Evaluate and Manage Your Interest-Rate Risk

Have concerns? Prepare now for future interest rate changes.

This extended period of low interest rates has helped to push bond prices and values to relatively high levels over the past several years. If you are concerned about the potential for rising rates, now may be a good time to assess your bond fund holdings.

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Understanding Interest Rate Risk

The threat of lower bond prices due to rising interest rates is called "interest rate risk." This risk cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed. Consider:

  • Diversifying your bond fund portfolio with funds that hold higher-yielding securities that are typically less interest rate-sensitive than Treasuries, such as corporate bonds or mortgage-backed securities.
  • Focusing on shorter-duration funds for less volatility, or money market funds for capital preservation.
What's Your Fund's Duration?

Match the duration of your portfolio to your timeframe. Next

Money Market Fund: You could lose money by investing in the fund. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it cannot guarantee it will do so. The fund may impose a fee upon sale of your shares or may temporarily suspend your ability to sell shares if the fund's liquidity falls below required minimums because of market conditions or other factors. An investment in the fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The fund's sponsor has no legal obligation to provide financial support to the fund, and you should not expect that the sponsor will provide financial support to the fund at any time.

Duration, which is an indication of the relative sensitivity of a security's market value to changes in interest rates, is based upon the aggregate of the present value of all principal and interest payments to be received, discounted at the current market rate of interest and expressed in years. The longer the weighted average duration of the fund's portfolio, the more sensitive its market value is to interest rate fluctuations. Duration is different from maturity in that it attempts to measure the interest rate sensitivity of a security, as opposed to its expected final maturity.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.
Generally, as interest rates rise, the value of the securities held in the fund will decline. The opposite is true when interest rates decline.

As with all investments, there are risks of fluctuating prices, uncertainty of dividends, rates of return and yields. Current and future holdings are subject to market risk and will fluctuate in value.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.