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Another aspect of laddering that's getting over looked is the "All-in vs. dribble-in" question.

In uncertain conditions (which is nearly always), it is both tough make decisions that have to prove to be good ones for 20-30 years, and it is scary to commmit huge chuncks of money to those decisions.

But intermittently making the best decision one can (in the given circumstances) and then committing a judicious amount of money to it spreads risk. This is exactly the sort of step-by-step pacing that building ladders imposes on investing decisions.

Think of a ladder as diachronic diversification, as opposed to synchronic diverisfication. Markets change over time, as do people and their ideas of what they require of their investments. By feeding money into markets in a methodical fashion and by having having money come out of markets in a methodical fashion (through profit targets, maturities, or whatever), one is continuously monitoring the pulse of things, but also not frantically or overwhelmingly engaged.

I like ladders, and I use them.
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