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I consider laddering purely pragmatic. You are trying to optimize liquidity and return given your liquidity needs and what yields are at a given moment and guesses about what they will be in the future.

When there was a large yield differential between 5-year CDs and shorter maturities, after a few misteps in guessing rates would rise quickly, I just slammed everything I could into 5-years as cash became available, because I'm not yet close enough to withdrawal stage to worry about liquidity. With flat yields, it makes sense to plan for future liquidity needs by chosing a variety of maturities. In a few years, I'm going to need to be sure liquidity is sufficient, with CDs with sufficient cash coming in every few months, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
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