Municipal Bonds: A Tax-Advantaged Way to Put Capital to Work

Posted on 5-16-2023

This week, Craig Siminski, of CMS Retirement Income Planning, shares with us an article discussing muni bonds and tax-exempt funds:

Municipal bonds are issued by public entities such as state and local governments, health systems, universities, and school districts to help finance the building and maintenance of infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, water systems, and facilities. Despite the higher borrowing costs that resulted from the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting interest-rate hikes, municipalities issued $308 billion in debt in 2022 to fund capital projects, after selling more than $321 billion in 2021.

At present, many municipalities are in solid financial shape, due to an influx of pandemic stimulus funds and increased income and property tax revenues. Over the longer term, a federal infrastructure bill passed in 2021 is expected to provide additional money for capital projects and help boost municipal credit quality.

This means that investors might be able to tap into the higher yields being offered on muni bonds without taking on greater risk. The yield on the Bloomberg Muni Benchmark 30Y Index, a common benchmark, rose to 3.6% at the end of 2022, after starting the year at just 1.5%.

Accounting for Taxes

The interest paid by municipal bonds is generally exempt from federal income tax, as well as from state and local taxes if the investor lives in the state where the bond was issued. For this reason, muni bonds and tax-exempt funds have long been a mainstay in the portfolios of income-focused investors who want to manage their tax burdens.

The taxable equivalent yield is the pre-tax yield that a taxable bond must offer for its yield to be equal to that of a tax-exempt muni bond. Tax-free yields are often more…

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Craig Siminski is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with more than 25 years of experience. His goal is to provide families, business owners, and their employees with assistance in building their financial freedom.

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