Banking » Guides » Pros and Cons of Investing in a Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
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Pros and Cons of Investing in a Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Certificate of deposit (CD) is one of the most common investments - here are the main pros &cons you should consider before investing.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann’s areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.

Review & Fact Check: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Financial Expert, The Smart Investor CEO

Experience

Baruch Mann (Silvermann) is a financial expert and founder of The Smart Investor. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann’s areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.

Review & Fact Check: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Financial Expert, The Smart Investor CEO

Experience

Baruch Mann (Silvermann) is a financial expert and founder of The Smart Investor. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.

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Table Of Content

Key Takeaways

  • Investing in CDs has some advantages: they usually pay higher interest rates compared to savings and money market accounts, they are safe and the minimum deposit is low.
  • Investing in CDs also has some disadvantages: clients have to pay an early withdrawal penalty if they decide to withdraw the money before the term. Also, CDs are exposed to inflation risks as well.

What Are Certificates of Deposits (CDs)?

Technically, a certificate of deposit (CD) is a document that evidences a contract that a depositor enters with a bank for a fixed period. This period is what they call the term. What happens in the transaction is that the depositor entrusts his funds to the bank for the time that they agree upon, and the bank agrees to pay interest to the depositor.

The following chart from the FED Survey of Consumer Finances shows the average amount families invest in Certificates of Deposit has grown tremendously:

 

Commonly, people with extra money that they do not need soon are the ones who avail of these deposit accounts and similar instruments.

How Does It Work?

Essentially, CDs fall under the classification of time deposit. Their interest rates are higher than ordinary savings accounts (but lower than other instruments like bonds) because you keep your money in the bank for a specific number of months or years. It could be six months, 18 months, or several years.

The interest rate adjusts accordingly to the term length or the time you promise to keep your money in the bank. The longer the funds will remain with the bank, the higher the interest they will pay to you.

How Much Interest I Can Get In 2023?

You can find that some of the best five-year CDs will carry rates above 4% APY. Most CDs have fixed rates so that the bank locks in the rate for the term. Even if the prevailing rates go up or down midterm, the original rate on the CD will stay.

We will discuss a few exceptions to this below. At the end of the CDs’ term, the certificate “matures” or becomes due and you, as the owner of the funds, will have to decide your next course of action. The bank will normally send you notice early enough that your CD will mature on a certain date and they will suggest several options. If you do not advise the bank and let the CD mature without instructions, by default, the bank will reinvest your money into a new CD with the same term as the one that matured.

Do CDs Have a Monthly Interest Rate?

When the interest is paid will be determined by the CD's terms. In most cases, the interest generated on your CD is paid in full at the conclusion of the period. The length of a term might range from six months to five years.

When purchasing a CD, it is critical to consider the terms and how they relate to your present financial circumstances. Some CDs pay out monthly, but just for the interest earned that month, not for the whole amount gained during the term.

Certificates of Deposits (CDs) – Advantages

If the rates are low at the beginning of the term, you can use laddering to take partial advantage of variable rates. Choosing a CD ladder means dividing your investment into several smaller CDs at higher rates that will become due at different pre-selected dates.

Doing this will afford you the potential for maximum growth and more liquidity. You may be able to access your funds a little faster than normal.

In a CD, you lock in your money for a specific period such that you don’t have the liberty of taking it back at a moment’s notice like a savings or checking account. This makes CDs more valuable to banks because they can hold on to the funds (and use them) longer.

For this reason, banks are willing to pay CD investors a higher rate in exchange for letting their money stay for a set amount of time. You should compute how much net interest you could potentially earn from your deposit.

Perhaps the best come-on that CDs offer is their security. CDs have FDIC insurance coverage so they are one of the safest investments available in the market. If ever your bank fails, you won’t have to worry because the FDIC will assume the responsibility of giving you back the principal and accrued interest as of the day your bank closed down.

If you’ve invested in a CD of a credit union and the same thing happens, the National Credit Union Administration will take care of your principal and interest. As of 2023, the deposit insurance covers all bank and credit union CDs up to $250,000 per financial institution.

