Editor's pick: Originally published June 22.
It's obvious (or should be) that you'll ultimately be on the hook for all the debt our leaders have created. You're already aware that socking away money in your 401(k) or IRA is a good first step to reducing your taxes.
But a tax-deferred retirement plan simply isn't enough, unless you enjoy writing checks to the IRS. Here are two great tax-busting investments that confer growth and income, while slashing the amount of money you pay Uncle Sam.
Enterprise Products Partners is a great master limited partnership (MLP) right now. A crucial criterion to be legally classified as an MLP is that the partnership must derive more than 90% of its cash flows from real estate, natural resources and commodities.
The advantage of an MLP is that it combines the tax benefits of a limited partnership with the liquidity of a publicly traded company.
The most popular MLPs are devoted to energy and they were all the rage when oil prices hovered at $110 a barrel in mid-2014, but many of the weakest energy MLPs have taken a beating as oil prices plummeted. Over the past 12 months, the benchmark Alerian MLP ETF has plunged 20.34%.
MLPs still present a highly appealing wealth-building tactic that also allows you to minimize taxes. You just need to know where to look.
In a midstream space that's gotten clobbered in recent months, EPD is one of the few MLPs still held in high regard by investors. This MLP has survived the bloodbath in the energy sector, and for good reason.
EPD's solid reputation largely stems from its prudence. Unlike its more reckless peers, which pursued distribution growth at all costs and now shoulder unsustainable debt, EPD typically retains a portion of distributable cash flow (DCF) to reinvest in its business. In 2015, for example, that amount totaled around $2.6 billion.
One of the keys to EPD's financial strength is that it doesn't have to take on the burden of incentive distribution rights (IDRs), which give a general partner (GP) first claim to a significant portion of an MLP's cash flow.
That's courtesy of management's foresight to engineer a deal in 2010, whereby the MLP subsidiary acquired its GP and eliminated the IDRs. Though IDRs can help spur distribution growth, over time this obligation can undermine distribution coverage, while leading to a high cost of capital.
While many MLPs are struggling to sustain their payouts amid the energy crash, EPD managed to cover its distribution by 1.3-times for full-year 2015.
EPD is reasonably well insulated from the energy sector's protracted slump. Nearly three-quarters of its revenue is derived from customers with an investment-grade credit rating. The current dividend yield stands at 5.70%.
Realty Income is a great real estate investment trust (REIT).
REITs invest in real estate through property or mortgages and trade on major exchanges just like a stock. They provide investors with an extremely liquid stake in real estate, confer special tax advantages and offer high dividend yields.
REITs are required by law to maintain dividend payout ratios of at least 90%, making them a favorite for income-seeking investors. Here's a look at one of our favorite right now.
Realty Income is a REIT that holds over 4,300 properties owned under long-term lease agreements with regional and national retail chains and other commercial enterprises.
Realty Income should do well this year. This REIT encompasses 234 commercial tenants, 79% of which are retailers. Over the last five and 10 years, Realty Income's dividend growth has averaged around 5%-to-6% and this REIT is on a path to become an S&P Dividend Aristocrat at the beginning of 2020.
Realty Income in December 2015 added half a cent to its payout, to over 19 cents per share, the 83rd raise since the REIT went public in 1994. Current yield: 3.73%.
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