When searching for stocks, many investors in retirement look for dependability and consistency rather than high growth or momentum. Income generally trumps revenue growth and stable cash flows become more important than future growth opportunities.

But that doesn't always have to be the case. Here are three stocks that offer a blend of upside potential along with stable businesses and income.


Is there anyway we could get away without listing Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) as a top pick? As the the tech encroaches on a whopping $1 trillion market cap, some investors may think they've missed the boat.

I don't think that's the case. Simply put, Apple has a strengthening grip on consumers that, unlike BlackBerry Ltd. (BB - Get Report) and other consumer product companies of the past, it refuses to loosen. Its ecosystem runs deep through consumers' everyday lives and at least in the foreseeable future, it's hard to imagine Apple losing a step.

Last quarter, the average selling price for an iPhone swelled to $796, up massively year-over-year from $695. This,  of course, allowed the bottom line to swell. And while the iPhone drives much of Apple's gains, its growing high-margin services revenue (up 18% year-over-year last quarter), along with smaller yet formidable revenue from products like the Apple Watch, Beats and AirPods, continue to drive incremental top-line growth.

Not to mention, Apple has more than $285 billion in cash reserves and has so much money it can't help but spend most of it on buybacks and dividends. There's a reason Warren Buffett loves this name so much.

A business with an incredibly wide moat, a fortress balance sheet, more cash than an ancient kingdom -- what more could you want? How about a company that's set to grow earnings 25% this year and another 15% next year.

For this, we're paying less than 15 times this year's earnings. A rather reasonable price given all of Apple's positives. Look for a big boost to its capital return in April, too.


Not paying a rich valuation is a staple in the retirement stock playbook. That's one thing that makes the banks so attractive.

Specifically, Bank of America Corp.  (BAC - Get Report) and JPMorgan Chase & Co.  (JPM - Get Report) are both attractive names in the industry. Trading at just 10.8 and 11.5 times forward earnings, respectively, these two have more than just a low valuation working in their favor.

Analysts expect BofA to grow earnings 36% this year and another 15% in 2019. For JPMorgan, they're looking for 27.5% and 10% growth, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Fed announced that it's raising interest rates again. Although the market has been under pressure since, make no mistake for the banks: This is good news. Higher rates essentially allows risk-free income to fall to the banks' bottom line as they make more money off of customer deposits.

Not to mention, rates are increasing at a time where the economy as a whole is improving. That means more spending, auto and home loans, M&A and more. Plus, the added stock market volatility should be a boon for their trading desks.

The bottom line? Banks are cheap and have a lot of secular trends working for them.

Johnson & Johnson

There's a reason I like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) over a number of other retirement stocks.

Names like Procter & Gamble Co.  (PG - Get Report) and The Coca-Cola Co.  (KO - Get Report) aren't bad necessarily. After all, they are some of the market's top dividend stocks in terms of dependability. But when it comes to measuring value and growth, J&J stock is the winner.

Trading at 15 times forward earnings estimates, J&J is more expensive than Apple and has lower growth. But investors love this name for its dependability. Analysts expect 11% earnings growth this year to go along with 6% sales growth.

More importantly, it has raised its dividend for 55 consecutive years, which is in-line with Coca-Cola and trails PG by just a few years.

Thanks to the stock's selloff from its highs, investors can nab this 2.5% dividend-yielding stock on a discount.

Apple and JPMorgan are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL or JPM? Learn more now.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.