Are Baby Bonds A Good Investment?

Liquidity in financial markets refers to how soon an investment may be sold without depreciating its value. The more liquid an investment is, the faster it can be sold (and vice versa), and the more easily it can be sold for a fair price. More liquid assets trade at a premium, whereas illiquid assets trade at a discount, assuming all other factors are equal.

What is the frequency of interest payments on baby bonds?

Debt that is traded on an exchange Notes and bonds that are exchanged on stock exchanges rather than bond markets are known as securities. The majority of ETFs have maturities of 30 years or more (although some are just 5-10 years). The majority of these securities pay interest on a quarterly basis. The majority of ETF debt issuance are ‘junior’ to the company’s secured debt and’senior’ to preferred and common stock.

The majority of the issues are $25.00/share issues that are callable 5 years from the date of issue for $25.00 plus accrued interest.

When the 5 year first call date approaches, caution should be applied when purchasing these debt securities.

Companies will’refinance’ as much debt as possible at lower interest rates in an environment where interest rates are declining.

If you buy at a price higher than $25, you will lose money if the issue is called.

It’s worth noting that investment-grade debt makes up a sizable portion of the exchange traded debt market.

Because these issues are essentially similar to preferred shares (except that they are one level higher on the ‘claim’ ladder in a bankruptcy), they are good problems to explore for folks who enjoy preferred shares.

It’s worth noting that the payouts on these instruments are treated as interest, so they’re not eligible for the lower qualifying tax rate.

Is it a good idea to have baby bonds?

The Dow Jones had not yet breached 11,000 in 2005, when Pope John Paul II died and Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League. It was also the year when then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown began a bold experiment of providing a long-term tax-free savings account or “baby bonds” to every child born in the United Kingdom. Every child born in the United Kingdom got a £250 to £500 endowment between 2002 and 2011, which was then deposited in stocks or an interest-bearing savings account. Despite the fact that the program was terminated in 2011 owing to budgetary constraints, all 6.3 million accounts that were opened as part of it have been quietly earning money. Now, 18 years later, the oldest of those who received accounts are entitled to withdraw their funds, resulting in a windfall of up to £33,000 for many.

Baby bonding can be a terrific equalizer in an era of extreme inequality. With the United States still reeling from the aftermath of George Floyd, baby bonds can help close the racial wealth gap, with the median Black family owning only 15% of the median wealth of a white family.

The grounds for America’s racial wealth disparity present a moral imperative to close it. Housing laws that were racist and exclusionary, such as redlining, which limited Black families’ access to finance and desirable communities, prohibited Black families from establishing intergenerational wealth through housing. While the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made redlining illegal, its consequences are still felt today, with only 40% of Black Americans born between 1966 and 1976 owning homes. Black families are being left behind as the stock market soars. According to the Federal Reserve, only 33.5 percent of Black families owned stock in 2019, compared to 61 percent of white families. When you consider that Black males earn 67 cents for every $1 earned by white males, it’s easy to see why the racial wealth gap is so vast. The earnings gap between Black women and Latinas and white men is much wider, at 63 and 55 cents on the dollar, respectively.

Senator Cory Booker’s presidential campaign has focused on infant connections. Every American would get $1,000 at birth and an additional $2,000 deposit every year, based on family income, under Booker’s American Opportunity Accounts. The funds would be held in an interest-bearing savings account until the children reach the age of 18, with tax-free withdrawals limited to eligible uses such as home ownership and higher education.

The roughly 3% interest rate on savings represents a squandered opportunity to significantly alleviate racial and economic inequality. According to Portfolio Visualizer’s projections, a $10,000 investment in a Vanguard S&P 500 index fund in 2003 would have grown to more than $60,000 now. Under Booker’s approach, the same sum would be only $17,000 if it earned compounded 3% interest. For many, the $43,000 difference is the difference between becoming a homeowner and passing down an ancestral asset to future generations or not.

