Investing in Bonds For Dummies
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Selling bonds online can be a much trickier business than buying them. You have a particular bond you want to dump, and the market may or may not want it.

At Fidelity, you're best off calling a Fidelity fixed-income trader and asking that trader to give you a handle on what the bond is worth. You can then go online, place a "Limit Price" order to sell, and you'll very likely get what the Fidelity trader told you you'd get. But here's the catch: Fidelity itself may wind up buying your bond and selling it to someone else at a large markup. However, Fidelity could be a better advocate for its clients if it weren't also dealing in the bonds its clients are trading. So be it.

Truth be told, you are likely to pay a high markup anywhere if you sell a bond before its maturity. Charles Schwab is similar to Fidelity in that you tend to pay through the nose when selling, says Dalibor Nenadov, a fee-only financial planner with Northern Financial Advisors in Franklin, Michigan. "The bottom line for the average middle class investor is to build a bond ladder, and hold until maturity. Don't sell before maturity, and don't try to time rates," he says.

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Russell Wild is a NAPFA certified financial advisor and principal of Global Portfolios, an investment advisory firm based in Allentown, PA that works with clients of both substantial and modest means. He has written two dozen books and numerous articles on financial matters.

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