Now you know the basics of bonds. Not too complicated, is it? Here is a recap of what we discussed:
- Bonds are just like IOUs. Buying a bond means you are lending out your money.
- Bonds are also called fixed-income securities because the cash flow from them is fixed.
- Stocks are equity; bonds are debt.
- The key reason to purchase bonds is to diversify your portfolio.
- The issuers of bonds are governments and corporations.
- A bond is characterized by its face value, coupon rate, maturity and issuer.
- Yield is the rate of return you get on a bond.
- When price goes up, yield goes down, and vice versa.
- When interest rates rise, the price of bonds in the market falls, and vice versa.
- Bills, notes and bonds are all fixed-income securities classified by maturity.
- Government bonds are the safest bonds, followed by municipal bonds, and then corporate bonds.
- Bonds are not risk free. It's always possible - especially in the case of corporate bonds - for the borrower to default on the debt payments.
- High-risk/high-yield bonds are known as junk bonds.
- You can purchase most bonds through a brokerage or bank. If you are a
citizen, you can buy government bonds through TreasuryDirect. U.S.
- Often, brokers will not charge a commission to buy bonds but will mark up the price instead.
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