New Year, New Portfolio: Start With These 2 “Dividend Deals”

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 2, 2024

Let’s kick off 2024 with great news: despite the Santa Claus rally, there are still some sweet dividend deals on the board—many hiding in plain sight.

In a second, we’ll name names and dive into my 2024 outlook, including my forecast for a 2024 recession and exactly what we’re going to be looking for in dividend payers (and growers) this year.

First, let’s tee up 2024 by reviewing the game tape from the last quarter of ’23.

Buying Fear Drove Fast Double-Digit Gains in Late ’23

Readers of my Contrarian Income Report service will recognize the Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust (GDV), one of the picks we grabbed when panic was running high in October.… Read more

My First Call of 2024: Grab This 9.8% Payer While It’s Still Cheap

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 1, 2024

Think back one year for a moment. You’ll surely recall that back in early ’23, the media was in high dudgeon, warning about an oncoming recession.

It never happened, of course, as we gleaned by simply following the data at my CEF Insider high-yielding investing service. But the “hangover” from that missed prediction is still—still!—creating opportunities for us to pick up high-yielding closed-end funds (CEFs) at bargain prices.

Here’s how: now that we’re 12 months out from those incorrect doomsday predictions, many media outlets are backtracking. Consider this recent quote from Bloomberg Opinion columnist Nir Kaissar:

“This time last year, a lot of people were convinced the US would slide into recession in 2023.… Read more

These Mega-Dividends Shell Out Up To 19% … But Are They Safe?

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: December 29, 2023

As we return Mariah Carey to the ocean depths for another year, we turn our attention to our next seasonal siren—double-digit dividend stocks.

They are, after all, the perfect way to retire on dividends, right? Put $500,000 in a portfolio of 10% payers and we’re looking at $50,000 in annual dividend income. Plus we get to keep our principal.


Not always. Most double-digit divvies are “cheap for a reason.” These are dogs dressed up as dividend payers. But the payouts are often in danger. Which means price stability is equally dicey. Which is why we often say no thanks to these mega-headline yields.… Read more

This Old-Timey Stock Ploy Is Dead (Try This “1-Click” Dividend Plan Instead)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: December 28, 2023

If you’ve been investing long enough, you’ve no doubt run across the 60/40 portfolio. Maybe you’ve used this approach yourself. Or maybe your financial advisor told you about it (it’s an advisor favorite!).

As the name suggests, the 60/40 portfolio is simply a portfolio that seeks to automatically balance risk by holding 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds.

It sounds sensible enough, but history shows that people who invest by this rule have been leaving a lot of money on the table for a long time:

60/40 Portfolio Pays Too High a Price for Low Volatility

One quick glance at US stocks, seen here in purple through the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), and bonds, in orange through the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), shows a problem.… Read more

4 Dividend Resolutions for 2024

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: December 27, 2023

Raise your hand if you want to actively work for income in 2024.

(Please note your dividend strategist already has his pointer finger in the tip of his nose. Not it!)

Here at Contrarian Outlook, we prefer passive dividend income to active income, thank you very much. Because trading hours for dollars is, let’s just say it, such a drag.

A job? Tired. Dividends, meanwhile, are wired. Since ‘tis the season for resolutions, let’s discuss my top four to retire on dividends in 2024.

Dividend Resolution #1: Project Our Income

If you’re a serious dividend investor, I hope you took my advice last week and grabbed your risk-free trial to Income Calendar.… Read more

These 8%-Paying Funds Are “Must Buys” in 2024 (With 1 Critical Caveat)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: December 26, 2023

If there’s one thing we need to remember when we buy high-yield closed-end funds (CEFs), it’s this: always demand a discount.

Well, make that two: always demand a high dividend, too! Because CEFs are renowned for their high—and often monthly—payouts, with the average CEF yielding around 8% today.

But back to discounts. Luckily for us, they’re common with CEFs: of the 422 CEFs tracked by the CEF Connect screener, 384 trade at discounts to net asset value (NAV).

That’s a great place to start our search for top-notch CEFs, because these discounts are basically free money: they let us pick up, say, Mastercard (MA) for 85 cents on the dollar through a CEF like the Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust (GDV).Read more

Your Retirement Playbook: How Much You Need + 3 Big Dividends to Get There

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: December 25, 2023

Let’s go ahead and use the quickest, most reliable strategy I know of to kickstart a reliable 7% income stream that rolls our way every month.

My specialty is writing about stocks, bonds and closed-end funds (CEFs), but all of these are really a means to the end of achieving financial independence. What really matters is how much income you can pull out of these investments to fund your lifestyle.

The answer is a lot more than you might imagine. I’m going to show you how to pull 7% out of three funds that pay monthly and offer diversified income streams based on bonds issued by large, well-established companies (think of this portfolio as being like a big commercial bank, but one diversified across the world).… Read more

Really Rich REITs: 7 Massive Yields up to 15%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: December 22, 2023

Select real estate may be the income investing play for 2024. As I write, seven real estate investment trusts (REITs) are dishing dividends from 8.7% all the way up to 15.4%.

These REITs—and their ilk—are literally designed to deliver dividends. That’s how Congress wrote the rules when they legislated these real estate investments into existence back in 1960.

REITs avoid taxes at the corporate level. But in exchange, they need to pony up at least 90% of their taxable income and redistribute it to investors as dividends.

As a result, our average REIT yields somewhere around 2x to 3x the market.… Read more

The “3 Winds” That Will Drive Our 8%+ CEF Dividends in 2024

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: December 21, 2023

The stock market’s 2023 recovery begs the question: are we in for a reversal next year? And if so, what does that mean for our closed-end funds (CEFs)?

It’s a natural concern, but it’s important to remember that bull markets don’t die of old age. Plus, we aren’t in a bull market—the S&P 500 still hasn’t fully recovered from its drop over the last two years, let alone priced in the economic growth over that time.

Whether stocks will or won’t price in that growth in 2024 depends on three things we’re likely to hear a lot about next year. The first will be something that’s seemingly been everywhere for the last two years.… Read more

Are You Dedicated to Dividends? If So, You’ll Know This Answer.

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: December 20, 2023

If you are a serious dividend investor, then you know the answer to this question:

How much dividend income are you going to make in 2024?

In other words, what are your projected dividends next year?

If you don’t know, then you’re not as dedicated to dividends as you thought. Disappointing, but fixable with Income Calendar.

And please, don’t tell me I’m being hard on you. If that’s the way you feel, then this is the tough love that you need. Your wakeup call for 2024.

It’s time to treat your dividend investing like a business. Because it is.Read more