Bonds and Fixed Income
Find fixed income products designed to fit your needs. Whether you prefer to invest on your own or you'd like assistance, Schwab has the specialized guidance to help you achieve your goals.
Looking for a source of interest income? A diversified portfolio? Schwab can help you find the bond investing solutions that meet your needs. Plus you get straightforward pricing:
- Get assistance from a Fixed Income Specialist.
- Pay no mark-ups for secondary market Treasuries purchased online.
- Straight Forward Pricing - $1-per-bond mark-up ($10 minimum/$250 maximum) on most secondary market bonds purchased online. All customer sales are subject to a $25 broker-assisted fee.
- Take advantage of fixed income research from Ned Davis, as well as market insight and commentary from the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
Fixed Income Products
Get access to over 36,000 individual securities from more than 200 dealers, and hundreds of bond funds1. Schwab offers a broad range of fixed income investment products and solutions for your portfolio.
Whether you invest in new issues or the secondary market, Schwab has a number of choices for you to consider:
- New issues. Get access to new issue bonds from J.P. Morgan and other underwriters. Visit our New Issue Calendar to see all current offerings.
- Secondary market. Choose from over 36,000 fixed income securities from more than 200 dealers are available through Schwab BondSource®, including:
- Municipal bonds. Over 20,000 available securities.
- Corporate bonds. Over 7,000 securities, typically with multiple bid and ask quotes.
- Treasuries. Broad access to the Treasury market.
- Agency bonds. Over 1,900 issues, representing a wide breadth of the agency market
Bond Mutual Funds and ETFs
Mutual funds and ETFs are a convenient way to get professional management and diversification:
- Bond mutual funds. Choose from over 700 no-load, no-transaction-fee bond funds through Mutual Fund OneSource®.
- ETFs.Take advantage of over 30 bond ETFs that trade commission-free online in Schwab ETF OneSource™2
Fixed Income Managed Accounts
Schwab offers fixed income managed account solutions from leading investment managers—including the PIMCO Municipal Bond Ladder Separately Managed Accounts, comprised of five professionally managed strategies that seek to generate income by leveraging investment opportunities in the municipal bond market.3
Make informed choices
Interested in fixed income but don't know where to start? Schwab has the specialized guidance to help you achieve your goals:
One-on-one help with fixed income
Schwab Fixed Income Specialists discuss the help and guidance they provide to clients.
JEE LI: My primary role as a Fixed Income Specialist is to help investors try to achieve their financial goals through investments in fixed income.
GARY WHEELER: A lot of clients are coming to us and looking for a little more stability in their accounts and their portfolios. While the stock market certainly has been a rollercoaster ride over the last few years, they’re looking for opportunities within fixed income to help reduce some of that rollercoaster ride.
JEFF LI: Clients right reach out to me for something as basic as replacing a called or mature bond, or even have someone objective look at the portfolio and see if they’re on the right track.
GARY WHEELER: A lot of clients are coming to us as they’ve had changes in their life, whether that be through retirement or they’ve received an inheritance from their parents or something, looking for help in trying to get more income in their portfolios, or maybe to retain some of the capital in their portfolios.
JEFF LI: There’s a broad spectrum of products to choose form, and part of my job is to identify the most appropriate and suitable fixed income instruments, and it can range from individual bonds, to bond funds, to ETFs, to professional managed account services for those clients who don’t want to handle the day-to-day affairs of managing their portfolio.
GARY WHEELER: We’re able to look at different strategies that might meet their needs. While one of those strategies might be a ladder strategy, another one might be a barbell, or even a bullet strategy, say, for a college.
JEFF LI: One of the benefits of dealing with a Fixed Income Specialist at Schwab is that clients can reach out to me at any time and know that the person on the other line understands their situation and has a relationship with them.
GARY WHEELER: We only concentrate on fixed income, so we’re able to talk with these clients time and time again. We get to know them. We get to know their families. We get to understand what their needs are. And as their needs change we’re able to work with the different fixed income instruments that may be appropriate for them.
Building a bond portfolio for retirement
Schwab Fixed Income Specialist Adam Paulsen discusses how he helped a Schwab client build his bond portfolio.
ADAM PAULSEN: My name is Adam Paulsen. I’m a Fixed Income Specialist, and help clients with their bond investing needs. I’ve been at Charles Schwab for almost 15 years.
The typical client that I work with is approaching retirement or already retired, and they’re looking to rebalance, to potential reduce volatility, add income to their portfolio, and increase overall stability.
Let me give you an example of a client that I’ve worked with in the past. He had recently sold a business and was looking to put a portfolio together. Historically, he had been invested in equities and was uncomfortable with the volatility. After making an assessment of his situation, fully understanding his goals and objectives and what he was trying to accomplish, I recommended a series of laddered bonds that went out over a number of years to help generate income.
I still have an ongoing relationship with this client. We do speak from time to time. Typically, when one of his bonds matures or is called, I’ll help him with a reinvestment. He knows he can rely on somebody who knows his situation, knows where he is, and has his best interest in mind.
Understanding bond ladders
The fundamentals of using bond ladders for your retirement income.
