Bond ladders work well when rates are rising, giving wealthy investors sequential opportunities to exchange maturing low-rate debt instruments for higher-yielding paper. Rates are low now, but they will go up eventually — perhaps even next year, if the U.S. central bank starts nudging short-term rates higher, as many Fed watchers expect.

Yet predictions aside, do bond ladders make sense in this lower-rate environment? And if so, should advisors build the ladders or outsource the work to a fixed-income manager?

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