Retirement & Financial Planning Report

If you’re investing in municipal bonds or a municipal bond fund for income, consider a “closed-end” muni fund instead. Such funds hold a mix of bonds yet they trade like stocks, usually on an exchange. Closed-ends funds generally trade at a discount or premium to the value of the underlying securities. Closed-end muni funds (national and single-state) often trade at discounts, some as great as 15%. This means that you’re able to buy $1,000 worth of municipal bonds for $950, $900, even $850. Some funds from companies such as Colonial, MFS, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Nuveen, and Putnam have solid ratings from Morningstar and offer yields up to 8%, tax-exempt. Your best choices are funds that have been around for several years, paying hefty dividends with modest price fluctuations.