CDs also carry a fixed interest rate so you can expect the total interest you will receive when they mature which will remain as you’ve agreed upon regardless of the interest-market fluctuations.

Most of the banks impose limits on the amount of money you can send through an ACH transfer. There might be da

CD products have evolved such that financial institutions now offer a range of CD products with various rates and maturity options that would fit your investment goals.

Certificates of Deposits (CDs) – Disadvantages

One defect of CDs is that they can never stand against inflation and tend to suffer as the inflation rate goes up.

If the rate of inflation is higher than your rate of return on the CD, the value of your money will go down tremendously. You will lose out on purchasing power because your earnings will not be able to buy many things at all.

If you're looking for an inflation hedge, gold may be better than CDs.

If you have a savings account, an emergency doesn’t have to paralyze you financially because you know that you can get your money from the bank at any time. With CDs, you can’t just take your money when you want or need it and if the bank will allow you, it will be subject to an early termination penalty.

Most banks will charge you some of your accrued interest (and maybe even a portion of the principal) if you decide to get your money before the maturity date. Any penalty means a loss of interest income or even a loss of your original investment.

Ordinarily, you still have to pay income tax on the not-so-big interest you earn from a CD. The IRS considers the interest as interest income so you’ll have to report that in the year you’ve received it. 

When your CD matures, the bank returns the principal to your savings account. It’s usually not taxable because it's just a return of your money but there could still be instances when tax may be due.

There is no specific tax rate for interest income on CD so it falls under the tax rate for your individual bracket. This means that the final tax will depend on whatever total income you put on your return. 

If you hold your CD in a retirement account such as an IRA, you may not owe any income tax on the interest you earn every year. Instead, you’ll pay the taxes when it comes to getting your money from your retirement account.

The rules for early withdrawal will vary for each bank and credit union. In many cases, you will forfeit a portion of the interest that you may have earned by the time you make the untimely withdrawal.

In other instances, the financial institution will waive all interest you’ve earned plus a percentage of your principal. The point in time in which you will make the early withdrawal may play an important role in the computation of the penalty. The usual rule is, the earlier you make it, the higher the penalty.

Are CDs a Good Investment in 2023?

CDs are a good option for people with a lot of money who want to put them into something safe. The interest rates increase supports CDs that provide much higher rates in 2023 compared to previous years.

CDs have been around since the beginning of banking, and other investment choices have emerged. However, many people doubt their relevance in the future because they are one of the oldest options accessible.

Examining the present economic circumstances and your particular financial situation might help you decide if a CD is a good investment. The certainty of a CD is its greatest charm. Because the rate is fixed, predicting future revenues is no longer a guessing game. Furthermore, most banks provide higher rates on CDs than what they offer on savings accounts.

CDs, on the other hand, may not be the best option for people who live paycheck to paycheck and wish to supplement their income with investments. CDs require you to keep your money locked up for a period of time, so taking it out too soon can have negative implications.

While a CD functions similarly to a savings account, you will not be able to access it early without incurring a penalty.

Can you Lose Money on CDs?

When it comes to your long-term finances, inflation is a significant problem. For example, if inflation is 2% and your CD pays 1%, you will lose some of your money's purchasing power over time.

If you're planning on keeping your money in an account, this means you should think about how the rate of interest compares to inflation.

Do CDs Help You Build Credit?

When making any new financial decision, it's critical to consider how it will affect your credit score. Regarding CDs, it's essential to think whether this investment is suitable for you.

On a basic level, CDs have no impact on your credit. However, some people use them to improve their ratings mistakenly. This is accomplished by obtaining a secured loan on the CD. Your credit score will improve as you repay the loan. On the other hand, investing solely in a CD will have no positive or dire consequences.

Bottom Line

Certificates of Deposit (CD) appeal to people who want to save money in a bank or credit union with a relatively higher interest. You can save money for the future and earn interest without you doing anything while your money remains safe in the bank. 

The disadvantages of CDs are a handful, but they are minor and not enough to outweigh the advantages.

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann's areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.