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How to Invest for Income – Consider Preferred shares

It can be difficult for investors to find more income in a world where many investments are now paying close to zero percent returns.

Preferred shares are an interesting diversification for any investment portfolio that are often overlooked.

Preferred shares also go by the name of “preferred stock” or “preference shares”.

Preferred stock usually carries no voting rights, but usually pay a dividend. The term “preferred” is applied because this class of shares has rights that are above those of ordinary stock.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to preferred shares.


– A higher yield than an ordinary stock – preferred shares are routinely paying around 6-7% yield

– Preferred shares dividends must be paid in full before any dividends are paid to ordinary shares

– In the event of a corporate bankruptcy, preferred shares are ahead of common shareholders – although in reality if a company is liquidated it is rare for preference shareholders to receive any substantial return of capital

– In a volatile market, preferred shares tend to drop less in value when a market declines


– Preferred share values are similar to bonds in that they are sensitive to interest rates changes . Ie – If interest rates go up, then share valuations of preferred stocks will usually decline (and vice versa). This is due to the fixed nature of the preferred shares dividends

– Unlike bonds, preferred shares do not have a maturity date so the holder will not receive a return of the investment principle at the end of a given time. This means in a period of high and increasing interest rates, the value of preferred shares will continue to decline.

When to hold Preferred Stocks

Preferred stocks should be part of a well diversified income portfolio. These should combine with a laddered bond portfolio of differing maturity dates, risk and yields.

How to invest in Preferred Stocks

There are two choices when investing in preferred shares. Either preferred shares in individual companies can be held, or alternatively ETF’s can be used to hold a basket of preferred stocks with minimum administration. A good example of this is the iShares S&P US Pref Stock Idx Fnd (ETF) which goes by the trading symbol “PFF”.

Accountants Ongar – Transform AccountingEssex Accountants

Disclaimer – The information presented in this article is intended for education purposes and is not intended to be used as the sole basis for any investment decision nor should it be construed as advice intended to meet the investment needs of any investor. The author may hold positions referred to in this article. Please perform your own research or contact a qualified financial adviser prior to making any investment decisions.

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