title:Defining Municipal Bonds author:John Mussi source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_5963.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

One of the main problems with traditional investing is that you seem to have to either settle for a lower yield on local business investments or give up the interactivity of knowing and influencing the factors that affect your investment by purchasing shares in worldwide companies or bonds created on a national level.
Luckily, there is an option that allows for a greater return than some local stocks, bonds, and other investments while offering a chance to make an investment in your own community. Municipal bonds can give you the best of both worlds in this regard, and can be a sound investment on top of that due to the fact that they are government bonds.
The information provided below should give you an initial feel of what municipal bonds and how they operate, helping you to decide whether or not a municipal bond investment is right for you.
What Municipal Bonds Are
A municipal bond is defined as a bond that is issued by a state, city, or other localized government which is used to pay for new construction or some other special project. What this means is that a local government issues a bond that individuals can purchase shares of in order to finance a project that exceeds the local government’s budget for that sort of project. Like other bonds, the new municipal bond has a date of maturity and a rate at which the value of the shares increase.
Once the municipal bond reaches maturity, the investors can cash in their bond shares for their full value, the money for which being allocated as part of the issuing local government’s budget. Investment in a municipal bond can be considered a type of loan, where the investors are lending money to the local government in order to pay for the project the bond was issued for and the interest paid upon the bond is the interest that is paid by the local government on the loan.
Why Municipal Bonds Are Issued
As mentioned above, municipal bonds are usually issued in order to cover the cost of new construction or other special projects that are being conducted by a local government. The actual type of project may vary, and may include surveys or statistical analysis, conservation or environmental projects, or even the building of new roads or attempts to improve industry, commercial property, and residential housing. Municipal bonds may also be issued as a method for making up temporary budget deficits or to fill other financial needs of the local government.
Investing in Municipal Bonds
Making an investment in municipal bonds is much like choosing to invest in other bonds, though they may be issued locally instead of being publicly traded on a large stock exchange. Often municipal bonds can be purchased at the city hall, capital building, or other hub of government for the issuing city or local government. In most cases, the investment opportunity will be listed in newspapers, tabloids, or other financial papers that cover local financial news, though in the case of larger cities that may be issuing municipal bonds the news might be released over a much larger area. Former investors in a particular locality’s municipal bonds may be alerted when the bonds first are available for purchase, though not all local governments follow this practice.

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