There are three major ways to structure a bond portfolio: a ladder strategy, a barbell strategy, and a bullet strategy.
A ladder strategy is structured by purchasing bonds of varying maturity dates, all at the same time. This means there will be several opportunities to make decisions at different dates in the future, so the owner of this portfolio keeps his or her options open to some extent, and has some liquidity over the course of the duration. A ladder might be used when rates are expected to stay about the same.
A barbell strategy can come i n handy when interest rates are expected to undergo some volatility in the intermediate time frame, which would be approximately the next 2-10 years. The investor purchases only short term and long term bonds, and ignores intermediate bonds, in a wait-and-see posture.
The bullet strategy might be used when interest rates are relatively unattractive but might be better in the coming years. A few bonds will be purchased currently, with the maturity date being the target date for retirement or a large purchase perhaps, and as the next few years pass, additional bonds are purchased incrementally which share the same target date of maturity.
Of course, we recommend that you consult a Financial Advisor before making any decisions.
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