Stocks to buy

If you’re looking for dividend stocks to buy to retire rich, I can help you. 

However, it’s important to remember that dividend stocks alone aren’t the cure-all for retiring rich. Time in the market is the most important thing to get you to your financial number.

What I mean by this is that dividend stocks can only help you if you remain fully invested or close to it for a lengthy number of years. I don’t care how good a dividend stock is: If you want to retire with $1 million and start with $100,000, you won’t make it in five years. 

So it would be best to be realistic about your annual total return over the long haul.  For example, the S&P 500 has had a total return of 10.4% over the past decade.

Based on the example above, you’ll need approximately 23.5 years, assuming no additional contributions. However, adding $10,000 per year can get you there in 17 years, or nearly 30% faster. 

Ultimately, dividend income and capital appreciation come out of one bucket. So focusing on total return, not just dividend yield, will help you reach your destination sooner.

Here are seven dividend stocks to buy from the S&P 500 that will help you retire rich by generating healthy, long-term total returns. 

VICI Properties (VICI)

Source: T. Schneider / Shutterstock

Representing the real estate sector, VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI) has a 4.6% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 14.99%, 664 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal published an article at the end of January highlighting the beauty of the real estate investment trust’s business. 

“[VICI CFO Steve Kieske] reiterated his company’s stance that the Strip is the world’s premiere cash machine and noted that Vici does not plan on selling,” Las Vegas Review-Journal contributor Eli Segall wrote. “It owns tens of thousands of hotel rooms in Las Vegas, with around 660 acres along the Strip, and generates some 45 percent of its total revenue here.”

I’ve always felt that if you want to show someone from abroad what America represents, you take them to Vegas. You get the good with the bad there. On any given weekend, it’s a microcosm of America. 

Until America stops gambling, which is highly unlikely, owning real estate in Vegas is an even better proposition than owning casino operators.

Targa Resources (TRGP)

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Representing the energy sector, Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP) has a 1.9% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 11.89%, 345 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

Moody’s Investors Service recently dubbed the energy infrastructure company a rising star. Its financial ratings jumped to the investment-grade Baa3 category to get this title. In addition, the company cut its debt significantly in 2022 while simplifying its capital structure, strengthening its business. 

On Jan. 9, the company completed its acquisition of the 25% interest in its Grand Prix NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline that it didn’t already own. Targa paid $1.05 billion for the stake. As a result, it now owns 100% of the Texas pipeline capable of transporting one million barrels of NGLs from the Permian Basin to its Mont Belvieu NGL market hub. 

The company’s adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) through Q3 2022 was $2.06 billion, 39% higher than a year earlier. As a result, its free cash flow was just less than $1 billion, 12% higher than a year earlier. 

Of the 21 analysts covering TGRP stock, 20 rate it overweight or an outright buy, with an average target price of $94.32, nearly 30% higher than where it’s currently trading.

Linde (LIN)

Source: nitpicker /

Representing the materials sector, Linde (NYSE:LIN) has a 1.3% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 17.30%, 895 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

The U.K.-based industrial gas supplier — oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and helium — has a very stable business model that delivers steady, if not spectacular growth, by building gas plants right on the properties of its large customers and locking in 10- to 20-year contracts.  

If the company’s Niagara Falls, New York, plant is any indication — it currently produces atmospheric gases such as oxygen and liquid hydrogen — its future is in the production of hydrogen utilizing the Niagara River to supply carbon-free hydroelectric power. However, hydrogen currently accounts for less than 10% of its revenue. 

The company’s shares currently trade at 25x the analyst estimate for 2022 earnings. Over the next three years, analysts expect its earnings per share to grow 10% annually from $13.96 in 2023 to $17.12 in 2025.  

Elevance Health (ELV)

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Representing the healthcare sector, Elevance Health (NYSE:ELV) has a 1.3% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 16.97%, 862 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

In November 2018, I recommended this company’s stock, although it was called Anthem then. It changed its name to Elevance Health on June 28, 2022. 

