While I don't mean to start a financial planners are the Anti-Christ thread, you have hit on one of the disadvantages of DIY investing.Given the spreads that you mentioned generally it is better for investors with less than 100K to deal with bond funds. While bond funds are inherently different from bonds, for smaller sums it is hard to diversify properly with less than 100K. Also unless you deal with a professional who has access to bond trading firms you are likely to get the proverbial hose on the spreads. For instance a client of mine is picking up 25-30 basis points more return for the next 20 months, more than enought to pay my fees. AA-AAA, prerefunded munis, so the investment risk is nil.For someone willing to do due diligence on corporates, have at it. I have no experience with E-trade but there are some short term notes/bonds that held to maturity will provide decent returns.Bond trading is best left to people who do that for a living. I recommend caution. ONe thing most planners avoid mentioning are I-bonds, I simply think they are a wonderful tool for small investors who want to add fixed income, plus they can provide some liquidity after one year.Best of luck,buzman
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