Have you been saving by spending less than what you earn every month? Are you unsure about what to do with your savings because interest rates are so low?

Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) offer an interest rate of roughly 1-1.5% today. That’s not enough to cover the long-term inflation rate of 3%, which means if you’re putting your money in GICs, your purchasing power is actually decreasing.

What can be bought with $10,000 today will be $10,300 in a year, assuming a 3% inflation rate. Placing $10,000 of savings in a GIC returns $10,150 in a year at best.

Still, GICs have a place in a portfolio if you’re looking for stability. That is, it guarantees to return your principal and allows you to earn an interest based on a fixed or variable rate.

Turn your savings into an income stream

However, if you want more income, you’ll have to consider investing in the market. There are many dividend stocks that offer safe dividends, but you have to be able to withstand the volatility of the market as prices go up and down.

Diversifying across safe dividend stocks in different industries reduces the risk and volatility of your portfolio.


At below $65 per share, Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS) yields 4.4%, offering an income 293% higher than GICs. Most importantly, the bank has a track record of hiking its payout. It has done so for 48 out of 50 years!

Moreover, the bank is inexpensive at a multiple of 11.2 times its earnings. Based on a conservative earnings growth of 2%, its payout ratio will only be 50% this year. So, there’s a big cushion for its 4.4% yield that aligns with the other big Canadian banks.


Real estate investment trusts (REITs) offer some of the highest yields on the market. At $9.70 per share, NorthWest Health Prop Real Est Inv Trust (TSX:NWH.UN) yields almost 8.3%!

It owns 120 high-quality healthcare properties primarily in Canada, but it also generates significant net operating income of 23% from Brazil, 19% from Australasia, and 8% from Germany.

Its yield of 8.3% is safer than before because its adjusted funds from operations payout ratio has been decreasing and now sits at 92%.


No such discussion about income is complete without utilities. They’re one of the most stable income generators. The top three of the top five Canadian companies with the longest dividend-growth streaks are utilities.

Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) is one of the top two companies, and it has increased its dividend for more than 40 consecutive years.

Its regulated assets are well diversified geographically and across different jurisdictions primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Fortis is a low-risk investment for conservative investors.

At $41 per share, it yields almost 3.7%. If it dips to about $38 for a yield of close to 4%, it’ll be a decent entry point.


Turn your savings into a high-income stream by buying stocks with safe dividends on dips. Building a portfolio of such stocks that are diversified across different industries secures your income stream.

Bank of Nova Scotia and Fortis should continue to hike their dividends, while NorthWest should be able to maintain its high 8.3% yield.

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Fool contributor Kay Ng owns shares of FORTIS INC, NORTHWEST HEALTHCARE PPTYS REIT UNITS, and Bank of Nova Scotia (USA).