Loading the player...

What is a 'Treasury Bond - T-Bond'

A Treasury bond (T-bond) is a marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest payments semi-annually, and the income received is only taxed at the federal level. Treasury bonds are known in the market as primarily risk-free; they are issued by the U.S. government with very little risk of default.

BREAKING DOWN 'Treasury Bond - T-Bond'

Treasury bonds (T-bonds) are one of four types of debt issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to finance the government’s spending activities. The four types of debt are Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). The securities vary by maturity and coupon payments. All of them are considered benchmarks to their comparable fixed-income categories since they are virtually risk-free, backed by the U.S. government, which can raise taxes and increase revenue to ensure full payments. These investments are also considered benchmarks in their respective fixed-income categories as they offer a base risk-free rate of investment with the categories' lowest return.

[ Bonds, whether they are treasury bonds or other classes, are almost always a key component of a balanced investment portfolio. To learn the basics of investing and how to create diverse and risk-averse investment portfolio, check out Investopedia Academy's Investing for Beginners course. ]

Treasury Bond Maturity Ranges

Treasury bonds are issued with maturities that can range from 10 to 30 years. They are issued with a minimum denomination of $1,000, and coupon payments on the bonds are paid semi-annually. The bonds are initially sold through auction in which the maximum purchase amount is $5 million if the bid is noncompetitive or 35% of the offering if the bid is competitive. A competitive bid states the rate the bidder is willing to accept; it is accepted depending on how it compares to the set rate of the bond. A noncompetitive bid ensures the bidder gets the bond, but he has to accept the set rate. After the auction, the bonds can be sold in the secondary market.

There is an active secondary market for Treasury bonds, making the investments highly liquid. The secondary market also makes the price of Treasury bonds fluctuate considerably on the trading market. As such, current auction and yield rates of Treasury bonds dictate their pricing levels on the secondary market. Similar to other types of bonds, Treasury bonds on the secondary market see prices go down when auction rates increase, as the value of the bond’s future cash flows is discounted at the higher rate. Inversely, when prices increase, auction rate yields decrease.

In the fixed-income market, Treasury bond yields help to form the yield curve, which includes the full range of investments offered by the U.S. government. The yield curve diagrams yields by maturity and is most often upward sloping, with lower maturities offering lower rates than longer-dated maturities. However, when longer maturities are in high demand, the yield curve can be inverted, which shows longer maturities with rates lower than shorter-term maturities.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Long Bond

    The long bond is a 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond, the bond with ...
  2. Treasury Yield

    Treasury yield is the return on investment, expressed as a percentage, ...
  3. Government Paper

    Government Paper are debt securities that are issued or guaranteed ...
  4. Treasury Note

    A treasury note is a marketable U.S. government debt security ...
  5. Federally Guaranteed Obligations

    Federally guaranteed obligations are debt securities issued by ...
  6. Fixed-Income Security

    A fixed income security is an investment that provides a return ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Find the Right Bond at the Right Time

    Learn about the types of bonds you should consider investing in, when you should be buying them and how to compare yields against their time to maturity.
  2. Financial Advisor

    Top 4 Treasurys ETFs (SHY, IEI)

    Learn about the specifics of the top four U.S. Treasury ETFs and how investors can buy ETFs that invest in bonds along the yield curve.
  3. Investing

    How Bond Market Pricing Works

    Want to know how bond price are determined? Learn the basic rule of the bond market.
  4. Investing

    IEI: iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF

    Take a closer look at the iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF, which is a BlackRock issue focused on intermediate maturity government bonds.
  5. Retirement

    How to Pick the Right Bonds For Your IRA

    Learn about the best types of bonds to include in an IRA depending on an investor's risk tolerance. Understand the tax benefits of holding bonds in an IRA.
  6. Investing

    Surprise! The Best Long-term Bond Investment May Be Savings Bonds

    A 20-year Series EE savings bond pays more interest than a 20-year Treasury bond. So are government-issued long-term bonds the best bet going?
  7. Investing

    How To Choose The Right Bond For You

    Bond investing is a stable and low-risk way to diversify a portfolio. However, knowing which types of bonds are right for you is not always easy.
  8. Investing

    Understanding Bond Prices and Yields

    Understanding this relationship can help an investor in any market.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How is the interest rate on a treasury bond determined?

    Explore the difference between interest rates and bond coupons, what determines current yield on debt instruments, and why ... Read Answer >>
  2. When is a bond's coupon rate and yield to maturity the same?

    Find out when a bond's yield to maturity is equal to its coupon rate, and learn about the components of bonds and how they ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Gross Profit

    Gross profit is the profit a company makes after deducting the costs of making and selling its products, or the costs of ...
  2. Diversification

    Diversification is the strategy of investing in a variety of securities in order to lower the risk involved with putting ...
  3. Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic value is the perceived or calculated value of a company, including tangible and intangible factors, and may differ ...
  4. Current Assets

    Current assets is a balance sheet item that represents the value of all assets that can reasonably expected to be converted ...
  5. Volatility

    Volatility measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates.
  6. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
Trading Center