Your money and finance


Home | Money Basics | Loans & Debt | Wealth Creation | Kids | Resources | About US

Investing in Bonds

Bonds are essentially loans to the government or a company on which you earn interest, and the issuer promises to pay you back in full by a certain date. Government bonds offer the greatest degree of security, as they are backed by the "full faith and credit" of the relevant Government. It's highly unlikely that the Government will default on repayment of this loan!

Bonds are generally referred to as "fixed-income investments" because they make regular interest payments up until the date of maturity. The longer a bond's maturity, the more its price will be affected by fluctuating interest rates. To compensate for the greater price risk, long-term bonds generally offer higher interest rates than intermediate or short-term bonds.

Over time, bonds have generally proven to provide higher returns than cash investments and to perform ahead of inflation, but are a more conservative investment than stocks.

The key benefit of bonds is income, which is usually paid every 6 months. Bond prices can fluctuate from day to day, but the income stream they provide may be very attractive for long-term investors. Bond prices typically move in the opposite direction from interest rates - when interest rates rise, bond prices drop, and vice versa.

There are a few different types of bonds:

  • Government: Secured by the Government and considered quite safe.
  • Corporate: Issued by publicly traded companies.
  • Municipal: Issued by states and local governments, the income earned is exempt from federal taxes and in some states, exempt from state taxes.
  • High-yield: Also referred to as "junk bonds" as they are speculative, high-risk, high-interest rate corporate or municipal bonds.
You should always consider the bond's safety, term, and interest rate prior to making any investment decisions.
Related Topics:

We are not certified financial planners or advisors. The information in this website is general information only. Always consult a licensed financial planner before making any finance or investment decision.

Take Control of your Money and Finance Today!
© 2008 - 2009