5 Top Dividend ETFs To Buff Up Your Retirement Account

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Investing in dividend exchange-traded funds can be a powerful strategy to enhance your retirement account, providing a steady stream of income and the potential for long-term growth. Dividend ETFs bundle together a diverse range of dividend-paying stocks, offering investors a convenient way to access a diversified portfolio with regular income distributions. In this article, we’ll explore the five best dividend ETFs that can help you bulk up your retirement account, helping you get a reliable income stream and the potential for capital appreciation as you plan for your financial future. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting to build your retirement savings, these top dividend ETFs can provide stability and growth for your portfolio.

What Are Dividend ETFs?

A dividend ETF is an exchange-traded fund that focuses on holding a portfolio of dividend-paying stocks. These ETFs aim to provide investors regular income through dividends and potential capital appreciation. Dividend ETFs offer diversification, as they contain a wide range of stocks from different sectors and companies, reducing the risk of investing in individual stocks.

The fund’s emphasis on income generation sets dividend ETFs apart from other ETFs. While traditional ETFs may focus on tracking an index or specific sector, dividend ETFs specifically target stocks with strong dividend histories. Compared to individual dividend stocks, dividend ETFs offer greater diversification and lower risk. Additionally, they provide a more straightforward way to gain exposure to various dividend-paying stocks without extensive research and management. Many brokerage firms offer ETFs, including Vanguard, Fidelity and BlackRock.

Why Choose Dividend ETFs For Retirement?

Steady Income Stream

One of the primary reasons investors choose dividend ETFs for their retirement accounts is the steady income stream they provide. Dividend ETFs consist of a diversified portfolio of dividend-paying stocks, which regularly distribute a portion of their earnings to shareholders as dividends. This consistent income can be especially beneficial for retirees who rely on their investments for living expenses. The predictable cash flow from dividends helps maintain financial stability and supports a comfortable retirement.

Lower Risk

Dividend ETFs offer a lower risk profile than individual dividend stocks and high-growth investment vehicles. By investing in a broad range of dividend-paying companies across various sectors, dividend ETFs reduce the impact of any stock’s poor performance. This diversification helps to spread risk and smooth out returns, making them a safer choice for conservative investors or those nearing retirement. Additionally, companies that consistently pay dividends often have stable earnings and financial health, adding another layer of security to the investment.

Tax Advantages

Dividend ETFs can also provide tax advantages, particularly when held in tax-advantaged retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s. In these accounts, dividends and capital gains can grow tax-deferred, meaning you won’t owe taxes on your earnings until you withdraw funds in retirement. This allows the dividends to compound over time, potentially leading to greater growth. Moreover, qualified dividends from dividend ETFs may be taxed lower than ordinary income, providing further tax efficiency for your retirement savings.

Dividend ETFs offer a steady income stream, lower risk through diversification and potential tax advantages, making them a compelling option for enhancing your retirement account and achieving long-term financial security.

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5 Best Dividend ETFs For Your Retirement Account

Data source: Dividend.com

1. JP Morgan Equity Premium Income ETF (JEPI)

Fund Overview

The JP Morgan Equity Premium ETF is a unique investment vehicle designed to expose investors to high-quality, large-cap U.S. stocks while generating consistent income through its innovative approach. JEPI blends growth and income by combining traditional stock investments with options premiums. This dual approach aims to reduce volatility and enhance income potential, making it an attractive choice for investors seeking stability and regular returns.

Why JEPI Is A Top Choice

JEPI stands out as a top choice due to its strategic combination of equity investments and options premiums, which aims to deliver higher yields with lower volatility than traditional equity ETFs. By investing in a diversified portfolio of high-quality large-cap stocks and generating additional income through options premiums, JEPI provides a unique opportunity for investors to benefit from capital appreciation and attractive monthly dividends. This blend of growth and income makes JEPI particularly appealing for retirees and income-focused investors looking for a reliable source of cash flow without sacrificing the potential for long-term growth. Top holdings include Microsoft, Progressive, Amazon, Trane Technologies and Meta Platforms.

