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Basics of a CD Ladder Strategy

Lisett Comai-Legrand

Lisett Comai-Legrand About The Author

Aug 3, 2017 5:57:00 AM

A Certificate of Deposit, commonly referred to as a CD, is a financial product that is offered by banks and credit unions, which makes them a secure and safe place to keep money that you aren’t planning to spend anytime soon. To initiate a CD, there is usually a minimum amount you need to deposit.

A Certificate of Deposit is different from other types of savings or money market accounts, because you are assessed penalties if money is removed before the end of the term. By agreeing not to withdrawal any money during the term of the CD, you will receive a higher interest return than other types of deposit accounts. A CD is a guarantee that you will get the return on the agreed rate regardless if interest rates fluctuate.

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What is CD Laddering?

Before you purchase a CD, it is good to know about a common investment strategy, CD laddering, to help you potentially maximize your earnings. Laddering simply means that you hold CD’s with different maturity dates and annual yields.

Why Should You Use CD Laddering?

Suppose that you purchase a five-year traditional CD with an initial deposit of $100,000. Although the longer the term, the higher the interest rate offered, five years can be a long time to part with one’s money. A CD with a five-year term is more attractive because of higher interest rates, but it comes with a disadvantage. Because there are penalties associated with withdrawing money from a CD before its term is over, the five-year term CD could be risky. 

Couple looking at CD plans

However, if you use a laddering strategy you would buy five $20,000 CD’s with your $100,000 with terms of five years, four years, three years, two years and one year. When the one-year term CD reaches maturity you then purchase another five-year CD.  When the two-year term CD reaches maturity you then purchase another five-year CD. Repeat this step every year until you have five five-year term CD’s.

Laddering is a strategy that helps you earn higher interest rates on your money and provides you a greater flexibility because when each CD matures you have the opportunity to renew it or use the money for something else.

Benefits of CD Laddering

  • Liquidity – Cash is available at more frequent intervals than buying one long-term CD.
  • Better Interest Rates – Once the ladder is established, you get to choose longer-term CD’s that offer a higher interest rate.
  • Peace of Mind – When interest rates rise, you will be able to purchase CD’s at the higher rates each year. If interest rates fall, the longer term CD’s you previously purchased were purchase at higher rates.

How Do You Benefit from CD’s and CD Laddering?

  • You build a habit of saving.
  • You secure higher interest rates by taking advantage of laddering.

Setting Up a CD Ladder at First Alliance Credit Union

CD Laddering is a strategy used by investors that balances receiving higher interest rates with the convenience of being able to access your investment without penalties be assessed. Using a CD laddering strategy allows the investor to have a steady flow of cash that matures over different intervals of time. 

If you'd like to take advantage of a CD Ladder strategy, become a First Alliance Credit Union today and talk with a member experience advisor about opening up a certificate of deposit. It's easy to do, and you can monitor your CDs by logging into our online banking platform or mobile app. 

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We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.