The Worst Retirement Mistake You Can Make (and How to Avoid It)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 31, 2017

Many people think a conservative, disciplined approach to retirement will help you reach your financial goals. They’re wrong.

If you invest too conservatively, you’ll never retire. At the same time, if you educate yourself about the financial options out there and invest accordingly, you can retire much, much earlier.

Let’s take a look at the math.

Higher Returns, Earlier Financial Freedom

In the chart above, I’ve broken down how much money you need according to how much you spend per month and what rate of return you get on your investments.

At one extreme, if you spend $1,500 per month and get a 9% annual rate of return, you need just $200,000 to retire.…
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5 High-Yield REITs With Big Upside in 2017

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 30, 2017

If you’re wondering which sector is set to take off in 2017 (and who isn’t?), look no further than real estate investment trusts (REITs).

I’ll get into why I’m so bullish on REITs—and name 5 great buys now—in a moment.

First, let’s look at the sector’s recent performance, and what it says about where REITs (which own properties ranging from warehouses to apartment buildings) are headed.

Here’s how the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ) has done since January of last year, compared to the benchmark SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY):

REIT Investors Fall Behind

Three things stand out here: 1) REITs spiked last summer, when the Brexit vote sent investors scrambling for stability and yield; 2) they didn’t get much pop from the year-end Trump bump; and 3) they’re still way off their 2016 peak and trailing the market as a whole.…
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4 Best Fidelity Funds for A Secure Retirement

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: August 4, 2017

Fidelity Investments has a laundry list of highly rated mutual funds – so let’s delve into a quartet of funds that are top-tier choices for retirement investors. The recipe for retirement success includes safety, durability, income and cost-efficiency, among others – these four funds have these qualities in spades!

Fidelity Investments is the No. 2 player in the mutual fund world, boasting $1.7 trillion in total assets across its expansive lineup of offerings. Just like Vanguard – which also boasts a number of excellent retirement funds – most of Fidelity’s assets are long-term in nature.

Why is that important? Because it shows that while some of Fidelity’s funds can be used to make short-term plays, most of its mutual funds are buy-and-hold investments – in other words, exactly what you’re looking for if you’re planning out a retirement portfolio.…
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These 12 Stocks Could Double Under Trump

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 26, 2017

Goldman Sachs recently recommended over 80 stocks that are poised to jump during President Trump’s administration.

That’s a lot of stocks. Not all of them are dividend payers, and many of them have already jumped dramatically in the last few weeks, bringing them at or near their 52-week highs.

You might think this means it’s too late to buy into the Trump rally, but it isn’t.

I’ve gone through Goldman’s picks and selected a dozen high-quality, low-priced stocks with a history of strong dividend payouts and the potential for dividend growth. Half the portfolio has a history of very high dividend growth, while the other half has very good dividend coverage and the potential for future dividend growth.…
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Six 6% Yields (With 60% Upside, Too)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 25, 2017

As interest rates rise, the best defense will be a good offense. Research from Nuveen and Ned Davis confirms what we already knew – that dividend growth stocks outperform everyone else in the 36 months after a Fed rate increase:

Stock Returns After Fed Increases

That’s no surprise either, because payout growers always outpace their counterparts.

Everyone loves dividends, but dividend hikes are underappreciated. Not only do they increase the yield on your initial capital, but they often are reflected in a price increase for the stock.

For example, if a stock pays a 3% current yield and then hikes its payout by 10%, it’s unlikely that its stock price will stagnate for long.…
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The 4 Best Vanguard Retirement Funds

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 24, 2017

Today, we’re going to highlight the four best retirement funds Vanguard has to offer. Since my favorite retirement fund closed its doors to new investors, I had to find more high quality, high income and low cost options for readers like you to consider.

The Vanguard Group is the top mutual fund provider by assets under management, boasting nearly $3 trillion across more than 125 mutual funds. And almost all of that is locked up in long-term assets — a statement about Vanguard’s elite standing among buy-and-hold retirement investors.

Vanguard doesn’t do leverage, it doesn’t do inverse. With very few exceptions, Vanguard’s funds aren’t trading instruments.…
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5 Funds That Could Double Your Retirement Nest Egg

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 23, 2017

If you want to save a million dollars, you need to save a ton of money over a lifetime. Or at least that’s what we’re constantly told.

But it’s not true.

The fact is, you can save $1 million a lot quicker by saving just $298 per month. It just takes a contrarian’s view on the markets and the confidence to invest differently than the herd.

In a moment, I’ll give you 5 fund picks to start you off on the right foot.

First, let’s look at the math.

Any retirement calculator, like the one below from Bloomberg, can calculate how much money you need to contribute to your retirement fund to reach your goal.…
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One Reason to Invest 100% in American Companies

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: January 20, 2017

These days, you might be tempted to buy shares of companies based in places like Europe, Japan or emerging markets.

On the surface there are good reasons to do so.

Europe, for example, is beaten down and still going full blast on quantitative easing, making it look like the continent’s economy has nowhere to go but up.

Japan’s QE program, meanwhile, involves direct purchases of stocks by the central bank: the Bank of Japan is expected to be the largest shareholder in the country’s biggest companies by the end of this year.

And, of course, emerging markets are where the biggest growth is, so why not buy into that, too?…
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3 Little Known 7% Yields (With 50% Upside, Too)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 19, 2017

Income investors have mined just about every corner of the market for yield. Blue-chip dividend stalwarts like Microsoft (MSFT) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) are downright expensive at this point thanks to a growing crowd of yield hunters. Those seeking more substantial yields have guzzled the alphabet soup, jumping into REITs, MLPs, BDCs and CEFs.

To quote the Barenaked Ladies, “It’s all been done.”

But in my hunt for less appreciated sources of high yield, I’ve come across three stocks that the financial media barely discusses, and that most investors don’t even know about.

What really sticks out about these stocks isn’t just their yields – which range between 7% and 12%!…
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The Most Dangerous Dividends for 2017

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 18, 2017

The stock market’s up, which means yields are down. And while there are still some generous payers available, be careful – entire sectors are paper tigers that will probably suffer this year.

Two weeks ago, we discussed the best 7%+ dividends for 2017. Today we’ll talk about the big dividends that should be avoided, or sold altogether.

Mortgage REITs (mREITs) for starters tend to drop their dividends over time – and these cuts accelerate when rates rise. Profits plummet because their portfolios (typically made up of fixed-rate issues) decline in value as rates run higher.

We’ve discussed the benefits of buying dividend growth at length.…
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