Booker’s strategy puts safety ahead of growth. That may make sense for retired investors, but not for children who have 18 years to rise with the market. As recipients approach the age of 18, target-date mutual funds—funds that gradually lower their exposure to stocks and other risky investments as funds are slated to be withdrawn—can be utilized to limit risk.

While recent events concerning GameStop have sparked fears of stock market bubbles, history shows that even high-risk investments outperform not being in the market at all. At the height of the dotcom bubble, when stocks were massively overvalued, a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 would have grown to nearly $28,000 today.

In terms of decreasing the racial wealth gap, connecting additional benefits to race is unlikely to pass legal scrutiny, but means testing on family income is likely to have a similar result. Assuming that 4 million kids are born each year and that the bottom 30% of children in terms of household income receive a $2,000 annual payout, the total annual costs after 10 years would be $30.4 billion. Given that the newest round of direct stimulus payments is anticipated to cost over $400 billion, a program that transforms the lives of 13 million of America’s poorest children appears to be a bargain.

Implementation is a concern, as it is with all revolutionary entitlement schemes. Fortunately, the Thrift Savings Plan is a model that the federal government can employ to develop investment-oriented baby bonds (TSP). TSP is a defined contribution plan that covers six million public servants and military personnel. TSP gives low-cost access to a wide range of stock and bond index funds. Why can’t TSP work for America’s children if it can work for six million government employees?

Are dividends paid on baby bonds?

The same as equities traded on a stock exchange. A baby bond is a bond that has a face value of less than $1,000. This is usually $25, $50, or $100. Notes, Senior Notes, Debentures, Junior Debentures, and a variety of other terms are used to describe them. Baby bonds are nearly typically unsecured, though some utility baby bonds are secured by utility assets, hence they rank ahead of common and preferred shares in the capital stack, but below secured debt.

In the issuing prospectus of some preferred stocks, there is a condition that states that if the issuer does not redeem an issue by a specific date, the coupon will step up to a higher rate until the shares are redeemed.

This isn’t a typical provision, although it does pop up again and then as a way to make a new issuance more appealing to investors.

Many preferred shares feature provisions for holders to redeem their shares if a company is bought or someone buys a controlling interest. Because of this clause, even if an issue is not technically redeemable by date, it is feasible that it will be redeemed early as part of a merger or other transaction.

The declared percentage of debt or preferred stock that the corporation will pay.

The dividend is computed by multiplying the coupon percentage by the issue’s face value (e.g., 8% X $25 = $2.00/year or 50 cents weekly).

The current yield of a preferred stock is the current yield (%) on the shares based on the current share price.

Dividends are payments made to you as a result of owning common or preferred stock.

Dividends are frequently eligible for favorable tax treatment from the United States government, and are taxed at the lower capital gains rate.

REIT, MLP, and BDC dividends are not eligible for preferential tax rates.

While many investors use the term “duration” to refer to the time it takes to reach maturity, this is only “kind of right.” Duration is a measure of how sensitive a fixed-income investment’s price (the value of principal) is to changes in interest rates. The length of time is measured in years. Bond prices fall when interest rates rise, while bond prices rise when interest rates fall.

This clause permits a corporation to sell stock in order to redeem a bond issuance before its maturity date.

Allowing a ‘clawback’ of up to 35 percent of the issue by selling shares is common practice.

This is the day when the securities stops paying dividends and starts trading without them (ex-dividend). On this date, the security’s price will typically trade at a discount to the previous day’s closing price equal to the dividend amount.

When allowed, the risk that a preferred stock or baby bond will not be called at the earliest available date.

Preferred stock and baby bonds are occasionally issued with a fixed rate for the first five or ten years before switching to a floating rate.

A preferred or baby bond that pays a fixed rate of interest/dividends for 5 years before being reset every 5 years at the guaranteed “spread” plus the 5-year treasury rate until redemption (if any).

