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This Element is an excerpt from Higher Returns from Safe Investments: Using Bonds, Stocks, and Options to Generate Lifetime Income (9780137003358) by Marvin Appel. Available in print and digital formats.

How to intelligently use credit ratings to manage and minimize the risks of bond investing.

Because default would be a disaster financially, how can you avoid the risk? If you have the time, temperament, and training, you could examine the bond issuer's publicly filed financial statements. Fortunately, if you are not a do-it-yourself credit analyst, bond issuers offer you another option.

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