No. of Recommendations: 5

I've said it before, and I'll stand by my claim. If you're looking for an online bond broker, E*Trade is the best.

If you're looking for a full-service broker, who likely is no more expensive, you could be well served by any of big houses. (Ask Chris about her experiences with Merrill.)

But, no matter who you choose, read and think very carefully before you buy anything. Fixed-income mistakes are very expensive to fix, like 5 times what they are compared to stocks, because of atrocious commisions, a gaggle of add-on fees, wide spreads, illiquidites, a dearth of pricing info, no historical data apart from Treasuries and then not convenient, etc.

The bond market is the private club of the institutions and small investors are not welcome and at a huge competitive disadvantage compared to conditions available to the stock geeks. That's the landscape. Go into bonds with your eyes wide open. It's a jungle where you have to fight for every basis point.

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