FREE retirement calculators (Retirement-Calculator.xls [Excel] Retirement-Calculator.ods [Open Office] or the Web version at the bottom of the page.)

Take Advantage Of Free Money

If someone were trying to shove large sums of money in your hands with no strings attached, would you turn it down? Unfortunately, a significant number of people are doing just that by not taking advantage of retirement tools at their disposal.

I work in finance and accounting. I was shocked to hear some people who should know better say they weren't participating in the company's 401(k). With a company matching plan up to 6% of the employees' salary, this is like refusing free money. Assuming the company-match compounds tax-free at 8% for over the 30 years they are likely to work, this foregone free money would amount to sizable amount at retirement if taken advantage of.

Select Blue-Chip Dividend Growth Stocks

To mitigate the risk associated with relying solely on capital appreciation, consider introducing an income component to the equation. In addition to bonds, some high-quality lower-risk dividend stocks could help provide a growing income allowing you to rely less on selling securities to harvest their capital gains.

Of the 250+ dividend stocks that I currently follow, less than 10 carry the lowest risk rating of 1.00. Here are the top four:

Bunge Limited (BG) is a large, geographically diverse agribusiness and food company. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1942 and has increased its dividend payments for 30 consecutive years. Yield: 2.0%

CLARCOR Inc. (CLC) is a diversified marketer and manufacturer of mobile and industrial filtration products and consumer and industrial packaging products. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1921 and has increased its dividend payments for 32 consecutive years. Yield: 1.7%

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) is a global medical device manufacturer with leadership positions in the pacemaker, defibrillator, orthopedic, diabetes management and other medical markets. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1977 and has increased its dividend payments for 38 consecutive years. Yield: 2.1%

Old Republic Intl (ORI) is an insurance holding company that engages mainly in the general (property and liability), title, and mortgage guaranty and consumer credit indemnity run-off businesses. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1942 and has increased its dividend payments for 34 consecutive years. Yield: 4.5%

So, what are your retirement plans? Are you going to rely on the government to print your social security check and the money backing it up, or will you choose to take charge of your future and prepare for it? As it is with most things in life, those that prepare for retirement will find more success than those that don’t. It is really not that hard when you start young. Quality low-risk dividend growth stocks make an excellent addition to our retirement portfolio, and the good new is, you don’t have to wait until you retire to figure out what income it will generate.

- How Worrying Affects Your Body
- Retirement money worries mount for workers

Full Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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This article was written by Dividends4Life. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my feed [RSS] or have future articles emailed to you [Email].