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These exchange-traded funds own bonds with maturities averaging less than 3 years.

If you want to limit your risk without erasing your yield, a portfolio of bonds maturing over the next three years is a way to do it. The cost winner here, iShares 1-3 Year Credit Bond (CSJ), has a duration of not quite 2 years (meaning: as much rate risk as a zero-coupon bond due in 2 years) and an average credit quality of A. Yield, per the SEC formula: 2.9%.

For more security about having principal repaid, go to the Treasury category. Schwab Short-Term Treasury (SCHO) and SPDR Portfolio Short Term Treasury (SPTS) have the same duration but an AAA credit quality. They yield half a percentage point less.

Two diversified funds and two Treasury-focused funds merit inclusion on the Honor Roll.

Best ETFs: Short-Term Bond Funds

Diversified

&nbsp;Ticker &nbsp;Exchange-Traded Fund Holding Cost1 Liquidity Score2 Assets ($bil)
CSJ iShares 1-3 Year Credit Bond* $70 A 10.8
SLQD iShares 0-5 Year Invmt Grade Corp Bd* 82 B 0.8
ISTB iShares Core 1-5 Year USD Bond 90 A 1.9
SPSB SPDR Portfolio Short Term Corp Bd 115 A 4.1
BSV Vanguard Short-Term Bond 116 A 24.3
IBDM iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corp 152 C 0.7
IBDL iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corp 153 B 0.6
IBDK iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corp 155 B 0.6
IBDH iShares iBonds Dec 2018 Term Corp 160 B 0.4
IBCD iShares iBonds Mar 2020Tm CorpexFncl 167 D 0.1
IBDC iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corp 169 C 0.1
BSCI Invesco&nbsp;BulletShrs 2018 Corp Bd 170 B 0.8
BSCK Invesco&nbsp;BulletShrs 2020 Corp Bd 172 B 1.1
BSCJ Invesco&nbsp;BulletShrs 2019 Corp Bd 172 B 1.1
SUSB iShares ESG 1-5 Year USD Corp Bd 224 D 0.03
FLTR VanEck Vectors Investment Grd Fl Rt 235 B 0.4
SHAG WisdomTree Brclys Yld Enh USS-TAggtBd 235 D 0.03
FLRN SPDR Blmbg Barclays Inv Grd Flt Rt 244 A 2.8
PULS PGIM Ultra Short Bond 247 B 0.03
JPST JPMorgan Ultra-Short Income 296 A 0.6
FLOT iShares Floating Rate Bond 305 A 9.2
LQDH iShares Interest Rate Hedged Corp Bd 333 B 0.2
NUSA NuShares EY 1-5 Year US Aggt Bd 351 D 0.02
ULST SPDR SSgA Ultra Short Term Bond 352 C 0.04
AGZD WisdomTree Barclays IntrRtHgUSAggtBd 396 D 0.03
NEAR iShares Short Maturity Bond 399 A 3.7
GSY Invesco&nbsp;Ultra Short Duration 406 A 1.2
RAVI FlexShares Ready Access Variable Inc 420 C 0.1
LDRI Invesco&nbsp;LadderRite 0-5Yr Corp Bd 431 F 0.01
CLYH iShares Interest Rt Hdg 10+Yr CrdtBd 473 D 0.04
VRIG Invesco&nbsp;Variable Rate Invmt Grd 488 B 0.3
AGND WisdomTree Barclays NgtDur US AggtBd 493 D 0.04
IGHG ProShares Investment Grade—Intr Rt Hdgd 513 C 0.6
MINT Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active 563 A 9.1
FTSM First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity 564 A 2.1
VNLA Janus Henderson Short Duration Inc 568 B 0.4
USTB USAA Core Short-Term Bond 584 D 0.05
HOLD AdvisorShares Sage Core Reserves 585 C 0.1
FLTB Fidelity Limited Term Bond 592 B 0.1
ARCM Arrow Reserve Capital Management 618 C 0.1
LSST Natixis Loomis Sayles Shrt Dur Inc 634 D 0.02
LDUR Pimco Enhanced Low Duration Active 657 C 0.2

Treasury and government-backed bonds

SCHO Schwab Short-Term US Treasury* 102 A 2.5
SPTS SPDR Portfolio Short Term Treasury* 102 B 0.3
VGSH Vanguard Short-Term Treasury 117 A 2.2
ICSH iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond 134 B 0.3
CLTL Invesco&nbsp;Treasury Collateral 136 B 0.5
GBIL Goldman Sachs TreasuryAccess 0-1 Year 198 A 1.2
BIL SPDR Blmbg Barclays 1-3 Mth T-Bill 221 A+ 3.7
SHV iShares Short Treasury Bond 243 A+ 13.6
SHY iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond 245 A+ 12.7
TFLO iShares Treasury Floating Rate Bond 248 B 0.1
USFR WisdomTree Bloomberg Floating Rt Trs 249 B 0.1
TUZ Pimco 1-3 Year US Treasury 252 C 0.1
FTSD Franklin Liberty Short Dur US Govt 412 B 0.2

*Best ETFs Honor Roll Member

1 Cumulative cost of holding a $10,000 position for a decade. Incorporates annual expense ratio, bid/ask spreads and cost offset from securities lending. 2Reflects bid/ask spreads and trading volume. A = easy to trade.

Data sources: Morningstar; Bloomberg; fund distributors.