“Floating rate” coupons are sometimes used in both preferred stock and baby bonds.

These are usually adjusted every three months and are based on a base rate and a floating rate (such as 3 month libor). There is usually a minimum coupon rate on these.

When a firm “prices” a new stock or bond offering, it files a paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Also known as an FWP. Companies can also utilize it for any number of various items they need to file with the SEC, as the name implies.

Interest is the compensation you receive for “lending” money to a corporation by purchasing its bonds.

Interest received in the United States is not eligible for special tax treatment and is taxed at ordinary rates.

Investment grade equities are those that are rated at or above BBB- by Standard and Poor’s and at or above Baa3 by Moody’s.

Credit rating information can be found here.

The majority of preferred stocks are unrated or have ratings that are below investment grade.

These are referred described as “trash” by us.

While the asset may not be “junk,” any security that is not investment grade is referred to as such.

The amount that will be paid to the holder at the time of redemption.

This is usually $25 (but it can be $50, $100, or $1000 in some situations).

In the event of a call or redemption, a’make whole’ provision means that the investor will get the net present value of a future stream of payments.

Some preferred companies pay their dividends on a monthly rather than quarterly basis.

Some investors prefer to get monthly dividends because they require regular income.

Monthly payors have a modest annual advantage over quarterly payors in terms of math.

If a board of directors fails to declare a dividend, the company is not obligated to pay the dividend in the future. Non-cumulative preferred stock is typically issued by banks and insurance businesses, and it is not permitted to be used as Tier 1 capital.

On the balance sheet of the issuer, the value ascribed to an issuance.

While many people mistakenly believe that most preferreds and baby bonds have a par value of $25, this is untrue.

The true ‘par value’ is frequently 1 cent.

In prospectuses, the term “pari passu” refers to securities that are “equal” in terms of ranking in the case of a liquidation.

Within the capital stack, most preferred stocks are “pari passu,” which means that if a business has five issues outstanding, they all rank equally, regardless of when they were issued.

Only a few (very few) preferred stock issuance are “participating.”

This means that preferred stockholders will be able to “participate” in earnings above and beyond the specified coupon rate.

A penalty (or bonus) coupon rate is paid on a few preferred issues if shares are not redeemed by a specific deadline.

While theoretically perpetual in terms of maturity, these shares are more commonly referred to as term preferred.

This implies that there will be no maturity date.

Because most preferred stocks have a maturity date, the issuer is not obligated to redeem the shares at any time.

The document that lays out the exact parameters of a stock or bond issue and is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Distributions and dividends that are eligible for favorable tax treatment on your income taxes are referred to as “qualified distributions and dividends.” This means that instead of paying the regular tax rate, you will pay the lower capital gains rate. Typical preferred stock issuers who pay eligible distributions are banks and insurance businesses. Non-qualifiable dividends are paid by REITs, mlps, and BDCs.

After a set amount of time, the issuer has the option to redeem (or call) the shares at a preset price.

For example, most preferred stock is “redeemable” at the issuer’s option 5 years after issuance for $25 plus accrued dividends. Note that the issuer has the option to redeem the shares, and whether they are redeemed or not is dependent on current interest rates. If interest rates rise, fewer issues will be redeemed; on the other hand, if interest rates fall, corporations will redeem issues so that they can reissue at a lower coupon and save money.

The date on which a preferred stock can be redeemed at any time. This is usually roughly 5 years after the prospectus was issued, but it can be any amount of time specified in the prospectus.

There are just a few preferred stock issues with mandated redemption deadlines, which we refer to as “term preferreds.”

They are similar to all other preferreds in most ways, but instead of being “perpetual,” they have a “date certain” for redemption.

Voting rights are rarely extended to holders of baby bonds and preferred stock, which are reserved for common stock stockholders.

It should be emphasized that if a corporation fails to pay a preferred stock dividend, the preferred stockholders may elect a set number of board members. In actuality, this is rarely a consideration in a preferred stock offering.

