What is a CD?
Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
A certificate of deposit or CD is a time deposit, a financial product commonly offered to consumers by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions.
CDs are similar to savings accounts in that they are insured and thus virtually risk-free; they are “money in the bank” (CDs are insured by the FDIC for banks or by the NCUA for credit unions). They are different from savings accounts in that the CD has a specific, fixed term (often three months, six months, or one to five years), and, usually, a fixed interest rate. It is intended that the CD be held until maturity, at which time the money may be withdrawn together with the accrued interest.
So if you are investing/buying a CD you want to make sure you don’t need that money for the length of it’s term (otherwise you will have to pay a penalty to cash it in).
Here’s a great way a beginning saver can get started with CD’s:
- Figure out a monthly amount of money you know you won’t need for 12 months. Don’t be scared now. It can be a small amount like $10.
- Log into your ING account and go to their products page. Click on CD’s and proceed to open up a $10 CD for a 12-month term. (If you can afford more by all means do so. Remember this is money you won’t touch for a year.)
- Now every month do the same thing for a total of 12 months.
- At the end of a year you will have 12 CDs worth more than $120 (imagine if you put more in each month?). If you can, re-invest the CDs as they mature. See if you can add to the amounts, again even if it’s only a few dollars.
“What have we done? Anyone can buy CDs!”, you may ask? Remember this is for a beginner who is starting to build up their savings. Here is what the beginning saver has accomplished:
- This builds up a habit of saving. By putting the money in a CD we’re limiting the ability to take the money out (without a penalty at least). Once this habit is in place a beginning saver may have the discipline to expand their savings.
- It creates a great sense of self-esteem for the saver. You get to see your CDs growing every month. How great is it to see a year’s worth of savings? Once a person realizes that saving is an achievable goal they will be more likely to continue!
- You’re earning interest. Not only have you saved but you’re savings are growing too! You’re taking advantage of laddering.
Savings aren’t usually built overnight. But by saving bit by bit you will see your savings blossom over time!
photo credit: naama