3 dividend shares to boost your retirement portfolio

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With Australia’s cash rate at a record low of 1.75% and likely to go lower in the coming months, living off of the interest from cash held in a bank account is becoming hard.

For example, an interest rate of 1.75% on a $1 million cash balance would provide a return of just $17,500 per year. According to the AFSA Retirement Standard, for a modest lifestyle a single retiree should budget for $23,797 per year. For a comfortable lifestyle the expected budget increases to $43,184 per year. So this sadly falls well short of both lifestyles.

In order to live a comfortable lifestyle retirees with $1 million available to be invested would need an interest rate of 4.32%. Unfortunately, this level of interest is not likely to be forthcoming from the Reserve Bank any time soon.

But don’t let that stop you from living a comfortable lifestyle. The Australian Stock Exchange has numerous high-quality dividend shares which could even get you beyond the recommended budget.

These three shares in particular stand out to me as being great additions to a retirement portfolio today:

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM)

Childcare operator G8 Education is possibly my favourite dividend share on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO). Its not hard to see why when the market is expecting the company to pay an estimated fully franked 6.4% dividend in FY 2016.

It is thanks largely to sustained demand in the childcare industry that the company has been able to grow its revenue now for a fantastic nine consecutive years. I expect this will continue to be the case as the company continues its growth through acquisition strategy.

I believe this should allow it to grow its dividends year after year for some time to come, making it a great option for retirees.

Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG)

The master franchisor of a number of popular brands such as Gloria Jean’s and Donut King has enjoyed a great year so far. In its interim results Retail Food Group delivered net profit after tax growth of 27% to $32 million.

The company will generally pay out around two-thirds of its earnings as dividends. This is great news for shareholders considering its aggressive expansion plans mean it is expected to grow earnings by 9% per year through to 2018.

This should allow its estimated fully franked 5.7% dividend to continue growing for some time to come.

Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN)

Suncorp is another share which I think retirees could consider investing in. The operator of insurance brands such as AAMI, Apia, and GIO, is expected to pay a fully franked 5.2% dividend in FY 2016.

Although its earnings growth has slowed recently, changes to its operating model are expected to deliver cost efficiencies and enhance the company’s profitability in the future. Some of these changes are aimed at increasing customer satisfaction levels, which should help increase retention levels and positively impact its bottom line.

I am not expecting any fireworks from Suncorp, just steady growth for both its earnings and dividend over the next few years. Which I believe makes it a good addition to a retirement portfolio today.

Let's be honest, you can never have too many strong dividend shares in your portfolio. These dividend shares are also well worth considering as part of your portfolio if you ask me. I expect each should provide share price gains and a fantastic growing dividend.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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