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Portfolio > Mutual Funds > Bond Funds

Payout funds show increased popularity

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With the promise of a wave of baby boomers leaving the work force, a plethora of new income-generating products are available for retirees. According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest products are payout mutual funds.

These funds offer an alternative to people who want to avoid the high fees and complexity of annuities. In October, Fidelity Investments unveiled 11 income replacement funds. The funds charge 0.54 percent to 0.65 percent in annual expenses, and each pays a monthly dividend between now and its “maturity” date, which ranges from 2016 to 2036. Under Fidelity’s Smart Payment program, customers’ accounts are gradually liquidated between now and the fund’s maturity date to create a monthly income stream that rises with inflation. The drawbacks to the fund are that customers could outlive the income it provides, and, if the fund is held in a taxable account, they could be required to report capital gains and losses.

Fidelity isn’t the only company to create funds like these. John Hancock has two payout funds in the works, and Charles Schwab just introduced its Premier Income fund, which will combine mainstream and exotic securities.

Beginning in early 2008, Vanguard will offer three payout funds that will own conventional stocks and bonds, as well as allocate money to inflation-indexed bonds, real-estate investment trusts, commodity-linked investments and a market-neutral fund, all of which have a history of posting gains when mainstream investments suffer.


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