|Series I Bonds||0.26%||US Treasury|
|3-Month Treasury||0.21%||Various brokerages|
|6-Month Treasury||0.38%||Various brokerages|
|2-Year Treasury||0.78%||Various brokerages|
|5-Year Treasury||1.29%||Various brokerages|
|10-Year Treasury||1.83%||Various brokerages|
|30-Year Treasury||2.68%||Various brokerages|
Bonds (also known as fixed income) are some of the most widely used investment vehicles in the world.
The international bond market was estimated at $82 trillion in 2009 and the US bond market was estimated at $31 trillion. By comparison, the value of the world stock markets was estimated at $36.6 trillion. Some analysis of returns have shown that over long periods of time, bonds tend to outperform stocks.
Bonds are a form of debt, similar to an I.O.U. In return for providing a company or a government with a loan, investors receive a promise for a certain rate of return over the term of the loan as well as repayment of the loan when the term ends or it "comes due".
Bonds come in many different shapes and forms and a bond portfolio may include several different types and maturities depending on the objective of the bond holder.
The safest bonds is the world are still considered to be those issued by the largest debt issuer in the world, the U.S. government - U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds. Since these debt obligations are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the US government, and thus by its ability to raise tax revenues and print currency, US Treasuries are viewed in the market as having no “credit risk,” meaning that it is virtually certain your interest and principal will be paid on time.
Treasury bills mature in one-year or less. Treasury notes mature between 2-10 years while Treasury bonds, also known as long bonds, mature between 20-30 years.
The U.S. government, in the form of the FDIC and NCUA, insures deposits at U.S. banks and most credit unions. Therefore, most US-based investors will find that they can achieve higher rates of return through certificates of deposit (time deposits) than by investing in short-term US Treasuries with the same credit risk so long as they stay within FDIC and NCUA limits (ordinarily $250,000 per depositor per institution).