Investors often turn to top-rated government bonds to minimize risk while generating a return. Yet it can be a mistake to think that a zero-percent return on a top-rated government bond is as bad as it gets. During the Depression, many coupon-bearing U.S. government securities provided negative yields. Today, the yield on the 2-year German government bond is -0.079 percent, and Germany and France recently sold six-month bonds with slightly negative yields. Switzerland's five-year government debt trades at a negative yield, and the one-year Dutch bond recently turned negative. Skittish investors are willing to pay the government to hold their money. "It's not return on capital, it's return of capital," says Peter Allwright of London's RWC Partners.