Bonds Articles

Liquidity: The Hidden Risk in the Municipal Market

January 2015 by Nicholos Venditti
Relatively low liquidity with infrequent trading activity for many muni bonds places an importance on portfolio structure and credit quality. Read more »

Defined-Maturity Funds: A Bond Alternative With Compromises

October 2013 by Charles Rotblut
These bond funds terminate near preset dates and can be laddered, but have caveats that should be understood. Read more »

Should You Maintain an Allocation to Bonds When Current Rates Are Low?

May 2013 by Craig Israelsen
Historical data shows an advantage to keeping bonds in a diversified portfolio even when interest rates rise sharply. Read more »

Why Buy Bonds If Interest Rates Will Rise?

May 2013 by Hildy Richelson
Starting a bond ladder creates income now and produces cash flow that can be used to reinvest if and when interest rates do rise. Read more »

Using Bonds Instead of Stocks for Portfolio Income

October 2012 by Stan Richelson
Maximizing consistent and predictable cash flow is key for meeting retirement objectives. Municipal bonds can help investors accomplish this. Read more »

Bond Strategies for Those Fearful of Inflation

June 2012 by Stan Richelson
Stronger inflation is the upside case for investors using bond ladders and holding their bonds to maturity, because of higher interest rates to reinvest into. Read more »

The Diversity of Municipal Bonds and What You Need to Know About Risks

May 2012 by Robert Doty
The bond market is split between traditional secure securities and those that are riskier, such as bonds tied to private profit-making or nonprofit borrowers. Read more »

Notes on the Current State of the Muni Bond Market

May 2012 by Annette Thau
Muni bond yields are reasonably attractive relative to Treasury yields, and fears about a rise in defaults remain totally misplaced. Read more »

How to Make Money From Bonds

October 2011 by Stan Richelson
Utilizing a bond ladder while paying attention to the yield curve can help you create a portfolio for achieving your financial goals Read more »

Seeking Tax-Free Income From Closed-End Funds

June 2011 by Michael Walters
Closed-end municipal bond funds provide income that is exempt from federal taxes, but investors should be selective when choosing among them. Read more »

Tug of War in the Bond Market

June 2011 by Marilyn Cohen
Investors worried about higher interest rates should be preemptive. Consider lowering duration and looking at variable-rate bonds. Read more »

Corporate Bond Analysis: What to Consider

May 2011 by Jason Brady
Corporate bond investors need to look beyond yield and focus on an issuer’s character, capacity, collateral and conditions. Read more »

How Safe Are Municipal Bonds?

March 2011 by Annette Thau
The odds of default are low for municipal bonds, but investors do have to contend with interest rate, headline and new bond issuance risks. Read more »

TIPS and the Nature of Inflation Protection

December 2010 by Daniel W. Wallick
The total return of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) is influenced both by trailing inflation and expectations for future inflation. Read more »

The Muni Market Turmoil Continues: What's Going on and How to Respond

January 2009 by Annette Thau
There have been a number of very bad years in the municipal bond market. But 2008 is in a league of its own--without any doubt, the worst year ever in the municipal bond market. And the most likely outlook is continued volatility. What lies behind the current declines, and a look at what actions investors may want to consider. Read more »

Turmoil in the Marketplace: What's Going on With Municipals?

May 2008 by Annette Thau
Losses from the current credit market crisis have affected bond insurance firms--firms that guarantee municipal bonds--and placed the entire municipal bond market under a cloud. There has been little clarity about how the problems affect the bonds under guarantee. Shedding some light on what's going on in the muni markets. Read more »

How to Buy Individual Bonds: A Fixed-Income Toolkit

February 2008 by Stan Richelson
Once you make the choice to invest in individual bonds, the question is: How do you buy them? Guidelines for evaluating Web sites and locating a bond broker. Read more »

EE Savings Bonds

EE Savings Bonds are low-risk, U.S. government-backed securities. Here's what you need to know before investing. Read more »

An Investor's Guide to Inflation-Protected Securities

May 2007 by Annette Thau
In 1997, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities were introduced to help protect investors against the erosion of purchasing power. One year later the concept was extended to the savings bond program. A closer look at how these securities have performed, and how they work. Read more »

An Investor's Guide to Closed-End Muni Funds

September 2006 by Annette Thau
The main promise of closed-end municipal bond funds is higher yield, but that higher yield comes at a cost of higher risk. What you should know about investing in closed-end muni funds Read more »

Cutting Through the Bond Market Fog When Shopping for Munis

May 2006 by Annette Thau
Trying to buy or sell municipal bonds? If so, you may need some help cutting through the fog of bond market pricing and trading. Shopping for bonds is not nearly as clear-cut as shopping for individual stocks. How to shop for municipal bonds, using the Internet both as a source of bonds for purchase, as well as for information. Read more »

