Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) Protect Investors From Inflation (2022)

What Are Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)?

Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are a type of Treasury security issued by the U.S. government. TIPS are indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from a decline in the purchasing power of their money.

As inflation rises, rather than their yield increasing, TIPS instead adjust in price (principal amount) in order to maintain their real value.

Key Takeaways

  • Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) is a Treasury bond that is indexed to an inflationary gauge to protect investors from the decline in the purchasing power of their money.
  • The principal value of TIPS rises as inflation rises while the interest payment varies with the adjusted principal value of the bond.
  • The principal amount is protected since investors will never receive less than the originally invested principal.


Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

Understanding Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

The principal value of TIPS rises as inflation rises. Inflation is the pace at which prices increase throughout the U.S. economy, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Inflation becomes an issue when there isn't a commensurate rise in real wage growth to offset the negative effects of rising prices.

(Video) Investing in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

TIPS are a popular asset for both protecting portfolios from inflation as well as profiting from it because they pay interest every six months based on a fixed rate determined at the bond's auction. However, the interest payment amounts can vary since the rate is applied to the adjusted principal or value of the bond. If the principal amount is adjusted higher over time due to rising prices, the interest rate will be multiplied by the increased principal amount. As a result, investors receive higher interest or coupon payments as inflation rises. Conversely, investors will receive lower interest payments if deflation occurs.

TIPS are issued with maturities of five, 10, and 30 years and are considered a low-risk investment because the U.S. government backs them. At maturity, TIPs return the adjusted principal or the original principal, whichever is greater.

TIPS can be purchased directly from the government through the Treasury-direct system, in $100 increments with a minimum investment of $100, and are available with 5-, 10-, and 30-year maturities.

Some investors prefer to get TIPS through a TIPS mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF). Purchasing TIPS directly, however, allows investors to avoid the management fees associated with mutual funds.

In late 2021 into 2022, inflation fears have increased in the U.S. As a result, investors have begun to move into TIPS at an increasing pace.

TIPS' Price Relationship to Inflation

TIPS are important since they help combat inflation risk that erodes the yield on fixed-rate bonds. Inflation risk is an issue because the interest rate paid on most bonds is fixed for the life of the bond. As a result, the bond's interest payments might not keep up with inflation. For example, if prices rise by 3% and an investor's bond pays 2%, the investor has a net loss in real terms.

TIPS are designed to protect investors from the adverse effects of rising prices over the life of the bond. Thepar value—principal—increases with inflation and decreases with deflation, as measured by the CPI. When TIPS mature, bondholders are paid the inflation-adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater.

Suppose an investor owns $1,000 in TIPS at the end of the year, with a coupon rate of 1%. If there is no inflation as measured by the CPI, the investor will receive $10 in coupon payments for that year. If inflation rises by 2%, however, the $1,000 principal will be adjusted upward by 2% to $1,020. The coupon rate will remain the same at 1%, but it will be multiplied by the adjusted principal amount of $1,020 to arrive at an interest payment of $10.20 for the year.

(Video) What are TIPS - Treasury Inflation Protected Securities

Conversely, if inflation were negative, known as deflation, with prices falling 5%, the principal would be adjusted downward to $950. The resulting interest payment would be $9.50 over the year. However, at maturity, the investor would receive no less than the principal amount invested of $1,000 or an adjusted higher principal, if applicable.

The interest payments during the life of the bond are subject to being calculated based on a lower principal amount in the event of deflation, but the investor is never at risk of losing the original principal if held to maturity. If investors sell TIPS before maturity in the secondary market, they might receive less than the initial principal.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TIPS

Due to the ability to increase the principal along with inflation, the interest rate returned to investors is lower than would be available for other fixed-income securities. The interest paid increases with any adjustments to the principal. These investments are nearly risk-free as the U.S. government backs the debt, and the investor will receive the full price invested returned when the TIP matures.

The semiannual inflation adjustments of a TIPS bond are considered taxable income by the IRS even though investors won't see that money until they sell the bond or it reaches maturity. Some investors hold TIPS in tax-deferred retirement accounts to avoid tax complications. However, it's important that investors contact a tax professional to discuss any potential tax ramifications of investing in TIPS.

