How To Retire Comfortably On Just $500,000

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: October 7, 2016

Most financial advisor hacks are dead wrong. You CAN comfortably retire on a modest $500,000 investment portfolio.

Of course you’ve heard the warnings that retirement is getting harder – and they’re true. With U.S. Treasuries paying paltry returns, it is harder to find a risk-free income stream for your golden years.

But there are low-risk “bond proxies” that can offer over $50,000 in dividends per year on an initial investment of $500,000. All you have to do is buy now and sit tight. The secret is a superstar dividend growth portfolio that follows a few simple principles.

First, we don’t want to overpay – so we’re only going to choose stocks with P/E ratios below 25 (and most of these stocks actually have a P/E ratio below 20).… Read more

High Yield Closed-End Funds With 15% Price Upside

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: October 5, 2016

Closed-end funds (CEFs) are finally starting to get their due attention as the yield machines they are. Some can still be purchased at a steep discount to their net asset values (NAVs) – which means you can buy the underlying assets for $0.90 on the dollar, or less.

Last week we discussed how to select the safest 7% yields in the field. In a 2% dividend world, many of these funds look great paying more than triple that.

But you’ll need to choose your CEFs carefully. A steep discount is a great start, but many funds simply grind sideways (including dividends) because they have no means to close that discount window.… Read more

A Tax-Free 6.1% Yield to Trounce Stock Dividends

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: October 4, 2016

Taxes can eat up investing returns. Anyone who’s bought stocks and filled in a tax form knows this. But you don’t need to pay taxes on your investments—in fact, you can get a higher stream of income without paying any taxes altogether. The secret: municipal bond funds.

This is especially important if you’re in the 25% income tax bracket or higher—and if you’re earning over $36,900, that means you. You can use the IRS’s calculator to calculate your tax obligations, or there’s Paycheck City’s really easy and fast calculator if you want to look at state taxes, too.

Let’s see how municipal bond funds can provide a married couple—we’ll call them John and Jane Doe—with more income immediately thanks to less tax obligations.… Read more

4 Stocks Set to Soar 50% After November 8—and 1 to Sell Now

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: October 3, 2016

What the heck are you supposed to do with your retirement portfolio between now and the November 8 election? Cash it out and put the greenbacks under your mattress?

If that’s what you’re thinking, you may be having flashbacks to 2012, when volatility spiked in the month leading up to voting day, as shown by rise in the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the so-called “fear indicator”:


And of course, 2008 is still seared into everyone’s mind, when the financial crisis was mauling the economy and stocks as Barack Obama and John McCain squared off.

Here’s the good news: if your timeline is long, you have little to fear from the occupant of the White House, even in an unprecedented election like this one.… Read more

4 REITs To Sell Immediately, 3 To Buy Instead

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 30, 2016

Is it too late to buy REITs (real estate investment trusts)? It depends. Some lesser-known issues are still great bargains, while others have rallied to nosebleed valuations.

I’ll highlight three specific buys – and tell you what you should sell – in a moment. First, let me show you why investors are hesitant about REITs:

How Hot is Too Hot?


These are the price-only returns (not including dividends) of four REITs. Three of them are quite popular, while one—Government Properties Trust (GOV)—is extremely controversial. Note the controversial one is up 49% year-to-date!

That’s amazing, but the usual stability of popular dividend payers like Realty Income Corporation (O) and National Retail Properties (NNN) means they should not be up 30% in less than a year.… Read more

The Best 7% Yields For A Scared Fed

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 28, 2016

If you feel trapped grinding out dividend income at 3% or so, listen up. The Fed’s latest “no hike” call has provided big 7% to 9% yields with the “all clear” signal for another year or two, at least.

In a world where a million bucks worth of dividend aristocrats will only net you about $29,000 annually, you’re probably looking for higher yielding options. Some closed-end funds (CEFs) paying up to 9% can be good candidates – if you choose wisely.

You’re probably familiar with their mutual “cousins”. Closed-ends are a bit different. While mutual funds tend to buy individual stocks and mirror the market, CEF managers tend to have wider mandates and longer leashes.… Read more

3 Big Energy Dividends Set to Grow

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 27, 2016

Energy is a dangerous sector. With declining profits and even dividend cuts hitting some companies, it’s becoming harder and harder to invest in energy and for a reliable income stream.

But this doesn’t mean we need to avoid energy altogether—we just need to choose our stocks carefully.

I don’t see oil climbing much above its current price anytime soon, considering the major output from America-based firms and plans in Iraq and Norway to increase output. But OPEC is also looking to control pricing by limiting output, so we may see a supply/demand standoff that will keep the commodity range bound. In fact, oil has been range bound for quite a while already:

Temporary Dips and Peaks


Although WTI crude oil futures dipped to below $30 per barrel earlier this year and climbed over $50 last summer, those volatile prices didn’t last more than a couple months.… Read more

3 Big Dividends About to Be Slashed—and 3 to Buy Instead

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 26, 2016

Today I need to warn you about a common mistake I’ve seen burn investors over and over. I’ll also show you 3 bargain dividend growth stocks that are great buys for your retirement portfolio now; more on those in a moment.

First, the mistake.

It’s called “reaching for yield” and its latest victims are investors who bought SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) based solely on the stock’s 6.5% dividend yield.

Too bad that high yield was because everyone else saw the company’s problems—falling revenue and shrinking operating margins as the public soured on SeaWorld’s killer-whale shows—coming from a mile away … and jumped overboard.… Read more

How To Get 5% Dividends Tax Free

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 23, 2016

Municipal bonds are popular with retirees because they provide tax-free income. Some pay secure yields above 6%, which translates to 10% tax-equivalent payouts to folks in high tax brackets.

But buying individual municipal bonds isn’t easy. Many brokers don’t offer them, and the ones that do usually try to sell low quality munis that big institutions have avoided because they know the bonds are poor quality – like the dogs issued by Puerto Rico or Detroit.

But most munis are perfectly secure. Ideally, you want to get your hands on the municipal bonds that institutions are buying. Many people think that’s impossible, but it isn’t—it just means we need to think laterally.… Read more

Ranking Hot Retirement Stocks Worst to First

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: September 21, 2016

The hunt for bond proxies is in full swing – but how good are these untested replacement players?

A 100% dividend-only income stream is the goal of any responsible “no withdrawal” retirement portfolio. Which of course is superior in every way to the fatally flawed 4% retirement myth, but difficult to achieve in a world where payout yields have been bid down towards 2%.

Fortunately, there are still a few promising pockets for income investors. I’m talking about yields of 6% to 8% plus upside. We’ll review them in a minute – but first, let’s make sure we avoid the high-risk low-reward traps.… Read more