THIS week I asked my Twitter followers where they would invest $10,000 to get a good return over 12 months.
The results weren't surprising. Almost two-thirds said they would invest in just three asset classes: property, shares or a savings account.
As a person who has worked in financial services for a long time, I noticed the glaring omission was government, bank and corporate-issued bonds - just 4 per cent of responses thought to invest in them.
I'm not pouring scorn on these choices - I think it's clear that people don't talk about bonds because they haven't been educated about them.
Simply, bonds are debts. When called a corporate bond, they represent a borrowing made by a company, which offers an interest rate to encourage you to lend to them.
Ironically, a bank-issued bond is very similar to a bank deposit. When you put your savings on deposit, you are literally lending money to a bank. Banks also borrow from big investors by issuing them bonds. As you can imagine, institutions frequently demand higher returns than you get on your savings accounts!
Bonds are an attractive savings destination for many big investors because they offer stable returns with relatively low risk.
For example, today you can get nearly 6 per cent a year on a senior-ranking, variable-rate bond issued by one of the big banks. And many of these investments are very liquid: you can put your money in and take it out whenever you want.
The rate of return you get on the bond is usually tied to how secure it is. This refers to the risk that you will not get paid your interest, much like the way banks think about the risk of you defaulting on a home loan.
If you can get better risk-adjusted returns on bonds, why is it so rare to be offered them?
The financial regulations say the standard minimum investment in a bond is $500,000, which means they are usually limited to the big end of town.
This is supposed to protect ''mums and dads'' from bad decisions. But it's actually unfair because none of you are stopped from buying far riskier bank shares or equities via an online stockbroker.