BUYING BONDS WITH ETFs

September 16, 2008
Michael Sheehan

Physician's Money Digest, January31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 2

As physician-investors flock tobonds in the wake of the stock market'swoes, some brokers arelaunching new ways to buy them.One broker, Barclays Global Investors,has come up with exchange-tradedfunds (ETFs) for bonds.ETFs for bonds are basically firstcousins to index funds. BarclaysiShares funds (www.ishares.com),for example, track a variety ofLehman bond indexes. Like theirstock market cousins, bond ETFstrade like stocks, which means youhave to buy them through a broker.If you trade actively, brokercommissions could wipe out anETF's main advantage—super lowexpense ratios that run about 0.15%.Costs are important because bondyields are at all-time lows and evenbare-bone expenses can take a majorbite out of your returns.