When you buy bonds, you’re essentially lending money to a company or government; it’s the opposite of you taking out a loan from the bank. Your investment in a bond is repaid by earning a certain interest rate for a specified period, usually anywhere from three months to 30 years. Bonds tend to be secure but low-earning investments. They’re subject to inflation risk, in that a low interest rate might not even keep up with inflation over the years, and interest rate risk, in that you could miss out on greater returns if interest rates go up after you’re already locked into an investment. And for longer-term bonds, you also have liquidity risk in giving up access to that money for a long time.