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No savings at 40? 3 FTSE 100 dividend stocks I’d buy and hold forever

If you’ve hit 40 and have no retirement savings, then it’s time to take action. In this article I’ll explain what I think you should do to try and secure your financial future.

I’m going to focus on three FTSE 100 dividend stocks that I believe will deliver confident and reliable performance over many years. I’ve chosen firms that should offer a mix of growth and income. My aim is to generate market-beating gains and an inflation-beating income.

Life’s essentials

One of the things I like about consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB) is that its product portfolio is full of brands and products that are part of everyday life.

Names such as Dettol, Durex, Nurofen, Strepsils, and Gaviscon are very often automatic repeat purchases where few – if any – alternatives are considered. This isn’t true of all consumer products.

The group’s operating profit margin of 24% tells us that its products are in demand and have good pricing power. Although Reckitt is going through a sticky patch at the moment, I believe new boss Laxman Narasimhan will iron out these issues over the next couple of years and return the business to growth.

I think that the stock’s recent weakness could be a decent buying opportunity. RB shares currently trade on about 17 times forecast earnings, with a dividend yield of 3%. I’ve added the stock to my watch list.

The biggest company you’ve never heard of?

My next pick takes Reckitt’s essentials thesis and puts a twist on it. Rather than focusing on brands, Bunzl (LSE: BNZL) aims to provide businesses with a single point of supply for all the consumable items they’ll ever need.

The group’s catalogue includes cleaning and hygiene products, packaging, and medical consumables. Bunzl has expanded over decades by carefully buying small local rivals and integrating them into its global network.

It’s a superb business, in my view. The shares have come down this year as long-time boss Frank van Zanten has warned of slower growth. This is largely due to wider economic conditions, not company-specific issues.

I’m not too worried. The stock’s 20% decline since April has left the shares on a forecast price-to-earnings ratio of 15, with a 2.6% yield. This dividend has risen every year since at least 1998. I’d be a buyer at this level.

I’m a customer, are you?

My next stock is potentially divisive. Whitbread (LSE: WTB) owns Premier Inn. I see these as reliable, comfortable, and good value. Although companies like this make life harder for independent hotels, in my view, the product and service is hard to fault. I’m a repeat customer.

The company has a big share of the UK market and continues to expand, with new low-budget concepts such as hub. But Premier Inn is also targeting the German market, where nearly 75% of hotels are independently owned.

Like Bunzl, Whitbread is suffering from weaker economic conditions. The firm said this week that business bookings were down in UK regions, hitting profit margins.

This could be a short-term headwind. But Premier Inn’s German expansion should provide some growth potential. And in the UK, the group has proven itself to be a skilled and profitable operator. At close to £40, I’m starting to feel that Whitbread stock could be worth buying for a long-term portfolio.

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Roland Head has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.