TIPS usually pay lower interest rates than other government or corporate securities, so they are not necessarily optimal for income investors. Their advantage is mainly inflation protection, but if inflation is minimal or nonexistent, their utility decreases. Another risk associated with TIPS is the previously mentioned potential for a higher tax bill.


  • The principal increases with inflation meaning that at maturity, bondholders are paid the inflation-adjusted principal

    (Video) How to Protect from Inflation? Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) (Finance Explained)

  • Investors will never be paid less than their original principal when TIPS mature

  • Interest payments increase as inflation increases since the rate is calculated based on the adjusted principal balance


Example of TIPS

Below is a comparison of the 10-year TIPS as compared to the 10-year Treasury note, both issued and auctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. Treasury notes (T-Notes) are intermediate-term bonds maturing in two, three, five, seven, or 10 years. They provide semiannual interest payments at fixed coupon rates.

As a historical example, on March 29, 2019, the 10-year TIPS was auctioned with an interest rate of0.875%. On the other hand, the 10-year Treasury note was auctioned March 15, 2019, with an interest rate of2.625% per year.

We can see that the 10-year note pays more interest (meaning that investors will receive higher coupon payments from the 10-year note as compared to the TIPS investment). However, if inflation rises, the principal on the TIPS will increase, allowing for the coupon payments to rise while the 10-year note is fixed for the life of the bond. Although TIPS protect against inflation, the offset is typically a lower yield than bonds with similar maturities.

(Video) FRM: Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS)

How Can I Buy Treasury TIPS?

You can buy TIPS directly from the U.S. Treasury's TreasuryDirect website, with a minimum purchase of $100. You can also typically buy them through your broker. There are also several mutual funds and ETFs that invest in TIPS and other inflation-linked securities that you can buy and sell like ordinary shares of stock.

Can I Buy TIPS for My IRA?

Yes. You can include TIPS and funds that hold TIPS in an individual retirement account; however, you cannot use the TreasuryDirect service to buy them directly in an IRA. Instead, you would need to rely on the broker holding your retirement account.

What Yields Do TIPS Have?

Often the yields on TIPS are negative. This is because after taking into account the effects of inflation, the real yield is negative. For instance, if standard 2-year Treasuries yield 1% but inflation is 2%, then the real yield is -1%. TIPS are meant to keep up with inflation, not beat inflation, thus you can have a nominal yield on TIPS that is positive but a real yield that is effectively zero. Note that while the yield on TIPS may be negative, their principal value will increase with inflation, which can generate capital gains.

Why Does the Treasury Issue TIPS?

TIPS first appeared in 1997, and the official reason for their appearance is that there was strong demand from the investing public for inflation-linked government securities. Some economists, however, have been puzzled by the government's continued issuance of TIPS since they amount to a more expensive way to borrow than traditional Treasuries.

What Maturities do Treasury TIPS Come in?

The original TIPS were set at 20 years maturity. In 2009, 20-year TIPS were discontinued in favor of 30-year TIPS. The U.S. Treasury presently issues 5-year, 10-year, and 30-year TIPS.

(Video) TIPS Bonds Explained | US Treasury Inflation Protected Securities


Do Treasury bonds protect against inflation? ›

Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are government-issued bonds that are indexed to inflation. Thus, when inflation rises, TIPS can generate greater returns compared to bonds that are not inflation-linked.

Can you lose money on tips? ›

And since TIPS are highly sensitive to interest rate movements, the value of a TIPS mutual fund or ETF can fluctuate widely in a very short period. These losses are meaningful since inflation typically has run in the 1% to 3% range in recent years.

Are tips a good investment in 2022? ›

With yields so low, however, we do see a risk in yields moving modestly higher into 2022, which may limit the total return potential for TIPS investments. For that reason, we stop short of calling TIPS a good inflation "hedge," especially over the short run.

What happens to tips when interest rates rise? ›

TIPS are also subject to interest rate risk, just like other bonds. That means when interest rates rise, the market value of bonds is likely to fall. Rate risk may be managed by holding individual TIPS bonds to maturity, as in a bond ladder.

