investing

29 Ways to Earn 1% - 10% on Your Money in 2017

Our ideas range from low-risk municipal bonds to high-risk mortgage REITs.

Investing in bonds feels like swimming against a powerful tide these days. Yields have risen sharply since Election Day, pushing bond prices down. The dynamic has made it tough to earn a positive return in high-grade bonds, which may suffer additional price declines.

The problem is that a long era of ultralow interest rates appears to have ended. The Federal Reserve has started raising short-term rates, and it is winding down its program of buying government bonds to help prop up prices (and keep yields down). Donald Trump’s election as president, meanwhile, has revived the prospect of stronger economic growth and inflation, which would erode the value of bonds and their fixed-income payments. Already, the yield of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has climbed from 1.8% before Election Day to 2.4% today, a huge spike in a brief span. Kiplinger forecasts that 10-year Treasury yields will be at 3% by year-end. That almost certainly means more pain ahead for holders of high-quality bonds. “We’re concerned that rates will continue to rise and returns on bonds will be low to negative,” says Laird Landmann, codirector of fixed income at TCW, which runs TCW and Met West bond funds.

Higher yields do grant one big benefit: They put more cash in your pocket from interest income. If you own short-term debt, the bonds’ prices shouldn’t fall much if rates rise modestly. And you can reinvest cash proceeds from bonds maturing in a year or two, pocketing higher market rates relatively soon. But it could take many years to recoup losses in long-term bonds if rates keep ascending. For example, if long-term interest rates were to rise by one percentage point, the price of a 30-year Treasury bond would likely decline by 20%, wiping out more than six years’ worth of interest payments.

So how do you invest for income in this climate? Limit your risk of losses from higher rates and spread your bets. Corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities yield more than Treasuries and are less sensitive to rate swings, for instance. Also appealing are some high-yielding stocks, such as real estate investment trusts and energy pipeline firms, as well as closed-end funds, many of which yield upward of 7%. Of course, several of these investments come with an elevated risk of a credit-rating downgrade or default. But layering them atop a foundation of high-quality bonds and cash can help steady your portfolio if markets head south.

Here are 29 income ideas to scoop up yields from 1% to 10%. All prices, yields and related data are as of March 31.

Most Popular

Refunds for $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break to Begin This Month
Coronavirus and Your Money

Refunds for $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break to Begin This Month

The IRS will start issuing automatic refunds sometime in May to people eligible for the unemployment benefit tax exemption.
May 1, 2021
The Benefits of Working Longer
Empty Nesters

The Benefits of Working Longer

Delaying retirement for a couple of years—or even a few months—is the most effective way to improve your retirement security.
April 29, 2021
10 Dividend Growth Stocks You Can Count On
dividend stocks

10 Dividend Growth Stocks You Can Count On

What should investors prioritize in dividend growth stocks? A history of aggressive payout expansion, and the ability to generate enough cash to keep …
May 3, 2021

Recommended

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know
Investing for Income

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know

Bonds can be more complex than stocks, but it's not hard to become a knowledgeable fixed-income investor.
July 22, 2020
Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class
Tax Breaks

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class

Your retirement contributions could be the key to a lower tax bill.
May 3, 2021
The Benefits of Working Longer
Empty Nesters

The Benefits of Working Longer

Delaying retirement for a couple of years—or even a few months—is the most effective way to improve your retirement security.
April 29, 2021
Biden Hopes to Eliminate Stepped-Up Basis for Millionaires
Tax Breaks

Biden Hopes to Eliminate Stepped-Up Basis for Millionaires

As part of his American Families Plan, President Biden wants to change the way capital assets are taxed when you die.
April 28, 2021