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What is a CD Ladder?

A CD (Certificate of Deposit) Ladder is an investment strategy that involves dividing a sum of money into multiple CDs with different maturity dates. The primary goal of this approach is to balance the benefits of earning higher interest rates on longer-term CDs while maintaining liquidity by having funds become available periodically. Here’s how it works:

How a CD Ladder Works

  1. Divide Your Investment:
    • You start by dividing your total investment into equal parts. For example, if you have $10,000, you might divide it into five parts of $2,000 each.
  2. Purchase CDs with Staggered Maturities:
    • Invest each portion in CDs with different maturities. For instance, you could buy a 1-year CD, a 2-year CD, a 3-year CD, a 4-year CD, and a 5-year CD.
  3. Reinvest as CDs Mature:
    • As each CD matures, you reinvest the principal (and interest, if desired) into a new CD with the longest term in your ladder. For example, when the 1-year CD matures, you would reinvest that amount into a new 5-year CD and continue this process as each CD matures.

Benefits of a CD Ladder

  1. Higher Interest Rates:
    • Longer-term CDs typically offer higher interest rates compared to short-term CDs. By using a ladder strategy, you can take advantage of these higher rates for at least a portion of your investment.
  2. Regular Access to Funds:
    • A portion of your investment will mature at regular intervals (e.g., every year), giving you periodic access to your money without penalty. This can be useful for meeting short-term financial needs or taking advantage of new investment opportunities.
  3. Reduced Interest Rate Risk:
    • By spreading your investment across CDs with varying maturities, you reduce the risk of being locked into a low-interest rate for an extended period if rates rise. As each CD matures, you can reinvest at the current rates, potentially benefiting from higher interest rates.
  4. Predictable Returns:
    • CDs are generally considered low-risk investments with fixed interest rates, providing predictable returns. This makes a CD ladder a stable and reliable investment strategy.

Example of a CD Ladder

Let’s say you have $10,000 to invest and you set up a 5-year CD ladder:

  • Year 1:
    • Invest $2,000 in a 1-year CD
    • Invest $2,000 in a 2-year CD
    • Invest $2,000 in a 3-year CD
    • Invest $2,000 in a 4-year CD
    • Invest $2,000 in a 5-year CD
  • Year 2:
    • The 1-year CD matures. Reinvest the $2,000 in a new 5-year CD.
    • The other CDs continue to mature according to their original terms.
  • Year 3:
    • The 2-year CD matures. Reinvest the $2,000 in a new 5-year CD.
    • The other CDs continue to mature.
  • Year 4:
    • The 3-year CD matures. Reinvest the $2,000 in a new 5-year CD.
    • The other CDs continue to mature.
  • Year 5:
    • The 4-year CD matures. Reinvest the $2,000 in a new 5-year CD.
    • The 5-year CD continues to mature.

By the end of Year 5, you have a ladder of 5-year CDs maturing every year, providing you with a regular income stream and the opportunity to reinvest at current interest rates.

A CD Ladder is an effective strategy to maximize returns while maintaining liquidity and reducing interest rate risk. It’s an excellent choice for conservative investors looking for a predictable and stable way to grow their savings. At People Driven Credit Union, we offer competitive rates and flexible terms to help you build a CD ladder that meets your financial goals. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get started with a CD Ladder and take control of your financial future.



Set Up a CD Ladder