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The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need: The Way Smart Money Preserves Wealth Today Hardcover – March 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Truman Talley Books; 1st edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312353634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312353636
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Awkwardly organized and unduly complicated, this book provides a recitation of everything Swedroe and Hempen—co-principals of Buckingham Asset Management—know about bonds, which is a lot. The problem is that their book isn't pitched to a specific enough audience. Sophisticated investors may not mind the authors' heavy reliance on bondspeak and analytical jargon, but they will wonder why so many pages are devoted to explaining Series EE Savings Bonds. And novices will appreciate the extensive glossary, but they'll be frustrated by the book's lack of explanatory diagrams and its tendency to talk about concepts before properly introducing or defining them. The actual strategy discussion alluded to in the title is addressed only in the book's 25-page, penultimate chapter, where Swedroe and Hempen explain how to use standard techniques like laddering to construct a fixed-income portfolio. If only the preceding 10 chapters had been as succinctly written. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"One of the great untold tragedies of modern finance is the mayhem wreaked upon an unsuspecting public in the bond markets. Whether you're a small investor or an institutional player, the odds are that not only have you been savaged by this machine, but that you don't even know it. Few people know fixed income investing as well as Larry Swedroe; "The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need" will steer you through these dangerous waters in safety and comfort." --Bill Bernstein, author of The Four Pillars of Investing, The Intelligent Asset Allocator, and The Birth of Plenty

"There's an ol' saying in personal finance and investing: 'You build wealth in stocks, and you preserve it in bonds." Well, here's a book that offers the best of both worlds! These guys show you how bonds can not only preserve your wealth, they can help you build wealth too!" --Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD, columnist, CBS MarketWatch, author of The Millionaire Code, Lazy Person's Guide to Investing, The Winning Portfolio, and others

"A bond book for our time. Clearly, given that most financial observers believe the equity premium is going to decline over the foreseeable future making bonds a relatively better investment, we need to start focusing more on bonds as an investment vehicle. This book provides an excellent roadmap of the bond markets and bonds as a personal investment." --Edward R. Wolfe, Ph. D., Professor of Finance, and Director of the Financial Planning Program, Western Kentucky University

"A MUCH NEEDED BOND BOOK. In The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need, the authors cover the very complex issue of bonds in great detail. This book is a must-read for anyone who's thinking of investing in bonds and really wants to understand what they're all about. Readers will also gain insight into how the bond market works. I feel every bond investor could benefit from reading this book; I know I did. This book definitely should be a part of every bond investor's library." --Mel Lindauer, Forum Leader, Morningstar's Vanguard Diehards Forum and co-author, The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

"This remarkably clear and well-organized book covers just about everything the typical investor needs to know about bonds and other fixed income securities. A real pleasure to read." --Kenneth R. French, Carl E. and Catherine M. Heidt Professor of Finance at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

"Bonds and other types of fixed income investments are very complex and difficult to understand. Larry Swedroe and Joseph Hempen have collaborated in a book about bonds and fixed income investments that even I can understand. In their easy-to-read manner, they take us through the various fixed-income investments and tell us how and why each security may or may not be suitable for our portfolio. The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need is destined to become a bond book classic." --Taylor Larimore, Dean of the Morningstar Vanguard Diehard Forum, co-author of BogleheadsGuide to Investing

"At some point -- perhaps soon -- the Federal Reserve will stop raising interest rates, a decision that is bound to add to the allure of bonds, because bond prices rise as rates fall.
To cater to the potential growing demand for information, Larry E. Swedroe and Joseph H. Hempen, principals at Buckingham Asset Management, an investment firm based in St. Louis, have put together an excellent primer: "The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need" (Truman Talley, $25.95)....they cover the bases extremely well. Even better, they lay out a strategy for investing in bonds that will make sense for most people:
-Buy bonds with the highest ratings, or invest in bond mutual funds that do.
-Buy bonds with short to intermediate maturities. "Holding assets with a maturity of about one to two years is the prudent strategy for those investors wishing to maximize the risk-reward relationship," the authors write.
-Avoid buying hybrid securities -- like convertible bonds and preferred stocks -- because their risks outweigh their potential rewards.
-Don't try to time the market. "Buy and hold" is the safest approach, as with stocks." --The New York Times, Sunday Business Section, 3/5/06
"Coming up with a bond strategy takes time, but it's time well spent. Because the same instruments that are sold as safe and secure hedges against trouble can bite you if you're holding the wrong kind in the wrong way and interest rates turn.
A couple of St. Louis financial advisers, Larry Swedroe and Joseph Hempen, have written a straightforward book to address all of those choices.
The Only Guide To A Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need, to be published in March by St. Martin's Press, may sound a bit hyperbolic.
But it's notable because at least one of the authors, Swedroe, has a reputation as an exponent of the "you can't beat the market" philosophy and the inexpensive stock index-fund investing that typically goes with it.
He typically tells clients that they shouldn't try to beat the market, but instead should hold diversified portfolios of low-cost stock funds for years and years. So it's worth seeing how such a philosophy would translate to bonds.
...[It] is also informative and direct when it comes to making bond investment choices." --Linda Stern (Freelance writer), published on Reuters.com and in Jackson News-Tribune

