If the goal is to diversify a portfolio and add bond investments in a manner like that described in Intelligent Investor, would owning a bond ETF provide the required diversity or does it need to be actual bonds?
My concern is that in the event of the stock market tanking, a bond ETF might also face liquidity problems and possible loss of value, where as, if you own several actual bonds - then you can hold them to maturity (and provided the company can still pay it back) you'd get your money back.
It seems an ETF allows you to invest in a large range of bonds for a low fee, to invest a small amount into 10+ actual bonds has a high commission cost. So then you lose diversity because all your bond-eggs are in a small basket.
Are bond ETF's considered compatible with direct bond investment for the purposes of diversifying?