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3) I know you are 100% bonds, so I won't even ask what % bonds you suggest. :-)

I'm nowhere near 100% fixed income. I have a lot of money in Total Stock Market Index (I think currently stock assets are about 40%), but I realized I don't need to keep adding, so why risk it (except Roth, which I'll be long dead before I use).

2) How would you structure them before / after withdrawal phases? ie, just set up a 5yr CD ladder and just buy a new 5yr every year?

I just drip money in as I have it and will have good cash flow during withdrawal phase. With a rollover, you are looking at a lump sum, so you need to create an instant ladder. If you can help your father do that, then he can have a CD coming due every year (or 6 moths), which is almost as liquid as a bond fund.

5) So, if a ladder doesn't make sense, then are you suggesting he buy VBIIX, not VBMFX?

This is an analytical argument, not well backed up by the historical statistics, but since Bogle came up with the same argument (unless he stole it from us), it makes sense. The Total Bond Index has mortgage bonds, which subjects it to refinancing risk that costs about 100 basis points return a year. The Intermediate Index has no mortgage bonds. It is slightly more susceptible to interest rate risk.
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