Houston, we've got a yield problem. But exactly how big is it? And what can investors looking for higher yields do about it? Anyone who has already retired knows the yield problem is real. Payouts on bonds, dividends on stocks, and interest rates on certificates of deposit are so low now that they're really putting the squeeze on anyone in retirement. Anyone who has rolled over a CD recently knows what I mean. Suddenly the $10,000 that was earning maybe 7.3% when you locked it up five years ago has to be reinvested at today's 3.6% rate. Whoops -- that cuts income from that investment in half. But is this merely a warmup for a real yield famine that will strike when the entire baby boom generation starts to retire when it hits 65 in 2010? The demographic doomsayers believe it is. They argue that the retirement of the boomer generation will set off a massive flow out of equities and into fixed-income investments that will produce one of two unpleasant effects: Depress stocks to a level that will make the recent bear market seem absolutely appealing. Drive yields low, lower, lowest as everybody scrambles to safe income. If that second case is a description of the real extent of the problem, I think today's reasonably high yields on midgrade corporate bonds and the hefty dividends on some depressed common and preferred stocks are true bargains. In fact, today's yields might be investors' last chance to lock up a decent payout for retirement. Investors might want to consider snapping up bond issues like the Time Warner BBB+ rated 2023 bond yielding 8.13% issued by a unit of AOL Time Warner ( AOL). Or piling up shares of Duke Energy ( DUK) with their 5.5% yield -- or even better, buying American Electric Power ( AEP) for its 8% dividend.