One of the reasons I recommended the health insurer’s stock was that it had an outstanding CEO in Gail Boudreaux. The former UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) executive joined Elevance in November 2017. More than six years later, Boudreaux is still in charge, and ELV stock’s gained 78%, 31 percentage points better than the S&P 500.

2022 was quite a year for the company. In late January, Elevance reported Q4 2022 results that included a 13.7% year-over-year increase in revenue to $156 billion with full-year net income of $29.07 a share, 11.9% higher than in 2021.    

This past year was the fifth consecutive year it met or exceeded its long-term adjusted earnings per share growth target. It expects to do it again in 2023 with an adjusted net income of $32.60 per share or higher. 

 It’s an excellent alternative to UNH.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Source: NYCStock /

Representing the technology sector, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has a 1.1% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 23.92%, 1,557 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-working CEO than Satya Nadella. When he’s not working on appeasing regulators to allow his company’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), he’s busy growing Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. 

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives believes Microsoft is winning the AI race. As a result, it could represent $20 in additional value to its share price. 

“Overall, the AI story and ChatGPT monetization opportunity could add roughly $20 per share at least to the MSFT sum of the parts story in our opinion as this all plays out over the next 12 to 18 months,” Markets Insider reported Ives said in mid-February.

By integrating ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, it’s using AI to beat Google at its own game. Success on this front could be worth billions in advertising to the company. 

Since Nadella became CEO in February 2014, MSFT stock is up 566%, nearly 5x better than the S&P 500. And that’s without dividends. 

Whether you’re a dividend investor or not, Microsoft should be a core holding of any serious portfolio. 

Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG)

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Representing the financial sector, Arthur J. Gallagher (NYSE:AJG) has a 1.2% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 23.45%, 1,510 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

This company’s history dates back to 1927 when Arthur Gallagher opened an insurance agency in Chicago. It’s been growing ever since. Today, its more than 39,000 employees provide services in more than 130 countries.  

In 2022, it generated $8.41 billion in revenue (6.6% higher than in 2021) and $1.66 billion in net profits (13.7% higher than a year ago). In addition, it paid out $2.04 a share in dividends in 2022, a reasonable 39% of earnings. 

CEO J. Patrick Gallagher is the grandson of the founder. Since taking the helm of the company in 1995, Gallagher shares have risen by almost 2,400%, 3x the index. Can you say market beating?

Gallagher has consistently evolved the company in the 28 years he’s been in the top job. As a result, revenues have grown from $200 million when he started to $8.41 billion in 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 14.3%.

TJX Companies (TJX)

Source: Joe Hendrickson /

Representing the consumer discretionary sector, TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) has a 1.5% dividend yield and a five-year total annual return of 16.62%, 827 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

In good times and bad, the discount retailer always delivers the goods. 

On Feb. 22, TJX reported its Q4 2023 results. They were very healthy. Its revenue was $14.52 billion, 4.8% higher than in Q4 2022. Sales increased by 3% for the full year to $49.94 billion. Stores open for the entire fiscal year delivered 17% same-store sales growth.

Nothing too flashy, but more than respectable. 

On the bottom line, its adjusted annual earnings per share were $3.11, 9% higher than a year earlier. This result was at the high end of the company’s expectations. Its gross margins were flat to last year, which is excellent given the inflation times we’ve lived through.

If you’re into shareholder return of capital, it’s got big plans in 2024. It will increase the quarterly dividend by 13% to an annualized rate of $1.33, good for a 1.7% yield. In 2023, it paid out $1.34 billion in dividends and repurchased $2.25 billion of its stock. It plans to buy back a similar amount in 2024.

In terms of its balance sheet, it’s a fortress, with net debt of $7.27 billion at the end of January, a low 8% of its market cap.  

What’s not to like?    

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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