Author Archive: Michael Foster

Investment Strategist

These Tax-Free 5% Dividends Clobber Bonds (and Stocks, Too)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 26, 2024

If you’re like me, you’re starting to collect your tax documents with a certain sense of dread.

It’s understandable as another April draws nearer. But there is a ray of light in the tax-season gloom for us—it comes in the form of municipal bonds, which can boost our income and minimize our future tax burden, too.

“Muni” bonds offer big yields these days, thanks to the Fed’s interest-rate hikes over the last couple years. That’s doubly valuable now because these yields are federally tax-free for almost all American investors.

That means if you’re in the highest tax bracket, you could buy 5%-yielding muni bonds and end up with the equivalent of an 8.3% yield from taxable assets like stocks or corporate bonds.… Read more

This 8.3% Dividend Is Cheap (And Will Rise on Overblown Rate Fears)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 22, 2024

Since last week, markets have been hamstrung by the fear that inflation is going to hang around. So we (naturally!) are going to make a contrarian play on this overdone worry.

How? By picking up high-yielding closed-end funds (CEFs) focusing on real estate—particularly real estate investment trusts (REITs). Many of these are discounted now.

I’ll show you why this timely move is our route to locking in a steady (and monthly paid) 8.3% dividend in just a moment

First, let’s break down the so-called “bad” inflation number that came out last week, because there are some quirks about it that are easy to overlook.… Read more

This Discounted 3-Fund Portfolio Crushes Stocks, Pays 7.7% in Cash

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 19, 2024

At my CEF Insider service, I regularly write about the most effective ways to get big dividends—often double-digit yields—from closed-end funds (CEFs) holding some of the world’s best stocks.

I’m talking about companies like Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL) and Visa (V) here—three common holdings among equity CEFs.

But you can’t just dial up any of these high-yielding funds (CEFs typically yield north of 7%) and call it a day. To get the most out of your CEF investments, you need to invest a bit of time and effort.

Well, how about this: I’ll save you the work and show you a simple three fund portfolio you can create today that gets you a 7.7% income stream and the confidence to hold these funds for decades to come.… Read more

Yes, You CAN Beat the Market. These 7%+ Dividends Do It All the Time

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 15, 2024

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t beat the market. It’s total nonsense—and that goes double if you look outside stocks, to other assets.

Consider preferred stocks for example—they’re “bond-stock” hybrids that trade on an exchange, like stocks. But like bonds, they trade around a par value.

The best part is the income. Our favorite way to buy preferreds—through actively managed (we’ll come back to that in a second) closed-end funds (CEFs)—gets us yields of 7%+.

And select preferred-stock CEFs trade below their net asset value (NAV, or the value of their portfolios) today—with some of those discounts reaching well into double-digits.… Read more

Forget This “25X” Retirement Rule. Grab This 9.6%-Paying Fund Instead

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 12, 2024

One of the worst investing mistakes you can make is blindly sticking to “rules of thumb” given out by so-called “experts.”

That goes double when you use these overly broad guidelines for the most important decision you can make: planning for your financial future.

Consider a recent article by Bankrate telling retirees to follow the “rule of 25,” which is as simple as it is deceptive. This piece tells us that you “should have 25 times the annual amount you plan to spend in retirement saved before you leave the workforce.”

That’s a lot of money! Take a look at the table below to match up how much you plan to spend in retirement (to make things easier, we’ll set inflation aside and use today’s dollars) with how much you’d need to save.… Read more

16 “All-American” Dividends Yielding Up to 18%

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 8, 2024

Remember a decade or so back, when we heard over and over again that the coming decades would be all about China?

If you ignored that prediction and stuck with well-established US investments (especially dividend-paying US stocks and funds), you made a smart move. (We’ve done the same since we launched our CEF Insider service back in 2017.)

Our conviction continues to be that the USA is the best place to find top dividend payers—including our favorite high-yielding closed-end funds (CEFs).

I’ll give you 16 such US-focused CEFs to consider in a moment—as well as specific looks at two 17%+ (!)… Read more

2 Tech Funds With Huge Dividends (1 Is a Buy, 1 Is a “Wait and See”)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 5, 2024

You probably know the Don Henley song “Dirty Laundry.” It was one of my favorite tunes in the 1980s. A criticism of media sensationalism, the repetitive chorus rang in my ears when I was much younger than I am today:

“Kick ’em when they’re up,
Kick ’em when they’re down.”

This aptly describes the nightly news of the 1980s and the financial press of the 2020s.

In early 2022, for example, Business Insider kicked tech stocks as they were going down: “Rising interest rates and expectations of strong economic growth and inflation are all key factors in the sell-off” the site wrote then, mixing up the good (“strong economic growth”) with the bad (“inflation”).… Read more

Shootout at the AI Corral: This 11.7% Payer Is a Winner

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: February 1, 2024

I first saw a spaghetti western last year and am still kicking myself for not watching one sooner—A Fistful of Dollars is a masterpiece.

I’m reminded of the movie’s title because a fistful of dollars is what a lot of investors got from the so-called “Magnificent Seven”—namely Alphabet (GOOGL), (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Meta Platforms (META), Microsoft (MSFT), NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) and Tesla (TSLA)—last year.

These tech wonderkids were, of course, on a tear in 2023, jumping 75% on average and providing the bulk of the market’s gain.

The reason for that is pretty clear: artificial intelligence, which burst onto the public consciousness with the release of ChatGPT in November 2022.… Read more

This $6-Trillion “Cash Stash” Will Ignite Stocks (and This 9.7% Dividend)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 29, 2024

Worried stocks are going to crash after breaking fresh all-time highs?

Well, let me allay those concerns with not one, not two, but … six trillion reasons why that fate—pushed more and more in the media these days—is far from inevitable (or even likely).

That six trillion number is the hoard parked in money-market funds: those “as-good-as-cash” options for people who don’t really want to grow their money but want to keep it “safe” and have access to it.

The 2022 sell-off and rapid rise in interest rates in 2023 caused money-market balances to soar, doubling from where they were just five years ago—a far bigger increase than the historical trend.… Read more

Forget What You Know About Dividend Investing (This Changes Everything)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 25, 2024

These days, I’m seeing something I’ve frankly never seen before in the markets: a lot of people questioning so-called investment “truths” they thought were frankly unmovable.

Most people’s natural instinct is to withdraw in times like these, but that would be a mistake in this case, especially for closed-end fund (CEF) investors, as it may result in funds that seem to always trade at a discount suddenly seeing those “eternal” sales come to a swift end.

I know that’s quite a bit to unpack, so let’s start with the skepticism that seems to be rolling through the markets today, starting with the S&P 500’s new—and long-awaited—all-time high.… Read more