JEPI’s focus on quality and its dynamic options strategy also helps mitigate downside risk, providing a more stable investment experience in volatile markets. The fund’s monthly dividend distributions further enhance its attractiveness, offering a consistent income stream that can be particularly beneficial in uncertain economic environments.

Pros And Cons


  1. High Dividend Yield: JEPI offers a substantial dividend yield of 6.9%, providing investors with a reliable and attractive monthly income stream.
  1. Lower Volatility: The fund’s strategy of combining equity investments with options premiums aims to reduce overall portfolio volatility, making it a safer choice for conservative investors.
  2. Diversification: JEPI’s diversified portfolio across various sectors, including healthcare, financials, and technology, helps spread risk and enhance potential returns.


  1. Complex Strategy: Using options premiums can add a layer of complexity that may be difficult for some investors to understand fully, potentially leading to confusion about how returns are generated.
  2. Potential for Lower Capital Appreciation: While the focus on income and reduced volatility benefits income stability, it may limit the fund’s potential for capital appreciation compared to more aggressive equity-focused ETFs.
  3. Management Fees: JEPI’s active management and options strategy may result in higher fees than passive index ETFs, which could impact overall returns.

2. Global X Nasdaq 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD)

Fund Overview

The Global X Nasdaq 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD) is an exchange-traded fund that aims to provide investors with high income by utilizing a covered call strategy on the Nasdaq 100 Index. QYLD generates monthly income by writing call options on the Nasdaq 100 Index, seeking to capture premiums from selling options while holding a portfolio of the index’s stocks. This fund is particularly appealing to income-focused investors who desire consistent payouts.

Why QYLD Is A Top Choice

QYLD is a top choice due to its robust monthly income generation through the covered call strategy. This strategy can be particularly appealing to retirees or income-seeking investors. By writing call options on the Nasdaq 100, QYLD aims to provide high income regardless of market volatility, offering a more stable income stream than traditional dividend-paying stocks.

Additionally, the fund’s exposure to the Nasdaq 100 means it holds some of the most innovative and high-growth technology companies. Among the fund’s top 10 holdings are Nvidia, Apple, Broadcom, Alphabet and Tesla. This exposure provides a balance of income and potential for capital appreciation, albeit limited by the covered call strategy, making QYLD an attractive option for those looking to capitalize on the tech sector’s strength while prioritizing income.

Pros and Cons


  1. High Monthly Income: QYLD offers a substantial monthly dividend yield of more than 11%, providing investors with a consistent and attractive income stream.
  2. Income Stability: The covered call strategy can generate income regardless of market conditions, helping to stabilize returns and provide a reliable income source.
  3. Tech Sector Exposure: The ETF provides exposure to leading technology companies, allowing investors to benefit from the tech sector’s growth potential while receiving high income.


  1. Limited Capital Appreciation: The covered call strategy can cap potential upside gains, as the ETF must sell the stocks if the options are exercised, potentially limiting growth compared to traditional equity investments.
  2. Complex Strategy: The covered call strategy can be complex and may not be suitable for all investors, particularly those unfamiliar with options trading.
  3. Market Risk: While QYLD aims to provide stable income, it is still subject to market risk and the performance of the Nasdaq 100, which can be volatile, particularly given its heavy weight in technology stocks.

3. Schwab Fundamental Emerging Income ETF (FNDE)

Fund Overview:

The Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF is designed to provide exposure to large companies in emerging markets based on fundamental factors. Unlike traditional market-cap-weighted indices, FNDE uses fundamental measures such as sales, cash flow, dividends and book value to select and weight its holdings. This approach aims to capture a more comprehensive picture of a company’s financial health and potential for growth.

Why FNDE Is A Top Choice

FNDE is a top choice for investors looking to gain exposure to emerging markets with a fundamentally driven approach. FNDE aims to identify undervalued companies with strong financial health and growth potential by focusing on fundamental metrics rather than market capitalization. This strategy can offer better risk-adjusted returns than traditional emerging market ETFs, which may be heavily weighted towards overvalued large-cap stocks.

