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Yield to Worst (YTW)


Yield to Worst (YTW) refers to the lowest potential yield investors can expect when investing in a bond, assuming that the issuer doesn’t default. It takes into consideration all possible call dates and prepayment scenarios, giving investors a more conservative outlook for their investment. Essentially, YTW provides the least favorable yield outcome of various bond redemption scenarios, including yield to maturity and yield to call.


The phonetics of the keyword “Yield to Worst (YTW)” can be represented as:Yield: /jiːld/ to: /tuː/ Worst: /wɜrst/(YTW): /waɪ tiː dʌbəl juː/

Key Takeaways

  1. Yield to Worst (YTW) is a measure of the lowest potential yield that can be received from a bond without the issuer defaulting. It is an important concept for bond investors as it allows them to have a more accurate estimation of the potential risks and returns associated with a bond investment.
  2. YTW takes into consideration various possible yields of a bond, such as yield to maturity, yield to call, and yield to put, and selects the lowest of these yields as the YTW. This helps investors better understand a bond’s performance in different interest rate environments and potential call or put actions by the bond’s issuer.
  3. Investors rely on YTW as a key metric for bond comparison and selection, as it offers a more conservative and comprehensive measure of return than just looking at yield-to-maturity. However, it is essential for investors to understand that YTW is still just an estimation and should be considered along with other factors while making investment decisions.


Yield to Worst (YTW) is an important metric in business and finance because it provides investors with a comprehensive understanding of the potential returns on a bond investment, taking into consideration the worst-case scenario. By calculating the lowest potential yield among a bond’s various possible redemption scenarios, YTW allows investors to assess and compare the risks associated with different fixed-income securities, enabling them to make informed decisions about their investments. By identifying the least favorable return on an investment, YTW serves as a crucial risk-management tool that can help minimize losses and optimize portfolio performance in the unpredictable world of financial markets.


Yield to Worst (YTW) is primarily used by investors to evaluate the potential return on a bond or fixed income security. This financial metric takes into account all possible call or conversion provisions, and illustrates the lowest potential yield that an investor could receive on their investment without the issuer defaulting on the bond. Essentially, YTW serves as a conservative estimate of bond returns, allowing investors to mitigate the risks associated with bond investments and make more informed decisions when constructing their portfolios. The purpose of Yield to Worst is to provide a comprehensive perspective on various yield scenarios, ensuring that investors are well-equipped to manage uncertainty and make sound investment decisions. As bond issuers often have the option to call, put, or convert a bond, YTW accounts for all these possibilities and allows investors to compare different bonds with diverse call features. By utilizing YTW, investors can better gauge the potential risks and rewards associated with their investments, ultimately optimizing their overall fixed income strategies and safeguarding their returns against unfavorable market conditions.


1. Bond Issuance by a Corporation: In 2018, Apple Inc. issued a 10-year bond with a coupon rate of 3.5% and Yield to Worst of 3.6%. YTW was considered important by investors in this case, as it helped them assess the worst-case scenario for their returns in case Apple decided to call back the bond before maturity, given its strong fundamental position and potential changes in the interest rate environment. 2. Municipal Bonds: In 2020, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued a series of municipal bonds to finance its various projects and infrastructure investments. Investors, concerned about the financial struggles of the MTA amid the pandemic, paid close attention to the Yield to Worst of these bonds, which indicated the lowest potential return considering the different call provisions, put options, or possible default events. 3. Government Bonds: In 2015, the Greek government faced a debt crisis and sought to restructure its debt, issuing new government bonds that replaced the old ones. Since the financial situation in Greece was uncertain, investors were keen on evaluating the Yield to Worst on the new government bonds. By considering YTW, investors could examine the lowest possible yield they would receive, taking into account varied possibilities such as the bond being redeemed before the maturity date or a default event occurring.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Yield to Worst (YTW)?
Yield to Worst (YTW) is a measure of the lowest potential yield that can be received on a bond without the issuer of the bond defaulting on payments. It takes into consideration various possible scenarios, such as calls, refunding provisions, and sinking fund redemptions, and calculates the least favorable yield outcome among these scenarios. This metric is often used by investors to evaluate and compare bonds with different structures and maturities.
Why is Yield to Worst important for investors?
Yield to Worst is important for investors as it helps them better assess the risk and potential returns associated with a bond investment. By knowing the worst-case yield scenario, an investor can better understand whether a particular bond meets their investment objectives and risk tolerance. It serves as a useful tool for comparing bonds and making informed investment decisions.
How is Yield to Worst calculated?
Yield to Worst is calculated by comparing the yields associated with different possible early redemption scenarios for a bond. These scenarios may include yield to call (YTC), yield to put (YTP), yield to maturity (YTM), and others. The lowest yield value among these potential outcomes is considered the Yield to Worst.
How do I interpret Yield to Worst?
A lower Yield to Worst indicates that the bond carries higher risk, as it may generate lower returns under certain circumstances. Conversely, a higher Yield to Worst indicates a lower risk associated with the bond. When comparing bonds, it’s important to consider all aspects, including the YTW, to effectively evaluate potential investments.
What factors can impact Yield to Worst?
Several factors can impact the YTW, including changes in market interest rates, economic conditions, the creditworthiness of the bond’s issuer, and specific provisions of the bond, such as call options, put options, and sinking funds. A change in any of these factors can affect the bond’s price and ultimately the YTW value.
How does Yield to Worst differ from Yield to Maturity (YTM) and Yield to Call (YTC)?
Yield to Maturity (YTM) represents the total return an investor would receive if they held a bond until its maturity date. Yield to Call (YTC) is the potential return if the bond issuer decides to exercise a call option (buying back the bond) at the earliest callable date. Yield to Worst is the lowest of all possible yields, including YTM, YTC, and other scenarios, providing a more conservative estimate of the bond’s potential returns.

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