Will tips keep up with inflation? ›

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, provide protection against inflation. The principal of a TIPS increases with inflation and decreases with deflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. When a TIPS matures, you are paid the adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater.

Are tips good in high inflation? ›

Consider TIPS if you're worried that inflation will remain high or if you're looking to help protect against an unexpected rise in inflation. With TIPS principal values indexed to the rate of inflation, they can help portfolios keep pace with inflation in a way that most other investments can't.

Which is better I bonds or TIPS? ›

I Bonds are one of the best sources of safe, real yields available today. On the other hand, the purchase limitations on I Bonds are so restrictive that for larger investors, TIPS are the only way for larger investors to build meaningful inflation protection into their portfolios in a short period of time.

Will TIPS protect against hyperinflation? ›

TIPS are by far the best inflation hedge for the average investor,” she tells Select. TIPS bonds pay interest twice a year at a fixed rate, and they are issued in 5-, 10- and 30-year maturities. At maturity, investors are paid the adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater.

Why is TIPS yield negative? ›

Investors continue to purchase TIPS with negative yields because they are concerned about losing the principal on their investments. Bad economic times are hard on stocks, so paying interest is less costly than losing everything.

What is the current 5 year TIPS rate? ›

5 Year TIPS/Treasury Breakeven Rate is at 2.18%, compared to 2.37% the previous market day and 2.52% last year. This is higher than the long term average of 1.89%.

Is there a downside to I bonds? ›

Another disadvantage is I bonds can't be purchased and held in a traditional or Roth IRA. The I bonds have to be held in a taxable account. A final disadvantage of I bonds is there is an interest penalty if the bonds are redeemed in the first five years.

What is the best way to buy TIPS? ›

You can buy TIPS through your online brokerage account or directly from the U.S. Treasury at TreasuryDirect. If you choose to buy TIPS on the secondary market, be sure to compare how much the current inflation-adjusted par value differs from the original par value.

Where should I invest if inflation is high? ›

The following investments tend to fare well during periods of inflation: Commodities like gold, oil, and even soybeans should increase in price along with the finished products that are made with them.

What makes tips go down? ›

The U.S. Treasury adjusts the principal of a TIPS twice a year based on the most recent reading of the Consumer Price Index, a government measure of inflation. When the C.P.I. climbs, the principal ratchets up. And when the index falls — because prices are falling — it ratchets down.

Who benefits most from inflation? ›

1. Borrowers With Existing Fixed-Interest Loans.

How do TIPS hedge against inflation? ›

TIPS pay interest twice a year at a fixed rate, which is applied to the adjusted principal. The principal rises when there is inflation and falls when there is deflation. TIPS come in three maturities: five-year, 10-year, and 30-year.

How often are TIPS adjusted for inflation? ›

The 10-year TIPS is auctioned as an original issue in January and July. The 10-year TIPS is auctioned as a reopening in March, May, September, and November. The 30-year TIPS is auctioned as an original issue in February.

How do you hedge against inflation? ›

5 ways investors can stay protected against inflation
  1. TIPS. TIPS, or Treasury inflation-protected securities, are a useful way to protect your investment in government bonds if you expect inflation to speed up. ...
  2. Floating-rate bonds. ...
  3. A house. ...
  4. Stocks. ...
  5. Gold. ...
  6. Long-dated bonds. ...
  7. Long-dated fixed-rate CDs. ...
  8. Learn more:
2 Feb 2022

What percentage of bonds should be in TIPS? ›

In my observation of a variety of target date funds and managed accounts, the TIPS allocation tends to range from about 10-30% of the total bond allocation. There are outliers, but that can give you a starting point to work with your advisor on the best allocation for your situation.

What is the current 10 year TIPS rate? ›

10 Year TIPS/Treasury Breakeven Rate is at 2.19%, compared to 2.33% the previous market day and 2.37% last year. This is higher than the long term average of 2.07%.

Why buy TIPS ETF? ›

TIPS ETFs enable investors to safeguard the value of their portfolios by mitigating the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation. However, inflation-protected bond funds have been experiencing large outflows this year as the Federal Reserve takes a more aggressive stance against inflation.

