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I do not agree with Valuemonger's response.

Jim's point was (and has been) that interest rates were in a long-term, secular downtrend. Therefore, he argued, keep your bond investments long-term.

In response, Valuemonger has pointed out that a bond index, which includes all bonds with maturities of one year or more, has had some down years. But Jim wasn't advocating for a mix of long and short term bonds but was arguing that the bonds you have should be long-term.

So let's look at the performance of BND, which is Vanguard's equivalent of the Barclay's index, and BLV, which is Vanguard's long-term bond etf.

BND / BLV (NAV returns from Morningstar, evening of 2/21)
9.98%% / 23.96% 1 year
4.66% / 6.55% 5 years
3.82% / 8.25% 10 years

People who have used bond ladders have been finding their income dropping as the bonds mature and have to be reinvested. That was the risk that Jim pointed out and he correctly identified the best solution, or rather amelioration, which was to stay long-term as practical.

It should be noted that Jim has not (to my knowledge) ever abandoned equities in favor of bonds. Bonds are just a part of his amazingly diversified portfolio.
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