"You create wealth with stocks; you preserve it with bonds.
Those of us on the wrong side of 50 are starting to pay more attention to an asset class that just doesn't get the respect it merits: fixed income.
A few weeks back, we noted the recent publication of a Canadian-focused primer on bonds: Hank Cunningham's In Your Best Interest.
I noted such books are rare compared to the glut of material on the more glamorous subject of stocks and equity funds. Barely was the ink dry on that column when another bond book came through the transom, from an author I've read and respected for some time: Larry Swedroe.
Swedroe is one of those indexing evangelists who has made the case for indexing equities in such prior books as What Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Know and The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need. (St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001 and 2005).
I guess Larry's that much closer to retirement now because he's about to release his fifth investment book and it's focused on bonds. He has teamed up with partner Joseph Hempen to write The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need. The publication date is March 7.
Judging from the endorsement the book got from personal finance writer Jane Bryant Quinn -- "The bond book for our times" -- this one is destined for strong sales. Unlike Cunningham's book, Swedroe's is aimed at American investors. Thus, certain chapters -- like the one on tax-exempt municipal bonds -- aren't of much relevance to Canadian investors. (More's the pity).
Swedroe lists three reasons to include bonds in portfolios: for liquidity to meet unexpected expenses; to reduce portfolio risk; and to create streams of income to meet ongoing expenses.
He then lists the rules of prudent fixed-income investing: buy only investment-grade bonds rated AA or better; avoid long-term bonds by restricting yourself to bonds with maturities that are short- to intermediate-term; avoid trying to guess interest rates or find mispriced securities; avoid hybrid securities such as preferred stocks or convertible bonds; and invest only in low-cost vehicles.
You'll note both the emphasis on low costs and the point about avoiding market timing reinforces Swedroe's long-established indexing bona fides.
Like Cunningham, Swedroe is critical of how brokerage houses price bonds and disclose broker compensation. Swedroe thinks investors should avoid buying individual bonds from banks or brokerage firms because of large invisible mark-ups and because brokers sell mostly what they have in inventory and wish to dispose of.
Swedroe devotes the early chapters to an overview of how the bond market works and the risks that attend it. He scrutinizes how bonds are priced for retail investors and surveys the dominant species inhabiting the fixed income
landscape: government bonds, corporates, international bonds, mortgage-backed securities, money market funds, certificates of deposit (we call these GICs in Canada), and inflation-indexed securities. The latter include U.S. specific iBonds and TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities), versions of which are called real return bonds in Canada.
But the key chapter is the penultimate eleventh one, which explains how to design and construct a fixed-income portfolio. Here Swedroe looks at the pros and cons of owning bonds through mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, holding individual securities directly or owning bonds in separately managed accounts.
Like Cunningham, Swedroe devotes considerable time to laddering bonds with different maturities. This he describe as "a prudent tactical approach to portfolio construction" that both cuts costs and lets investors balance price risk and reinvestment risk. He also looks at tax efficiency and asset location (as opposed to asset allocation) and describes the importance of getting a financial advisor to craft an Investment Policy Statement (IPS). He suggests investors create a separate Fixed-Income IPS that focuses on investment vehicles, average maturities, minimum acceptable credit ratings and maximum allocation to any one type of debt instrument.
In a canned "interview" the publishers include in a press kit, Swedroe says he wrote the book because "fixed income is a neglected investment tool." As I'd noted when I reviewed Cunningham's book, Swedroe says "there are hundreds of books out there on stocks, far fewer available on fixed income." Too many investors overlook the asset class. That's a mistake because "it's an essential part of a healthy investment portfolio." If a portfolio is a stew, bonds should viewed as a main ingredient like potatoes or carrots, rather than just a seasoning.
From a Canadian perspective, I'd argue Swedroe's book is not the only such fixed-income guide an investor needs. But it makes a good complement to the Canadian-oriented In Your Best Interest.
Buy 'em both."
--The National Post






More About the Author

Larry Swedroe is principal and director of research for Buckingham Asset Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor firm in St. Louis, Mo. He is also principal of BAM Advisor Services, LLC, a service provider to investment advisors across the country, most of whom are affiliated with CPA firms. Previously, Larry was vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage. Larry holds an MBA in finance and investment from NYU, and a bachelor's degree in finance from Baruch College.

