One of my clients - a woman who was laid off during the recession and has transitioned into a very promising second career - came to me recently to discuss ways to increase her yield. A decade away from retirement with a net worth of about $3 million, she felt she could take on a bit more risk on the fixed-income side of her IRA.

The solution we turned to was peer-to-peer lending, a web-enabled model that connects individual lenders and borrowers. Using a couple of new lending websites, we created a laddered portfolio, composed of 20 individual loans, that's produced a return that's made her quite happy.

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