No Rate Worries Here, Just Tax-Advantaged Yields Up to 7.8%

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Does a rising 10-year Treasury yield mean we should move on from municipal (muni) bonds? We’ll talk muni strategy in a moment. First, let’s pay homage to these tax-efficient payers.

Munis are superior to Treasuries two ways. First, they pay more. Even with the 10-year rate popping above 1.6% earlier this week, we can double or triple our dividends with munis. The iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB), for example, yields 2.1%, which is 30%+ better than the still-chintzy T-Bill.

Plus, munis have tax benefits. MUB is an easy-to-buy vehicle with a tax-advantaged payout that is higher than its stated 2.1% yield.… Read more

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Does a rising 10-year Treasury yield mean we should move on from municipal (muni) bonds? We’ll talk muni strategy in a moment. First, let’s pay homage to these tax-efficient payers.

Munis are superior to Treasuries two ways. First, they pay more. Even with the 10-year rate popping above 1.6% earlier this week, we can double or triple our dividends with munis. The iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB), for example, yields 2.1%, which is 30%+ better than the still-chintzy T-Bill.

Plus, munis have tax benefits. MUB is an easy-to-buy vehicle with a tax-advantaged payout that is higher than its stated 2.1% yield.… Read more

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The yield on the 10-year Treasury is exhausted after its epic run to nearly 1.2%. It’s due for a breather.

Anyone who buys the long bond today can still “lock in” a 1.1% yield. But remember, this bounty won’t escape the tax man. Any interest income we earn from Treasuries—no matter how sad—is subject to federal and state taxes.

So, if we’re multiplying your nest egg (let’s use $500K) by 1.1%, we must remember that the final answer is probably not $5,500 in annual income. Because if we’re raking in income from any other sources, we should lop off a chunk of this for taxes.… Read more

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The disaster that was 2020 is finally out of our hair, though there could be one silver lining if you followed a contrarian investing approach in 2020: serious gains in your stock portfolio.

But, of course, those gains come with a big consequence: Uncle Sam will be coming for his share on Tax Day in April. And to be honest, we don’t have much leeway to cut our 2020 tax bill at this point. But there is one canny move we can make to (legally, of course!) reduce our tax burden in April of next year: buy municipal bonds.

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Municipal Bonds

Sure, municipal bonds (issued by cities and states to fund local infrastructure) seem like a pretty boring option when there are corners of the stock market (I’m looking at you, tech) that jumped 40%+ last year.… Read more

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Historically speaking, it’s best to avoid bonds when your central bank is printing money like crazy. More cash can lead to inflation, which can lead to higher interest rates—and put a damper on any fixed-rate holdings.

But not all bonds are bad ideas. Some have their coupons tick higher with rates. Others can even provide you with the upside of a stock! Let’s review US-centric fixed income, starting with the “outhouse” and working our way up to the “penthouse” quality bonds paying as much as 8% today.

US Treasuries: For 0.5%, Why?

Ten-year Treasuries pay just 0.5% or so as I write.… Read more

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Where are we to turn for high, safe dividends these days? Certainly not 10-Year Treasuries, unless you think you can scrape by on their 1.7% yields.

I’ll save you the calculation: you can’t, because that yield matches the inflation rate to the decimal point.

Your “true” income? $0.

The S&P 500 isn’t much better: for a pittance more (a 1.84% average yield), you’re exposing your nest egg to this:

When a 1.8% Dividend Costs You 20%

But don’t, because I’ve got a better way—a low-key alternative I call a “layup dividend.” If you’re a basketball fan, you know what I’m talking about: the layup is the simplest shot in the game, where you simply “lay” the ball over the rim into the net.… Read more

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Certain closed-end fund (CEF) investors are getting a little desperate for dividends. It’s tough to blame them for reaching for 5%, 6% and even 7%+ yields in a 2% to 3% world.

But by grossly overpaying for funds, they are risking too much capital to bank these payouts. If you own any of the five popular funds I’m about to call out, you should consider selling them immediately.

(There are bargain replacements, after all. I’m talking about funds trading as cheap as $0.88 on the dollar and yielding 7.2%. We’ll discuss specifics in a moment.)

“First-level” income seekers can be greedy one minute and fearful the next.… Read more

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The IRS already allows REITs (real estate investment trusts) to avoid paying income taxes if they pay out most of their earnings to shareholders. As a result these firms tend to collect rent checks, pay their bills and send most of the rest of the cash to us as dividends.

But the IRS considers the dividends you and I receive from our REITs “nonqualified” dividends. This means they are taxed at our regular income rate.

Until now, that is. REIT investors will benefit from the tax breaks that “pass through” businesses will receive in the 2018 tax code. Investors will be allowed deduct 20% of their REIT dividend income (per U.S.Read more

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If you’re looking for tax-free yields, municipal (“muni”) bonds can provide you with 5%+ distributions that Uncle Sam won’t touch. With rates rising, it is a bit tricky to make savvy buying decisions at the moment. But income investors buying smartly today are banking 5%+ yields – and paying as little as 88 cents on the dollar!

For quick profits, it’s best to buy munis after mini-panics. They seem to happen every year or two, presenting us levelheaded contrarians with safe yields for cheap. (Most recently, readers who followed my advice and bought munis after an irrational “tax plan panic” enjoyed total returns up to 16.7% in just 12 months!)

Muni Selloffs Usually Precede Quick Profits

Today: Big Discounts Plus Demand Outpaces Supply

For longer-term income investors looking for steady monthly paychecks, the best time to buy munis is usually anytime – especially for those in a high tax bracket.…
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Most “high bracket” investors love the idea of tax-free muni bonds. But they aren’t sure where to buy them, and often end up using exchange traded funds (ETFs) as their vehicle of choice.

Bad idea.

Muni ETFs provide a smooth but unfulfilling ride. The popular iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB) for example has rewarded its investors with a drama-free decade. Prescient investors who foresaw the big crash of 2008 and piled into munis saved themselves a year of heartburn and earned $50,000 in Federal tax-free income on every $100,000 they saved from stocks:

MUB is Steady, But Unspectacular

Stocks, as usual, were better over the long run.…
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