<<<If I were to buy individual bonds at different maturities, how do I sell them when I'm ready?>>>Don't fall into the trap of thinking that bonds are safer than stocks. With your experience of a bond fund you've learned that leasson. The only way to not loose money is to keep them until maturity, but what if you need money now? What about commisions, etc.?For me personally, I keep my non-stock monies in a money market fund. A good one will keep you in the range of a 6 to 12 month CD return. For the convenience of immediate availability, no transaction costs, stability, etc., it's hard to beat.JLC
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