From 1926 to today, inflation has averaged about 3% per year. In order to stay even with the inflation an investor must earn after tax return of 3% each year. If you are in top most tax bracket, then the income from bonds is currently taxed at 35%.
The 10-year bond currently yields 4.21%. After paying 35% tax on this income, this investor will earn 2.73% return over the 10-year period. In real terms, the investor will lose 0.27% to inflation.
The 30-year bond has the yield of 4.43%. After paying 35% tax on this bond income, the investor will earn 2.87% return over the 30-year period. In real terms, the investor will lose about 0.13% annually to inflation.
In today’s low rate environment, bonds do not provide a real return. Some may argue that the inflation will not average 3% for the next 30-years, the market is not expecting it. Precisely. The market rarely accommodates the majority. The inflation expectations are too low today. Be prepare for a surprise.
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