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Special Report

Morningstar's Income Investing Week

Get portfolio tips and investment picks in dividends, bonds, and other income-payers.

In just a few weeks, the Fed may very well move to raise short-term interest rates for the first time since the bank dropped them to zero during the financial crisis. One group that may be happy about tighter monetary policy is retirees, who have been struggling to squeeze an income stream out of the market for years now.

But even if there is a hike in December, the low-interest-rate environment isn't going away anytime soon. The Fed is likely to move very cautiously in its rate of increases, given the still-low levels of inflation and slow economic growth.

So how can investors navigate a low-yield environment that could be with us for years to come? This week on Morningstar.com, we looked at how to create a portfolio optimized for income as well as the opportunities and pitfalls of a variety of popular income-producing asset classes, such as dividend-paying stocks and bonds.

Quick List: Income Week Picks

3 Reliable Dividend-Paying Stocks
Morningstar's Josh Peters surveys the dividend-stock landscape today, discusses expectations for dividend growth, and shares a few of his favorite names.

Our Favorite Dividend-Growth Funds and ETFs
While their yields aren't especially high, these funds look good from the bottom up.

18 Standout Bond Funds
Here are some of Morningstar's favorite funds across high- and low-quality, U.S. and foreign, and taxable and tax-free categories.

2 MLPs That Stay Afloat When Energy Prices Sink
MLPs that are closer to the consumer will see more consistent demand, volumes, and fees, says Morningstar's Josh Peters.

Niche Funds for Yield Seekers
Daring investors can round out their income portfolios with small--very small--dashes of real estate, energy, and utilities.

Monday: Portfolio Strategies for Income

Income vs. Total Return: Who Says You Need to Take Sides?
Don't get hung up on labels; the best approach melds both strategies.

Pros and Cons of Income-Generating Strategies in Retirement
Living off of current yields is just one way to extract the cash flow you need.

Income Seekers: 4 Mistakes to Avoid
Low bond yields and the prospect of rising rates have the potential to trip up yield-focused stock and bond investors.

How Your Investment Income Is Taxed
A quick rundown of how the income produced by different investment types is treated at tax time.

Optimizing a Retirement Portfolio for Income
Archive: Long-term government bonds, emerging-markets debt, and preferred stocks may take more prominence for retirees who wish to live solely off a portfolio's income stream, says Morningstar Investment Management's David Blanchett.

Tuesday: Dividend Stocks

3 Reliable Dividend-Paying Stocks
Morningstar's Josh Peters surveys the dividend-stock landscape today, discusses expectations for dividend growth, and shares a few of his favorite names.

3 Signs of a Safe Dividend
The interplay of several elements--economic moats, strong finances, and balanced payout ratios--creates a reliable stream of dividends, says Morningstar's Josh Peters.

Our Favorite Dividend-Growth Funds and ETFs  
While their yields aren't especially high, these funds look good from the bottom up.

The Ultimate Stock-Pickers’ Top 10 Dividend Stocks
Top managers' focus on high-quality dividend-paying stocks should limit the negative impact of more volatile global equity markets.

Dividends and Taxes: Dos and Dont's
Taxes on qualified dividends are low, but investors can still encounter unwelcome surprises.

Wednesday: Fixed Income

Balancing Income and Diversification in a Bond Portfolio
Reaching for yield can often come at the expense of diversification, says Morningstar's Sarah Bush.

Bond Funds: The Pros and Cons of Going Passive
Index funds' low fees are a big advantage, but investors shouldn't look at expenses in isolation when picking a bond fund, says Morningstar's Ben Johnson.

18 Standout Bond Funds
Here are some of Morningstar's favorite funds across high- and low-quality, U.S. and foreign, and taxable and tax-free categories.

Individual Bonds: The Answer for Rising Rates?
Individual bonds can be held to maturity but have a few key drawbacks, too.

A Checklist for Taxable-Bond-Fund Investors
Five considerations for those investing in fixed-income funds.

A Checklist for Muni Bond Investors
Six considerations for those considering an investment in municipal bonds.

Thursday: Alternative Income Securities

2 MLPs That Stay Afloat When Energy Prices Sink
MLPs that are closer to the consumer will see more consistent demand, volumes, and fees, says Morningstar's Josh Peters.

Niche Funds for Yield Seekers
Daring investors can round out their income portfolios with small--very small--dashes of real estate, energy, and utilities.

Should You Invest in MLPs?
Master limited partnerships may hold appeal for income seekers, but mind their complexity and risks, says contributor John Waggoner.

 

Friday: Opportunities and Pitfalls in Income Investing Today

Opportunities and Pitfalls in Income Investing Today
From dividend payers to intermediate-bond funds and more, we survey the risks and rewards for investors seeking income in the market.

These All-in-One Funds Deliver Income, but Not Without Bumps
Conservative-allocation funds with junky bond portfolios have beaten their high-quality counterparts, but can it continue?