How Risky Are Certificates of Deposit

Apr 02, 2023 By Susan Kelly

Are you considering diversifying your investment options with a certificate of deposit (CD)? Certificates of deposits are reliable, low-risk investments that many savvy investors use to bolster their portfolios.

CDs offer a range of benefits - from higher returns than plain savings accounts to complete security for the invested amount - but it is important to understand how risky these instruments can be so you can make an informed decision about investing in them. We will discuss the risk factors associated with certificates of deposit and help you decide if they are right for your investment strategy.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a type of savings product that pays a fixed rate of return over some time. A CD requires an initial investment and locks in the interest rate for the term, allowing you to receive a guaranteed return on your money.

CDs are considered low-risk investments and tend to offer lower returns than other riskier investments such as stocks and bonds. However, unlike other investments, there is no need to worry about fluctuating markets or trends while waiting for returns.

Different Types of CDs

When considering investing in CDs, it is important to understand the types of CDs and their associated risks. There are two basic types of CDs:

1. Traditional CDs

2. Brokered CDs

Traditional CDs

Traditional CDs are issued directly by banks or credit unions, and the issuer assumes all of the risk associated with interest rate fluctuations. If the market rate increases during your CD's term, you will not receive any additional return from your CD.

Brokered CDs

are purchased through a broker and consist of a pool of investments from different issuers. While these offer more liquidity than traditional CDs and may provide higher returns, they involve more risk since you can't determine which underlying investments make up the pool.

Factors Affecting the Risk Level of CDs

When investing in CDs, the risk level of your investment depends on several factors.

  • Interest Rate Risk: The interest rate you invest in can affect your return from a CD. As rates increase, the value of existing CDs decreases as investors can reinvest funds in higher-yielding options.
  • Credit Risk: This is the risk that an issuer won't be able to pay back its obligations when they come due. The FDIC insures most accounts up to $250,000 per account holder, but it's still important to research banks and make sure they have good credit ratings before investing with them.
  • Liquidity Risk: A bank may not allow early withdrawal from a CD, meaning if you need cash before the maturity date, you won't be able to access it.
  • Inflation Risk: This is the risk that inflation could outpace returns on your investment, meaning that the purchasing power of your money will go down over time.
  • Reinvestment Risk: If you invest in a CD with a fixed rate, the risk is that when the CD matures, and you reinvest your money into another CD, the new interest rate could be lower than what you had before.

Strategies for Reducing Your Risks With CDs

Although CDs come with risks, there are a few strategies to reduce your exposure.

  • Choose shorter terms: Shorter-term CDs typically offer higher rates and less interest rate risk.
  • Diversify across issuers: Investing in CDs from different banks can help to spread out the credit risk associated with investing in CDs, as no one bank dominates the portfolio.
  • Use laddering: Laddering is an investment strategy where you spread your investments over multiple maturities so that you don’t have too much of your money tied up at any time. For example, if you had $10,000 to invest, you could put $2000 each into five different CDs with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year maturities. This way, you have shorter-term CDs regularly maturing so that you can take advantage of new interest rates as they become available.

When investing in certificates of deposit, it is important to understand the associated risks and be aware of strategies for reducing them. By researching and being mindful of risk factors such as credit quality, maturity date, and liquidity options, you can make an informed decision about whether or not investing in CDs is right for you.

Benefits of Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of Deposit or CDs are a type of bank product that can offer you financial stability and higher returns than your traditional savings accounts. CDs have been around for many years, but recently more investors are turning to them as an alternative way to diversify their portfolios. Here are five key benefits of investing in CDs:

  • Security – CDs are considered one of the safest investments available because FDIC-insured banks issue them. That means that if anything happens to the bank, your deposit is still protected up to $250,000 from loss due to insolvency.
  • Higher Returns – Because CDs have less risk than other investments, they tend to have higher returns. That means you can earn more money on your deposit without taking on any additional risk.
  • Flexible Terms – Many banks offer a variety of CD terms, from 6 months to 5 years or more. This lets you choose the term that best meets your investment objectives and financial needs.
  • Liquidity – With most CDs, you can access your funds through early withdrawal penalties if needed in an emergency. The penalty amount will depend on how long the CD has been open and other factors.
  • Tax Benefits – Depending on your tax situation, you may receive tax benefits with a CD, as some interest earned is exempt from taxation.

Certificates of Deposit can be a great way to diversify your portfolio and gain higher returns with security and stability.

How to Get Started With Investing in Certificates of Deposit

Once you understand the risks associated with investing in CDs, it’s time to start thinking about how to get started. The first step is to determine your goals and risk tolerance. Are you looking for short-term growth or long-term stability?

Are you willing to take on more risk in exchange for higher returns? Once you have a clear idea of what you want out of your investment, then it’s time to begin researching different banks and brokers that offer CD products.

Compare interest rates, fees, liquidity options, and other features to find the best fit for your needs. When deciding to invest in certificates of deposit, remember to always diversify across multiple institutions and maturity dates. You can protect yourself from interest rates and credit risks by spreading out your investments.


Why should I open a CD account?

Certificates of Deposit are a great way to diversify your portfolio with a low-risk, secure investment that offers higher returns than traditional savings accounts. You can also benefit from the flexibility of choosing different maturities and liquidity options.

What is the minimum amount you need to open a CD account?

Most banks require a minimum deposit of $500-$1,000 to open a CD account. Checking the requirements with your bank before investing in CDs is important.

Can certificates of deposit lose money?

Certificates of Deposit are generally low-risk, but some risks are associated. You may lose money if the bank defaults on its payments, or you must cash out early and pay the penalty. It is important to research different banks and brokers before investing in CDs.


Certificates Of Deposit (CDs) are a great option for investors looking to minimize their financial risks while still earning solid returns. CDs also offer the flexibility of regular rollovers and the convenience of being FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured for up to $250,000. While rates may fluctuate between banks and according to the type of CD purchased, investors can rest assured that there is a minimal risk when investing in CDs. If you’re willing to commit your principal for an agreed-upon term length, then a CD is worth considering as an investment vehicle and could be beneficial for building your nest egg.

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