Benefits of CDs During Retirement

senior couple

Without a financial strategy, creating positive cash flow during retirement can be tricky. While your 401(k), pension, and social security benefits may yield a steady stream of monthly income in your golden years, there's another investment option worth considering — certificates of deposit (CDs). Ignoring the benefits of CDs in your retirement portfolio could mean missing out on an opportunity for a safe, low-cost way to lock in a guaranteed rate of return.

What Is a Certificate of Deposit?

A certificate of deposit, otherwise known as a CD, is a deposit account that's held by a financial institution for a pre-determined amount of time. When you purchase a CD, you deposit a lump sum of money into an account and leave it untouched for the agreed-upon duration. In exchange, that money earns interest at rates that are higher than those commonly available with regular savings accounts. At the end of the pre-set time period, when the CD reaches its "maturity date," you receive your initial deposit back plus all the interest it earned while it sat untouched.

Advantages of CDs 

Higher earnings on your deposits aren't the only benefit of adding CDs to your retirement mix. CDs can also help you:

  • Preserve your original deposit, since deposits are NCUA or FDIC insured*
  • Plan for future needs with confidence by purchasing multiple CDs with different maturity dates
  • Maintain confidence in your investment portfolio during severe stock market highs and lows, since CDs are set to grow slowly with a guaranteed interest rate
  • Keep more of your profits, since CDs typically have no or low fees
  • Earn more the longer you leave the deposit untouched
  • Stay in charge of your money by choosing terms as short as 3 months or as long as 5 years, or a variety of maturity dates in between

As with most investments, you'll need to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages.

Disadvantages of CDs 

While CDs offer numerous benefits, there are some disadvantages. The degree to which these downsides might affect your situation will mainly depend on your financial goals and income level. Some drawbacks include:

  • Penalties and fees for withdrawing funds before the maturity date  
  • Inflation could rise at a faster rate than what the CD is paying, resulting in a financial loss
  • Diminished financial benefits for higher tax bracket individuals who may see greater gains from tax-deferred or tax-free investments like fixed annuities or bond funds (a tax professional can review your situation and make appropriate recommendations)

Depending on your individual circumstances and personal preference, you can include CDs as part of an overall retirement strategy to balance their your portfolio.

How CDs Benefit Retirees

Depending on your time horizon, adding CDs to your retirement strategy can help offset losses from other investment vehicles. They can also provide a home for excess retirement distributions made from other accounts, such as an IRA or 401(k). The low risk to the principal balance is one of its most attractive features — in addition to earning higher interest rates when compared to traditional savings accounts. If timed well, CDs can provide a steady source of income.

Determine how much money you'll need, and have clear financial goals before deciding how to add CDs to your portfolio. Consider the rate of return you'll need to achieve your goals, as well as whether or not investing in multiple CDs with different maturity dates makes sense for your situation. 

If you decide to include CDs in your investment strategy, start by opening a standard CD with the Credit Union of Colorado. With as little as $500, you can earn more than you would in a traditional savings account and balance your investment portfolio. We would love to help you reach your retirement goals.

*Certificates of Deposits are insured only if the financial institution has Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) coverage. Credit Union of Colorado is federally insured by NCUA.