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As far as retirement goes, in general, I don't think most people need bonds. (Now if for some reason, long rates rose to 15% again as in 1981, I might throw lots of retirement money into long zeroes, but that's likely not to happen any time soon, IMO.)

And don't forget that there are different types of bonds for different reasons. Some people ladder short-term Treasuries or high-grade corporates for "intermediate" goals, say 3-10 years away (and might want actual bonds rather than funds, which are guaranteed to mature at face value and avoiding loss of capital). Some use ultra short-term bond funds as parking places for several months. I happen to use series I savings bonds for most of my short-term emergency fund.

But in general, if you're talking about retirement investing for retirement which is decades away, I really don't think bonds add much value (except perhaps in exceptional cases like that I listed above).

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