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What to do with $10,000 now

Given the uncertain economic picture, you probably have a chunk of change squirreled away. Here's how to best use that cash.

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Build a Treasury bond ladder
Treasuries' lower yields -- a 10-year pays 2.7% -- make them less attractive now. But if you're set on them for the safety they provide, at least "ladder" them, says Mario DeRose, a fixed-income strategist at Edward Jones.

Laddering means buying bonds that mature at different times. Say you put $2,000 each into bonds that mature in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2020 (buy 'em at Treasurydirect.gov).

When your shortest bond matures, reinvest in a new 10-year bond. That lets you maintain your portfolio's average maturity -- in this case, five to six years -- and take advantage of future rate rises.

NEXT: Pick the right retirement target
Last updated October 18 2010: 11:56 AM ET
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