Are Bonds a Good Investment

Wonder what investing in bonds might entail? Start with Benzinga’s guide to determine whether bonds are the right investment for you.

Why Invest in Bonds? 

Bonds can be an important part of your investment profile, especially when it comes to the long term. Bonds offer predictable financial benefit without complicated strategies, and casual and non-investors can leverage this type of security just as easily as active traders. 

Bonds are especially popular if you’re looking to save money for a long-term goal. For example, you might buy bonds when you’re in your 20s or 30s to provide a little extra cushion at retirement. You might also buy them to give to your children to cash out when it’s time to pay for college or buy a house in adulthood. 

3 Reasons Bonds are a Good Investment 

In terms of trading, there are benefits bonds can offer that other long term investments can’t. Here are 3 reasons bonds are a good investment:

1. Bonds Provide Fixed Income 

Bonds are just another way to grow your money, so it’s important to note bonds typically provide a reliable income stream. Some may even say that bonds provide the highest income stream compared to other investment products. The stock market can be volatile.

But with bonds, even when the rates are low, there are still options to make sure you’re hitting your income targets.

2. Bonds Allow You to Diversify Your Portfolio 

Diversifying your portfolio basically means you’re making sure you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket. By investing in a variety of products, you lower your risk of losing out on a return.

For example, if you’re already trading on the stock market, it wouldn’t hurt to consider adding bonds to your investment strategy. When the stock market isn’t doing well, you can lean on your bonds to preserve your capital until the stock market has an upswing. 

3. Bonds Provide Tax Benefits 

Bonds offer tax benefits. If you trade bonds from U.S. Treasuries, you can rest easy knowing that this income is tax-free on both state and local levels.

Municipal bonds are tax-free at the federal level. And if you buy a municipal bond issued by the state you live in, you won’t need to pay state tax on it either.

Types of Bonds to Invest In 

Think of bonds like a bank loan, but you’re the bank that benefits from the interest charged. The difference in types of bonds lies in which entity issues the bond and how the funds are used. We’ve outlined 4 main types of bonds:

1. Treasury Bonds

Treasury bonds are known as the highest-quality securities you can get. They are issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and have a maturity date that can range anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

When your bond reaches maturity, the principal interest will be repaid. It will also stop earning interest. 

Like we mentioned, you won’t need to pay state or local taxes on the interest earned by these bonds. Since they’re backed by the government, there is little risk of default.

2. Sovereign Bonds

Sovereign bonds are also issued by the federal government and can be denominated in the U.S. dollar or in global reserve currency. The government uses sovereign bonds to fund government spending programs. There are different types of sovereign bonds, such as agency bonds and savings bonds.

3. Municipal Bonds

Municipal bonds are also issued by the government, but this time we’re talking about state and local governments. They’re used to fund the construction of public projects like schools, housing, highways and sewer systems. 

There are also different types of municipal bonds — general obligations bonds and revenue bonds. If you trade municipal bonds, note they are exempt from federal income tax. Your bond may be exempt from state and local taxes as well if you live in the issuing state. 

However, in some cases, your bond may be subject to federal, state and local alternative minimum tax. Although these bonds are issued by the government, municipal bonds pose a higher risk because local governments are more likely to go bankrupt than the federal government. 

4. Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds are issued by corporations to fund business expansions and large capital investments. Overall, this is a less predictable type of bond because the risk depends on the financial outlook and reputation of the company.

But corporate bonds can also provide higher rewards for your investment. Another corporate option is convertible bonds — corporate bonds that can become company stock. 

Should You Invest in Bonds When You are Young? 

It’s a myth that you can’t start investing when you have student debt on your back. If you’re a young investor, you have time on your side, and you can reinvest what you earn to generate wealth over time.  Young investors also have the time to assume more risk. Once you’re close to retirement age, you must decrease your risk in favor of earning potential and security.

Investing in bonds specifically provides a low-risk way to dip your toe in the water. A bond strategy called buy and hold allows you to buy a bond and hold onto it until it reaches maturity. By doing this, the only way you can lose money is if the issuing entity goes bankrupt and can’t repay you. 

Best Brokerages for Bond Trading 

When it comes to trading bonds, you’ll want to look for a brokerage. A broker can offer you the tools and resources to help compare and find the best bonds for your portfolio.

Some online brokers will even give you access to a fixed-income specialist to review your portfolio and make suggestions.

Here are some of the best brokerages for bond trading: 

get started securely through Webull’s website
Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Webull, founded in 2017, is a mobile app-based brokerage that features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading. It’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Webull offers active traders technical indicators, economic calendars, ratings from research agencies, margin trading and short-selling. Webull’s trading platform is designed for intermediate and experienced traders, although beginning traders can also benefit.