FNDE’s diversified exposure across various sectors and regions within emerging markets helps mitigate risk and capitalize on growth opportunities. This makes it an attractive option for investors seeking to diversify their portfolio and benefit from the growth potential of emerging markets while relying on a disciplined, fundamental investment approach. Among its top holdings are Taiwan Semiconductor, Hon Hai Precision Industry and Alibaba.

Pros and Cons


  1. Fundamental Approach: Focuses on financial health and growth potential, potentially offering better risk-adjusted returns.
  2. Diversified Exposure: Broad exposure to various sectors and regions within emerging markets, reducing risk.
  3. Attractive Valuation: Lower P/E ratio due to the focus on fundamentally strong companies.


  1. Market Volatility: Emerging markets can be more volatile than developed markets, leading to higher risk.
  1. Currency Risk: Investments in emerging markets are subject to currency fluctuations, which can impact returns.
  2. Lower Yield: Dividend yield may be lower compared to other income-focused ETFs.

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4. Invesco S&P 500 Ultra Dividend ETF (RDIV)

Fund Overview

The Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility ETF is designed to expose investors to high-yielding dividend stocks within the S&P 500 index while minimizing volatility. The fund aims to track the performance of the S&P 500 Low Volatility High Dividend Index, which consists of the 50 least volatile high dividend-yielding stocks in the S&P 500. This approach provides a balanced investment strategy focused on generating income while managing risk.

Why RDIV Is A Top Choice

RDIV is a top choice for income-seeking investors who prioritize stability and reduced volatility in their investment portfolios. By focusing on the least volatile high-yielding stocks in the S&P 500, RDIV aims to provide a steady income stream with lower risk compared to other high-dividend funds. This makes it particularly appealing for retirees and conservative investors looking for reliable income without the significant price fluctuations often associated with higher-yielding investments.

RDIV’s diversified sector exposure, with significant investments in financials, utilities and consumer staples, offers a defensive investment approach. These sectors are known for their stability and resilience during economic downturns, enhancing the fund’s appeal to risk-averse investors. The combination of high dividends and low volatility makes RDIV a compelling option for those seeking a balanced, income-focused investment strategy. Top holdings include Best Buy, Pfizer and Philip Morris International.

Pros and Cons


  1. High Dividend Yield: RDIV offers an attractive dividend yield of approximately 4.3%, providing a reliable income stream for investors.
  2. Low Volatility: The fund focuses on the least volatile high-yielding stocks in the S&P 500, reducing overall portfolio risk.
  3. Defensive Sector Exposure: Significant investments in stable sectors such as financials, utilities, and consumer staples offer additional protection during market downturns.


  1. Sector Concentration: Heavy weighting in certain sectors, like financials and utilities, may reduce diversification and expose the fund to sector-specific risks.
  1. Potential for Lower Capital Appreciation: Focusing on low volatility and high dividends may limit the fund’s potential for capital growth compared to more aggressive equity investments.
  2. Interest Rate Sensitivity: High-yielding stocks and sectors such as utilities can be sensitive to interest rate changes, potentially impacting the fund’s performance in a rising rate environment.

5. Global X SuperDividend ETF (DIV)

Fund Overview

The Global X SuperDividend ETF is designed to expose investors to some of the highest dividend-yielding securities globally. The fund aims to track the performance of the Solactive Global SuperDividend Index, which includes 50 equally weighted companies known for their high dividend yields. DIV seeks to offer investors a consistent income stream, with dividends distributed on a monthly basis. This ETF is particularly appealing for income-focused investors seeking to maximize their yield.

Why DIV Is A Top Choice

DIV is a top choice for investors prioritizing high income and looking for a diversified portfolio of high-yielding stocks. The ETF’s strategy of focusing on globally diversified, high dividend-paying companies helps to maximize yield while spreading risk across various sectors and regions. This can be particularly beneficial for retirees or income-focused investors who need consistent and substantial income streams. Top holdings included Telephone & Data, Virtu Financial and International Paper.

Additionally, DIV’s monthly dividend payments provide a regular income, making it easier for investors to manage their cash flow needs. The high dividend yield, combined with the diversification and monthly payouts, makes DIV a compelling option for those seeking to enhance their income through equity investments while maintaining a broad exposure to different markets and sectors.

