Bondholder

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DEFINITION of 'Bondholder'

The owner of a government or corporate bond. Being a bondholder is often considered safer than being a shareholder because if a company liquidates, it must pay its bondholders before it pays its shareholders. Being a bondholder entitles one to receive regular interest payments, if the bond pays interest (usually semiannually or annually), as well as a return of principal when the bond matures.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bondholder'

Bonds are generally perceived as being low risk, but the level of risk is dependent upon the type of bond in question. For example, holding corporate bonds will yield higher returns than holding government bonds, but they come with greater risk. Bonds are also subject to interest rate risk, reinvestment risk, inflation risk, credit/default risk, liquidity risk and rating downgrades. An advantage of being a bondholder is that some bonds are exempt from federal, state or local income taxes.

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