WOMAN: If you’re looking for ways to create retirement income, you’re probably looking at bonds as part of your solution, but some worry that getting today’s highest bond interest rate means locking up money for 10-, 20- or 30 years, and by doing that they’ll miss out on an opportunity if interest rates rise. The question is can you get the predictable income of bonds and the flexibility to reinvest if rates go up?
You can with a bond ladder. Instead of locking up money in one bond for a long period of time, you divide that money across multiple bonds with different maturities. Now, while you’re overall interest rate may be lower, you have bonds maturing regularly, giving you the flexibility to reinvest your principal, potentially at a higher rate, and you still get the predictable income you’ve come to expect from bonds.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say, you build a bond latter that includes five bonds maturing in one-, two-, three-, four-, and five years. Generally, the longer a bond’s maturity, the higher the interest rate, all else being equal. In this example, your five-year bond pays the most, the one-year bond pays the least, and your average return is in-between.
Once your bond ladder is set up, you’ll start to receive predictable income in the form of interest payments from each bond. You’ll also have bonds coming due annually, making the principal regularly available.
When the one-year bond matures and pays you back, you’ll have a choice. You can use the money for planned purchases or essential expenses, or you can reinvest the money into another five-year bond, possibly at a higher rate. If rates drop, you still have some bonds invested for the longer-term at higher yields, so a ladder can make sense whether rates rise or fall. Just keep two things in mind: One, try to avoid callable bonds. If interest rates fall and your bond is called, your principal will be paid back early. Two, try to buy high-quality bonds. Bonds with higher credit ratings generally have less likelihood of defaulting.
Now, back to our original question: Can you get the predictable income of bonds and the flexibility to reinvest if rates go up? With a bond ladder, the answer is yes.
For help building a bond ladder or finding the right strategy for you call a Schwab Bond Specialist at 800-626-4600.
1. Availability on SchwabBondsource as of January 2014.
2. Conditions apply: Trades in ETFs available through Schwab ETF OneSource™ (including Schwab ETFs™) are available without commissions when placed online in a Schwab account. Service charges apply for trade orders placed through a broker ($25) or by automated phone ($5). An exchange processing fee applies to sell transactions. Certain types of Schwab ETF OneSource transactions are not eligible for the commission waiver, such as short sells and buys to cover (not including Schwab ETFs). Schwab reserves the right to change the ETFs we make available without commissions. All ETFs are subject to management fees and expenses. Please see pricing guide for additional information.
3. The PIMCO Municipal Bond Ladder strategies are available through Schwab’s Managed Account Connection program (“Connection”). Please read Schwab's Managed Account Services disclosure brochure for important information and disclosures relating to Managed Account Select® and Connection. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab") and Pacific Investment Management Company LLC ("PIMCO") are separate and unaffiliated companies.
4. As of January 2014.
Investors should consider carefully information contained in the prospectus, including investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. You can request a prospectus by calling Schwab at 800-435-4000. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.
Diversification strategies do not ensure a profit and do not protect against losses in declining markets.
Fixed income securities are subject to increased loss of principal during periods of rising interest rates. Fixed income investments are subject to various other risks, including changes in credit quality, market valuations, liquidity, prepayments, early redemption, corporate events, tax ramifications, and other factors. For further details, please contact a Schwab Fixed Income Specialist at 800-626-4600.
Schwab's short-term redemption fee of $49.95 will be charged on redemption of funds purchased through Schwab's Mutual Funds OneSource® service (and certain other funds with no transaction fee) and held for 90 days or less. Schwab reserves the right to exempt certain funds from this fee, including Schwab Funds® which may charge a separate redemption fee, and funds that accommodate short-term trading.
In the bond market there is no centralized exchange or quotation service for most fixed income securities. Prices in the secondary market generally reflect activity by market participants or dealers linked to various trading systems. Bonds available through Schwab may be available through other dealers at superior or inferior prices compared to those available at Schwab. All prices are subject to change without prior notice.
Schwab reserves the right to act as principal on any Bond transaction. In secondary market principal transactions the price will be subject to our standard mark up in the case of purchases and a mark down in the case of sales and also may include a profit to Schwab in the form of a bid-ask spread.
Lower rated securities are subject to greater credit risk, default risk, and liquidity risk.
When trading as principal, Schwab may also be holding the security in its own account prior to selling it to you and, therefore, may make (or lose) money depending on whether the price of the security has risen or fallen while Schwab has held it.
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. receives remuneration from third-party ETF companies participating in Schwab ETF OneSource™ for record keeping, shareholder services and other administrative services, including program development and maintenance.
Investment returns will fluctuate and are subject to market volatility, so that an investor's shares, when redeemed or sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Unlike mutual funds, shares of ETFs are not individually redeemable directly with the ETF. Shares are bought and sold at market price, which may be higher or lower than the net asset value (NAV).
Trades in no-load mutual funds available through the Mutual Fund OneSource service (including Schwab Funds®), as well as certain other funds, are available without transaction fees when placed through Schwab.com or our automated phone channels. For each of these trade orders placed through a broker, a $25 service charge applies. Schwab reserves the right to change the funds we make available without transaction fees and to reinstate fees on any funds. Funds are also subject to management fees and expenses.
The Schwab Center for Financial Research is a division of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
J.P. Morgan is the marketing name for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide.