8 best bond funds for retirement
Bond funds offer diversification to equities. With interest rates at historically low levels, bonds are no longer producing the return they …
Bond funds offer diversification to equities.
With interest rates at historically low levels, obligations do not produce the return they once did for retirees. However, many investment advisers still see the need to hold retirement bond funds in portfolios. Don Bennyhoff, director of investor education at Portfolio Solutions, says bonds provide the portfolio diversification investors need. “The majority of our clients still have a fair amount of stocks in their portfolios, which is very common,” he says. “Diversifying the benefits of bonds, by helping to mitigate that volatility, is a big dividend, although (what) bonds are paying isn’t great.” According to Bennyhoff, investors have been trained for so long to look only at return rather than total return, that is, return and price appreciation. Here are eight of the best bond funds for retirement.
Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (Symbol: VTEB)
For investors who want an exchange-traded bond fund exempt from federal income tax, the VTEB is “an excellent choice,” says Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF research at CFRA. He points out that it’s “extremely cheap” with an annual expense ratio of 0.06%, or $ 6 for every $ 10,000 invested. The fund is diversified across various states and municipalities and focuses on investment grade bonds. “There’s a lot of liquidity in the portfolio,” says Rosenbluth, as he owns around 5,900 different bonds, and he adds that the bonds are removed if they move from investment grade to Junk. “This is a great federal tax-free offer,” he says. It also comes with a current 12 month yield of 1.83%.
Invesco National Municipal Bond ETF without AMT (PZA)
Income is hard to come by with such low interest rates, which makes municipal bonds, or “munis”, a good choice for investors since the returns are exempt from federal tax. Josh Simpson, investment advisor at Lake Advisory Group, points out that PZA’s current yield is 2.3%, almost a percentage point higher than the 10-year US Treasury yield. It also has a low expense ratio of 0.28%. The fund buys investment grade Muni bonds nationwide and trades them when rates start to rise. Although it is an index fund, the PZA is rebalanced and replenished monthly, allowing managers to trade overdue securities. It achieves a higher return by holding securities with a longer term, at least 15 years or more, and weights the holdings according to their market value.
Pimco Active Bond ETF (LINK)
Another choice from Rosenbluth for a core bond fund is the Pimco Active Bond ETF. “Active management has a proven track record against the Barclays Aggregate Index,” he says. The fund is exposed to investment grade corporate and government bonds, but it also has some exposure to high quality corporate and government bonds. emerging market bonds and high yield credit, which increases the yield to 2.53%. BOND costs 0.57% per annum, which he says “is a reasonable price for an active strategy”. It is an intermediate bond fund, with an effective duration of 5.91 years.
IShares Core 1-5 Year USD Bond ETF (ISTB)
Rosenbluth says if investors are worried about rising interest rates going forward, a short-term bond strategy might be a good option. As the name suggests, ISTB holds bonds with maturities of one to five years, which reduces interest rate risk. It’s another Cheap ETF, with an annual expense ratio of 0.06%. This fund has around 95% investment grade debt securities with low exposure to high yield bonds to help increase yield while taking on some credit risk. “There’s a healthy mix of risk: lower risk on the rate side, but taking some credit risk, and that helps provide some income,” he says.
Shenkman Capital Floating Rate High Income Fund (SFHIX)
Kristian Finfrock, founder of Retirement Income Strategies, says rates are expected to rise over the next few years and investors need to be prepared. He likes SFHIX because it produces high income – its current yield is 3.34% – and because, as a floating rate fund, it is designed to respond to rising interest rates. SFHIX also has a low fee of 0.55%. It’s an actively managed fund, and Finfrock likes the two portfolio managers, David Lerner and Jeffrey Gallo. “They are doing really well,” he says. The portfolio has a very low effective duration of three months, below the category average, and holds a mix of securities rated BB and B.
VanEck Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (ANGL)
High yield debt is known as “junk” for a reason. These are lower quality securities than the investment grade that produce a higher return, but with a higher risk. ANGL is a lower risk way to invest in the space, as it is a market-weighted index of bonds that were once investment grade but have been downgraded to junk. . “The term ‘fallen angels’ means that they think this is an industry that has been affected (negatively), but has great potential to rebound,” says Finfrock, explaining why he likes the fund. The strategy seeks to buy downgraded issues on the assumption that future credit upgrades will result in price appreciation. The fund has approximately $ 5 billion in assets under management and its total return to date is almost 3%.
Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX)
Many investors still tend to overlook international markets when it comes to asset allocation, especially in bonds, Bennyhoff says. BNDX offers all of the same features as most Vanguard funds – it is passively managed, diversified, and low cost – but it buys quality bonds not denominated in US dollars. He says the market capitalization of the international bond market is one and a half to two times that of the US investment grade bond market. “Non-US bonds are an extremely important part of the global asset class. And a lot, a lot of people just don’t have a job, which helps take advantage of those opportunities there, ”he says. The fund holds more than 6,200 bonds and nearly 80% are in the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Ashmore Emerging Markets Short Duration Fund (ESFIX)
ESFIX invests primarily in sovereign, quasi-sovereign and emerging market corporate bonds, and seeks to maintain a weighted average maturity of between one and three years. Finfrock notes that the historical performance is weak because emerging markets have been out of favor for several years, but he says that after the dominance of the US market for the past twelve years, international markets may benefit from a change of direction. He particularly likes emerging markets for their positive demographics such as a younger population and rising incomes. “The Ashmore fund, I think, does a very good job looking at some unique emerging markets,” he said. For an emerging markets fund, ESFIX has a low expense ratio of 0.67% and a yield of 5.5%.
Eight bond funds for retirement:
– Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEB)
– Invesco National Municipal Bonds ETF without AMT (PZA)
– Pimco Active Bond ETF (LINK)
– iShares Core 1-5 Year USD Bond ETF (ISTB)
– Shenkman Capital High Income Floating Rate Fund (SFHIX)
– VanEck Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (ANGL)
– Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX)
– Ashmore Emerging Markets Short Duration Fund (ESFIX)
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Update 07/16/21: This story was posted at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.