Inflation-protected security

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Inflation-Protected Security

A bond that protects the bondholder from inflation. Most bonds pay a fixed coupon rate periodically and mature at par. While this carries low risk, it exposes investors to the possibility that the inflation rate will outpace the interest rate represented on the coupon. In order to protect against this, an inflation-protected security automatically increases its principal according to the inflation rate. Thus, while the coupon rate does not increase, the dollar amount paid does. Because an IPS is so safe, it offers a very low rate of return. See also: Real Return Bond, TIPS.

Inflation-protected security (TIPS).

US Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) adjust the principal twice a year to reflect inflation or deflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The interest rate is fixed and is paid twice a year on the adjusted principal. So if your principal is larger because of inflation you earn more interest. If it's lower because of deflation, you earn less.

You can buy TIPS with terms of 5, 10, or 20 years at issue using a Treasury Direct account or in the secondary market. At maturity you receive either the adjusted principal or par value, whichever is greater.

You owe federal income tax on the interest you earn and on inflation adjustments in each year they're added even though you don't receive the increases until the security matures. However, TIPS earnings are exempt from state and local income taxes.

These securities provide a safeguard against deflation as well as against inflation since they guarantee that you'll get back no less than par, or face value, at maturity.

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