Are Your Bond Dividends Safe? An Easy Way to Check

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“C’mon daddy.”

Pause. And a sigh.

“I’ll pay you back?”

Ah, there it was. The fiscal responsibility we’ve been working to instill in our seven-year-old clicking in. An acknowledgement that money does not grow on trees.

(Everyone knows that greenbacks only grow on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet!)

My daughter’s intentions were sweet. She had successfully lobbied to reroute the “daddy bus” to a boutique retail store. The young boss had her eyes on a toy, and offered to buy one for her sister, too.

Well, I should clarify. Initially she offered me the opportunity to purchase both. Your income strategist offered a compromise:

“How about you pay for your own.… Read more

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If you own a bond fund, it’s probably down in recent months. Let’s talk about why and walk through three popular fixed-income ideas from worst to first.

We’ll start with the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT). TLT is the knee-jerk investment that many “first-level” investors buy when they are looking for bond exposure. Unfortunately, there are two big problems with TLT:

  1. It only yields 2.1%.
  2. Worse yet, its 19-year duration is drubbing its total returns.

Any kid knows that 19 years is “way too long” to hold a bond when inflation is running a hot 7.5%. (Please, somebody get these TLT investors a Contrarian Income Report subscription!)… Read more

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“Daddy. Can you come play with me in the playroom?” my four-year-old asked.

“Sure. I’ll be right in,” I said. “Once I get done unloading the dishwasher. Would you like to help me unload?”

“No thanks,” my daughter replied. No surprise, but one day I hope to catch her off-guard.

She walked to the playroom. Barely. And reappeared.

“Daddy. You’re taking for ages.”

For ages is the equivalent of forever in our house. I think. Then again, given her level of exasperation, she could be telling me I’m taking longer than forever.

She’d make a good bond trader. With long rates rising every day, few income investors want to hold any bonds for any amount of time.… Read more

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The market isn’t doing fixed-income investors any favors right now. But one of my favorite funds—in one of the best cash flow niches in the market—is delivering a gaudy 6.6% yield at today’s prices.

And it does that by holding some of Wall Street’s most boring, stable and dependable securities.

How can we bank this 6.6% “free lunch” when 10-year Treasuries still pay less than 2%? By tapping into an income stream that most individual investors rarely think about: Preferreds.

The Power of Preferreds

If we wanted to own a piece of a company, say JPMorgan Chase (JPM), we’d go out and buy a few shares of JPM.… Read more

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We’re contrarians first and foremost here at Contrarian Outlook, so when we hear the latest “sure thing” from the mainstream crowd, we get more than a little suspicious.

So it goes with the recent round of selling on the stock markets, which has been driven by the “certainty” that interest rates will skyrocket, and higher rates will crush demand for stocks, especially the tech stocks that have driven the market’s rebound from the March 2020 crash.

Does this view stand up (sneak preview: no)? And what should we contrarians do in response (sneak preview: buy what everyone else is selling—particularly through a group of funds sporting some very impressive dividend yields).… Read more

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My friends and I couldn’t have been more excited about our college commencement speaker. Fresh off an electrifying cameo in the 2003 comedy movie Old School, James Carville’s next act was Cornell University.

At 21 years old, we had no idea what Carville actually did for a living. (Answer: Political consultant.) And though he was an engaging and entertaining speaker, I don’t remember a single word the “Ragin’ Cajun” said. Too bad, because he has had some major wisdom to impart.

Ten years earlier, Carville made an observation that is more prescient now than ever. After watching bond investors rebuff President Clinton’s economic stimulus proposals because they demanded a higher interest rate for US Treasuries, Carville coined this gem:

“I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as a president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter.

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I really hope you’re not following the antiquated “4% rule”—which says you should withdraw 4% of your nest egg (and no more!)—in retirement. Because if you are, you’re staying in the workforce way longer than you need to.

In fact, you may already be financially independent and not even know it!

Today we’re going to look at why this theory could needlessly delay your retirement (in the words of the 4% rule’s author himself!).

I’ll also show you an easy way to grab almost twice as much from your retirement nest egg in every one of your golden years—I’m talking 7% easy here—and go one step further: live on dividends alone.Read more

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When the market is selling off, it’s easy to panic as big losses rack up in your account.

Here’s the thing, though: going to cash, and fully exposing yourself to inflation, is a guaranteed way to lose. It’s doubly sad to see first-level investors doing this when there’s a time-tested way to survive meltdowns, keep your income stream intact and cut your portfolio’s volatility.

It doesn’t involve panic selling. Instead, it revolves around three simple rules: diversify, be patient and keep a big income stream. Let’s walk through each of these.

  1. Diversify

The first key to surviving a meltdown is to be in several markets at once.… Read more

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The PGIM High Yield Bond Fund (ISD) trades at a huge discount that’s going to disappear soon.

Before I explain why, let me tell you something else about this fund: it boasts a huge 8.4% dividend yield. In other words, you’d get $700 per month—or $8,400 a year—in income on every $100,000 invested. And you should consider getting in now, because ISD is set to soar.

A New Fund

For years, ISD provided a solid and reliable return, thanks to its strategy. The fund would buy corporate bonds that expired in just a couple years (or less), so there was less risk of any company going bankrupt or defaulting.… Read more

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If you’re worried inflation will sideswipe your portfolio, well, you have good reason to be.

Because make no mistake, rising prices will be the story of 2018. And if you want to protect your portfolio, you need to act now. I’ll show you how a little further on.

First, let’s go toe to toe with the inflation boogeyman, and see what kind of punch we can expect him to pack this year.

A Growing Threat

Starting late last year, the consumer price index (CPI) jumped, and the increase is accelerating as we start 2018.

Prices Heat Up

Of course, that’s probably not news to you; it’s been covered daily in the media.…
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