£10k savings? I’d buy these FTSE 100 shares today to help fund my retirement

Do we see FTSE 100 stocks as perpetual underperformers, or are they long-term bargain buys? The glass looks more than half full to me.

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Experts offer many reasons why the FTSE 100 lags US indexes like the S&P 500. And I’m sure some of them make sense.

One is that more of the world’s major growth stocks are listed in the US. A good few, though, will be on the Nasdaq.

But it can’t be just a domestic or international thing. After all, most FTSE 100 stocks are every bit as global as the rest.

Why the FTSE 100?

It might sound like US stocks are better for us to buy to try to build a nice retirement pot. After all, if UK stocks grow more slowly, we’ll end up with less cash, right?

I say wrong, and it’s all down to dividends. When stock valuations are lower, that helps push dividend yields up.

We expect to be net buyers of shares for another couple of decades, don’t we? So low valuations and high yields must be better, right?

I mean, the dividend yield on the FTSE 100 stands at 3.8% right now. But it’s as low as 1.3% for the S&P 500. It seems clear which of those is more likely to generate the most cash for me to buy more shares with.

Best yields

Let’s look at banks. All the FTSE 100 banks look super cheap to me, and they offer good dividends. I’ve bought some Lloyds Banking Group shares. And I might add NatWest Group (LSE: NWG) to my Stocks and Shares ISA this year.

At NatWest, we’re looking at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under seven, with a 6.8% dividend yield.

I’ll pick a US bank at random (well, because I like the name), Wells Fargo. There we see a P/E of 12 and a 2.5% dividend. That’s nearly twice the valuation, and less than half the dividend cash.

One of those looks to me like better value for a long-term buy.

Bank risk

The UK government’s big stake is surely part of the reason NatWest shares are down. And I expect it to put a drag on the price until it’s sold off. I’d even say it might be holding all UK bank valuations back a bit.

Then we have a technical recession here, fears of higher-for-longer interest rates… it could all add up to a few bearish years for FTSE bank stocks.

But that’s all short term. And I can’t see a bank like NatWest being anything other than a long-term investing success.

Other dividends

I’ve picked out Barclays as a stock that looks undervalued compared to US markets. But I have my eye on insurance firms too, like Aviva (which I hold) with its 7% dividends, and Legal & General at 8.2%.

In fact, I count a dozen FTSE 100 companies offering dividends of 6% or better. I don’t trust them all. So I’d only go for ones with good cover by earnings and decent cash flow expectations.

But buying undervalued dividend stocks, in a stock market index that looks very cheap… that’s my way to aim for a comfortable old age.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Alan Oscroft has positions in Aviva Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group Plc. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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