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Treasury bonds are issued and backed by the federal government, the full faith and credit of the United States Government. The advantage is safety; the disadvantage is the yield you may earn can be lower than other investment options. The question is simple: Is the lesser yield still sufficient for your needs?
US Treasuries are issued in four different categories: Bills, Notes, TIPS, and Bonds.
Treasury Bills (T-Bills) have a maturity date of 1 year or less, and they are short-term by nature. Four options exist for a time duration of investment, 4 weeks, 13 weeks, 26 weeks, and 52 weeks maturity. Treasury Bills do not pay interest. Instead, they are sold at a discount and in denominations of $100. For example, a $1000 T-Bill with a maturity of 52 weeks might sell for $975. At the end of maturity (52 weeks), the owner of the T-Bill would receive $1,000.
Treasury Notes (T-Notes) A T-Note has a more extended maturity time period than T-Bills, 1 year to 10 years. Notes are issued in denominations of $1,000 with interest paid every 6 months. T-Notes are issued with the full face value of the note and not as a discounted face value.
Treasury Bonds (T-Bonds) T-Bonds are issued for a more extended period than T-Notes, 10 years to 30 years to maturity. The most popular time period is 30 years. Bonds are issued at face value, and interest is paid every 6 months.
Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are US Treasuries issued with an added benefit; they are designed to help offset inflation. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are issued with 5, 10, and 30-year maturity dates. Interest is paid every 6 months and is a set rate, but additional interest can be paid at maturity based on inflation history.
Regardless of which US Treasury you choose, the safety of the principal is always the underlying benefit.
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