Climb the Bond Ladder

Physician's Money Digest, September 2005, Volume 12, Issue 13


A powerful investmentstrategy often overlooked byphysician-investors is thevarious ways to invest inbonds. According to theBond Market Association,one successful strategyis bond laddering,which is buying bondsin a range of maturities.By laddering, you help to protect yourportfolio against interest rate risk by buyingshort-and long-term bonds with differentyears of maturity. If you purchasedifferent securities that mature in 2, 4, 6, 8,and 10 years, you reinvest the money fromthe maturity 2-year bond into another10-year bond, continuing the ladder. Eventually,all of your bonds will be 10-yearbonds (earning a high interest rate), but youwill still have access to a mature bond every2 years. This way you reap the benefits of ahigher return with the short-term bondsand protect against interest rate risk withthe long-term bonds. If interest rates fall,the 2-year bond would have to be reinvestedat a lower rate, but you'd still have theother securities going at above-marketreturns. On the flip side, if rates rise, yourportfolio would pay lower returns, but youwould be able to adjust accordingly withyour next 2-year bond.