As a result, financial advisers say a TIPS investment works best in a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k) account. Another thing to keep in mind is that during deflationary periods, a TIPS’ underlying value decreases in line with the CPI. Lawrence Jones, an analyst with the Chicago investment research company Morningstar, says while investors, “don’t have to bet the house,” on TIPS, a 5% to 10% allocation in a personal portfolio makes sense.
Brown and other experts say there are a number of advantages to buying TIPS mutual funds rather than individual bonds. First, the mutual funds are actively managed by professionals who monitor the bond market and inflation trends and who can select the best times to buy and sell holdings. Fund managers hold many investments in a diversified portfolio, and by spreading money across a number of positions, they manage to take advantage of the most favorable market conditions and protect your investment from a downturn. “Diversification and the expertise of a portfolio manager are clear advantages a mutual fund brings to what is a low-volatility investment,” says Dawn Brown, senior financial adviser for money management firm Altfest Personal Wealth Advisers.
According to Jones, “TIPS’ valuations can vary quite widely, and individual investors can often be skittish and sell out at the wrong time. It pays to have someone experienced at the helm of a portfolio who can buy and sell at the best time.”
Mutual funds, of course, come at a price, and annual fees are assessed on investor returns. Also, many of the better offerings require a minimum initial investment of $1000 or more. Jones recommends shopping for funds with an expense ratio of 0.50% or lower.
Recommended Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities mutual funds:
One-year yield: 3.79%
Expense ratio: 0.20%
Minimum investment: $3,000
One-year yield: 4.37%
Expense ratio: 0.49%
Minimum investment: $2,500
One-year yield: 2.29% yield
Expense ratio: 0.90%
Minimum investment: $1,000