Get Rich - Stay Rich - Investing for Monthly Income

Getting High Yields from Closed-End Funds

This is the second in the investing for monthly income series: how to get high yields from closed-end funds.

What is a closed-end funds (CEF) and how is it different from other investments? A closed-end fund is legally know as a ‘closed-end company.” It is one of three investment types of investment companies. The other two are mutual funds and unit investment trusts. Unlike mutual funds, closed-end funds sale a fixed number of shares at one time that trade on the major stock exchanges such as NYSE, NASDAQ, etc.

The price of CEFs are set by the market and can be above or below their net asset value. Generally, CEFs do not redeem shares from investors as the shares are bought and sold at market value on the exchanges.

CEFs come in many varieties with different objectives, strategies and payment time frames.  These funds can easily be purchased through any discount brokerage in both taxable and tax-deferred accounts.  The CEFs we are interested in pay monthly dividends and provide a high yield. When these funds trade at a discount (share price is lower than net asset value), their dividend yield is higher. This creates an opportunity for potential capital gains in addition to monthly income.

Upon receipt of monthly dividends, you can reinvest some or all into more shares of CEFs or other dividend investments. Reinvestment of dividends creates a compounding effect that will grow your income each month. There are rumors that former President Bill Clinton receives $84,000 per month in dividend income. This is a large supplement to the $16,750 Clinton receives from his government pension per month. This is one method that helps the rich get richer. However, you can accomplish the same objective by investing for monthly income.

Where can you find a list of CEFs? I personally use CEF Connect to track a list of CEFs in a portfolio. This is a free service (requires registration) with a search engine that will separate monthly payers from the flock. At last count, there was more than 400 CEFs that pay monthly dividends. There is a comprehensive list in Get Rich – Stay Rich.

The best time to buy CEFs is when they pull back in share price. The one caveat is to ensure their earnings per share is more than their dividend payout (this is available at CEF Connect under the distribution tab). If not, then you should sell and evaluate another CEF. The other item to watch is that the CEF pays distributions from ordinary income and does not pay from return of funds. Any return of capital means the CEF is giving back capital in the form of dividends which means the company did not earn their pay. Sell immediately if you see a return of capital.

The more you research CEFs, the more you come to like the total return and consistency of monthly paychecks. Keep in mind that financial independence is replacing your current income with passive income. CEFs are one investment to help get you closer to living a life within your comforts.

Here are two preferred stock CEFs for consideration:

The AllianzGI Convertible and Income Fund 5.62% (NCV) cumulative preferred stock is now trading in the $24.61 area to give it a current yield of 5.71%. This issue is rated AAA by Fitch. The issue had an excellent asset coverage ratio of 353% when it last reported.

AllianzGI Convertible and Income Fund II 5.50% coupon preferred (NCZ) is trading in the $24.04 area to offer a current yield of 5.73%. With a rating of AAA from Fitch, it a very safe issue. This CEF issue has an asset coverage ratio of 368% at last report.

Most of the CEF preferreds from Gabelli are now trading with current yields in the 5.2% to 5.3% range, indicating that the AllianzGI issues are relatively underpriced and present a good opportunity to purchase the safety of a AAA-rated preferred stock issue.

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