Author Archive: Michael Foster

Investment Strategist

This 7% Dividend Has 2 Fatal Flaws (Sell Now)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 22, 2021

Hands up if you’ve heard of the Strategy Shares Nasdaq 7Handl Index ETF (HNDL). 

Right. I thought not. And I can’t blame you for overlooking this one. It’s a relatively obscure ETF, with a bit over $700 million invested across a number of assets (just what those assets are I’ll get to in a minute).

Nonetheless, HNDL is worth discussing today because it highlights a couple things we need to look out for when picking high-yield funds for our portfolios.

First up, the yield and the strategy: HNDL pays a 6.9% dividend today and promises diversification, both of which sound great.… Read more

This 9.3% Dividend Has a Secret (Hint: It’s Far Safer Than It Looks)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 19, 2021

One of the so-called “rules” of income investing is that you can get a high dividend or a sustainable dividend from a stock or fund—but not both.

And to be fair, that is true of some investments. But there are plenty of exceptions, too, chief among them an asset class that sports a little-known “trick” that gives us blockbuster 9% dividends that are more than sustainable over the long run.

The CEF Secret

That asset class would be closed-end funds (CEFs), and the “trick” ties into the fund’s discount to net asset value (NAV, or the value of the investments in the fund’s portfolio).… Read more

These 3 CEFs Yield Up to 8.4% (and They’re Cheap, Too)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 15, 2021

As I write this, the 14 funds in our CEF Insider portfolio yield a tidy 6.7%, on average. And while that’s down from the 7.5% average (and above) we’ve seen in the past, there’s a good reason: big price gains! (Because prices and yields move in opposite directions, of course.)

And recently, we’ve locked in some of those big returns with timely sales. In our June 2021 CEF Insider issue, for example, we sold the PGIM High Yield Bond Fund (ISD), which we bought in late 2019 (a lifetime ago!) when it was trading at a 10.3% discount to net asset value (NAV).… Read more

This Bond-Buying “Hack” Converts a 5% Dividends to Massive 8.3% Payouts

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 12, 2021

Let’s break out of today’s zero-rate wasteland and help ourselves to huge, safe payouts yielding all the way up to 8.3%. And these massive payouts are tax-free too!

And, no, we won’t be hiring a team of CPAs to pull this off—nothing so expensive and impractical. Instead, we’re going to set ourselves up with a closed-end fund (CEF) that holds municipal bonds, or “munis.” And thanks to their tax-free nature, if you’re in the top tax bracket, a muni bond paying, say, a 4% dividend could be worth 7% or more to you.

I’ll give you a specific CEF that’s worth putting on your list now in a second (its 5% stated yield could be worth an outsized 8.3% to you, if you’re in the top tax bracket).… Read more

1 Safe 7% Dividend You Could Hold Forever (and 1 Yield Trap About to Spring)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 8, 2021

Imagine two closed-end funds (CEFs) that both yield upwards of 7%. Sounds great, right? Buy a bit of both and get $58.33 per month for every $10,000 you invest. Put in $500K and you’ve got a middle-class income dropping into your account without you having to do a thing.

While that’s a great way to achieve financial independence, we CEF investors know it’s not as easy as searching out a couple of 7% yielders and buying them. We need to go deeper.

While there are over a hundred CEFs yielding 7% or more right now, their quality varies widely. Some are yield traps that will drain your capital with lousy price performance over time, more than offsetting any dividend cash they pay you.… Read more

This “12% Dividend Secret” Could Let You Retire Now (on Just $300K)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 5, 2021

Imagine getting $100 per month in passive income for every $10,000 you invest. That amounts to a $35,000 annual dividend stream with less than $300,000 saved.

It’s not impossible. In fact, investors do it all the time with my favorite high-yield investments—closed-end funds (CEFs). While the average yield on CEFs is currently 6.2%, a third of these funds yield upwards of 7%, and 17 boast payouts of 10% and higher.


Source: CEF Insider

CEFs’ payouts are particularly impressive considering the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), an index fund tracking the S&P 500, yields a paltry 1.3% today—the lowest yield for the stock market in 20 years.… Read more

447% Returns, 5.2% Dividends (Just by Avoiding This 1 Simple Mistake)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: July 1, 2021

Once folks get a taste of closed-end funds (CEFs), they typically rave about one thing: the dividends! Yields of 7% and up are common with CEFs, and they often come your way monthly.

We also love the fact that even though CEFs are a small corner of the market (with only about 500 or so out there), we can build a diversified portfolio with them: there are CEFs that hold US and international stocks, bonds, real estate—even private equity. You name it.

This broad range gets us around a problem most income-seekers face: being forced to stake significant sums in single stocks just to get big payouts.… Read more

My Secret Fund-Picking Plan: 3 Steps for Quick 27% Profits (Part II)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: June 28, 2021

A couple weeks ago, we talked about the “index boomerang effect,” my favorite way to grab fast double-digit price gains in closed-end funds (CEFs).

It’s a simple one-click indicator that can hand you huge price gains on a CEF you pick up today. And those gains are in addition to the huge dividends these funds pay—the typical CEF yields a life-changing 7% today, and plenty pay out even more than that (often monthly, too!).

Here’s how my strategy works: all things being equal, CEFs focusing on a certain asset class (corporate bonds, say) will perform similarly, and will likely outperform their index.… Read more

3 Simple Ways to Safety-Check Your CEF Portfolio This Summer

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: June 24, 2021

Plenty of investors will tell you that the higher an investment’s dividend yield, the greater the risk you’ll suffer a big dividend cut, especially in a market downturn.

To that I have one response: these folks have never invested in closed-end funds (CEFs)!

The portfolio of our CEF Insider service is a case in point. It yields a healthy 6.6% on average—five times more than the income-starved S&P 500 crowd gets—and the payouts on our funds have held up beautifully throughout this crisis.

Like the Eaton Vance Tax-Advantaged Global Dividend Fund (ETG), which we bought in January 2020, when it yielded a handsome 6.7%.… Read more

This 6.5% Dividend Could Be for You (But You Must Sell Before 2033)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: June 21, 2021

I get plenty of questions about specific closed-end funds from members of my CEF Insider service, which focuses on quick-moving smaller CEFs (here I mean those with sub-$1-billion market caps).

We love these CEF “small fry” because they hand us big dividends (7%+ yields are common in this corner of the CEF market) at a bargain, because these funds get little coverage from Wall Street and the mainstream media.

But when they do get “found,” their discounts disappear fast, catapulting us to some nice price gains to go along with our big payouts.

New 6.5%-Yielding PIMCO Fund: Buy, Hold or Sell?Read more