Author Archive: Michael Foster

Investment Strategist

Don’t Fear DC Drama: Play It for Cheap 7.5% Dividends (Here’s How)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: October 2, 2023

What happened to the stock-market rally? Simple: it’s been undermined by two overdone fears: of a housing-market correction and worries around a government shutdown.

But well reported-on events like these rarely have the big impact most people think they do. In fact, this pullback in stocks is a buying opportunity, particularly in high-yield closed-end funds (CEFs).

Don’t Buy the Gloom Narrative Around Stocks

Before we get to potential strategies and buys, I do have to say one thing: don’t let anyone tell you stocks are doomed. This year has too much positive sentiment, and the S&P 500 still hasn’t reached all-time-highs, so this isn’t a pause in a bull market.… Read more

3 Strategies for a Flat Market (and a 12.8% Payer for Whatever Comes Next)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 28, 2023

There are reams of investment strategies out there for maximizing gains in a rising market and protecting ourselves when stocks tumble. But what do we do when markets simply grind sideways?

That’s what we’re going to delve into now, with three potential moves. Our favorite of these three involves buying a closed-end fund (CEF) yielding 12.8% with a payout that’s actually grown over the long haul.

September Swoon Not Unusual

So far this year, we’ve seen the S&P 500 come close to recovering 100% of its losses from last year, only to pull back in recent weeks. Even though this has made for a bit of a stressful September, it’s pretty normal; market recoveries often result in a slow and tentative return to a previous all-time high.… Read more

1 Simple Move to Buy Corporate Bonds With 9% Yields (at 12% Off)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 25, 2023

The big jump in stocks—especially tech stocks—this year has proven the forecasts of imminent and dire recession that were seemingly everywhere in 2022 dead wrong.

Unfortunately, those predictions caused the investors who followed them an opportunity for gains (and dividends, too). And now many are likely wondering if it’s too late to get back in, prolonging the suffering.

If you’re one of them (or even if you’re just looking to diversify), let me give you a lower-volatility, higher-yielding option: corporate bond focused closed-end funds (CEFs).

How Corporate-Bond CEFs Work

To get a grasp of how corporate-bond CEFs work, we need to start with corporate bonds themselves.… Read more

These 8%-Paying Funds Are Doing Something Truly Bizarre

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 21, 2023

When I explain the appeal of closed-end funds (CEFs), I usually start with the big headline and throw a few bullets afterwards, kind of like this:

CEFs yield an average 8%, and many of those dividends are sustainable and growing.

  • CEFs invest in a variety of reliable and popular assets, like stocks, bonds and real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • CEFs often trade at discounts to the value of their portfolios. This is known as the discount to net asset value (NAV), and it means we can buy stocks, bonds and real estate through CEFs for less than we’d pay on the open market.
Read more

This Looming “Fed Shift” Will Ignite These 8%+ Payers

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 18, 2023

All year long, we’ve been waiting for our favorite high-yield investments, 8%+ yielding closed-end funds (CEFs), to jump, along with the rest of the market.

Now, nearly nine months in, we’re still waiting! It’s not surprising: the income-focused investors who buy these funds are typically a cautious bunch.

Not that we mind at my CEF Insider service. We’ve been taking advantage of the extra time to pick up bargain funds and build our income streams. As I write this, our CEF Insider portfolio yields around 9%, with many of our picks paying dividends monthly.

But a fresh report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is a sign the CEF train could be about to leave the station.… Read more

This 7.9%-Payer Just Hinted Its Payout Will Grow

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 14, 2023

Closed-end funds (CEFs) really are the “Swiss army knife” of investments: with one click, they let us grab big income (the average CEF yields 7.9%), diversify (within and beyond asset classes) and buy their holdings for cheap!

But let’s be honest, when it comes to CEFs, it’s all about the dividends.

On that front, there’s a lot to say. For one, many CEFs pay monthly, making managing our income easy: CEFs’ high yields mean we could potentially replace a $6,500 monthly paycheck with less than $1 million invested and live on dividends alone.

And check out these discount and dividend stats from across the CEF space:

  • A third of all CEFs yield over 10%.
Read more

5 Ways to Protect Our 8%+ CEF Dividends From Snap Payout Cuts

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 11, 2023

In my CEF Insider service, we focus exclusively on buying strong, 8%+ yielding closed-end funds (CEFs). It’s our MO! And there are a lot of CEF bargains now, as cautious income investors remain skittish following the 2022 correction.

But today I want to talk about when it’s time to sell a CEF. You might recall the old Warren Buffett quote that his favorite holding period is “forever.” Of course, Buffett was talking about blue-chip stocks, which are his forte.

With CEFs, our play is a bit different. Sure, we want to hold these high yielders (the average CEF tracked by CEF Insider yields 7.9% today) for as long as we can, to make the most of their high—and often monthly—dividends.… Read more

NVIDIA? Microsoft? Google? These 7.5% Dividends Give ‘Em to Us (Cheap!)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 7, 2023

If there’s one thing that stands out about the market for our favorite high-yield investments—closed-end funds (CEFs)—in 2023, it’s this: individual investors are still too skittish to jump in.

That’s our chance, because this “lag” means CEFs’ prices haven’t taken off, and these funds are throwing off dividend yields in the same neighborhood they were at the start of 2022—around 7.5%, on average, today. And by being just a little picky (as we will be with the fund talk about a bit further on), we can amp those payouts up to 10%+.

Combine that with the discounts to net asset value (NAV, or the value of CEFs’ portfolios) available across the space, and we’ve got a shot at real upside, especially when you consider how far behind the S&P 500 that CEFs have lagged this year.… Read more

3 Easy Steps to Unlock Big 7.5% Dividends (Paid Monthly, to Boot)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: September 4, 2023

Last Monday, we talked about the two biggest mistakes many investors make when buying high-yielding closed-end funds (CEFs). Today we’re taking the opposite tack and delving into three things to look for to pick the very best of these 7.5%+ payers for your portfolio.

The upshot? If all three of these strengths are present, you likely have yourself a winner. But first things first—let’s talk a bit about what sets CEFs apart. These funds are different from ETFs and mutual funds in two key ways.

  1. CEFs have fixed share counts and generally can’t issue new shares to new investors (hence the “closed” in the name).
Read more

How to Tap This “Hated” Bull Market for 8.7% Dividends

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: August 31, 2023

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a data nerd. I could go on and on about all the economic numbers I watch for you every month, but these weekly articles just don’t give me the room. So I have to be selective.

There are hundreds (I’m not exaggerating; I’m up to 157 so far) of data points that prove the US economy is doing better than most people think, and that 2022’s doom-and-gloom was way overdone (and in many cases plain wrong).

Unfortunately, my editor would never let me cover all of them, especially in one article! And, let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t want to sit through 157 data points, either.… Read more