How to Invest in CEFs (for 7%+ Dividends, 20%+ Upside)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: June 14, 2021

I hate what the Fed is doing to savers—crushing their income with bottomed-out interest rates (not to mention juicing inflation with rampant money-printing)!

It’s infuriating because regular folks used to be able to tap safe investments, like government bonds and CDs, for a livable income. You probably remember your own parents doing just that!

No more. Ten-year government paper pays just 1.6% as I write this. Stocks? An even more pathetic 1.4%. CDs, at almost zero, aren’t even worth mentioning. You and I both know you’re not retiring on any of those options!

And this dividend desert has been growing for years—don’t let them blame the pandemic.

S&P 500 Dividends: No Retirement Joy Here!

The 7%+ Dividends Hiding in Plain Sight

But what if I told you I could get you a steady 7% dividend right now with ease? And with a big slice of that income rolling your way every month, too?

The key is to invest in an often-overlooked investment called a closed-end fund (CEF). As I write this, there are about 500 CEFs in existence, and they yield about 7%, on average. Some pay more than that, such as the 5 CEFs I reveal in my free investor report, “Indestructible Income: 5 Bargain Funds With Safe 7.4% Dividends.”

With a 7.4% payout, you’d be banking a nice $22,200 yearly income stream (or about $1,850 a month!) on a $300K nest egg. Imagine what that could do for your retirement. And those dividends will stay high in the years to come, no matter what happens with the Fed or the wider economy.

Probably the best thing about CEFs, including the 5 I’ll share with you in my free “Indestructible Income” report, is that they hold many of the blue-chip stocks you know well (and are probably sitting in our portfolio right now). So you don’t even have to change investments to get these 7%+ payouts!

The only difference? Instead of settling for lame S&P 500 dividends, you’ll be banking a cool 7%, and maybe even more. And you’ll set yourself up for some nice price upside, too!

At this point you may be wondering why we don’t hear a lot more about CEFs, especially these days, given the huge dividends these funds pay out. Truth is, they’re overlooked for the silliest of reasons: investors hear “closed-end fund” and immediately think CEFs are too complicated. Journalists don’t help. They’d rather blather on about the newest cryptocurrency or the latest gadget from the likes of Apple (AAPL).

CEFs’ 7%+ Dividends Demystified

That’s too bad, because CEFs really are quite simple: they’re like mutual funds or ETFs in that they pool money from investors, which the fund’s managers then use to buy a basket of stocks, bonds, real estate investment trusts (REITs) or other investments, depending on the CEF’s mandate.

The fund managers then buy and sell over time, handing profits over to us as dividends. CEFs trade on public exchanges and can be bought and sold, just like a stock.

(I give you a full, point-by-point breakdown of how CEFs work, including how they generate big price upside while paying you outsized dividends, in your free “Indestructible Income” report.)

CEFs’ “plain vanilla” setup is great for us, for a couple of reasons.

First, and most important, it means CEFs are heavily regulated. Just like big companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), Home Depot (HD) or Walmart (WMT), CEFs must account for their operations and file statements with the SEC every quarter. Even more reassuringly, most CEFs are managed by the biggest financial institutions, with the most investment resources and deepest connections at their disposal.

BlackRock is the best example. Not many people know that this monolith, whose $7 trillion in assets under management dwarfs the GDP of many countries, is a big CEF issuer.

Second, being publicly traded means CEFs are liquid. If you need cash, just sell your shares during market hours, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. And buying CEFs has never been cheaper, with the advent of zero-cost trading.

That’s just the start of the great deal you get with CEFs.

Take a CEF called Tekla Healthcare Investors (HQH), which uses a team of investment experts and boots-on-the-ground healthcare researchers to find the very best stocks in the pharmaceutical space.

The fund hands out a huge 8.6% dividend as I write this and holds a lot of familiar names in the drug business, like Amgen (AMGN), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna (MRNA).

Normally, if you bought these stocks on an exchange, you’d have to pay the market price. But with HQH, you’re getting these companies for 4% less than if you bought the shares directly, as of this writing.

This deal exists even though HQH crushed the benchmark pharma-industry CEF, the iShares US Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE) in the last decade, something many pundits will tell you an actively managed fund simply isn’t supposed to do.

HQH Clobbers Its Benchmark—and It’s Still Cheap!

How is this possible? Because of a funny quirk with CEFs: they tend to trade for less than what their portfolios are actually worth. And their current portfolio value is laid right out in front of us through a figure called net asset value, or NAV, which is easy to spot on any CEF screener worth its salt. Many CEFs, like the 5 I spotlight in your free “Indestructible Income” report, will go from trading at a discount to a premium and back again on the regular.

HQH is a good example: in the last decade, it’s traded at premiums as high as 9% and discounts as wide as 20% (that huge markdown came at the depths of the March 2020 crash).

This, in effect, gives us a “buy low, sell high” setup that actually works: we simply buy our CEFs when they trade at unusual discounts and then sell when those discounts flip to premiums! And you get paid pretty well to ride that particular train, with payouts like HQH’s 8.6% yield.

Put, say, $300K in HQH, get $2,150 per month, then sell later at a profit? This is why investors—particularly billionaire investors—love CEFs!

How to Buy in 3 Simple Steps

The first step to participating in the CEF market is easy: open a brokerage account. Any brokerage that lets you buy and sell shares will also allow you to buy and sell CEFs. And now that many trading platforms require a low (or no) minimum to open an account, along with zero brokerage fees, there’s really no barrier to anyone getting into CEFs.

After you’ve opened your account, you’ll need to select the best CEF for you. There are a lot of things to consider in this step, so take your time and do your research. (I’ll give you some proven, actionable tips for picking the best of these funds—and avoiding the laggards, in “Indestructible Income.”)

You’ll need to consider what asset class you want to buy into (stocks? municipal bonds? real estate?). Then you’ll need to decide what yield you want (is 6% enough? Want 8%? 10%?). You’ll ideally want to choose a fund that is well managed and trades at a big discount. Here too, research is the key.

Finally, all you need to do is log into your brokerage account, enter the ticker for the fund you’ve chosen—like HQH above—and click “Buy.” Then sit back and let the dividends come to you.

Your 5 “Indestructible Income” CEFs (Paying 7.4%) Are Waiting for You Now

I urge you to download your copy of “Indestructible Income: 5 Bargain Funds With 7.4% Dividends” right now.

In the dividend desert we’re facing—and are likely to be facing for years—this in-depth report is must-reading. The CEF-picking strategies I give you, and the 5 funds I reveal, are the key to grabbing dividends 5-TIMES bigger than what the typical S&P 500 stock pays.

With payouts like those, you could unlock the “retirement holy grail”: the ability to live on dividends alone! Go right here to get this exclusive free report and start boosting your dividend income today.