I'm building a T-Bill ladder

Greetings Retirement Fools,

With rising interest rates and bank failures in the news, I decided to build a ladder by purchasing 2-month T-Bills at each week’s auction eight times.

So, after 2 months, I’ll have my idle cash earning north of 4%, with 12.5% maturing each week to invest as opportunities arise – or I can roll into a new T-Bill. Liquidity shouldn’t be a problem since I can easily sell in the secondary market if needed in an emergency, though I’d sacrifice the bid-ask spread.

Just wondering if anyone else was doing something similar or had a better idea?

DT
ANSS, TXT Ticker Guide

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Why two months? A bond ladder might work better. And ideally when interest rates peak, you can lock in that top rate for an extended period.

Hi Paul,
Good question. The reason is that these funds are essentially the float money in my investment account. I use them to manage the account and make new stock purchases when opportunities arise. I want good liquidity and I usually keep around 10% in the float. I have to admit that I had been lackadaisical about this money when interest rates were so low for so long. For maximum liquidity I could park the money in a savings account at my brokerage that pays around 3.5% (for now), but I figured with just a little effort I could do better and retain most of the liquidity - at least as much as I need - just letting the bills mature and rolling them to a new one when I don’t need the funds. I’ll still keep some cash in the savings account for instant access.

BTW, I also have a TIPS bond ladder that stretches out 10 years and is part of my “liability matching portfolio” that assures I have the essentials covered in retirement.

Anyway, that was my reasoning.

DT
TXT, ANSS Ticker Guide

6 Likes

Have you checked to see whether your broker offers a Treasury-backed short-term money fund? E.g., in Schwab it’s SNSXX. A simple money-market fund (SWVXX) offers a somewhat higher rate with little risk. Buying/selling is executed in 24 hours. Rates today were 4.2% and 4.7%, respectively.

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I would suggest looking at money market funds, rather than buying treasuries that you have the risk of having to sell in the secondary market. The best rate ones are currently paying 4.3% and up, so quite comparable with the 2 month T-bills you are looking at. Additionally, you can move all of the money into the fund at once, so you won’t have to wait for 2 months to get the higher rates. On the other hand, if rates start dropping, you won’t have the higher rates for the 2 months after they do. But assuming you keep about the same amount in your account, that’s pretty much a wash - either you get the higher rates now or you get them later.

Here’s an article that gives a list of high yielding money market funds Best Money Market Mutual Funds Of March 2023 – Forbes Advisor

AJ

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Helping my mother with her finances. Background, she lives in an assisted living home at 84, all expenses covered by her teacher’s retirement and SS. Has some monies in IRA/Roth. Health insurance “covered” by Medicare and Tricare. May need memory care in future.

Sold her home and have used the funds to build a CD ladder. Essentially now have a CD maturing every month. If money needed, use. If not, buy a 1 year CD. Have a little “extra” money in cash to help rebalance to try and keep reinvested CDs the same amount.

FWIW, her asset allocation is roughly 50/50 stocks/CDs.

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Hi AJ,

Thanks for the suggestion of money market funds, and I see that there may be some advantages, though I don’t see selling on the secondary market as a big deal. It will only happen in an emergency, and the bid-ask difference is usually pretty small. When you consider that funds carry an expense ratio, I suspect it is close to a wash. At any rate, I plan to finish with my ladder and see how it goes for a few months.

Here’s a link to an article that explains buying Bills on the secondary market, and also contains a link to an article on buying Bills at auction at online brokers.

Best,
DT

2 Likes

The 3 month t bill can fetch 5% yield now. If you hold it to maturity you don’t have that risk. For such a short term, wouldn’t you mostly want to hold to maturity?

tj

It wasn’t me who suggested selling before maturity. I was just responding to @CMFDoubtingThom’s remark stating that he might sell:

AJ

Hi AJ,

Splitting hairs here but I was just responding to your original comment:

At any rate it is not a big deal. Suffice to say that I plan on holding the T-Bills to maturity and use the proceeds as needed to either buy equities or roll into new T-bills as warranted. The only reason I would sell in secondary market is in an a true emergency.

Best,
DT
Ticker guide TXT, ANSS

Well, if you want to split hairs, the remark that I was responding to was in your original post

It was not responding to a comment that I made.

AJ

2 Likes

Haha, how right your are, AJ!

I’d forgotten that. No more hair-splitting from me – I have to clean the egg off my face.

DT

JLC,
I just know if you folks can see the above chart from Stockcharts

May I suggest using the Tetter Totter Principle as a trial application. If you follow the two (2) simple rules, you should not lose but a few dimes because folks did not read the rules correctly.

Don’t use your moms money but a few bux of your own until you get the hang of it. Then go slowly with a few bux from mom’s account.

I have been Swing Trading SPXS / SPXL and QQQ / PSQ and a few others since February of 2006 to November 2014 with a 50K bankroll earning over 12MM.
Then did it again from November 2014 to December of 2022 with 100K bankroll earning over 13MM. Still Tetter Tottering because of the Recession is coming to a neighborhood nearest you.

BOIL / KOLD having fun with. KOLD went from 14.70 to 76.72 with 1000 shares. Not to shabby. And then 51.25 and had to sell at per the rules at 71.45 with another 1000 shares.

Making money is borrrrrrring. Meaning the waiting and waiting and wait for the Sell signal. The longer it takes from Out of the Gate to the Finish Line, the more money one makes.

SPXS is the current stock to own at this time until there is a Sell Signal. Simon will tell you what to do with just two (2) simple rules that a 9th grader can do within a few minutes while in homeroom.

One can stop at any time and move on.

I wish you the best

Quill - a poor church mouse scratching for a living as a Swing Trader for over 48 years.

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Thank you Quill, I am in SPXS but currently down, but we will see and I also bought Boil yesterday currently up. Let’s see if I have it right or wrong.

Andy

1 Like