Are bonds, a good tool for diversification?

Bonds are considered to be the safe spots, in a portfolio. However with the current scenario of the Treasury yield sliding down, can it still be considered as a good tool for diversification of portfolio?

Risk in bonds

The concept of using bonds as security is at stake. With the low interest rate, the Treasuries are not performing as usual. When the Federal Reserve shrinks, it will spike the yield and crush, the bond price. Thus, the long considered security about holding the bond, drains out.

Is it smart to sell the bonds?

The answer is an absolute no. In a brutal market, the drop in the bonds will be very less, when compared to the drop in other asset classes. In 2008, there was a decline of 37% in the index and in 2009 while there was a 15% decline in the long term government bonds. The highest was experienced in 1931 with a 43% loss.

It is to be understood that the Treasuries with short maturity dates are safer than long term ones. It is better to buy Treasuries with varying maturity dates or a mutual fund. The worst decline that was experienced by a one month Treasury security is 3.7%, in 1970.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/krantz/2013/11/16/bonds-diversification-bubble-fed/3360597/


How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From Scams

In the age of the Internet, it is easier than ever for scammers to reach millions of consumers with fake offers designed to deprive consumers of private details, money, or sensitive information. Fortunately, the Brisbane Times provided these simple steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of being scammed.

Types of Scams

Research suggests that around six million Australian are exposed to frauds or scams every year. Of these, 1.2 million become victims of fraud, losing a total of $1.4 billion each year. Scams can involve transferring money online, offers to get rich quick, lotteries, and email scams.

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3 Smart Tips for Improving Credit Ratings

Credit ratings are all important for those planning to apply for a home loan or some other type of loan. One’s credit history can be a major factor in having a loan approved or rejected. Those with blemishes on their credit history can use the following tips from the Economic Times to improve their credit rating and history.

Check Credit Report

Every credit-history repair begins with a credit-report check. The consumer should know what is on their credit history or report. Review the report for any errors, and make sure that any errors are rectified as soon as possible by contacting the credit agency directly.

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Consumers Warned Not to Overspend During Christmas Period

Dun & Bradstreet, the consumer credit bureau, has waned that financial stress could rise as the Christmas holiday period approaches. It is usual for consumer debts to accumulate during the end-of-year holiday period.

Dun & Bradstreet saw a 15% rise in debt referrals in January 2013, up from the last quarter. At the same time, the Consumer Financial Stress Index peaked at 24.9 points.

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Lenders Begin Raising Fixed Home Loan Rates

Recent reports suggest that the rise in fixed home loan rates may be a sign that the Reserve Bank’s (‘RBA’) series of rate cuts are coming to an end. The country’s largest home loan lenders have begun adjusting their fixed home loan rates in expectation of an end to the RBA’s rate cuts.

In the past few weeks, all four major banks have raised some of their fixed home loan rates, as the housing market heats up. For example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that building loans for new residences jumped by 14.4 per cent in September.

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Bank Complaints Fall for First Time Since Global Financial Crisis

According to the Financial Ombudsman Service (‘FOS’), complaints and disputes between consumers and banks have fallen for the first time since the global financial crisis (‘GFC’). The number of recorded disputes declined by 11% to 32,307, a first since the 2008/09 GFC period.

The FOS attributes the fall to low interest rates, new rules on flood insurance, and regulatory changes to the hardship programs of banks. Chief Ombudsman Shane Tregillis said that much of the improvement was due to the 22% decline in financial hardship disputes. Disputes resolved without an Ombudsman’s ruling remained steady at 70%.

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