While I agree with you in theory…
Where, in practice, do you disagree with my advice: “Whatever works best for you is best for you!” I’m not saying do all those things, I’m saying there are all those things out there, pick what you need.
I never traded bonds, I hadn’t even heard about ladders until recently. I used to buy bonds which I held to maturity. When I had an extra $50K I would ask my broker to find me a dollar denominated bond not issued in the USA (for tax purposes) with three to five years to maturity and a high enough interest rate to make it attractive. I would buy the bond (if available) and forget about it until maturity. Talking bonds with my broker took three or four hours per year. I no longer buy bonds.
You say that options are time consuming, yes they are. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Covered calls are producing for me a yield averaging around 5% to 6%. That’s enough to justify one third of my investing hours. While I don’t time myself, I don’t think I spend that much time on options. Most of my time is dedicated to reading boards, news, and SEC filings.
The time consuming aspect of covered calls is finding the right ones to sell. They have to pass two hurdles, high enough premium (cash up front) and high enough yield if assigned. Every position I own has a spreadsheet and all I have to do is plug in three data for each potential option: expiration date, strike price and premium. Then I eyeball (or sort) the yield and the cash columns to pick the right one. I either let the option expire or I buy it back if I have earned enough of the premium already (around 65% or less if a short turnaround). Another spreadsheet with daily quotes downloaded for Yahoo tells me if it is time to buy back. Since I have a very concentrated portfolio, I’m messing with six or seven stock symbols at most at any time. Once one trades options long enough, one gets to know them, how they behave, quite well, which reduces the time spent on them.
I suspect that if I were still gainfully employed I would not be doing covered calls but since I’m 100% retired from gainful employment, I’m gainfully spending time on my portfolio, my sole source of income.
BTW, these days I use the ladder mostly to change crappy Chinese lightbulbs that burn out way too often. You can’t find quality lightbulbs in Socialist Venezuela.
BTW2, do you know the value of a burnt out lightbulb in the now defunct Soviet Union? Since lightbulbs were hard to find and expensive to boot, when a bulb burnt out at home, the comrades would steal one from the office and to hide the crime they had to replace it with the burnt out one from home.
BTW3, last year there was a shortage of lightbulbs in the marina where I had my beach condo. The one above my entrance door burnt out. Guess how I fixed the problem (for a hint, read BTW2)