Emerging market bond funds are risky but boast yields of 4% to 9%

Yield sign with dollar signs

If you're looking to make more from your savings, here are three international bond funds you should consider.

These are mutual or exchange traded funds (ETFs) that invest in bonds issued and backed by foreign governments.

They use bonds to borrow money and finance public spending, just like Washington does.

But interest rates in those countries have not been driven to the record lows we're seeing here due to the recession-fighting policies of the Federal Reserve.

When we first wrote about international bonds as an alternative investment, we focused on funds that bought the debt of developed countries such as Germany, France and Japan.

Such funds are relatively safe -- which means there's little chance you'll lose any of your principal -- and their dividend yields are typically 2.5% to 3.5%.

If you want to earn a higher return and are willing to take considerably more risk with a portion of your savings, you can buy funds that invest in emerging markets.

Here are a three higher-paying international bond funds you might consider:

The GMO Emerging Country Debt IV (GMDFX) holds debt from Argentina, the Congo, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. It yields 9.97% and has an expense ratio of only 0.54%.

JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB) holds debt from the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. It has a current dividend of 4.67% and an expense ratio of 0.60%.

T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond Fund (PREMX) holds debt from Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Venezuela and Iraq. The dividend yield is 6.78%m and the expense ratio is 0.95%.

Compare those returns with the best CD rates from scores of banks across the country.

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