Home Bookkeeping What are Term Bonds? Definition Meaning Example

What are Term Bonds? Definition Meaning Example


Another difference between serial and term bonds is the interest rate structure. Serial bonds often have lower interest rates compared to term bonds. This is because the interest on serial bonds is calculated based on the decreasing principal amount. However, it is worth noting that term bonds may offer higher interest rates depending on the market conditions at the time of investment. Compared to other investment options, serial bonds may generate lower yields. The lower interest rates offered by serial bonds, especially those with shorter maturities, can result in lower returns for investors.

  • With the right approach, fixed income investments can play a vital role in achieving your long-term financial goals.
  • Certain provisions within some term bonds provide the issuers of the bonds with the option of redeeming the bonds from the investors before the maturity date.
  • This isn’t an absolute truth that you’ll see followed every day, but generally speaking, you can expect to see bonds rise on a day when stocks tank.
  • However, it is important to carefully consider the specific investment goals and risk tolerance before deciding to invest in serial bonds.

Tax-exempt bonds are not necessarily a suitable investment for all persons. Information related to a security’s tax-exempt status (federal and in-state) is obtained from third parties, and Charles Schwab & Co., is land a current asset Inc. does not guarantee its accuracy. Tax-exempt income may be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Capital appreciation from bond funds and discounted bonds may be subject to state or local taxes.

Via a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF)

A term bond, also known as a bullet bond, is a type of bond where the entire principal amount is due at maturity. These bonds typically have a longer-term maturity, often ranging from 10 to 30 years. Investors who purchase term bonds receive periodic interest payments, typically on a semi-annual basis, until the bond reaches its maturity date. In some instances, market participants invest in serial bonds with balloons as a way to generate incremental yield for their portfolios. Considerable research into the underlying fundamentals of the issuer must be performed before undertaking such an investment.

  • Traditionally, the answer has been that bonds provide diversification and income.
  • Bonds with terms of 4 to 10 years are considered intermediate-term bonds.
  • Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank, SSB (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides deposit and lending services and products.
  • Instead, serial bonds have maturity dates which are staggered over several or many years.

Term bonds can be short-term or long-term, with the latter having longer maturity dates than the former. Term bonds may come with a sinking fund requirement, where the company sets aside an annual fund to repay the bond. Some companies also offer “secured term bonds” in which they promise to back their bond with company collateral or assets, in case they fail to repay the stated amount of the bond upon maturity.

Treasury bonds are long-term investments issued by the U.S. government. These bonds are backed by the U.S. and, therefore, are regarded as very safe. Due to their low risk, they offer lower yields than other types of bonds.


If bonds aren’t fully dead, why not at least eliminate the default risk of lending to companies and invest only in short-term CDs and Treasury securities? At first glance, this strategy seems brilliant and, frankly, “too good to be true.” And, of course, that is the case. One of the most basic investing truisms is you should pursue investments offering a higher interest rate over investments with lower interest rates for the same level of risk. It just makes sense — of course you would want to earn more interest. Another concept involves how soon you get your investment back (liquidity). All else equal, you would want to make shorter-term loans where you would get your principal back sooner rather than later.

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Stock prices are based on demand for the stock, so if demand for the stock plummets, then the stock price will fall, as well. While it’s normal for stock prices to fluctuate, the price is unlikely to crash unless the company is facing serious hardship. It may be helpful to refresh yourself on the difference between bonds and stocks. The document explains how the bond may be called and when it may be called by the issuer.

Types of Bonds and How They Work

Now that we’ve explored the characteristics and pros and cons of term bonds and serial bonds, let’s compare them side by side. This comparison will help you understand the key differences between these two types of fixed income investments. The principal amount of a serial bond is divided into smaller chunks that are paid off regularly, resulting in lower interest rates compared to term bonds. This means that investors can earn a steady stream of income throughout the life of the bond, which can be particularly appealing for those looking for regular cash flow.

Serial bonds also offer the opportunity to diversify an investment portfolio. By including serial bonds alongside other investments, such as stocks or mutual funds, investors can spread their risk and potentially achieve more stable returns. In times of market volatility, serial bonds can act as a safety net, providing a reliable source of income even if other investments suffer. If an issuer reduces the dollar amount of bonds outstanding, it reduces the risk that the issuer misses a principal repayment or interest payment and defaults on the bond issue. While a serial bond issue requires the issuer to repay specific bondholders on a stated date, other bond issues are structured with a sinking fund. Secured term bonds are those that are backed by the assets or collateral of a company in case of a failure to repay the amount of the bond upon maturity.

Because of those tax advantages, municipal bonds typically offer lower yields than investment-grade corporate bonds. A bond term refers to the length of time between the date the bond was issued and when the bond matures. Bonds with terms of less than four years are considered short-term bonds.

What are the potential disadvantages of serial bonds?

However, issuing bonds and planning for a balloon maturity is sometimes risky from the issuer’s perspective. When it comes to investing in bonds, two common options that investors consider are serial bonds and term bonds. These two types of bonds have distinct characteristics and offer different advantages to investors. Understanding the difference between serial and term bonds can help you make an informed investment decision.

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