Ken Fisher, Special to USA TODAY Published 9:37 a.m. ET May 5, 2019


When it comes to interest, don’t take your time. Start doing this now so you can retire in style. USA TODAY

Conventional wisdom says bonds zig when stocks zag, smoothing out volatile periods for investors with blended stock-and-bond portfolios.

Yet last year, that didn’t happen. Corporate and government bond indexes dipped with stocks, raising the question: “What good are they, really?”

To answer that, let’s explore some basics – what bonds actually do in portfolios and what makes them tick.

First: Bonds are simply loans. Buying a bond from a government or company means they borrow your money