For many older investors, finding yield feels like a futile exercise. The bond bubble is well publicized, and yields on high-dividend stocks have been depressed. Government bonds pay out just enough interest to keep even with inflation, and high-grade corporate bonds aren't much better. You have to look further down the credit scale to get anything exceeding a 5% yield, but then your risk of default also grows.
It's not great to be an income investor right now.
Many investors have adapted by moving money into dividend-growth stocks, companies with lower current yields that are growing at a reasonable rate. A growing rate combined with steady capital gains can make for decent combined return.
This is all fine and good, except an investor has to wait years for a 3% current dividend to grow to a level more attractive, say 8%. You can lose years waiting for a dividend to grow. This isn't ideal for someone looking for income now.
Here are 8 investments that all pay generous yields, yields that are sustainable. Yes, there are always some risks, but these investments should continue to provide yield for years to come.
1. Dreyfus High Yield Strategies Fund (NYSE:DHF)
This fund invests in over 200 high-yield U.S. bonds, and then borrows an additional 25% of the fund's value to further invest, enhancing returns. It takes away the risk of an individual company's debt blowing up, and the fund hasn't missed a monthly distribution since its inception. It currently pays out 3.5 cents per month, a hair under 9.5%.
2. Dreyfus Municipal Income Fund (NYSEMKT:DMF)
This fund is very similar to the above offering from the same company, except it uses leverage to invest in municipal bonds. The main risk surrounding this fund is the overexposure to California, as 15% of the fund's assets are invested in that state. It currently pays out a hair over 6%.
One note about these two funds, Dreyfus charges a 2% management fee on both. I think it's worth it to invest in such unique products, but your opinion on the fee may differ.
3. Reitman's (OTCPK:RTMAF)
Next up is Canadian clothing retailer Reitman's. A quick glance at the company's financials would suggest the 7.75% dividend isn't safe, since it only made $0.49 last year and the dividend is $0.80 per year.
The company is sitting on enough cash to pay the dividend for four years without the company earning a dime. It is cash flow positive, and Reitman's will benefit as the Canadian economy continues to improve.
4. Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Domestic Fund (NYSE:EDD)
This fund invests in emerging market government debt, focusing on Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa, holding about 40% of the fund's assets in those three countries. There is currency risk, but the fund hedges exposure to other currencies. It currently yields 6%.
5. Prospect Capital (NASDAQ:PSEC)
Prospect is a business development company, which lends to moderate to higher risk companies that are too small to qualify for the junk bond market. It currently pays out a 12.1% dividend, and it hasn't missed a payment since 2006. It easily makes enough to cover the dividend, and the company is trading right around book value.
6. France Telecom (FTE)
France's leading telecommunications provider also has a large presence in The Middle East and Africa. It has been affected by the general European weakness, and it recently cut the dividend, but it still yields nearly 10%, paying out $0.96 (converted to U.S. dollars) per share. It is focusing on paying down debt, and combined with a European recovery, this should leave the company in a better position in the next few years.
I wrote more about France Telecom here.
7. Investco Powershares Preferred Share Fund (NYSEARCA:PGF)
This fund invests exclusively in U.S. listed preferred shares in financial companies. It has done well lately as investors have regained confidence in financial companies, mirroring the performance of their common shares. The payout varies per month, but the fund pays out a little more than 6%, and has done so consistently since the financial crisis.
If you invest equal amounts in each investment, you'll have exposure to thousands of different assets, enjoy a 8.25% yield, and have the potential for the basket to even go up a little, since there are a few undervalued stocks in there. As long as you aren't going to need the capital anytime soon, just sit back and enjoy the yield.