Customer Reviews

For the bond investor I highly recommend this book.
Paul Globerson
The authors know all the academic studies, explain them in a way that we nonspecialists can understand, and digest them into a clear, very usable strategy.
Barnard D. Sherman
Swedroe offers a very level-headed, articulate approach to bond investing.
Jeffrey S. Rapp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I always thought that investing in bonds would be a pretty basic activity... You see an interest rate, you buy the bond, you get the payments. Wrong! I've been set straight by the book The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You'll Ever Need : The Way Smart Money Preserves Wealth Today by Larry E. Swedroe and Joseph H. Hempen.

Contents: Introduction; Bondspeak; The Risks of Fixed-Income Investing; The Buying and Selling of Individual Bonds; How the Fixed-Income Markets Really Work; The Securities of the U.S. Treasury, Government Agencies, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises; The World of Short-Term Fixed-Income Securities; The World of Corporate Fixed-Income Securities; The World of International Fixed-Income Securities; The World of Mortgage-Backed Securities; The World of Municipal Bonds; How to Design and Construct Your Fixed-Income Portfolio; Summary; Afterword; Appendices; Notes; Glossary; Acknowledgments; Index

While not an expert investor by any means, I thought I understood the basics about bonds. I figured that buying a bond meant that you looked at the rating on how strong the company is, chose something that was investment grade, and then buy the security that provides the interest rate that you want to achieve. The reality is far, far different. I didn't realize there's really eight risks you have to manage when buying bonds: interest rate risks, credit risk, reinvestment risk, inflation risk, event risk, tax risk, liquidity risk, and agency risk. I didn't understand that the lack of transparency in the broker market means that you can get severely burned on a bond purchase and end up losing your stated interest rate *and* your principal.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Barnard D. Sherman on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book is in combining thorough coverage of the published research with practical, easily applicable advice. The authors know all the academic studies, explain them in a way that we nonspecialists can understand, and digest them into a clear, very usable strategy. Both authors have years of real-world, top-level bond trading experience, which also makes their advice especially useful; but the coverage of research, for me, is what sets the book apart. If you know nothing at all about bonds, I wouldn't necessarily start with it (I think it assumes you are not an absolute beginner); but once you have a sense of the basics, this book is essential reading, on the shortest short list.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Malpeli on March 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book strikes an unusually nice balance between comprehensive treatment of the subject and a style understandable by the average investor. Swedroe and Hempen's explanation of the pitfalls of the secondary bond market is particularly valuable, and the advice on Treasury Inflation Protected Securities more than paid for my copy. It's a great complement to Swedroe's first book ("The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need"), which lays out Modern Portfolio Theory, but does not go into different types of bonds or the mechanics of the bond market in any depth. While Swedroe's advocacy of Modern Portfolio Theory comes across, I doubt that any reader would understand this theory from the book on bonds. The book ends with short, informative appendices on callable bonds and TIPS, plus a glossary that's particularly valuable because of the arcane terminology used in the bond market.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey S. Rapp on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Very well-written and thorough. Swedroe offers a very level-headed, articulate approach to bond investing. He offers a perspective which is hard to argue with, and ushers the reader through the whys and hows. If you read the book, it's unlikely you'll make any significant mistakes, and you'll actually enjoy the process. This is a book I can't imagine NOT having in the library. Before you purchase anything other than treasuries at auction, read it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By F. Lamberta on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Swedroe and Hempen's book continues Mr. Swedroe's aim to educate and empower the average person in the area of investing by making financial markets more understandable. Detailed expalanations of bond types like TIPS, corporate, municipals, etc.reveal to the patient reader the strengths and weaknesses of each.This detailed information is not easily available in typical financial magazines. Guidelines are provided to readers who create a recommended bond Investment Policy Statement allowing them to structure a personal bond plan while avoiding excessive expenses.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mel Lindauer on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Larry and Joe have joined forces to produce a much-needed reader-friendly bond book. When your asset allocation calls for bonds and/or bond funds, you need to understand what you're buying, and this book takes the mystery out of bonds and bond funds. I predict that this will become THE bond book for the majority of investors. It's definitely a winner!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Patricia S. Larimore on March 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books about bonds. Most are highly technical and beyond comprehension by ordinary investors.

"The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Stratey You'll Ever Need," by Larry Swedroe and Joseph Hampen, is just what the title implies--a book that gives its reader, in understandable language, all the information he or she needs to select the fixed income investments required in a well diversified portfolio.

I recommend this book highly for anyone who wants to know more about bonds and other fixed income securities.

Taylor Larimore

Miami, Florida
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