Fixed Income & Bonds
Fixed income investments generally pay a return on a fixed schedule, though the amount of the payments can vary. Individual bonds may be the best known type of fixed income security, but the category also includes bond funds, ETFs, CDs, and money market funds.
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Bonds make interest payments and repay the principal on a fixed schedule. Interest and principal payments are subject to the creditworthiness of the issuer.
Bond mutual funds invest primarily in individual bonds. Many make periodic dividend payments based on the interest paid by the bonds held in the fund.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are baskets of investments that trade as a single unit throughout the day.
CDs offer FDIC insurance,* providing a guarantee of the invested principal up to certain limits.
Money market funds are managed to help preserve your principal by investing in lower-risk debt securities with shorter maturities.
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An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.
In general, the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk, liquidity risk, call risk, and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so holding them until maturity to avoid losses caused by price volatility is not possible.
High yield/non-investment grade bonds involve greater price volatility and risk of default than investment grade bonds.