Joe Brown

Brown Advisory Group, LLC

Bonds for Retirement Planning

Stocks frequently steal the spotlight in the retirement planning world with their promise of potential growth. However, bonds deserve equal attention. Think of them as the quiet force behind a secure retirement, providing much-needed stability and a reliable income source.

Stability and Income

Picture your retirement portfolio as a ship on the ocean of the financial markets. Stocks are the sails, catching the wind to potentially propel you forward, but they can also create a somewhat bumpy ride. Bonds are your anchor – not as flashy, but essential for keeping your ship steady in choppy waters.

So, how do they provide that stability? Bonds tend to be less volatile than stocks. While stock prices can swing wildly, bond values are generally more predictable. As you approach retirement, that stability becomes invaluable.

Another key benefit is income generation. Bonds make regular interest payments – like a dependable paycheck for your portfolio. This income stream is crucial in retirement, supplementing other sources like Social Security or pensions to cover your living expenses.

Bonds and the Power of Diversification

The old adage, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket," rings especially true for retirement portfolios. Bonds are your way of diversifying your investments. Stocks and bonds don't always move in the same direction. When stocks dip, bonds may help soften the blow.

Let's Demystify Bonds

At their core, bonds are a type of loan. You're essentially lending money to a government (like the U.S. Treasury) or a corporation. They promise to pay you regular interest and return your initial investment (the principal) when the bond reaches maturity.

You have options when it comes to bonds:

  • Government Bonds: Think Treasury bonds or bonds issued by state and local governments. These carry a low risk of default.
  • Corporate Bonds: These are issued by companies and carry a bit more risk than government bonds, but they may offer higher interest rates.
  • Municipal Bonds ("Munis"): Issued by local governments, municipal bonds often offer tax-free interest, which adds to their appeal for retirees.

Individual Bonds vs. Bond Funds

Choosing a multitude of individual bonds can be overwhelming. Bond funds are like an "investment basket" filled with a diversified mix of bonds. You get the benefits of diversification without the hassle of hand-picking individual bonds.

Don't Forget These Important Factors

  • Interest Rate Risk: If interest rates go up, the value of your existing bonds may go down. Matching the duration of your bond holdings to your time horizon helps manage this risk.
  • Credit Risk: A bond issuer with a low credit rating is more likely to default on payments. Higher-yield bonds often carry more credit risk.

Your Retirement Roadmap

The right balance of bonds in your retirement portfolio is unique to you. As a general rule, it's wise to increase your bond holdings as you near and enter retirement. A financial advisor is invaluable in helping you find the right mix for your specific needs and ensuring your investments remain aligned with your goals at different stages of your journey.

Disclaimer: We are not encouraging the purchase of bonds, were are merely providing basic information on bonds.  Bonds are a security, please make sure you fully understand how bonds work, both their upside as well as their downside.  Seek a licensed and authorized professional for advice and direction.

Many people have learned about the power of using the Safe Money approach to reduce volatility. Our Safe Money Guide is in its 20th edition and is available for free.  

It is an Instant Download.  Here is a link to download our guide: 

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Joe Brown picture

Joe Brown

Brown Advisory Group, LLC

2445 Darwin Rd.

Suite 105

Madison, Wisconsin 53704

(608) 241-4425

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