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Forget buy-to-let: I think these 2 FTSE 100 shares can help you get rich and retire early

The FTSE 100 could be a better means of generating high total returns over the long run than an investment in buy-to-let.

Its 4.5% dividend yield is superior to the income returns that are currently available on property investments in a number of regions across the UK.

Meanwhile, the valuations of its members suggests that it could offer capital growth at a time when UK house prices are high relative to their historic levels, and when compared to average earnings.

As such, now could be a good time to buy these two FTSE 100 stocks. They appear to offer good value for money, as well as long-term growth potential from improving strategies.

Aviva

Although the Aviva (LSE: AV) share price has fallen by 16% in the last five years versus a rise in the FTSE 100 of 10%, the life insurer could offer an improving outlook. After turning around its financial performance in recent years, it is now seeking to improve its financial position through a debt-reduction programme. This is expected to lead to an annual interest saving of £90m over the medium term, which could further improve the financial standing of the company and enhance its profitability.

After a disappointing period for investors, Aviva now has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 6.8. Alongside a dividend yield of 7.7%, this suggests that the company could offer an impressive total return outlook.

With Aviva forecast to post a rise in earnings of 8% in the current year, it seems to offer an improving outlook for investors. Certainly, its operating conditions could prove to be uncertain in the near term, but over the long run its strategy under a new CEO may lead to a rising stock price under a revised strategy that aims to strengthen its position in key markets.

BHP

Also underperforming the FTSE 100 in the last five years has been diversified mining company BHP (LSE: BHP). It has declined by 4% during that time, although investor sentiment has proved to be relatively resilient in recent months despite risks to the global growth outlook from an intensifying trade war between the US and China.

The company is seeking to reduce debt levels in order to provide a more resilient future outlook for investors. Since the start of 2016, for example, it has reduced debt levels by $16bn. At the same time, it has sought to simplify its portfolio through disposals, with a significant proportion of the cash raised being used to reward shareholders through dividends.

As such, BHP seems to be an improving business that is increasingly focused on core activities which could offer relatively impressive growth prospects. With the stock currently trading on a P/E ratio of 12, it seems to offer good value for money given the potential risks which may be ahead from an uncertain global economic outlook.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Aviva. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.