What happens to I bonds when inflation goes down? ›

If inflation drops, the rate of the Series I bond is likely to drop. “Note that while the inflation rate is adjusted every May and November, the interest rate on your particular bond will be updated on a six-month schedule, based on the issue date,” says Jones.

What is the current interest rate on tips? ›

Investors have bought more than $11 billion of these bonds over the past six months, compared with around $1.2 billion during the same period in 2020 and 2021, according to the Treasury Department. The bonds currently pay 7.12%, but are set to deliver a historic 9.62% interest rate beginning in May.

What is the yield on tips? ›

A 5-year TIPS has a real yield of 1.13% A 10-year TIPS, 1.07% a 30-year TIPS, 1.25%.

Where should I invest to avoid inflation? ›

Here are some of the top ways to hedge against inflation:
  • Gold. Gold has often been considered a hedge against inflation. ...
  • Commodities. ...
  • A 60/40 Stock/Bond Portfolio. ...
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) ...
  • The S&P 500. ...
  • Real Estate Income. ...
  • The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index. ...
  • Leveraged Loans.

How do you prepare for inflation 2022? ›

The Nowell Agency shares 6 tips for surviving inflation:
  1. Get rid of debt. ...
  2. Make a budget and stick to it. ...
  3. Start saving money. ...
  4. Invest in assets that will hold their value. ...
  5. Reduce costs. ...
  6. Consider bundling your insurance products.

Can you sell tips before maturity? ›

You can hold TIPS until they mature or sell them before they mature. To sell a TIPS held in TreasuryDirect or Legacy Treasury Direct, first transfer the TIPS to a bank, broker, or dealer, then ask the bank, broker, or dealer to sell it for you.

How are tips different from traditional bonds? ›

TIPS are issued by the U.S. government and, like other Treasury securities you may add to a portfolio, are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government. Unlike regular Treasuries, TIPS provide the potential to earn a total return that reflects the impact of inflation.

How do you calculate return on tips? ›

Example: TIPS Calculation

Suppose the TIPS were trading at $925 on the secondary market. The real yield calculation would use the secondary market price (like any other bond) of $925, but use the inflation-adjusted coupon payment of $42. The real yield would thus be: 4.54% (42 ÷ 925).

Can you buy TIPS directly? ›

You can buy Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) directly from the U.S. Treasury or through a bank, broker, or dealer.

Is TreasuryDirect Gov legit? ›

TreasuryDirect is a website run by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service under the United States Department of the Treasury that allows US individual investors to purchase treasury securities, such as savings bonds, directly from the US government.

Can you buy TIPS in an IRA? ›

Can I Buy TIPS for My IRA? Yes. You can include TIPS and funds that hold TIPS in an individual retirement account; however, you cannot use the TreasuryDirect service to buy them directly in an IRA. Instead, you would need to rely on the broker holding your retirement account.

What is the catch with I bonds? ›

You must own the bond for at least five years to receive all of the interest that is due. You cannot cash out an I bond before holding it for a year; if you do so after that point (but before five years), you forfeit three months of interest.

Can a husband and wife each buy $10000 of I bonds? ›

$10,000 limit: Up to $10,000 of I bonds can be purchased, per person (or entity), per year. A married couple can each purchase $10,000 per year ($20,000 per year total). 7.12% interest: The yield on I bonds has two components—a fixed rate and an inflation rate.

What is a con of investing in bonds? ›

Historically, bonds have provided lower long-term returns than stocks. Bond prices fall when interest rates go up. Long-term bonds, especially, suffer from price fluctuations as interest rates rise and fall.

Does Vanguard have tips Fund? ›

The Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund is one of the largest TIPS funds available with $41.2 billion in net assets. The fund invests primarily in U.S. TIPS with various maturities. The VIPSX has 51 holdings and an average effective duration of 7.6 years.

Are T bills a good investment? ›

Treasury bills, which are U.S. government securities maturing in less than a year, are a good alternative to money market funds and bank certificates of deposits. Interest is exempt from state and local taxes, a contrast with bank CDs.

What is the best investment to protect against inflation? ›

Gold has historically been a popular commodity for protecting your investment portfolio against inflation. Since gold prices tend to coincide with inflation, by investing in gold, you have a better chance of strengthening your purchasing power on potential investment returns.

