Treasury Bond

What is Treasury Bond?

A Treasury Bond (or T-bond) is a government debt security with a fixed rate of return and relatively low risk, as it is issued by the US government. You can buy treasury bonds directly from the US Treasury or through a bank, broker, or mutual fund company.

Since T-bonds are one of the safest investment vehicles, they are purchased by investors to finance their education, supplement their retirement income, and to ensure a steady return, even in times of financial turbulence.

Key Takeaways
Treasury Bond

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How Do Treasury Bonds (T-Bonds) Work?

The US government issues various treasury securities in order to fund development projects, military undertakings, and day-to-day administrative activities. These government debt issuances can be divided into three categories: treasury bills, notes, and bonds. In this article, we will be talking at some length about treasury bonds, one of the three types of treasury securities.

Examples

Let us take you through some recent events that had taken place in the world of T-bonds. They will help you understand the concept better. In March 2021, many factors had caused Treasury securities yields to rise dramatically from record lows in 2020. It allowed bondholders to earn higher-than-usual interest rates amidst the financial uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. The massive monetary stimulus packages approved by the US government and the news of Covid-19 vaccines stimulated investors’ hope, pushing the yields up.

In May 2021, the government auctioned a revamped 20-year Treasury bond, auctioning it for the first time since 1986. A day after the auction, the yield on the bond closed at 1.165%, which was less than the auction day yield of  1.22%. This was because the bond saw a price rise, which led to a fall in its yield. Whenever bond price rises, its yield falls.

Treasury Bond Yields

Treasury bond yields are essentially the return on investment that you can expect when you buy T-bonds. It is the interest paid by the government to borrow money for a particular period of time. There are some treasury bond calculators available online that can help in calculating the returns.

Treasury Bonds Yields

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Since T-bonds are almost risk-free, they offer a lower interest rate than many other similar, fixed-income investments. For instance, the 30-year bonds yield around 2.30% as of April 2021, a massive improvement from the Covid-19 hit fallen rates of around 1.65%. Although, it is nowhere close to 1981’s 15.21%. This report showcases their changing rates over the years, with the average rate since 2012 hovering between 2.5-3%.

As per many experts, chances of a massive rate revival is a distant dream. Also, investors earn higher returns when they commit their money for longer periods of time. Consequently, 30-year bonds are more lucrative than 20-year ones. However, locking your money for such long periods of time with low rates of interest may not be profitable to many.

Moreover, when market volatility causes the demand for T-bonds to rise, then the yield usually goes down. Conversely, the yield on T-bonds increases when the demand for them is relatively low. Also, treasury bond rates undergo inflation adjustment, causing them to fall further. As such, it works best for people who are willing to sacrifice high earnings in return for a safer, low-risked and guaranteed investment.

How to Buy Treasury Bonds?

You can buy Treasury bonds from a broker or a bank. Most mutual fund companies also offer treasury bond funds as part of a diversified portfolio. Investors often buy T-bonds in order to diversify their portfolios and offset the risk of stocks and shares.

You can buy T-bonds in the secondary market – known as the bond market – if you already have a brokerage account. Another way to buy these bonds indirectly is through exchange-traded funds or ETFs. This option offers greater liquidityLiquidityLiquidity shows the ease of converting the assets or the securities of the company into the cash. Liquidity is the ability of the firm to pay off the current liabilities with the current assets it possesses.read more than if you were to buy the T-bonds directly from the government.

If you want to buy T-bonds directly from the US government, you can do so through a website known as TreasuryDirect. Just make sure that the browser’s URL field says treasurydirect.gov so as to not spend money on any sham websites.

Treasury Direct

Source – treasurydirect.gov

First, you will need to open an account with TreasuryDirect, which involves a three-step setup process. You can apply to TreasuryDirect as an individual investor, a corporation, a limited liability companyLimited Liability CompanyLimited liability refers to that legal structure where the owners' or investors' personal assets are not at stake. Their accountability for business loss or debt doesn't exceed their capital investment in the company. It is applicable in partnership firms and limited liability companies.read more (LLC), or a partnership. You will then need to fill in an online form with all the relevant information, including your social security number and taxpayer identification number.

Once you’ve set up your account, you can click on the Buy Direct tab at the top of the website to start purchasing T-bonds directly from the US Treasury.

This has been a guide to Treasury Bonds & their Definition. Here we discuss how T-bonds work and how to buy them, along with an example. You can learn more about fixed income from the following articles –