Being a pensioner is tough these days.

The CPP and OAS cheques are supposed to keep pace with inflation, but somehow the monthly bills seem to creep up faster than the increases in the retirement payments.

That’s why many seniors are turning to income stocks to help make up the difference.

This wasn’t always the case, but savings accounts, GICs, and Canada Savings Bonds no longer pay enough interest to meet the return needs. Stocks definitely carry more risk, but there really isn’t any other game in town right now.

So, which names should income investors pick?

There are a lot of stocks out there with big yields, but many of them carry significant risk, and a cut in the distribution is the last thing retirees want to see. Yes, yield is important, but investors should buy companies with solid revenue streams and safe payouts.

With this thought in mind, I think BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE) and RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:REI.UN) are good picks.

BCE

BCE has been a favourite choice among pensioners for decades, and that trend should continue.

The company has changed a lot in recent years with the addition of retail, sports, and media assets that now complement the wireless and wireline infrastructure. Initially, analysts worried the divergence would be a mistake, but the new assets help solidify BCE’s dominant position in the rapidly changing Canadian market.

In fact, the company is so well integrated along the value chain that most Canadians put a bit of money into the pockets of BCE’s shareholders every week.

If you buy a digital device, listen to the radio, send a text message, read your e-mail, download a movie, watch the news, or catch a Leaf’s game, odds are you just helped pay BCE’s generous dividend.

BCE is investing heavily to ensure it remains at the top its game, with nearly $20 billion in spending planned over the next five years.

The company generates a waterfall of free cash flow and gives investors a healthy share of the profits every three months. BCE’s quarterly dividend of $0.65 per share yields 4.6%.

RioCan

RioCan operates shopping malls.

Some pundits say online shopping will be the death of the brick and mortar retailer, and that may turn out to be the case for some sectors, such as electronics, but RioCan’s anchor clients are not really at risk.

Most of the company’s largest clients are grocery stores, pharmacies, discount retailers, and providers of everyday household goods. Online orders are a part of their sales mix, but most consumers visit the stores to buy these products.

RioCan continues to deliver solid results and is piloting a new residential project at some of its sites that could churn out significant additional cash flow in the coming years.

The company pays investors a monthly distribution of 11.75 cents per unit, which translates into a yield of 5.6%.

Here are your top five income stocks for 2016!

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Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.