Feature

What the experts say

The case for debt; Stingy bond yields; How to un-retire

The case for debtFor casual investors, taking on additional debt right now would be a fool’s game, said Jane Kim and Jeff Opdyke in The Wall Street Journal. But it’s actually not a bad strategy for “sophisticated, disciplined” investors who have enough of a safety net that they can afford to leverage “other people’s money” to bolster their investment portfolios. “There has never been a better time for people to borrow money, whether to buy financial assets or boost cash reserves.” High-net-worth individuals who can afford to pay cash for a home, for instance, should opt for a mortgage instead and invest the extra money. “Ideally, investors would want to borrow at rates below 5 percent and invest the money in a well-diversified portfolio aiming to return 8 percent a year over 10 to 15 years.”

Stingy bond yieldsThe markets are offering “slim pickings” these days for bond investors, said Elizabeth Ody in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “Yields on just about everything are miserable,” with rates for U.S. Treasurys and other high-quality, short-term bonds the most miserable of all. While opting for longer-term bonds can boost your returns right now, it’s not worth the “significantly greater” risk that interest-rate hikes later on might wipe out your gains. Instead, consider high-yield corporate bonds, which should do well in an improving economy, or even tax-free municipal bonds and funds. “Beyond such select pockets of value in the domestic market,” there are plenty of good opportunities overseas to find promising taxable bonds. If your current bond funds don’t have international exposure, broaden your horizons.

How to un-retireIf retirement has left your bank account bleeding, it may be time to un-retire, said Beth Kowitt in Fortune. But snagging employment at this stage of the game isn’t just a matter of updating your résumé or convincing an employer that you’re a better fit than the “perky college grad he just interviewed.” Nor should it be the occasion for a head-to-toe makeover. Playing the “youth game” doesn’t work. A better strategy: Aim for a sector that caters to older clientele, such as banking or tourism. Then, instead of hiding your age, “go on the offensive and sell yourself as a mature person.”

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