In 2020, are bonds a decent investment?

  • Treasury bonds can be a useful investment for people seeking security and a fixed rate of interest paid semiannually until the bond’s maturity date.
  • Bonds are an important part of an investing portfolio’s asset allocation since their consistent returns serve to counter the volatility of stock prices.
  • Bonds make up a bigger part of the portfolio of investors who are closer to retirement, whilst younger investors may have a lesser share.
  • Because corporate bonds are subject to default risk, they pay a greater yield than Treasury bonds, which are guaranteed if held to maturity.
  • Is it wise to invest in bonds? Investors must balance their risk tolerance against the chance of a bond defaulting, the yield on the bond, and the length of time their money will be tied up.

Is it still possible to form baby bonds?

These small-denomination bonds are aimed at ordinary investors who may not have a lot of money to put into standard bonds. Municipal issuers or government-issued savings bonds are the most popular kind of baby bonds.

What is the mechanism of baby bonds?

Baby bonds are a government program in which every kid is given a publicly financed trust account at birth, with lower-income families receiving more generous funding. The strategy was developed by economists William Darity and Darrick Hamilton in 2010 as a way to close the racial wealth gap in the United States. According to Naomi Zewde’s 2019 analysis of the idea, baby bonds would reduce the median racial wealth difference between white and black young Americans from 16 to 1.4.

The term “baby bond” can also apply to a bond with a par value of $1,000 or less in American English.

How do you go about purchasing baby bonds?

Savings bonds from the United States are one of the few assets that minors, including infants, can own in their own names. A U.S. savings bond can be owned by any citizen or resident of the United States who has a Social Security number, regardless of age. If you wish to give a savings bond to a newborn, you’ll need to utilize your Treasury Direct account or your tax refund to purchase paper Series I bonds in the baby’s name.

What is the procedure for purchasing a baby bond?

  • Go to for further information.
  • Purchase the savings bond you choose (Series EE or Series I) in the denomination you want ($25 to $10,000).

What does a BDC baby bond entail?

Baby bonds are debt offerings with a par value of less than $1,000 ($25 for most corporations, including BDCs) that have priority over common and preferred shares in the event of a liquidation. Baby bonds have more liquidity than normal bonds and are traded on the New York Stock Exchange or the OTC market. The majority of baby bonds pay interest every three months, and many of the longer-term bonds are rated by major rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, Kroll, and Moody’s.

I’m always keeping an eye on BDC balance sheets, which provide insight into bond risk factors like as portfolio credit quality, changes in leverage, asset/interest coverage ratios, and redemption risk, as highlighted in the GAIN Deep Dive report. This information, as well as essential concerns such as asset and interest coverage comparisons for risk assessment, will be discussed in future publications.

Baby bonds and preferred shares typically have lower returns and are not expected to outperform the S&P 500 or BDC stock purchases, but they will easily outperform during periods of high volatility and/or downturn while still providing a relatively safe and stable yield due to their seniority over common stocks.

Bond pricing is influenced by predicted investment rates, which include non-investment grade debt and the ‘BofA Merrill Lynch US Corporate B Index’ (Corp B), which rose to 8.45 percent on December 26, 2018.

These yields have been dropping in 2019 and are currently about 5.75 percent, as discussed in prior articles. This is significant for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is that it indicates whether investors predict greater (or lower) rates on non-investment grade debt.

How do I get my baby bonds back?

  • Whether you have a local bank account and it accepts savings bonds, inquire if it will accept yours. The answer may be contingent on the length of time you’ve had an account there. If the bank will cash your check, find out if there is a monetary restriction on redemptions and what kind of identification and other documentation you’ll need.
  • Send these, along with FS Form 1522, to Treasury Retail Securities Services (download or order). The bonds are not required to be signed. You’ll need to verify your identity. The instructions are on FS Form 1522, in the “Certification” section. Our address is also included in the form.