On average, they're yielding 7.5%. That's more than three times
theyield of the S&P 500. Try getting that amount from a money
market orsavings account .
But that's not the half of it. In tandem with those high yields,
the capital gains have been great, too. No less than 29 of the 30
securities are showing positive returns. The best performer has
gained +104.6%, yet still yields 5.3%.
This isn't the performance of some secretindex or an exclusive
hedge-fund's holdings. It's what is currently happening within the
portfolios of my
What's the secret to that sort of performance? How can you build a
similar portfolio for yourself? Don't get me wrong -- I do an
enormous amount of research and watch my holdings and the market
like a hawk. But much of the good fortune comes from sticking to a
few simple rules that you can use as well.
Over the years, these rules have proven their value inbull andbear
markets. The techniques are not complicated. Anyone can follow them
and potentially get the same results. So as a little holiday gift
to my fellow income investors, I wanted to share with you the four
basic rules I follow to build my winning
portfolios. I'm confident these tips can work for you as well:
Rule #1: Look for high yields off the beaten path
To find exceptional returns and yields, I frequently venture off
the beaten path. Some of the best yields I've found have come from
asset classes few investors know about. A case in point is Canadian
. These REITs delivered exceptional yields this year (some as high
as 12%), but many stateside investors have never heard of them. [To
read more about Canadian REITs, see my recent article on the topic
Other lesser-known securities I look at are exchange-traded bonds,
master limited partnerships (
) and income deposit securities. All of these usuallyyield more
than typical common stocks. In addition, they can also be less
volatile and hold up better during market downturns.
If you're not familiar with these securities, don't fret. I have --
and will continue to -- cover them within
, my free weekly newsletter, as well as on StreetAuthority.com.
Rule #2: Consider Alternatives to Common Stocks
It is a well-known fact that the vast majority of common stocks
simply don'tyield much. The S&P 500's averageyield is only
So when I can't find the income I want from common stocks I like, I
look elsewhere. My first stop is often preferredshares of the same
company, which almost alwaysyield more. Say you wanted to invest in
General Electric (
. The commonshares of GE currentlyyield 3.0%, but you can find
preferredshares yielding upwards of 7.0%. You still benefit from
the underlying company's backing, but with a much higheryield .
Similarly, many companies offer exchange-traded bonds. While you
don't get actual ownership of the business as you would with common
stock, you will earn a much higheryield and have yourprincipal
backed by the underlying company.
Rule #3: Look for securities trading below
Some of my highest returns have come from buying bonds when they
trade below par value. Par value is simply the
assigned to a stock orbond on the date it was issued. Most
exchange-traded bonds (which you can buy just like a share of
stock) have a par value of $25 per note.
But sometimes -- most recently during the recent market panic --
investors indiscriminately dump these bonds, pushing their prices
down. By purchasing the bonds at a discount to
, you lock in great opportunities for capital gains in addition to
A case in point was Delphi Financial Group 8% Senior Notes (which
have since been called). I purchased the notes in July 2009 for
$19.27 -- a -23% discount to par value. During the 16 months I
held, I collected $3.00 per note in interest payments while
theshares rose to their $25 par value. In total, the notes returned
more than +45%.
Rule #4: Sell when it's time
This rule may seem the most obvious, but it is also the most
difficult to follow.
Like everyone else, I hate to admit I was wrong about an
investment. But I find it even harder to watch losses mount as a
pick falls further. That's why I'm not afraid to take a loss. I
swallowed my pride and closed out several positions for losses
during the bear market , and I'm glad I did. Continuing to hold
these would have greatly reduced returns on my portfolio.
It may sound like a cliche, but knowing when to sell is just as
important as knowing when to buy. A wise investor knows when to cut
losses and move on to the next opportunity. If the security in
question is falling with the market, I may not be worried. However,
if changes in the company's operations mean it could see rocky
times ahead, I don't want a part of it.
Action to Take-->
The rules I've shared above should help guide you to higher yields
and better returns -- they've certainly done well for my
subscribers. I hope you can put them to good use in the coming
[And if you'd like to learn more about
, including how to access my full portfolios,
-- Carla Pasternak
Carla Pasternak has nearly 30 years of income investing
experience, including serving as the Director of Research for
High-Yield Investing. Read More...
P.S. Investing in dividend-paying stocks is one of the most
profitable ways to beat the market. For more on stable stocks that
will grow your money with ever-increasing dividends, see Carla
Pasternak's latest course, The 5 Rules Every Income Investor Has to
Disclosure: Neither Carla Pasternak nor StreetAuthority, LLC
hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.