“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
Jim Rhon, entrepreneur/motivational speaker
As fixed-income investments, bonds are all about income. Cash flow will be consistent, based on the bond’s coupon, until the bond matures. Each day that passes, the bondholder is accruing income and shortening the bond’s maturity, even though those changes aren’t reflected in the value of their account.
The risk in bonds is in their price, which fluctuates. Bond prices are affected by many factors, including interest rates and inflation. When interest rates increase, yields increase, too, and bond prices generally move in the opposite direction.
With interest rates rising, many investors are concerned about the impact that will have on the price of their bonds, but the Federal Reserve Board has already said that rates will remain below normal levels for years to come. It’s doubtful, for example, that the yield for a 10-year Treasury will exceed 3% anytime soon.
In addition, inflation will likely remain low for some time. The U.S. inflation rate has dropped from 2.7% in February to just 1.6% in June.
And while changes in price matter, most of a bond’s return comes from its coupon. Recognize that it’s all about cash flow and you’ll understand why bonds are a safer investment than stocks.