Not everyone has In-Cog-Nito’s tolerance for risk. For those of us not equipped with brass appurtenances, reducing investment risk is often a goal. To increase risk, including upside risk, you issue debt, either by buying on margin or selling short, which is really just borrowing shares of stock instead of cash. To reduce risk, you acquire debt. Here is one way to do it for free.
The highest-quality (least risky) debt to own is issued by the governments of prosperous countries like the USA. You can buy US Treasury bills, notes, and bonds directly from the Treasury without paying a broker by using their Treasury Direct program. After you fill out the initial form, the rest of your transactions can be done by phone or internet. The securities are held in registered (paperless) form, and interest payments and maturities are wired to your bank account. I have used this myself, and it is very convenient. You can also open your account at one of the twelve Federal Reserve branches.
The minimum investment is $10,000 for T-Bills (short-term) and $1,000 for long- and intermediate-term debt. The usual way to buy is at the regular auctions, so you get the same price as the big guys. You can also sell before maturity for a flat fee of $34, and receive the best available bid price.
If you want to get really fancy, you can use this to make a bond ladder, so you have debt maturing and being reinvested at regular intervals.