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Where should I invest for income?
Coverage to help you earn safe and ample investment income.

Jason's Answers

The dark side of the muni
09/21/2004: Money Magazine
Municipal bonds seem safe, but buying or selling them is fraught with peril. Protect yourself.

Rethinking Income
09/01/2003: Money Magazine, Vol. 32 No. 9
Do You Really Need That Monthly Income To Make Ends Meet Or Are You Just Looking For Safety? For Many Investors, The Problem Of Falling Rates Is Not As Dire As It Seems

Looking For a Bounce
07/01/2003: TIME Magazine
Wall Street is flogging preferred stocks. Be careful what you buy.

The Trust-No-One Investing Plan
06/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Corporate scandals got you scared of stocks? Try bonds, whose returns aren\'t as low as you think.

New Cause for Caution on Stocks
05/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Fresh research challenges the historical rate of return on equities. Look to bonds for more balance.

Online chat at Morningstar.com
03/01/2002: www.morningstar.com
Among other things, Jason discusses investment risk, diversification, index funds, market timing, and how the mutual fund industry should get its act together. (Note: free registration required.)

Give Us Our Dividends
02/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Technology companies like Microsoft and Cisco are piling up cash. Shouldn`t they pay some of it out to shareholders?

Ground Zero
06/29/2000: money.com
Zero-coupon bonds are a good way to lock in a rate of return. Just be prepared for a rocky ride.

Investing for retirement and income
06/06/2000: CNN
In this appearance on CNN’s “In the Money,” Jason recommends some mutual funds and strategies to improve retirement security.

Why buy bonds?
12/03/1999: money.com
These days, everybody seems to be filling their portfolio with nothing but stocks. Jason explains why this can be a risky strategy.

“Expert Q&A”
08/01/1999: morningstar.com
In this online chat, Jason fields questions from Morningstar users about everything from stock-picking “systems” to index funds, how and why to use a broker, investing in corporate bankruptcies, saving for college, the fine points of bond funds, and the ethics of financial journalism. [Conversation 676: in the “Jump to #” box, enter 676]

In defense of diversification
07/28/1999: money.com
Zweig answers critics who wonder why anyone would possibly want to invest in anything other than U.S. stocks.

Bond Funds Are a Hit
06/01/1997: Money Magazine
A buying guide and ownership manual for bond funds.

Don`t Believe the Bull: Bond Funds Do Have a Place
06/01/1998: Money Magazine
Why almost every investor can benefit from owning a bond fund.

Muni-Bond Bargains: The Devil’s in the Details
01/31/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Municipal bonds have been left for dead in the market, but you must shop wisely.

The Time to Tame Inflation is Before It Strikes
06/27/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Why Treasury Inflation Protected Securities still make sense.

Should You Buy Municipal Bonds Individually or in a Fund?
02/03/2009: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post on how to tell how you should own munis.

Don`t Trip in Your Search for Higher Bond Yields
09/19/2009: The Wall Street Journal
How to avoid the coming trouble in bond funds.

Are You Too Late for the Junk-Bond Party?
11/28/2009: The Wall Street Journal
In pursuit of income, should you bail out of money-market funds and CDs to buy high-yield bonds?

Reach for Stock Yield, and You Might Just Get Bitten
12/12/2009: The Wall Street Journal
The difference between fixed income and dividend income, and why it matters.

High Yields Aren’t Always a Good Thing
02/20/2010: The Wall Street Journal
The fat dividends on closed-end funds can get skinny in a hurry.

Why You Should Get a Bigger Slice of Earnings
03/13/2010: The Wall Street Journal
When will companies fork over higher dividends to investors?

Another Can`t Miss Deal That Can Miss Spectacularly
07/24/2010: The Wall Street Journal
A look under the hood of `secondary-market income annuities.`

Downside Protection Has Its Downsides
09/04/2010: The Wall Street Journal
What your insurance agent might not tell you about equity-indexed annuities.

The Bond `Bubble`: Are Small Investors Taking Too Big a Bet?
10/02/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Is it the little guy or the so-called ``smart money``who is taking the risk of rising interest rates?

The Man Who Called the Financial Crisis -- 70 Years Early
11/6/2010: The Wall Street Journal
A look at economist Melchior Palyi, who predicted how regulatory hubris and bungled credit ratings could lead to a financial crisis.

Preferred Stock: Are Those Juicy Yields Worth the Extra Risk?
02/05/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The pursuit of high income has its pitfalls.

Bonds Shrug Off Revised Outlook
04/19/2011: The Wall Street Journal
As Standard & Poor`s downgrades the credit rating of the U.S., what is likely to happen?

Own Government Bonds? Here`s Something Else to Fret About
05/21/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The coming of `financial repression` could mean painfully low returns for a painfully long time.

How Long Will the Tax Break on Municipal Bonds Last?
05/07/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Will Congress make tax-free bonds taxable?

How Inflation-Protected Funds Get to Inflate Their Yields
04/30/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The oddity that enables TIPS funds to report report `yields` three times higher than those of the bonds they hold.

The Debt Crisis: If Treasury Bonds Aren`t Safe, What Is?
07/16/2011: The Wall Street Journal
With new doubts about Uncle Sam`s debts, a look at what the new safe havens might be.

How Much Will `Floating Rate` Funds Really Float?
06/18/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Floating-rate or bank-loan funds are hot, but they have changed in ways investors need to understand.

`Junk` ETFs: Tread Lightly
03/17/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Has the enormous growth of high-yield ETFs distorted the market for junk bonds?

