We're just past the edge. The 'tipping point' is here.
Don't worry -- it's not dangerous. In fact, if you're an income investor, then this might be the start of a very prosperous trend.
Between now and 2030, roughly 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day. You might be among them. This marks a major shift that will play out for millions of people in the next years and decades. And I think it could lead to a surge in popularity for income investing.
Think about it. There's currently $13 trillion sitting in U.S. mutual funds, with most of those assets held by soon-to-be retirees, according to the Investment Company Institute research group.
Regarding where that money may go, I think my colleague Amy Calistri put it best: 'As baby boomers wind down their working years, they're going to do what retirees before them have done -- shift from riskier stocks and commodities into more buttoned-down income investments. In fact, given the rocky market in the past decade and disappearing pensions, the shift could be larger than most people think.'
This could lead to a golden age for income investing.
But as attractive an opportunity as this may be, there is no guarantee the graying of the baby boomers will simply lead to a massive bull market across all income securities. That's why it's still very important to select high-quality income investments -- ones that pay a sizable, rising dividend, and carry a degree of safety so you can rest easy owning them. If you do this, then any broad bull market will simply be icing on the cake.
To help you find the best high-yield plays -- and maximize your returns -- I've rounded up some of my favorite income investing tips -- ones I use personally to guide my portfolio choices in High-Yield Investing. No matter your experience level, they should give you an edge in finding the best high-yield investments on the market.
Tip No. 1: Look Off The Beaten Path.
Always remember that yield is a combination of dividends paid and share price. If prices rise, the yield on a security falls, all else being equal.
So what will happen to many popular high-yield securities if millions of retirees start buying them in search of solid income? Their prices would likely rise, pushing yields down.
That's why it's valuable to look off the beaten path for higher yields. You have to look into the special classes of securities built for income investors.
Many of the securities I recommend in High-Yield Investing are nowhere near household names. And that's OK. My years of researching the income field have uncovered the rarest, most lucrative income assets, including securities such as business development companies, stapled products, master limited partnerships and even exchange-traded bonds.
This is where you'll uncover truly mouth-watering yields the majority of investors who are focused on common stocks tend to overlook.
Tip No. 2: Focus On Dividend Safety.
For income investors, nothing should be held in higher esteem than the safety of dividends. After all, what's the use of a high dividend if it's only going to be cut a few weeks later?
But an amazing thing happens when you follow my first tip and look off the beaten path for income investments.
Common stocks are under no obligation to pay a dividend; management can cut their payments at any time they please. But I've found a few securities -- such as preferred stocks -- that can't change or reduce their payments. A number of other little-known securities have the same restrictions, all but guaranteeing you'll be paid a stream of income you can count on.
Tip No. 3: Use Market Downturns To Find Higher Yields.
Most investors look at a market downturn as a bad thing, and in fact, I would rather the market rise than fall. But I also appreciate the opportunities that appear in a downturn.
As I said, a stock's yield is a function of its price. If a stock pays $1 per share and trades at $20, its yield is 5%. If the same stock dips to $10 per share, the yield has risen to 10%.
That's one reason why I buy good stocks heavily during market downturns when the yields become too high to ignore. If you can stomach volatility during a bear market, then you'll likely have a chance to lock in unusually high yields.
Tip No. 4: Don't Be Afraid To Sell.
High-Yield Investing subscribers always ask me when they should sell their holdings. And for good reason -- when you sell is just as important as when you buy.
Personally, I'm never afraid to sell. Many investors continue holding losing stocks and hope for a rebound, only to watch them sink further. I've seen this countless times. That's why I'm always sure to look at the reasons a holding is falling and if I should sell.
If the stock is falling with the market, then I may not be worried. However, if changes in the company's operations mean it could see rocky times ahead, then I don't want a part of it.
Tip No. 5: Remember That Taxes Matter.
When is a lower yield more attractive than a higher yield that's just as safe? When the lower yield is taxed at a lower rate.
Consider this: An investor in the top federal tax bracket is invested in a municipal bond that pays 6%. Because the income from this bond is tax-free, the taxable-equivalent yield is actually 9.2%! In other words, if the same investment were in a fully taxable security, then our investor would have to earn 9.2% to have the same income after taxes.
It doesn't take long for that difference to add up to serious cash.
The Investing Answer: In my experience, the sooner these tips are put to work, the sooner you'll have a chance to collect a healthy income stream for your retirement.