Written by David Fabian, July 12th, 2017
The world of bond funds is generally split along two distinct lines: active and passive. You either own the benchmark or you place your bets with the fund manager who is proactively trying to beat it. Both strategies offer numerous benefits and risks depending on your investment objectives.
With a passive index, you know exactly what you own and that you are going to get every tick of associated price movement from the portfolio. There are strict rules on what securities can be admitted and when they are rebalanced. These funds also offer the lowest costs in terms of direct investment expenses.
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Written by David Fabian, January 06th, 2017
A reader recently sent me a question asking why you would own a bond fund when interest rates are on the move higher. This type of sentiment is more than likely on the minds of many investors as they prepare for 2017 and evaluate adjustments to their asset allocation.
The short answer is that every diversified portfolio should have bond exposure to balance out the risk of other asset classes – i.e. stocks and commodities. Bonds have historically provided a shock absorber for the equity side of the portfolio and have not shown any signs of relinquishing that trait. Simply letting go of all your bond exposure will unnecessarily tilt your risks and returns towards a single outcome. Read more
Written by David Fabian, December 11th, 2016
Income investors are currently facing an uptick of concern over bond holdings that is reminiscent of the 2013 taper tantrum. While it was no more than a few years ago, many are quick to forget the terror that resulted from a sharp rise in Treasury yields and concomitant fall in bond prices. I can also starkly remember just how wrong 99% of economists were on predicting the future direction of interest rates in 2014 and beyond. Read more
Written by David Fabian, November 29th, 2016
The nature of investing is one that we are constantly looking in the rear-view mirror to anticipate what our expectations are for the future. This often leads to considerable hopes that existing trends will extend indefinitely or that we will be able to easily spot any rough spots on the road ahead.
Bond investors have likely felt a sense of building confidence over the years as low volatility and global risk aversion have buoyed fixed-income prices. The relative consistency of capital growth, coupled with the “lower for longer” outlook of interest rates, has created a complacent atmosphere overall.
Written by David Fabian, September 23rd, 2016
The rise of low-cost, index-based options in the mutual fund and ETF space has created a truly amazing environment for investors. Companies like Vanguard, BlackRock, and Charles Schwab have created ways for investors to access diversified pools of stocks and bonds for very little (to almost zero) cost. This translates into more money that stays in your accounts and compounds over time. Read more