If you look at the very long term charts of Federal Reserve rates you will see that these started super low in the long distant past 1940s then rose to super high levels as Paul Volker struggled to beat inflation in the early 1980s.
Recently the rates have been super low again because of the banking crisis ten years ago, and numerous other crises since.
Now it seems that Central Banks are ready to raise interest rates so we are close to the start of a long period of rising rates with occasional fluctuations to manage overheating and smaller recessions.
What do we need bonds for anyway ? Let us say that sometime in the future our equities have low valuations, and that house we always wanted comes up for sale at a recession price, the only places that you are going to find cash easily are deposit accounts and short dated government bonds. Short dated means up to five years till the final maturity date.
Forget about corporate bonds, even AAA rated ones, as they contain a lot more “event risk”, whether risk of unforeseen downgrades, or risk of bankruptcy.
As for long dated bonds, these belong in the portfolios of life assurance companies and pension funds, as they enable future liabilities to be met or hedged. Even for these holders, the actuaries need to get things right or disaster can strike.
So from my perspective the low risk side of people’s investments should be in cash deposits or short dated Treasury Bonds. It is also worth looking at Government Savings options, which carry the same security as Government Bonds. For example in the U.K. National Savings accounts enable various types of interest paying deposits .
The US Treasury website gives US residents greater opportunities. You can buy Treasury Bills with ultra short dates, or Treasury Bonds.