Investment portfolio in which investment amount is staggered among bonds with different maturities, in order to receive regular income and to hedge or smooth-out the effect of interest rate fluctuations. Investors using this strategy (called laddering or ladder strategy) put equal amounts of money in bonds due to mature in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 years to achieve an average maturity of five years for the entire portfolio. As the bonds are redeemed every two years, their principal is re-invested in bonds to mature in ten years. Thus, the five-year average maturity for the portfolio is maintained. Also called staggering maturities technique. See also barbell shaped portfolio and bell shaped curve portfolio.