Best ETFs: How we rated 737 funds

Best ETFs: Long-Term Bonds

Best ETFs: Junk Bonds

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Shutterstock(Wingdale NY)

These exchange-traded funds own bonds with maturities averaging less than 3 years.

If you want to limit your risk without erasing your yield, a portfolio of bonds maturing over the next three years is a way to do it. The cost winner here, iShares 1-3 Year Credit Bond (CSJ), has a duration of not quite 2 years (meaning: as much rate risk as a zero-coupon bond due in 2 years) and an average credit quality of A. Yield, per the SEC formula: 2.9%.

For more security about having principal repaid, go to the Treasury category. Schwab Short-Term Treasury (SCHO) and SPDR Portfolio Short Term Treasury (SPTS) have the same duration but an AAA credit quality. They yield half a percentage point less.

Two diversified funds and two Treasury-focused funds merit inclusion on the Honor Roll.

Best ETFs: Short-Term Bond Funds

Diversified

 Ticker  Exchange-Traded Fund Holding Cost1 Liquidity Score2 Assets ($bil)
CSJ iShares 1-3 Year Credit Bond* $70 A 10.8
SLQD iShares 0-5 Year Invmt Grade Corp Bd* 82 B 0.8
ISTB iShares Core 1-5 Year USD Bond 90 A 1.9
SPSB SPDR Portfolio Short Term Corp Bd 115 A 4.1
BSV Vanguard Short-Term Bond 116 A 24.3
IBDM iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corp 152 C 0.7
IBDL iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corp 153 B 0.6
IBDK iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corp 155 B 0.6
IBDH iShares iBonds Dec 2018 Term Corp 160 B 0.4
IBCD iShares iBonds Mar 2020Tm CorpexFncl 167 D 0.1
IBDC iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corp 169 C 0.1
BSCI Invesco BulletShrs 2018 Corp Bd 170 B 0.8
BSCK Invesco BulletShrs 2020 Corp Bd 172 B 1.1
BSCJ Invesco BulletShrs 2019 Corp Bd 172 B 1.1
SUSB iShares ESG 1-5 Year USD Corp Bd 224 D 0.03
FLTR VanEck Vectors Investment Grd Fl Rt 235 B 0.4
SHAG WisdomTree Brclys Yld Enh USS-TAggtBd 235 D 0.03
FLRN SPDR Blmbg Barclays Inv Grd Flt Rt 244 A 2.8
PULS PGIM Ultra Short Bond 247 B 0.03
JPST JPMorgan Ultra-Short Income 296 A 0.6
FLOT iShares Floating Rate Bond 305 A 9.2
LQDH iShares Interest Rate Hedged Corp Bd 333 B 0.2
NUSA NuShares EY 1-5 Year US Aggt Bd 351 D 0.02
ULST SPDR SSgA Ultra Short Term Bond 352 C 0.04
AGZD WisdomTree Barclays IntrRtHgUSAggtBd 396 D 0.03
NEAR iShares Short Maturity Bond 399 A 3.7
GSY Invesco Ultra Short Duration 406 A 1.2
RAVI FlexShares Ready Access Variable Inc 420 C 0.1
LDRI Invesco LadderRite 0-5Yr Corp Bd 431 F 0.01
CLYH iShares Interest Rt Hdg 10+Yr CrdtBd 473 D 0.04
VRIG Invesco Variable Rate Invmt Grd 488 B 0.3
AGND WisdomTree Barclays NgtDur US AggtBd 493 D 0.04
IGHG ProShares Investment Grade—Intr Rt Hdgd 513 C 0.6
MINT Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active 563 A 9.1
FTSM First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity 564 A 2.1
VNLA Janus Henderson Short Duration Inc 568 B 0.4
USTB USAA Core Short-Term Bond 584 D 0.05
HOLD AdvisorShares Sage Core Reserves 585 C 0.1
FLTB Fidelity Limited Term Bond 592 B 0.1
ARCM Arrow Reserve Capital Management 618 C 0.1
LSST Natixis Loomis Sayles Shrt Dur Inc 634 D 0.02
LDUR Pimco Enhanced Low Duration Active 657 C 0.2

Treasury and government-backed bonds

SCHO Schwab Short-Term US Treasury* 102 A 2.5
SPTS SPDR Portfolio Short Term Treasury* 102 B 0.3
VGSH Vanguard Short-Term Treasury 117 A 2.2
ICSH iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond 134 B 0.3
CLTL Invesco Treasury Collateral 136 B 0.5
GBIL Goldman Sachs TreasuryAccess 0-1 Year 198 A 1.2
BIL SPDR Blmbg Barclays 1-3 Mth T-Bill 221 A+ 3.7
SHV iShares Short Treasury Bond 243 A+ 13.6
SHY iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond 245 A+ 12.7
TFLO iShares Treasury Floating Rate Bond 248 B 0.1
USFR WisdomTree Bloomberg Floating Rt Trs 249 B 0.1
TUZ Pimco 1-3 Year US Treasury 252 C 0.1
FTSD Franklin Liberty Short Dur US Govt 412 B 0.2

*Best ETFs Honor Roll Member

1 Cumulative cost of holding a $10,000 position for a decade. Incorporates annual expense ratio, bid/ask spreads and cost offset from securities lending. 2Reflects bid/ask spreads and trading volume. A = easy to trade.

Data sources: Morningstar; Bloomberg; fund distributors.

Best ETFs: How we rated 737 funds

Best ETFs: Long-Term Bonds

Best ETFs: Junk Bonds

Originally published at Forbes

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