6 tips for first-time CD shoppers

Climb your way to bigger CD earnings
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Climb your way to bigger CD earnings

The longer you're willing to commit your money to a CD, the more handsomely you'll be rewarded. One commonly used technique to increase a return is laddering.

"A ladder is a way to diversify your money among a range of maturity dates, and it's an all-weather strategy," McBride says. "It's not a way to time the interest cycles."

A ladder spreads your money among a range of CDs with different terms and APYs. Despite the current low CD rates, a ladder can help you maximize your return.

In the current climate, Taylor recommends starting with a stepladder. Also known as an extension ladder, it begins with shorter terms with the ability to move into longer maturities in the future.

"If you build your ladder all at once, you're investing in the current rate environment," Taylor says. "A stepladder gets you around that timing issue, when you're building that ladder."

McBride agrees, advising that now is not a good time to lock in longer maturities. As the market improves, your ladder can extend to take advantage of increased interest rates.

Use Bankrate's CD laddering calculator to understand its impact on your return.




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