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If you are at ground zero a good place to start is with any basic bond book you can get your hands on down at the library. The first thing to learn is the lingo. The second is buying an individual bond is most often safer than buying shares in a mutual fund and the mechanics aren't dramatically different.

Feel free to de-lurk at any time and ask any question. We have been doing some pretty intense chatting lately but we are not mired in squabbling over styles, tactics and strategies. The heart of the board has always been about helping people learn to invest in a broad range of fixed income vehicles.

Thanks Jack. As I said I have been lurking here for a while and learn a lot from many posters here.

I don't buy into bond mutual funds for a lot of reasons and I agree that buying individual bonds is safer. I don't ever see myself trading bonds, rather buying bonds to hold to maturity. At the present I am about 50% stocks and the rest a mixture of CDs and government bonds along with cash in MM funds. That has given my portfolio some stability through the current market conditions but I would like to see if I can increase the yield of my fixed income portfolio with corporate bonds.

My portfolio is of a size that I can easily hold any position to less than 1% of the total. That certainly mitigates the loss from default risk. I am also of the opinion that inflation will not be a problem for a while. I do believe that interest rates will rise and that is a risk however since I do plan to hold to maturity that risk is also mitigated.

Now it seems that my only problem is to find a variety of corporate bonds in which to invest. Probably a mix of investment grade and high yield with maturities less than 10 years to start.

I should mention that I do hold several positions in GSE bonds that will mature in 2011 and 2012 and will have to be replaced with GSEs at a lot less coupon if I do decide to go there.

Thanks again,

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