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The Best Interest Rates & How to Get Them Consistently
Today’s best interest rates pale in comparison to the best rates offered in the past, and chasing high interest rates can be risky. To be on the safe side, it is in your interest to avoid bonds and/or seek the best interest rates. Some ads offering the best rates are misleading. Here is your safest and best solution to today’s interest rate dilemma.
Be careful when shopping for the best interest rates. Of course, bonds and bond funds may offer the best rates, but they carry considerable risk in today’s market. The price or value of these investments fluctuates…down as rates rise. And also watch out for ads that tout the best rates. Some of them appear to be FDIC insured like a bank CD (certificate of deposit) when in fact they are not even safe investments.
If you want the least risk and some of the best interest rates consistently year after year, you can set up your own package with your local bank or credit union. You won’t get the highest rate every year on every investment; but you’ll get the best rates overall without locking yourself in and suffering the consequences if you need to get some of your money back.
For simplicity, let’s say the bank CD rates are as follows: 1 year at 1%, 2 years at 1.5%, 3 years at 2% and 4 years at 3%. You don’t want to lock in too much at a higher rate because you may want to access some of your money. Also, you can’t be sure what will happen to the rates in the future. What can you do with a lump sum of money without worrying about it? You build a bank CD ladder. Here’s how it would work with the above bank CD rates.
You start by investing an equal amount in each. Then, each year as a bank CD matures, you ask the bank to transfer that money to a new 4-year CD. This way you reinvest to get the best rate and always have a CD on hand that will mature in a year. For example, after one year, your 2-year-old CD only has one more year to go. After two years, your original 3 years expires in a year and so on. It’s the way the professionals do it, and you can too.
Many people today have a lump sum of money in an IRA that may come from an employer pension plan. A CD ladder will work there, as well as any type of account you want to open at your local bank or credit union. If you want safety first, with the best interest rates year over year, build yourself a ladder with people you trust and know.
I generally suggest a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds and other investments; but I know from experience as a financial planner that some people want zero risk and access to their money, along with the best possible interest rates. If that’s you, a bank CD ladder is as good as it gets, even if CD rates aren’t what they used to be.
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