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Bonds - Are They Right For Your Portfolio?

Aug 17, 2007
For those wishing to invest their money - usually those wishing to put away a tidy nest egg for retirement or their children for school - there are a lot of decisions to make. You can't jump into just any arrangement, and especially not the first offer that comes your way. Perhaps the most pertinent question you might ask yourself when investing is, what should oneu invest in - in other words, what's good to invest in right now?

1. Put Your Money First

The final aspect of investing in bonds shouldn't be the qustion as to what you should buy or sell, but rather, how much capital you are going to gain in the form of dividends. Remember, you aren't buying stocks, you are investing. This means you expect a return on your investment.

2. Stocks

If you plan on investing in stocks, a general rule is to hold them for at least 10 years. Stocks will, over this period of time, outperform any other possible investment. Don't even think about real estate, bonds, or commodities, stocks are definately the way to go, and it is not uncommon to see returns of up to or over 10%.

Of course, that is not to say that stocks are always the safest choice. Few investors actually buy stock and hold it for ten or more years. Also, with the exception of mutual funds individuals tend not to invest in stocks in general, but rather in a particular company. Also, even then, times change because new and better technologies come to pass. General Electric no longer makes most of its revenue from light bulbs, for example.

2. Bonds

If youre going to go with a bond, first of all, expect to pay a minimum of $5,000. You will definately want to invest in a bond that is rated AA or higher, and stick to a well known, major brokerage to handle your investment. Even with inflation you can expect to make only 4% profit per year. Of course, 4% of $5,000 is only $200, but over a period of 10 years that turns into $2,000. Of course, in today's economy $2,000 won't even last a month for rent, food, utilties, etc. Even so, bonds have advantages no other instrument enjoys. Since they have a set interest rate and maturity date, their behavior is much more readily predictable, given plausible assumptions about interest rate changes and other economic factors. You can't attribute this kind of reliability to stocks, for example.

3. Currencies Or Commodities

The beginning investor should never engage in trading commodities or currencies, such as FOREX. Don't believe the hype surrounding these investments - there is a reason why so much money is floating around out there - people are losing it!

4. Real Estate

If you think that the value of real estate is always on the rise, think again. Although a great way to make substantial gains, if you are going to make any real money you have to be able to invest a lot of your capital - more than any other variety of investing. Many simply can't do it part time and try to make it their full time job. Some succeed, many fail.

5. Funds

If you are looking to make some quick cash, funds offer a great alternative to direct investing. Mutual funds, one of the more common types, pool investor money and diversify investment (usually) into a variety of instruments - stocks, bonds, currency, commodities, etc. Investors save money by not incurring a fee for every trade, but pay management fees of one kind or another (usually annual), and those can eat substantially into overall return on your investment.
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