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Want 4% on Your Savings? 5 Key Numbers to Know About CDs

Triston Martin

Nov 06, 2023

Are you looking for an easy way to grow your savings while earning a higher rate of return than the average savings account? If so, consider investing in certificates of deposit (CDs).

CDs let you lock in a fixed interest rate for some time and can provide returns up to 4%, or even more when compared with a basic money market or savings account.

To truly understand if CDs are right for your financial goals, there are five key numbers to know that will help manage risk and benefit from the best rates available. You won't believe how simple it is --read on to learn everything you need to get started.

Basics of Certificates of Deposits (CDs) and Their Work

A Certificate of Deposit (CD) is a savings product composed of funds securely deposited for a specific time, known as the ‘term.’ The term length typically ranges from one month to five years and can vary by financial institution.

CDs offer an attractive option for those looking to earn a fixed return on their savings with minimal risk, as opposed to other investments that may have greater potential rewards but also include higher levels of risk.

Like any investment, CDs come with certain risks and rewards. The longer the term length, the higher the rate of return—but also a longer set period in which you cannot access your funds without penalty.

5 Key Numbers to Know About CDs

Before investing in a CD, it’s important to understand the five key numbers that come with any CD.

1. Interest Rate: The interest rate is the return you will earn on your deposit. It can range from 0.05% APY for shorter terms to 4.00% APY for longer-term CDs.

2. Annual Percentage Yield (APY): The APY is the total return you will receive on your deposit over the entire term—not just the interest rate you’ll be paid each month or year. This includes any compound interest that you will earn over the term.

3. Minimum Balance: The minimum balance is the smallest amount of money you need to open a CD and is typically set by the financial institution offering the product.

4. Term Length: The term length determines how long your funds will be tied up in the CD account, with terms typically ranging from one month to five years.

5. Penalties: Early withdrawal penalties can be imposed if you access your CD funds before the end of the term. These penalties can range from a few percentage points off the interest rate to the loss of all interest earned on the amount withdrawn.

It’s important to review all terms and conditions before opening a CD to ensure it meets your financial goals. With the right understanding of the five key numbers, you can maximize your return on investment in CDs and reach those 4% returns you’re looking for.

Consider the Benefits and Drawbacks of Investing in CDs

Investing in certificates of deposit (CDs) can be a great way to increase your savings. When you purchase a CD, you agree to keep the money in the account for a predetermined amount, ranging from six months to 5 years or more. In exchange, you get a fixed rate of return on your investment, usually around 4%.

The benefits of investing in CDs are that you know your rate of return and how long the CD term is when you purchase it. This makes them a great option for low-risk investors who want to grow their savings but don’t want to take too% much.

However, CDs have drawbacks. When you put your money into a CD, you'll usually be unable to access it for the term without an early-withdrawal penalty. If you need the money before the term ends, you may have to pay a penalty and lose some interest earnings. CDs usually require a minimum deposit, often with service fees that can eat away at the interest you earn.

Before investing in CDs, it's important to weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision about your savings strategy. By understanding the key numbers associated with them - their interest rate, term length, minimum deposit amount, service fees, and early-withdrawal penalties -, you can ensure that a CD is the right choice for your investment goals.

Know the Different Types of CDs Available

When it comes to certificates of deposit (CDs), there are multiple types available. Traditional CDs offer a fixed rate on your deposits for the whole term, and early withdrawal may incur penalties. Jumbo CDs require larger minimum deposits but offer higher yields than traditional CDs.

Bump-up CDs allow you to increase the interest rate once during the term. Finally, Liquid CDs allow you to access your funds earlier without penalty and offer higher yields than traditional CDs. Knowing the different types of CDs available can help you make an informed decision about your savings.

Calculate the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on Your Investment

When choosing a CD, the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is among the most important numbers. Your APY tells you how much interest you will earn on your investment over time, expressed as a percentage. To calculate your APY, add the total amount of interest earned over a year, and divide it by the principal invested. This will give you an idea of how much your investment will earn in a year.

Compare Rates to Find the Best Deal for You

Comparing rates from different institutions is important when looking for a CD that offers 4 percent or more on your savings. Do some research and look into any available promotional offers.

Use an online rate comparison tool that can help you identify the best deals quickly and easily. Remember that while local banks may offer lower rates on CDs, online providers, and credit unions can often provide a higher return.

Considering the fees of opening and maintaining a CD account is also important. Some financial institutions will charge an early withdrawal penalty, so you’ll want to ensure that the potential returns from your CD outweigh any costs you may incur.

Finally, looking at the conditions for withdrawing your funds is important. Ensure you understand whether you can make penalty-free withdrawals after a certain period and if there are any restrictions on how much you can withdraw each month. Knowing these details ahead of time will help ensure that you get the most out of your savings.

By being aware of these 5 key numbers, you can be confident that you are making the most informed decision about which CD is right for you. With rates and conditions varying from institution to institution, it pays for research and ensures you get the best savings.


What percentage of savings should be in CDs?

The percentage of savings that should be in CDs depends on your financial goals. Some investors may decide to place a larger portion of their portfolio in the more conservative and stable option of certificates of deposits, while others may opt for a smaller percentage or no CDs at all.

What are CDs in savings?

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are low-risk investments banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer. They usually offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts but require that the principal amount be held for a predetermined period and penalize early withdrawals.

How are bank CDs calculated?

Banks calculate the interest rates for certificates of deposits differently than they do regular savings accounts. The annual percentage yield (APY) considers compounding, which means that the interest earned on the principal balance is added to the balance and earns more interest over time.

Banks will generally offer higher APYs on longer-term CDs so that they can use your funds for an extended period.


CDs can be a great way to secure your savings and get higher returns than a traditional savings account. Be sure to consider all the factors – rate, term length, size of your deposit required, and type of CD – to ensure you’re getting the right deal for your financial situation.

When done correctly, investing in CDs can provide interesting opportunities for growth and security that might not be available with other investments or savings vehicles.

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