3 Quick Buys For Dividends Up To 6% (And 112% Upside)

| August 15, 2018

There’s been a massive discount building in a pocket of the market where you can get big dividends that are entirely tax-free.

And I’m going to show you three “1-click” ways to tap this income investor’s wonderland today.

I know that tax-free anything these days sounds impossible, but in this case, I assure you it’s not. The key is investing in municipal bonds, which give you a passive income stream that is entirely tax exempt at the federal level. Plus it’s also exempt from state taxes in many situations, too.

That means a 4%-yielding municipal bond, or “muni,” is more like a 5.3%-yielding dividend stock for a family earning $100,000 per year—and that’s before we factor in state taxes.

Plus, there are some funds out there that hold munis that can get you much more than 4%. Below I’ll show you 3 of them with “regular” yields as high as 5.8%. First, let me tell you why now is the perfect time to buy them.

How to Amplify Your Muni Gains (and Dividends)

To get the biggest bang for your buck in munis, buy them through closed-end funds (CEFs). There are nearly 200 muni-bond CEFs out there, and most of them yield over 4%. And since they’re CEFs, several are priced far below their “true” value.

How can you tell?

Because the average municipal-bond CEF’s market price is 8.6% below its net asset value (NAV, or the market value of all the holdings in its portfolio).

That discount to NAV is a key number to watch in any CEF, and with a wide 8.6% average markdown, it’s easy to snap up a great muni-bond CEF cheap, then set yourself up for some nice price upside as that gap narrows to its traditional level.

Muni CEF Pick #1: A 4.9% Yield at a Massive Discount

A good example of a great marked-down fund is the Eaton Vance New Jersey Municipal Income Fund (EVJ), which pays a 4.9% dividend and currently trades at a massive 12.3% discount to NAV.

EVJ is no slouch in the performance department, either. On a NAV basis, the fund has earned an 11.5% return over the last 3 years, which is nearly double the gain posted by the muni-bond index fund, the iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB).

EVJ Demolishes the Benchmark

Eaton Vance New Jersey Municipal Income Fund

On top of that outperformance, EVJ’s yield is about twice that of MUB, making it both a market outperformer and a big yielder.

But should you worry that the fund focuses on just one state? In a word, no.

New Jersey’s average income is $62,554 per capita, the third highest in the union. And while the state’s GDP grew more slowly than that of America as a whole in 2017 (0.9% versus 2.1%), New Jersey is the eighth-wealthiest state in America, which means its growth rate will tend to be lower than those of poorer states.

That wealth has also resulted in fast-growing investment in infrastructure (this spending is budgeted to rise 172% in the next year), which tends to boost economic growth.

But here’s the real key: New Jersey revenues are set to rise 5.7% in 2019 after gaining in 2018. That 2019 estimate is far higher than the 4.2% growth in the state’s spending, so the bottom line here is that New Jersey’s fiscal health is getting better. And that makes EVJ worth considering for income and growth now.

Muni CEF Pick #2: Unbeatable Safety and 4.1% in Tax-Free Cash

Nonetheless, if you do want to go beyond a fund that focuses on just one state, you’d be smart to snap up the BlackRock Municipal Intermediate Duration Fund (MUI), one of the best-performing muni CEFs over the last decade. Just look at how it’s done compared to MUB:

MUI Quietly Delivers Big Profits

BlackRock Municipal Intermediate Duration Fund

This outperformance isn’t rewarded with a premium price; MUI trades at a 13% discount to NAV, which is double its 6.5% average markdown over the last decade. That also means the fund’s 4.1% dividend yield is extremely sustainable, since MUI’s management only needs to get a 3.6% income stream in the muni-bond markets to keep the payouts coming.

Then there’s the diversification. Here’s a chart from BlackRock breaking down the fund’s exposure by state—you can see that it focuses on the biggest states with the healthiest budgets:

A Diverse Fund

Plus, MUI is exposed to the northeast, southwest and every area in between—the fund actually holds municipal bonds from 44 states in total!

If you’re looking for a sleep-well-at-night, high-yielding, tax-free income stream, MUI is a great option.

Muni CEF Pick #3: Crushing the Index for Over 2 Decades

The last fund I want to show you is another BlackRock fund, the BlackRock MuniHoldings Fund II (MUH), which is one of the best-performing muni CEFs of all time. Over the last decade, it’s returned 7.5% annualized. Just look at what it’s done compared to MUB!

Another Long-Term Winner

BlackRock MuniHoldings Fund II

What’s the secret to this fund’s success?

Two things. First, it invests in municipal bonds that are income tax free but not alternative minimum tax (AMT) free. That limits the appeal of these bonds to some investors, making the market for them less efficient. That, in turn, lets the geniuses at BlackRock easily spot bargains that will boost your returns (as management has for the last decade).

Another big reason for MUH’s healthy gains is the fund’s use of derivatives. By using a mixture of futures, options and interest-rate swaps, MUH can boost your total return by actively playing the bond market as it relates to the Federal Reserve’s changing monetary policy. This approach has worked well over the fund’s history, going back to the 1990s.

Finally, MUH trades at a 7.6% discount to NAV, far higher than the 3.4% markdown it’s averaged over the last decade. That discount has gotten unusually big in the last year—but it’s also starting to recover:

Sale Ending Soon

That makes a good time to consider moving into MUH. You’ll collect a nice 5.8% income stream while you wait for its discount to close.

… And Here’s An Additional $40,000 a Year Paid Monthly

The suits at Merrill Lynch say you need $738,400 to retire well.

They’re dead wrong. You’ll actually need a lot less than that.

The proof? My “8% Monthly Payer Portfolio,” which gives you a simple way to bankroll your golden years on 32% less.

That’s right: I’m talking about a fully paid for retirement for around $500k! As the name suggests, I’ve carefully constructed my 8% Monthly Payer Portfolio to hand you a rock-solid $40,000 a year (or steady $3,333 a month) on a $500k nest egg.

And you’ll probably need even less than that!

That’s certainly been the case with the grandmother who invested $387,000 in my portfolio. Eight months later, she’d withdrawn $3,000 a month to pay her bills, and her balance had actually grown to $397,000!

That’s the power of this unsung collection of investments, and I’m ready to share everything I have on each one of them with you now. Simply CLICK HERE and I’ll give you the full story, including exactly how to buy in and start tapping this outsized 8% income stream today.

 

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Category: Bonds

About the Author ()

Michael Foster is the Senior Analyst at Contrarian Outlook.

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