Is it good to invest in bonds during inflation? ›

Your money is safe and accessible. And if rising inflation leads to higher interest rates, short-term bonds are more resilient whereas long-term bonds will suffer losses. For this reason, it's best to stick with short- to intermediate-term bonds and avoid anything long-term focused, suggests Lassus.

Where should I put money to protect against inflation? ›

Common anti-inflation assets include gold, commodities, various real estate investments, and TIPS. Many people have looked to gold as an "alternative currency," particularly in countries where the native currency is losing value.

Where do I put my money in high inflation? ›

Value stocks

Some research has shown that value stocks tend to do better than growth stocks during periods of inflation. Value stocks are companies that have strong earnings relative to their current share price. They are also known to have robust cash flows, which investors typically value when prices are rising.

What are the best assets to own during inflation? ›

6 Best Inflation Investments for 2022 and Beyond
  • Equities. Equities generally offer a reliable haven during inflationary times. ...
  • Real Estate. Real estate is another tried-and-true inflationary hedge. ...
  • Commodities (Non-Gold) ...
  • Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) ...
  • Savings Bonds. ...
  • Gold.
12 Aug 2022

What is the best way to beat inflation? ›

  1. Keep Investing. Inflation is typically paired with a dip in the market. ...
  2. Diversify Your Investment Portfolio. Holding all of your money in cash won't keep up with the 9% inflation rate we're seeing. ...
  3. Find Opportunities For Promotion in Your Organization. ...
  4. Spend Time With Your Budget. ...
  5. Review Your Strategy.
4 Aug 2022

How do you hedge against inflation 2022? ›

5 Ways to Hedge Against Inflation
  1. Move Your Money into a High-Yield Savings Account. If you have your money stashed in a checking or basic savings account—or worse, at home—inflation erodes the value over time. ...
  2. Buy Treasury Bonds. ...
  3. Invest in the Stock Market. ...
  4. Diversify Your Portfolio. ...
  5. Explore Alternative Investments.
30 Aug 2022

What happens to Treasury bonds when interest rates rise? ›

Interest rate increases can cause the price of a bond to decrease. Income on municipal bonds is generally free from federal taxes, but may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax (AMT), state and local taxes.

What happens to I bonds when inflation goes down? ›

If inflation drops, the rate of the Series I bond is likely to drop. “Note that while the inflation rate is adjusted every May and November, the interest rate on your particular bond will be updated on a six-month schedule, based on the issue date,” says Jones.

What is the difference between I bonds and TIPS? ›

Like I Bonds, TIPS include an element of inflation protection. An important distinction, however, is that TIPS' principal values are adjusted to incorporate the current inflation rate, whereas I Bonds receive an adjustment in their interest rates to reflect inflation.

What stocks do well during inflation? ›

Which Stocks Are the Best To Invest in During Inflation?
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • Mineral Mining Stocks.
  • Energy Stocks.
  • Exchange Traded Funds.

What happens to real estate during inflation? ›

What happens to real estate during inflation? Housing prices rise, so real estate investors see appreciation. Upward pressure on prices means that longtime owners have recently seen a steep rise in the value of their assets.

What do you do with cash during inflation? ›

Cash is there to serve mainly as your emergency reserves, to cover unexpected bills, as well as job loss. Once you have your short-term bases covered, experts recommend investing in assets that have a chance to offer you compounding growth.

What can you do with 250K? ›

9 ways to invest $250K
  1. Rental real estate. Let's begin with directly investing in rental real estate, because that's usually the first thing that comes to mind when people have a good sum of money to invest. ...
  2. REITs. ...
  3. Growth stocks. ...
  4. High-yield dividend ETFs. ...
  5. Crowdfunding. ...
  6. Private lending. ...
  7. Own a business. ...
  8. Precious metals.
9 Mar 2022

How much cash should I keep at home? ›

"We would recommend between $100 to $300 of cash in your wallet, but also having a reserve of $1,000 or so in a safe at home," Anderson says. Depending on your spending habits, a couple hundred dollars may be more than enough for your daily expenses or not enough.


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