The Dividend-Fund Dilemma
04/07/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Do the investors who have poured billions of dollars into dividend-oriented funds understand the risks?

Are Bond Rates on a Road to Nowhere?
06/09/2012: The Wall Street Journal
The `bond vigilantes` who used to bring discipline to interest rates have been run out of town.

High Rates? Are You Delirious?
07/14/2012: The Wall Street Journal
A look at the Cornerstone funds, which give investors their own money back and call it `yield.`

Will These Royal Yields Rule?
08/25/2012: The Wall Street Journal
The enormous income yields on royalty trusts may be too good to last.

For Muni Investors, November May Be a No-No
11/04/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Research suggests that municipal bonds tend to be unduly cheap in November and December.

Dividends: Start Screaming
10/13/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Get ready for taxes to take a bigger bite out of your dividend income -- and what investors might be able to do about it.

In a Low-Rate World, Everything Is a Real-Estate Play
10/27/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Real-estate investment trusts are hot, and just about everything imaginable is turning into a REIT.

At Long Last, Could the Dividend Revolution Be Here?
12/29/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Companies should consider returning to the way dividends were paid in the 19th century -- variably but generously.

Should You Bottle Up Your Money in `Baby Bonds`?
11/24/2012: The Wall Street Journal
A look at bonds with tiny, $25 denominations and fat yields of up to 7.4%.

No Easy Money in Munis
12/01/2012: The Wall Street Journal
A flood of money fleeing higher tax rates has driven up the prices of municipal bonds.

Are You Brilliant, or Lucky?
12/08/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Why are investors pouring money into actively managed bond funds despite the massive evidence that bond index funds will do better?

How Apple`s Fall Bit Bondholders, Too
01/26/2013: The Wall Street Journal
People who thought they were buying short-term bonds ended up paying an arm and a leg for Apple stock as it plunged.

It`s Hard to Limit U.S. Stock Exposure
02/02/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Do the investors barging into high-yield bonds realize that their performance closely tracks the stock market?

Emerging Markets: Should You Bond With Azerbaijan?
03/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Emerging-markets bond funds may have gotten too popular to produce good future returns.

Is Anything Cheap?
03/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
With stock and bond markets up sharply around the globe, what`s an investor to do?

Upstart Fund Beats Its Daddy
04/06/2013: The Wall Street Journal
How does the Pimco Total Return ETF manage to beat the daylights out of the Pimco Total Return mutual fund?

The Bond Market Can`t Be This Easy to Beat -- Can It?
04/12/2013: The Wall Street Journal
The simple explanation for why so many bond funds are outperforming: They are taking risks that their investors are going to regret.

Do Junk-Bond Investors Have Garbage for Brains?
11/16/2012: WSJ Total Return Blog
Those calling individual investors the `dumb money` should look in the mirror first.

How Funky Is Your 401(k)?
06/01/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Here come unconventional bond funds for retirement investors. Think twice.

What`s Eating Your Munis?
06/08/2013: The Wall Street Journal
You can easily fork the entire first year`s worth of income on a tax-free bond over to your broker in trading costs. Here`s how to do better.

Tapping Your Portfolio in the Great Income Drought
07/13/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Can `covered calls` raise your return when other income-oriented strategies yield almost nothing?

The Forgotten Funds That Are Suddenly Drawing Crowds
07/20/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Unit investment trusts, long neglected, are hot again. Should you invest in a UIT?

06/11/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Responses to questions from readers about how best to buy municipal bonds.

Detroit Files Bankruptcy (2013), Michigan Defaults (1842)
07/19/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
The bankruptcy of Detroit isn`t the first big bond bust in Michigan. A look at what happened 170 years ago.

Other Resources

Efficient Frontier

Link to William J. Bernstein's "Efficient Frontier" online newsletter, where he serves up opinion that is, at one and the same time, both biting and mathematically rigorous, both challenging and fun to read. Full of righteous anger at the knaves and nincompoops who dish out most financial advice, Bernstein is an invigorating breath of fresh air.

Bogle Financial Markets Research Center

This site, featuring John C. Bogle's speeches and research papers, enables you to keep up with the latest thinking of the founder of the Vanguard Group. Jack Bogle is probably the best friend the individual investor has ever had, and the materials archived here are rich with insights into how the money management business really works and how you can take control of your own financial destiny.

Return to Your Questions by Topic

JasonZweig.com is my place to tell you what I think about a whole lot of investing stuff. I’m the only one responsible for my opinions, but I can’t guarantee they’ll always be right. If you don’t like what I say or it turns out to be wrong, I’m sorry; you can’t sue me. The material you find here is not meant as specific investing advice for you, and if you use it that way and something goes wrong, that’s your problem, not mine. To get individualized investing advice, you need to do your own homework or else hire a financial advisor, a tax professional, or a lawyer to do it for you (and even then, you’d better watch like a hawk!). If you think anything on this website is an invitation for you to buy or sell any investment, you need to get your head examined. What’s more, I’m not soliciting business of any kind, because I don’t have any business to solicit. (Believe it or not, I don’t want your money.) I’ll do my best to avoid any conflicts of interest in running this website, but I don’t have silvery wings and a halo, and somebody might manage to corrupt me. If that happens, it’s your job to notice and to be disgusted by it. In short, none of my best efforts to be honest, sensible, and trustworthy exempt you from your constant duties to treat what I say with the same skepticism you should treat anyone’s pontification about investing. I wish you good luck!

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