Interest Rate Freight Train

Interest Rate Freight Train

In May of 2013, a small rise in interest rates highlighted the risk that bond fund investors face in their “safe” investments.  The relationship between interest rates and market risk is clear.  The mathematical relationship is straight forward.  When interest rates rise, the value of bonds goes down.  For bond funds, rising rates means that total return has to fight the headwind of losses on the underlying portfolio.  As NAV declines, coupon interest generated by the bonds in the portfolio may or may not be enough to overcome the price loss.  On the other hand, making the same fixed income allocation to high quality individual bonds and holding them to maturity is a clearly superior strategy when rates rise because it can protect principal and avoid losses in a way that bond funds cannot. Download the white paper  >>>

De-Risking Retirement Income

De-Risking Retirement Income

Liability-Driven Investing (LDI) is a popular strategy with pension funds looking to match a stream of payments to retirees, and retirees face the same inflow-outflow problem that pension fund managers face. Income matching is the most appropriate approach to LDI for individual investors because it mitigates, manages, or eliminates many of the risks associated with retirement income. Download Now…

Building a Personal Pension Portfolio

Building a Personal Pension Portfolio

Baby boomers continue to impact our nation. The generation that fought for free speech and civil rights is now forcing financial services to re-evaluate investing and retirement planning. They are the first group to transition from traditional pensions to the 401(k). Boomers will increasingly have to look to their own accounts to support them in retirement. Essentially, they have to treat their 401(k) and IRA accounts as their personal pension. Read More…

Safety of Investment Grade Bonds

Safety of Investment Grade Bonds

With a few alarmists calling for a massive increase in municipal bond defaults and many investors still stinging from the Lehman Bros. bond defaults, should investors be worrying about their bonds? High quality municipal and corporate bonds have long been considered “safe” asset classes. Volatility in the stock market is enough to keep many investors up at night and now many may be losing sleep over their bonds too. This paper takes an historical look at the risks and relative safety of high quality municipal and corporate bonds. We will show that although investors need to carefully analyze their bond investments, they can still rely on high rated investment grade bonds to deliver predictable income and relative stability in their portfolios. Download Now…

The Cost of Waiting for Interest Rates to Rise

The Cost of Waiting for Interest Rates to Rise

Today’s interest rate environment presents financial advisors with a conundrum – do I stay on the sidelines and wait for rates to rise before re-allocating my clients’ portfolios, or do I jump in now….what are the costs of waiting for rates to rise? We evaluate this question in the context of income-matching portfolios constructed with individual bonds. Income-matching portfolios consist of a series of individual bonds held to maturity whose redemptions and coupon payments provide cash flows that precisely match a client’s target income stream. We will compare the income-matching strategy to investing in short duration bond funds, holding cash or buying a CD to show it is better for investors to buy now than wait for rates to rise. Download Now…

The Match Makers

The Match Makers

It is surprisingly easy to forget that your clients’ investments exist to fund their lifestyles. Clients pull money from their portfolios to pay for living expenses, contribute to college costs, donate to charities and fund estate plans. They may not know exactly when all these outflows will occur, but they have a sense of the time horizons involved. The real benchmark for them, therefore, is whether their money can support their financial goals. Download Now…