Warning: These 18% Dividends Are a Trap Ready to Spring

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If you’re a dividend fan and you spot an 18% yield, you’re going to sit up and take notice.

But your radar will also probably go up for another reason: you know outsized payouts like that pretty much always come with outsized risk too.

Which brings me to the weird funds I’m going to show you today.

Their 18% average yield masks something shocking: they’re not only dangerous but they’re not even income investments! They’re something else entirely—and if you fail to pick up on that and buy, they could blow a hole in your retirement portfolio.

Let me explain, starting with…

Where We Found These 18% Payouts

The funds I’m talking about are called exchange-traded notes (ETNs), a close cousin of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), another asset class I recommended staying clear of in a September 12 article.…
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It’s one of the first questions readers usually ask me:

“Don’t closed-end funds’ high dividend yields make them dangerous?”

It’s a good question, with CEFs offering yields of 8% or more. It’s also a general (but far from certain, as I’ll explain shortly) rule that higher yields bring a higher risk of a dividend cut.

Take Frontier Communications (FTR), a stock my colleague Brett Owens sounded the alarm on in April.

The telecom provider was yielding a whopping 16% before it slashed its dividend in June 2017. The stock plunged when the cut was announced:

Slashed Dividend, Slashed Share Price

FTR is yielding a whopping 20% now, thanks to its collapse in price (because you calculate yield by dividing the annual dividend rate into the current share price).…
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Most business development companies (BDCs) have low profiles on Wall Street. Their relative obscurity makes them good vehicles for banking high yields – in fact, today we’ll discuss three that pay between 12% and 16% annually.

BDCs invest in small- and midsize businesses, the building blocks of entrepreneurial America. They were created by the government in the 1980s to help grow up-and-coming companies in a bid to stimulate business and create jobs. They provide debt, equity and other forms of financing to businesses that larger banks and investment firms shy away from.

They’re also income machines by law.

Their regulated structures require them to dole out 90% or more of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends.…
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About Author

Brett

Hi, I’m Brett Owens – and I’m a financial junkie. My “problem” started incollege, when I got a little dose of the stock market – man, was I hooked…in no time, I was reading the Wall Street Journal religously.

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