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Old 01-30-2012, 04:55 PM   #21
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I've held them for years but I use funds. I can't develop a compelling case to hold individual bonds. Too much work, need a lot of issues to diversify and liquidity is a problem. Especially for small portfolios.
Seems that individual issues held to redemption can provide some protection from the NAV decline exposure of MFs and can provide a somewhat more predictable forecast of cash flow. ~$250,000 could be a reasonable average amount for a laddered muni portfolio.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:00 PM   #22
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At a high level, a rolling ladder is the same (mathematical risk) as a fund basically. These are assets I don't intend to touch for quite some time (or maybe never) -- probably 4-5x the duration of the fund.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:08 PM   #23
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At a high level, a rolling ladder is the same (mathematical risk) as a fund basically.
I hope you have your flame proof armor on.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:36 PM   #24
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At a high level, a rolling ladder is the same (mathematical risk) as a fund basically. These are assets I don't intend to touch for quite some time (or maybe never) -- probably 4-5x the duration of the fund.
If and when I need cash from this portion of my asset allocation, I prefer to have the choice of taking it from a maturing / called bond or a MF. I'm not partial to paying capital gains on tax exempt investments.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:42 PM   #25
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So for those that are buying individual bonds, couple questions - how do you get through all the bonds available with questions like call provisions, cost to insure them, and keep up with developments that affect them? Just seems to be so much more to have to evaluate with thousands of bonds available.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:06 PM   #26
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If and when I need cash from this portion of my asset allocation, I prefer to have the choice of taking it from a maturing / called bond or a MF. I'm not partial to paying capital gains on tax exempt investments.
Yes, a non-rolling ladder is a different animal.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:37 AM   #27
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So for those that are buying individual bonds, couple questions - how do you get through all the bonds available with questions like call provisions, cost to insure them, and keep up with developments that affect them? Just seems to be so much more to have to evaluate with thousands of bonds available.
It helps if you consider reading The Bond Buyer a labor of love and are comfortable reading Official Statements.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:15 PM   #28
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Many investors here have tax deferred accounts so they don't need munis. I don't, and munis make up my largest allocation. We hold individual bonds, muni funds and muni CEFs in similar amounts. If Ms Whitney made another scary projection about munis, and they were to fall in price, I would buy more.
Would you buy as part of rebalancing or would you be changing your asset allocation. I've been worried about rate hikes and didn't really think of buying more if\ when that happens. Seems like a simple solution especially for those gradually shifting to a heavier bond holding, like me.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:49 PM   #29
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Hi,
I am new to the forum and pretty new to investing.
I am also considering buying into some NY Muni bond Funds. Most likely through Vanguard.
My question is, can these be sold at anytime? I am still a little unsure of the rules.
Thank you
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:54 PM   #30
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Hi,
I am new to the forum and pretty new to investing.
I am also considering buying into some NY Muni bond Funds. Most likely through Vanguard.
My question is, can these be sold at anytime? I am still a little unsure of the rules.
Thank you
My first foray into non-retirement investing was buying into a NY Muni bond fund more than 20 years ago. It was through Fidelity.

I don't know about Vanguard, but you can usually sell shares of a muni bond fund at any time. You may face a short-term trading fee if you hold the shares less than 30 days, for example (using first-in-first-out and excluding shares bought through dividend or cap gains reinvestment). The fund's prospectus will point out any such fees and to which shares they may apply.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:25 PM   #31
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As long as you buy bonds from an issue that represents a stable taxpaying base you are fine. Detroit GO bonds? No thanks!
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:45 PM   #32
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I love muni bonds and they have been the most successful part of my portfolio. Mine have grown in value over the past few years as interest rates have dropped and bond values have gone up. I'm glad that I laddered Muni bonds instead of CDs' that are paying almost nothing while I still get a nice income off of my muni bonds. It won't last, however, I know that when interest rates go up I'll lose some of my gains but I bought them for the monthly income not to profit off of them. And, I do sleep good at night knowing I'll get my check each month.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:59 PM   #33
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Still working and in high marginal tax bracket. Have 15-20% AA to muni/tax free bond funds.
One thing I should add is that, for us, Munis are a relatively recent addition to our portfolio; in taxable accounts. Just for context, we're <5 yrs from retirement and have been moving to a more conservative AA over the past few years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:10 AM   #34
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Would you buy as part of rebalancing or would you be changing your asset allocation. I've been worried about rate hikes and didn't really think of buying more if\ when that happens. Seems like a simple solution especially for those gradually shifting to a heavier bond holding, like me.
Rate hikes are a concern, but I think the greater risk is still deflation, and I would increase the allocation if prices were to fall.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #35
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Thanks everyone for their comments.

I would love to hear some more Muni comments.

From what I can gather so far, the main risks are deflation (thanks MichaelB) and rates rising.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:06 PM   #36
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We just had a GO muni called early (8 yrs left) that was paying 4.7%. That is one downside I didn't expect so soon although I knew it could happen. We will be looking to replace.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:59 AM   #37
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All of my fixed income investments are in tax deferred accounts and I plan to withdraw from those accounts in a way that the effective tax rate will be quite low so there is no benefit to be had from the difference in interest rates between similar quality corporate bonds and munis.

IMHO, munis only make sense if they are in a taxable account and you have a high marginal tax rate and most ERs marginal tax rate is not very high.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #38
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We just had a GO muni called early (8 yrs left) that was paying 4.7%. That is one downside I didn't expect so soon although I knew it could happen. We will be looking to replace.
My WA State GO 5% due 01/01/20 acquired 11/29/06 @ 106.388 was called on 01/01/12, resulting in a yield to call of 3.61%. YTM would have been 4.35%.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:33 PM   #39
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All of my fixed income investments are in tax deferred accounts and I plan to withdraw from those accounts in a way that the effective tax rate will be quite low so there is no benefit to be had from the difference in interest rates between similar quality corporate bonds and munis.

IMHO, munis only make sense if they are in a taxable account and you have a high marginal tax rate and most ERs marginal tax rate is not very high.
I have munis in taxable accounts due to high marginal tax rate. What would you move munis to upon retirement when tax rate goes down? Assuming AA is maintained.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:40 PM   #40
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Similar quality/duration corporate bonds, you would likely end up with a better yield depending on your marginal tax rate in retirement. Compare the corporate yield * (1- marginal tax rate) to the muni yield (all else being equal).
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