The pros and cons of Roth IRAs, which were introduced 20 years ago, are well understood. All money flowing into Roth IRAs is after-tax, so there is no upfront tax benefit. As a tradeoff, all qualified Roth IRA distributions can be tax-free, including the parts of the distributions that are payouts of investment earnings. […]
Many people invest in the bond market through funds because individual bonds can be difficult for non-professionals to analyze, and the trading prices for the small transactions typical of individual investors are often relatively high. When you invest through a fund, experienced portfolio managers make the buy and sell decisions, and your are able to take advantage of the more favorable trade prices that institutional investors enjoy.
Additionally, bond funds may hold dozens or even hundreds of different issues, reducing investors’ exposure to weakness in any one bond. Investing in bond funds rather than individual bonds can reduce risk in the fixed-income portion of your portfolio, but there still are possible pitfalls to consider. […]