The 15 Best REITs for Retirement Income

Few asset classes are better suited to retirement portfolios than real estate.

Modern condo building and parking lot
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Few asset classes are better suited to retirement portfolios than real estate. If managed sensibly, a portfolio of real estate investment trusts (REITs) can provide a steady stream of retirement income that will last a lifetime.

To start, REITs are incentivized by the tax code to pay outsize dividends. REITs pay no corporate tax at the federal level so long as they distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to their investors as dividends. The U.S. corporate tax rate is a punishing 35%, so we’re talking about a lot of extra cash.

But a good retirement income portfolio needs more than just a high dividend yield. You also want rock-solid stability. If you intend to live on cash from your investments, you can’t afford to suffer a dividend cut or a major business setback. So your best REITs for retirement will tend to be moderate yielders in stable, non-cyclical subsectors. Experience also counts for a lot here – you typically want to trust REITs that have survived a recession or two with their dividends intact.

Today, we’re going to look at 15 of the very best REITs to generate long-term retirement income. You’ll notice certain areas are missing, such as malls and office buildings; these are too sensitive to economic swings, and their biggest players slashed dividends during the 2007-09 meltdown and aftermath. Instead, you’ll find 15 reliable companies that should continue paying their dividends like clockwork, come what may in the economy.


Data is as of Nov. 21, 2017. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent quarterly payout and dividing by the share price. Click on ticker-symbol links in each slide for current share prices and more.

Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA
Contributing Writer,

Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA is the Chief Investment Officer of Sizemore Capital Management LLC, a registered investment advisor based in Dallas, Texas, where he specializes in dividend-focused portfolios and in building alternative allocations with minimal correlation to the stock market.