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how to: invest your money

Saving money and learning about investing is always a smart plan. Even if you’re newly hitched, it’s never too soon to start planning for those golden years. Think about it: Do you imagine yourselves lying on a beach or working behind a desk? If you picked the beach (or travel, or golf, or anything other than the 9-to-5 grind), you’ve come to the right place. We have all kinds of investment advice, including the basics of how to invest wisely and what all those financial terms really mean. Not sure where to begin? Start with our five easy steps to invest your money. We also have investing advice and Q&A on all kinds of financial basics about investing -- learn the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, how to invest your savings, and your options if you can only invest a small amount. Our basic investing advice will help you get ready. But before you invest your money, you should be sure you’re out of debt: Use our debt calculator to help plan your payments, and follow our simple steps to go from credit card misery to debt free. And if your problem is a lack of cash, we’ve got tips for you, too. Learn the habits of spending-savvy couples, and find easy ways to save more of each month’s paycheck and stick to your budget. Don’t want to go it alone? Check out our local pages to find a financial planner in your area for some in-person investment advice.

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Money Q&A: Buying Bonds?

Q.

The Nest Q&A

How do you buy bonds, what are the different types, are they a good idea?

A.

When it comes to investing, bonds can be a smart addition to your portfolio in conjunction with more aggressive stocks. Here's a breakdown of three major types of bonds available:

US government bonds: These bonds are considered the safest bonds because the government promises to pay you your interest and to repay the loan. Because there's virtually no risk with these bonds, they don’t pay you very much interest.

Corporate bonds: These are bonds issued by companies that need/want to borrow your money so they can use it to expand their business. There's no guarantee that you'll get your money back, but if you buy a bond of a large and more established company, the odds are better than if you buy a bond from a small, struggling company (bonds from these companies are called “junk bonds” or “high-yield” bonds).

Municipal bonds: These are bonds issued by cities from across the country to build roads, bridges, hospitals, low-income housing, etc. If you're in a high tax bracket, you might benefit from municipal bonds because they're free from federal income tax, and if you buy bonds in the state you live in, they're also free from state income tax.

Nestpert Robert Pagliarini, financial advisor and author of The Six Day Financial Makeover

-- The Nest Editors

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