Pros and Cons


  1. High Dividend Yield: DIV offers an attractive yield of 6%, providing a substantial income stream for investors.
  2. Monthly Distributions: Regular monthly dividend payments help investors manage their cash flow needs more effectively.
  3. Diversified Portfolio: Exposure to a broad range of high-yielding companies across various sectors and regions helps to spread risk and reduce volatility.


  1. Sector Concentration: Significant exposure to sectors like real estate and utilities can lead to higher sensitivity to sector-specific risks and interest rate changes.
  2. Potential for Lower Capital Appreciation: The focus on high-yielding stocks may limit the fund’s potential for capital growth compared to more growth-oriented equity investments.
  3. Higher Risk: High dividend yields can sometimes indicate higher risk, as these companies may face financial challenges that could impact their ability to maintain dividend payments.

By carefully considering these pros and cons, investors can determine if the Global X SuperDividend ETF (DIV) aligns with their investment goals and risk tolerance.

Methodology Used

To identify the best dividend ETFs for retirees, we focus on three key factors: yield, diversification and cost. First, I look for ETFs with a high and stable dividend yield, ensuring a reliable income stream. Next, I ensure the ETF offers strong diversification by including a broad range of dividend-paying stocks across various sectors, which helps reduce risk. Finally, I consider the cost of selecting ETFs with low expense ratios to maximize returns by minimizing fees. This simple strategy allows retirees to choose dividend ETFs that provide steady income, diversified risk and cost efficiency.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, choosing the right dividend ETFs can significantly enhance your retirement portfolio by providing a steady income stream, reducing risk through diversification, and offering potential tax advantages. The top five dividend ETFs identified in this article stand out for their high yields, diversified holdings and low costs, making them excellent options for retirees seeking reliable income and financial stability. By carefully selecting and investing in these dividend ETFs, you can build a robust and resilient retirement portfolio that supports your long-term financial goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a dividend ETF?

A dividend ETF is an exchange-traded fund that focuses on holding a portfolio of dividend-paying stocks. These ETFs are designed to provide regular income through dividends and potential capital appreciation. By investing in various dividend-paying companies across different sectors, dividend ETFs offer diversification, reducing the risk of holding individual stocks. They combine the benefits of receiving steady income and the convenience of a single investment vehicle, making them an attractive option for those seeking reliable income and diversified exposure to dividend-paying stocks.

How often do dividend ETFs payout?

Dividend ETFs typically pay out dividends on a quarterly basis, although the exact frequency can vary depending on the specific fund. Some dividend ETFs may distribute dividends monthly, semi-annually or even annually. The payout schedule is usually determined by the dividends received from the underlying stocks in the ETF’s portfolio and the fund’s distribution policy. Investors should check the specific ETF’s prospectus or fund details to understand its dividend payment schedule.

Are dividend ETFs safe for retirement?

Dividend ETFs can be a relatively safe investment for retirement due to their diversification, regular income and lower risk profile compared to individual stocks. They invest in various dividend-paying companies across different sectors, which helps spread risk and reduce the impact of poor performance by any single company. Additionally, many dividend-paying companies tend to be financially stable with strong cash flows, adding a layer of safety.

However, like all investments, dividend ETFs are not without risk. Their value can fluctuate with market conditions, and dividend payments are not guaranteed if the underlying companies experience financial difficulties. Retirees must consider their overall risk tolerance, investment goals, and the specific characteristics of the dividend ETFs they choose. Diversifying investments and consulting with a financial advisor can help ensure that dividend ETFs align with a retiree’s financial strategy and goals.

Can I reinvest dividends from dividend ETFs?

Yes, you can reinvest dividends from dividend ETFs. Many brokerage firms offer a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) that allows you to automatically reinvest the dividends you receive into additional shares of the ETF. This can effectively compound your returns over time as you use the dividends to purchase more shares, generating more future dividends. Reinvesting dividends can help grow your investment and enhance your retirement savings without requiring you to reinvest the dividends manually.

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The brain trust at Forbes has run the numbers, conducted the research, and done the analysis to come up with some of the best places for you to make money in 2024. Download Forbes’ most popular report, 12 Stocks To Buy Now.