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How To Buy Investment Bonds

Bonds are one of the main stream types of investment along with stocks and real estate, and if you want to learn how to trade bonds make sure that you get a good education in the subject first. There are a number of important points that you must understand about bonds before you start investing in them. Not fully understanding these things may cause you to purchase the wrong bonds, at the wrong maturity date.

Like all investments it is important to learn about what you are investing in, and certainly don't just take the advice given to you by a bond seller without checking it out first yourself. The three most important points that must be considered when purchasing a bond include the par value, the maturity date, and the coupon rate.

The par value of a bond refers to the amount of cash you will receive when the bond reaches its maturity date. In other words, you will receive your initial investment back when the bond reaches maturity.

The maturity date is of course the date that the bond will reach its full value. On this date, you will receive your initial investment, and the interest that your money has earned.

Corporate and State and Local Government bonds can be "called" before they reach their maturity, at which time the corporation or issuing Government will return your initial investment, along with the cash that it has earned thus far. Federal bonds can not be "called".

The coupon rate is the interest rate that you will receive when the bond reaches maturity. This number is written as a %, and you must use other information to find out what the interest will be. A bond that has a par value of say $2000, with a coupon rate of 5% would earn $100 per year until it reaches maturity.

Because bonds are not issued by banks, many people don't fully understand how to go about buying one. There are 2 ways this can be done.

You can use a broker or brokerage firm to make the purchase for you or you can go directly to the Government. If you use a broker, you will more than likely be charged a commission fee. If you want to use a broker, you should shop around for the lowest commissions!

Purchasing directly through the Government is not nearly as hard as it once was. There is a program called Treasury Direct which will allow you to buy bonds and all of your bonds will be held in one account, that you will have easy access to. This will allow you to avoid using a broker or brokerage firm.

More advanced traders may try to buy and sell bonds to take advantage of the price movements, you can even swing trade them. But this is a very risky business if you don't know what you are doing, you will need to take a swing trading course if this was something that wanted to, but again most people just buy and hold.