After a wild year in financial markets, many investors ended 2020 with at least a thing or two to smile about. Stocks overall posted solid gains for the year, and coronavirus vaccines are slowly being doled out to the public, bolstering hopes for economic growth this year.
But with interest rates so low, these are rough times for fixed-income investors who need income now from their portfolios. Here’s some advice from investment pros for those investors, as well as those with fixed-income portfolios geared more toward the medium or long term.
If you need income now
For investors in or near retirement, finding income-generating investments has become a tall order. In addition to the low yields on fixed-income investments, last year was one of the worst for stock dividends.
Dividends generally are projected to rebound this year, but when it comes to fixed income, investors might have to get creative. Ken Leech, chief investment officer at fixed-income investment firm Western Asset Management, says the options for income will be limited over the short term but there are areas that offer some opportunities.
“There are high-quality bank loans that are trading at discounts and have the opportunity to provide income to investors,” Mr. Leech says. “Bank loans have been out of favor because there were fears about what would happen with the pandemic, but we haven’t seen deterioration in high-quality loans.”