Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Junk bonds (see above item) are still bonds so they’re less risky than stocks. In the worst year for junk bonds (1990), the average junk bond fund lost less than 10%. Some stock funds lost far more heavily in the spring of 2000. On the other hand, junk bonds are capable of huge gains. In 1991, the First Boston High Yield Index was up 44%, the average junk bond fund returned 37%. Since then, junk bond funds have posted five years with returns of 13% or more. Because the market is so complicated you should invest in junk bonds through funds so a professional manager can pick bonds for you. Fidelity High-Income Fund (800-544-8888), has been a consistent leader while Eaton Vance Income Fund of Boston (800-225-6265) has a stellar record going back to 1972, including an extraordinary 12% return in last year’s turbulent market.