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The Ultimate Certificate Strategy

Laddering your certificates is an excellent way to ensure you earn the best rates possible. It allows you to control the terms while getting the liquid availability you want. For example, instead of opening one 5-year certificate for $20,000, open 4 certificates for $5,000 each for the following terms: 12 months, 24 months, 3 years, and 5 years. 

As each certificate matures, you can either use the funds you need or renew into another 5-year term like in the example below. You can renew Navy Federal certificates up to 21 days after the maturity date.

Certificate Term and Maturity Date Information

Certificate Term and Maturity Date Information
Original TermOriginal Maturity DateRenew IntoNext Maturity Date
12 Month7/29/20215-Year7/29/2026
24 Month7/29/20225-Year7/29/2027
3 Year7/29/20235-Year7/29/2028
5 Year7/29/20255-Year7/29/2030

So why ladder? Referring to the example above, 20% (or $4,000) of your original $20,000 certificate (plus the accrued dividends for that certificate) is made available to you each year. By renewing each maturing certificate into a 5-year certificate, you'll be earning a higher rate than if you'd simply continued with another 12- or 24-month certificate (laddering isn't limited to the 12-month through 5-year example above). The strategy works to your advantage because after a few of your certificates mature and are renewed into another 5-year certificate, you'll be earning the highest rate and have a 5-year certificate maturing every year.

The same idea can be applied to shorter- and longer-term examples. It's really up to you how you want to save and use your funds. Laddering can provide you with a more steady and stable source of savings than a single-certificate investment. The best part is, you can always add funds to your certificate at maturity and watch your savings grow.