If you’ve decided to stock some money away in a certificate of deposit, why not reap the highest benefit over time by laddering your CD investments? What’s a CD latter? I’m glad you asked.
A CD ladder is made up by purchasing several CD’s at one time with different maturity dates. One example of a CD ladder is to have maturity dates of one year, two year, three year, four year, and a five year CD. These five investments make up the rungs of your CD ladder with one certificate maturing every year for the next five years.
For example, let’s say you had $10,000.00 to invest. You would buy 5 CD’s for $2,000 each with each one invested for one year more than the first. So you’d have a $2,000 CD maturing in one year, another in two years, and so on up to the last one which matures in five years. Every year for the next five years one of your CD matures and earns you interest on your $2000 principal.
When your certificate of deposit matures, you roll it over into another CD. The best strategy is to purchase a new CD at the longest term, which in our example above would be five years. This strategy allows you to take advantage of the higher rates normally associated with longer-term CDs while maintaining more frequent access to part of your funds.
Another advantage to laddering your CD’s is that over time it evens out the high and low interest rate cycles. Some years interest rates will be high, other years the rates will be lower. Currently banks are paying some of the highest CD rates we’ve seen in the last decade.
Before deciding on laddering your CD’s, make sure you can afford to do without that money for a period of time. You’ll pay a penalty for withdrawing your funds before your CD reaches maturity.
Also, don’t get stuck on the idea that you have to invest in a 5-year ladder. You may be more comfortable with a three year ladder based on your financial needs. Or you may want to try a ladder with a 3 month, a 6 month, a 12 month, and a 24 month maturity.
The benefits of laddering your CD investment is that you lower your risk of losing money when rates are low, increase your returns when rates are high, and still have access to a portion of your money should you need it for an emergency.
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