If you’re getting up there in age, as I am, you are looking to eventually retire. And while that does not necessarily mean you will stop working, it does likely mean a reduction in current and expected income. It also means needing to live on what you will now be generating and protecting that income and principal.
Looking for income in today’s low-rate environment, where the Fed has increased rates twice this year and is expected to do so one more, is a relatively poor search, as interest rates have actually declined year-to-date (the 10-year is at 2.30%, compared to 2.45% at year-end 2016 and 2.27% at year-end 2015). While some bank instruments have inched up, it is not enough to change the risk/reward tradeoff, as they remain uncompetitive with yields, especially given the reduced tax treatment of qualified dividends. Bonds yields are competitive, but with no tax advantage, and unless you are able to hold them until maturity, higher interest rates could erode your principal if you need to sell them; additionally, fixed rate instruments do not necessarily move up with interest rates.