First of all you don't necessarily protect your money by investing in bonds. What you protect is your yield based on interest.As a matter of fact in a bond mutual fund you can loose principle. But if you invest in the following you will not loose principle if you hold to maturity.Money Market Mutual fundT-Bills,Treasury notes.I would not invest any lump sum money today in bonds. Interest rates are on the rise.How do you know that interest rates are going to rise ? If you are so sure, why don't you purchase options on the interest rate futures and retire soon after they rise ? :-)
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