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Most personal financial advisors recommend that investors maintain a diversified investment portfolio consisting of bonds, stocks and cash in varying percentages, depending upon individual circumstances and objectives. Because bonds typically have a predictable stream of payments and repayment of principal, many people invest in them to preserve and increase their capital or to receive dependable interest income. Whatever the purpose-saving for your children's college education or a new home, increasing retirement income or any of a number of other worthy financial goals-investing in bonds can help you achieve your objectives.

That's especially true for retirement planning. During the past decade, the traditional fixed-benefit retirement plans have increasingly been replaced by defined contribution programs, such as 401(k) plans. Because these plans offer greater individual freedom in selecting from a range of investment options, investors must be increasingly self-reliant in securing their retirement lifestyles.

The diversity of fixed-income securities presents investors with a wide variety of choices to tailor investments to their individual financial objectives. Whatever your goals, your investment advisor can help explain the numerous investment options available to help you reach them, taking into account your income needs and tolerance for risk.