Fine-Tuning Your Portfolio: A Look at Bond Swaps

February 2006 by Bond Market Association
Bond investing strategies range from a buy-and-hold approach to complex tactical trades involving views on inflation and interest rates. The right strategy for you depends on your goals, timeframe and risk tolerance. But if you manage a portfolio of individual bonds, one strategy you might want to consider is the bond swap. Read more »

Muni Trading Gets Real: Current Prices on the Internet

May 2005 by Annette Thau
Municipal bond trades are now reported on a real-time basis through the Web site. A look at how individual investors can use this information to buy and sell municipal bonds - and get a handle on bond commissions. Read more »

Bond Market Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment

February 2005 by Annette Thau
Bonds: The current "consensus" is that short-term interest rates are likely to rise. That leaves many questions open, including what, if anything, you should do about it. A look at strategies that will serve you best when interest rates are rising. Read more »

How to Buy International Bonds and Funds

August 2004 by Annette Thau
Bonds: Although not a must-have category, individuals with very large bond portfolios may choose to invest a small portion in the international bond area. How do you accomplish this? A look at the different options. Read more »

Climbing the Ladder: How to Manage Risk in Your Bond Portfolio

July 2004 by Steven Bohlin
Bonds: Staggering the maturities in your bond portfolio can efficiently balance interest rate risk and reinvestment risk. How to create a bond ladder. Read more »

Foreign Interest: A Closer Look at the International Bond Markets

May 2004 by Annette Thau
Bonds: Over the past few years, returns from all types of international bonds have ranged from good to spectacular. As always after good returns from a sector, the question arises: Is there still a case to be made for investing in international bonds? Read more »

TIPS for Inflation-Proofing Your Portfolio: A Guide to Inflation-Indexed Securities

February 2004 by Annette Thau
Treasury Inflation-Indexed Securities (TIPS) were introduced in 1997, and designed so that principal and interest payments would be protected against inflation. Are these right for you? A look at TIPS, TIPS funds, and I savings bonds. Read more »

Inflation Protection: I Savings Bonds

I Savings Bonds are a vehicle for protecting fixed-income investments against inflation. They are the newest and most attractive of the savings bonds. Read more »

TIPS for Inflation-Proofing Your Portfolio: A Guide to Inflation-Indexed Securities

Treasury Inflation-Indexed Securities--TIPS--were introduced in 1997, and designed so that principal and interest payments would be protected against inflation. Are these right for you? A look at TIPS, TIPS funds, and I savings bonds. Read more »

Are Junk Bonds for You? A Look at High-Yield Bonds

October 2003 by Annette Thau
One-year returns of junk bond funds averaged 20% in 2003 after a two-year slump, tracking the stock market rebound. Is now a good time for indviduals to invest in this sector? Read more »

How to Shop for Bonds: Pricing Munis on the Internet

April 2003 by Annette Thau
Buying municipal bonds is a little like buying a car--shopping around and doing some comparison. The frustrating aspect of munis is pricing and markups. The situation is improving, with pricing information slowly becoming available on the Internet. Read more »

Putting Together a Portfolio of Municipal Bond Investments

February 2003 by Annette Thau
Any decision you make about fixed-income investments regarding maturities will involve trade-offs between the amount of income generated by your portfolio and the risk to the value of principal. Read more »

Maximizing Your Profits When Investing in Bonds

January 2003 by Hildy Richelson
The experts can agree neither on which way interest rates will go next nor on what the shape of the yield curve means for interest rates in the future. However, you can still get significant information from studying the yield curve. Read more »

What You Need to know About Investing in Municipal Bonds

October 2002 by Annette Thau
Munis deserve their popularity among individual investors. They are sound and relatively uncomplicated instruments. Nonetheless, buying individual municipal bonds is not quite as simple as buying Treasuries. Read more »

Investing in U.S. Treasuries and the Treasury Direct Program

April 2002 by Annette Thau
Treasuries have a number of features that make them extremely attractive to individual investors. And if you buy through Treasury Direct, you eliminate all commission costs as well as any cost for maintaining an account. Read more »

Bond Basics: An Investor's Guide to the Many Meanings of Yield

The term "yield" can be confusing to investors because it has a number of different meanings. Even more confusing is the fact that these meanings are not directly comparable for individual bonds and for bond funds. Read more »

You CAN Lose With Bonds

Many investors put money in bonds to receive interest income and assume their original investment - their principal - will not change in value. However, this assumption is wrong! What you can do to protect your money. Read more »

Why Bond Prices Go Up and Down

Since the late 1970s, changes in the interest rate environment have become the greatest single determinant of bond returns, and managing interest rate risk has become the most critical variable in the management of bond portfolios. Read more »

How Credit Ratings Affect Bond Valuations

Since the late 1970s, changes in the interest rate environment have become the greatest single determinant of bond returns, and managing interest rate risk has become the most critical variable in the management of bond portfolios. Read more »

Bond Basics for Individuals: A Guide to Buying and Selling

In the bond markets, individual investors--even the wealthy--are all little guys. To protect your own interests, if you want to buy individual bonds you need to become an informed investor. Read more »