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Forget Cash ISAs. I’d buy these 2 cheap FTSE 100 dividend stocks to beat the State Pension

FTSE 100 dividend shares could become a more appealing means of generating a passive income in retirement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. You see, the State Pension’s ‘triple lock’ could come under threat to help pay for recently increased government spending. Meanwhile a rising retirement age may mean that many people need a larger retirement nest egg through which to generate a passive income.

With interest rates at historic lows, these two FTSE 100 dividend stocks could offer relatively reliable incomes at a time when Cash ISAs offer low returns. As such, now could be the right time to buy them while they still offer attractive yields.

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FTSE 100 utility company National Grid

National Grid’s (LSE: NG) recent investor update stated that it has not experienced any material impact from coronavirus. However, it may yet experience delays in areas such as capital spending and debt collection that could lead to a less favourable financial outlook for the business.

Despite this, the company’s business model could be among the most resilient in the FTSE 100. It has historically offered defensive characteristics during periods of economic uncertainty. This may make it a relatively popular stock among investors in today’s environment.

Unlike the FTSE 100, National Grid’s share price has recorded only a modest fall in 2020. It is down by 3%, while the wider index has declined by 23%. Further outperformance of the index could be ahead for the company if an uncertain economic outlook persists.

In terms of its dividend prospects, National Grid has a yield of 5.4%. Alongside its defensive characteristics, this could make it an attractive option for income investors who are struggling to obtain a worthwhile passive income while interest rates are at historic lows.

Pennon

Another FTSE 100 utility company that could offer income investing potential and defensive investing appeal at the present time is Pennon (LSE: PNN). The environmental infrastructure business recently reported that its trading has been in line with expectations.

It also confirmed that it has a solid financial position through which to overcome potential challenges that may be ahead. For example, it had £1.6bn in cash and committed facilities as at 30 March 2020.

Pennon recently agreed to the sale of its waste management business Viridor for a total consideration of £4.2bn. The company will now focus on its water and wastewater businesses.

The FTSE 100 stock currently yields 4.1% after its 10% share price rise since the start of the year. It plans to outline a new dividend policy over the next couple of months following the completion of the sale of Viridor. Its past dividend growth suggests that it is likely to offer a solid growth in shareholder payouts over the long run that could exceed inflation.

When combined with its defensive business model and sound overall strategy, this could make Pennon a worthwhile income investing opportunity over the long run.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Pennon Group. 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.