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Risk of zero coupon bonds

Zero-coupon bond - Wikipedia

But there are downsides. And because there are no interest payments on these bonds, they tend to fluctuate more widely than a standard bond, all else being equal.

What is a zero coupon bond?

Zero coupon bonds are much more sensitive to changes in interest rates. You can get a good sense of this by comparing the drawdowns on a handful of bond ETFs since rates bottomed in the summer of In this time, year treasury yields have roughly doubled, but this rising rate environment has had a drastically bigger impact on the zero coupon bond ETF ZROZ.


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Even with the larger losses in recent years, long duration bond funds have still outperformed over the previous five years, mainly from their higher yields. This is a nice illustration of the risk-reward relationship in bonds. That's an annualized return of 5.

What Is A Zero Coupon Bond Example?

And if interest rates continue to rise, as they did in late spring, zeros, unlike regular bonds, don't give you the opportunity to reinvest your interest at higher yields. Moreover, if you hold zeros in a regular account, you'll have to pay taxes each year on so-called phantom income from interest you haven't yet received. With 20 years or so to go before you retire, you'll almost certainly do better with a diversified portfolio of stocks, although they'll probably offer a bumpier ride along the way.


  • Definition, Timing and Risks of Zero Coupon Bond Funds!
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  • If the certainty of zeros still appeal to you, Winter suggests this strategy: Put some money in zeros that mature in 20 years. Five years from now, buy more zeros that mature 20 years from that point, and so on.

    What are Zero Coupon Bonds? Who Should Invest in Them?

    If interest rates rise, you'll be able to invest at least some of your money at higher yields. Investors should use caution when buying and holding zero-coupon bond funds because their prices have dramatic swings up and down. Also, long-term bonds will have greater fluctuation in price than short-term bonds. For example, in the year , ZROZ had a ZROZ then turned negative again in , had a low single-digit gain in , then pulled ahead of the average bond fund, as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index , in Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice.

    Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities.

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