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It seems a "ladder" of 1 to 5 year fixed income bonds, possibly Treasury bills, as the method.

Your situation seems to be a possible variation on this retirement-spending method I read recently. It proposed one should keep 5 years of assets (the amount to be spent) in a cash account; the likely form suggested is a ladder of fixed investments, possibly Treasury bills (20% would mature in 1 yr, 20% in 2 years, etc.) Each year you assess your other investments' performance. If it is a down year for your "long-term investments", you use the "one-year investment assets" as your 'income' (and replace it 12 months hence, or sooner if the market is up sufficiently). If it is not a "down" year, you liquidate a year's equity to use as 'income'.

This has the positive effect of allowing you to avoid selling the long-term investments when the markets are down. Perahps someone has named this method.
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