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Safe Money Eyes Dividend Aristocrats

01/31/2020 5:00 am EST

Focus: FUNDS

Mike Larson

Editor, Weiss' Safe Money Report & Under-the-Radar Stocks

Investors are craving investments that generate more income in a world where it’s so hard to find them. Look, we all know rock-bottom interest rates can help home buyers, notes Mike Larson, editor of Weiss Ratings' Safe Money Report.

They can make it somewhat cheaper to buy a car or carry credit card debt. But they’re a killer for retirees, workers, and investors trying to generate safe, reliable income from their investments, without taking on excessive risks. It’s clear the Federal Reserve doesn’t really care about the plight of prudent savers.

Policymakers have already cut short-term rates three times since last summer. And if anything, their comments indicate they’re more likely to cut rates further rather than hike them in 2020. This isn’t some minor problem.

It’s more like a national income emergency! And it clearly merits focusing on stocks, ETFs and more specialized investments that spin off market beating, consistent, reliable income.

Things aren’t looking too shabby in our Dynamic Income Portfolio. It is time to put you into a fund that’s generating income “fit for a king.” I’m talking about the CBOE Vest S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Target Income ETF (KNG).

KNG is a newer, $48 million ETF sponsored by Cboe Vest Financial LLC with a unique strategy. It owns shares of S&P 500 companies that have proven to not just pay, but raise, their dividends steadily and consistently for a quarter century. You heard that right: 25 years! Only around 50-60 S&P companies have been qualifying recently.

In early January, the most heavily weighted stocks in the ETF hailed from a diversified mix of sectors. They included drug makers like Abbvie (ABBV) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), data provider S&P Global (SPGI) and toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker (SWK).

But KNG doesn’t just collect the generous payouts from these appropriately named dividend aristocrats. The ETF also employs a “covered call writing” strategy, writing (or selling) call options on up to 20% of each stock holding. If you’ve been following my work recently, you know I’ve been discussing the benefits of writing options to generate income.

But if you’re not familiar with how it works, here are some quick basics: A call option gives its holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy an underlying stock at a specified price before a certain expiration date. Each options contract covers 100 shares of any given security, known as a round lot.

When you write a call option, you receive an upfront payment — or premium — from the buyer. Effectively, you give up the right to some degree of stock price appreciation. But you get a payment up front for your trouble.

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