Webull is widely considered one of the best Robinhood alternatives.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Intermediate traders
  • Advanced traders
Pros
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
get started securely through Moomoo’s website
Best For
Active Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Moomoo is a commission-free mobile trading app available on Apple, Google and Windows devices. A subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd., it’s backed by venture capital affiliates of Matrix, Sequoia, and Tencent (NASDAQ: FUTU). Securities offered by Futu Inc., regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Moomoo is another great alternative for Robinhood. This is an outstanding trading platform if you want to dive deep into smart trading. It offers impressive trading tools and opportunities for both new and advanced traders, including advanced charting, pre and post-market trading, international trading, research and analysis tools, and most popular of all, free Level 2 quotes.

Get started right away by downloading Moomoo to your phone, tablet or another mobile device.

Best For
  • Cost-conscious traders
  • Active and Advanced traders
Pros
  • Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
  • Access trading and quotes in pre-market (4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET) and post-market hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET)
  • No minimum deposit to open an account.
Cons
  • No chat support
Get started securely through Axos Invest’s website
Best For
Sign Up Bonus
N/A
1 Minute Review

It seems like new digital investment management platforms are sprouting up left and right, and for good reason — there’s a great need for easy, straightforward investment management that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in fees or to get started. If you’re new to investing or an old hat who wants to make the switch to a virtual manager, deciding which features you need can be confusing if not overwhelming.

If you want a no-frills financial management platform, Axos Invest (formerly WiseBanyan) takes a traditional but sophisticated approach to automated online investing.

Best For
  • Traditional investors trying out an automated investor for the first time
  • New investors that want to take a hands-off approach to portfolio management
Pros
  • Straightforward automated investing
  • Relatively low account minimum and automated investing fee
  • A solid roster of available investment account types
Cons
  • Not a stand-out from other services if you’re someone who likes all the bells and whistles with your digital financial platform
  • No direct relationship with a human financial advisor
get started securely through Interactive Broker’s website
Best For
GlobalAnalyst Product
N/A
1 Minute Review

This latest groundbreaking technology is IBKR GlobalAnalyst, a new trading tool that helps investors compare the rate of PEG or price-earnings growth valuations and provide more immediate and comprehensive financial metrics of stocks, globally.

Recognizing that stock selection can be challenging for investors to compare the valuations of domestic and international stocks, Interactive Brokers created GlobalAnalyst to offer investors a simple, yet powerful tool to easily evaluate investment opportunities around the world.

Using GlobalAnalyst, investors can search for stocks by region, country, industry, market capitalization and currency to uncover undervalued stocks worldwide. The resulting table displays the current market and financial metrics, including the PEG Ratio. The PEG Ratio is the PE ratio divided by the three-year compound earnings growth rate, and smaller PEG Ratios typically indicate undervalued companies.

Best For
  • Price earnings growth valuations
Pros
  • Easily evaluate investment opportunities
Cons
get started securely through eToro’s website
Disclosure: eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal.
Best For
Copy Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

eToro is a broker that offers access to over 25 of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, forex and over 1600 stocks. They have a few unique education and useability tools. Traders can begin buying and selling in as little as 10 minutes.

eToro’s unique CopyTrader feature allows new investors to “copy” the buy and sell orders of professional investors, while the company’s eToro Club feature provides investors with a range of additional education tools and resources. 

Best For
  • Traders looking for an easy-to-use platform
  • Traders who want to practice their trades using a virtual account before entering the market
Pros
  • Simple platform that is easy to master
  • CopyTrader feature that allows new traders to copy the same strategies used by professionals
  • Virtual dummy account that gives you $100,000 to practice trades
Cons
  • High non-trading fees

Why You Should Invest in Bonds

If you’re ready to invest but want a predictable income stream, you should likely invest in bonds. No matter your age, bonds can provide security when the stock market is failing, offer additional tax benefits and diversify your portfolio. 

Whether you’re risk-averse or ready to dive in and take chances with your investments, know there really is a bond investment strategy for everyone — including you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I increase my investment in bonds as I age?

Stocks do earn more interest, but bonds are generally considered a safer investment. Some advisors recommend increasing the percentage of your portfolio committed to bonds as you age. And some bonds do bring potential tax breaks.

We recommend you speak to your financial advisor to create an investment strategy.

Q: Does it matter how long I hold on to a bond?

Yes. Bonds are sold for a fixed term from 1 to 30 years. You can sell a bond before it matures, but you run the risk of not making back your original investment.

Some people buy into a bond fund that pools a variety of bonds. This is a good way to diversify, but these funds are more volatile without a fixed price or interest rate. 

A bond’s rate is fixed at the time of purchase, and interest is paid regularly for the life of the bond. The full original investment is paid back when the bond matures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Why should you invest in bonds?

1
Why should you invest in bonds?
asked
A
1

Bonds provide tax benefits, income and diversification.

answered
Q

What are the different types of bonds?

1
What are the different types of bonds?
asked
A
1

There are several categories of bonds to include corporate, municipal, Treasury and sovereign.

answered