Bonds Vs CDs Vs Real Estate: Factors To Consider

Key Takeaways

  • CDs and bonds generate income through interest, and require a set amount of time before the funds are accessible again.
  • When looking at bonds vs CDs 2018, investors may notice similar levels of risk and potential returns involved.
  • Real estate differs from bonds and CDs by allowing investors to actively generate cash flow while building equity in a physical asset.

At some point in time, every investor will find themselves asking one simple question: Which investment is the best? Each investment opportunity is going to come with unique benefits and tradeoffs, suggesting that the best investment strategy is actually to pursue multiple opportunities. Diversification has proven incredibly useful for investors in every field. Keep reading for our in-depth look at bonds vs CDs vs real estate, and learn how each of these strategies could help boost your investment portfolio.

What Are Bonds?

Bonds are notes issued by governments or corporations allowing investors to contribute financing, with the promise that they will be paid back in the future with interest. Bonds will have varying timeframes and interest rates depending on the borrower, though each of these factors will be agreed upon beforehand. This means investors can predict the exact profits they will earn if the bond is held to maturity. As a whole, bonds are thought of as a relatively low-risk investment; while profits are impacted by inflation, they do not fluctuate based on interest rates like other investments can.

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cds vs bonds

What Are CDs?

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a type of bank account with fixed interest rates and a set withdrawal date. Certificates of deposit can be thought of as a mix between a savings account and a bond. Individuals invest in a CD and earn interest over time, although they are not allowed to access the money until a predetermined date in the future. They are issued by banks and financial institutions, and are insured by the FDIC. Term lengths will depend on the CD, but typically range from one to five years.

Bonds Vs CDs: Risks & Returns

Bonds and CDs are similar in nature, with both representing the chance to earn long-term income through debt securities. By looking at the relationship of risk and returns, investors may find a few differences in savings bonds vs CDs.

Overall, bonds present a lower risk than CDs. This is because bonds are often backed by the federal government. While CDs are insured by the FDIC for amounts up to $250,000 per bank, the overall risk of investing in CDs is still slightly higher when compared to bonds.

The low-risk nature of these investments does not come without tradeoffs. Both CDs and bonds are lower performing than other investment opportunities, such as real estate. This is because CDs and bonds only generate income through interest, with some profits being undermined by inflation. When looking directly at bonds vs CDs, investors may notice CDs yield slightly higher returns as a result of higher interest rates.

Because the bonds vs CDs debate is so close, and each asset has pros and cons, investors may find it helpful to examine the time it takes each investment to mature. You may find long-term options offer higher returns, though there may be less flexibility involved. When choosing between bonds vs CDs 2018, consider at the time frame, risk, and return potential of the options available to identify the right opportunity.

Bonds Vs Real Estate

When looking at bonds vs CDs, investors may find they do not yield high enough returns to make a strong investment portfolio. For those hoping to realize larger profit margins, it is helpful to consider the performance of other investments, such as real estate.

Bonds and real estate are among some of the most well-known investment strategies, though they have a number of differences. While bonds generate their income through interest, real estate can represent the opportunity to generate steady cash flow through rental income while simultaneously building equity in a physical asset. Real estate often outperforms bonds, though the returns do come with greater risk.

These differences in risk and return are important to consider, though investors should also pay careful attention to the ways other factors can impact these investments; particularly, the ways in which inflation and taxes can influence the success of each opportunity.


Bonds are not awarded many tax benefits, and are often not even taxed at the federal level. Investors are required to pay income and/or capital gains taxes on the revenue generated from bonds, no matter how small their returns. In contrast, real estate offers a number of tax benefits, including the opportunity for multiple tax deductions. It is well known that real estate investors can benefit from the depreciation deduction, which provides investors with a tax break for the wear and tear incurred on rental properties. Read our guide on real estate investing tax benefits to learn more.


Inflation is another factor that impacts bonds and real estate differently. Bonds pay a fixed interest rate over time, leading them to be significantly affected by inflation. Real estate, on the other hand, often benefits from inflation as a result of increased rent prices and property value. While the value of bonds are predetermined, real estate investors stand to benefit from property appreciation and rental increases as a result of inflation. Check out these benefits of investing in real estate to learn more.

cds bonds

CDs Vs Real Estate

When comparing CDs vs real estate, investors may notice several of the same tradeoffs when it comes to bonds vs real estate. Real estate will yield higher returns, but with more risk than CDs. Real estate will also benefit from tax policies and inflation more so than CDs.

Many investors may find CDs to be an attractive investment because of their passive nature. However, real estate can also represent the chance to earn passive income in the right situations. Real estate investors can either work with a business partner or property manager to handle the day-to-day operations of the property. By doing so, real estate investors can simultaneously benefit from the passive nature of rental properties and enjoy attractive profit margins.

As a whole, CDs vs real estate will lead investors to many of the same conclusions when comparing bonds and real estate. There will be tradeoffs and benefits to consider with nearly every investment vehicle, particularly between two very different opportunities like CDs and real estate.


As an investor, it is important not to question which investment is the best, but instead to look at how different investment types can contribute to the overall success of your portfolio. Investors who opt for multiple investment types minimize risk and increase their potential for revenue. When it comes to bonds vs CDs vs real estate, determine how each option can fit best into your existing financial profile.

Have you ever worked with bonds or CDs? Share your experience in the comments below:

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