CD Laddering Calculator to Calculate a Certificate of Deposit Ladder

Certificate of Deposit Laddering Calculator Sign

This CD Laddering Calculator will calculate a certificate of deposit ladder based on the funds you have available for CD investing, as well as the length of time you are comfortable with not having access to your cash.

Plus, unlike some online certificate of deposit calculators, this calculator allows you to incorporate minimum deposit requirements into the calculations and builds a CD ladder based on the common certificate of deposit terms. After all, what good is a CD ladder full of CDs with terms that are hard to find, or with deposit amounts that are below the minimums required?

If you are not familiar with what a certificate of deposit is, please refer to the explanation at the top of the Certificate of Deposit Rate Calculator page.

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Certificate of Deposit Laddering Calculator

Build a CD Ladder based on your ability to fund it and on your comfort level.

Special Instructions

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Selected Data Record:

A Data Record is a set of calculator entries that are stored in your web browser's Local Storage. If a Data Record is currently selected in the "Data" tab, this line will list the name you gave to that data record. If no data record is selected, or you have no entries stored for this calculator, the line will display "None".

DataData recordData recordSelected data record: None
Funds avail:Funds available:Funds available for CD investing:Total funds available for CD investing:

Total funds available for CD investing:

Enter the total dollar amount of the funds you currently have available for CD investing. Enter as a dollar amount but without the dollar sign or any commas.

Min deposit:Minimum deposit:Minimum deposit requirement:Minimum deposit requirement:

Minimum deposit requirement:

If you would like the CD Laddering Calculator to account for minimum deposit requirements, enter the minimum dollar amount. Otherwise enter zero or leave blank. Enter as a dollar amount but without the dollar sign or any commas.

Max mature:Max maturities:Maximum wait between maturities:Longest your are willing to wait between maturities:

Longest your are willing to wait between maturities

Select the longest number of months you would be comfortable not having access to any of your cash tied up in CDs. Note that the selections available (3, 6, and 12 months) are those that will accommodate building a CD ladder using the most common CD terms.

Compound:Compounding:Compounding interval:Compounding interval:

Compounding interval:

Select the compounding interval that applies to the certificates of deposit. Typically, the more frequent the compounding, the more interest you will earn in the same amount of time. If compounding varies from one CD term to the next, it is usually best to select the longest compounding interval (annual).

CD Interest RatesCD Interest RatesCertificate of Deposit Interest RatesCertificate of Deposit Interest Rates
Edit Interest Rates:

Change the default APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for each Term as you see fit. Enter each as a percentage, but without the percent sign.


Certificate of Deposit Interest Rates:

Expand the description in this row to to view and edit the default interest rates for each of the 10 CD maturities.

Edit Interest Rates:

Change the default APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for each Term as you see fit. Enter each as a percentage, but without the percent sign.

# CDs:# ladder CDs:Number of CDs in ladder:Number of CDs in ladder:

Number of CDs in ladder:

Based on the amount you have available for CD investing, the minimum deposit requirement, and the longest you are willing to wait between maturities, this is the number of CDs that will be included in your ladder.

Amt per CD:Amount per CD:Amount of each certificate of deposit:Amount of each certificate of deposit:

Amount of each certificate of deposit:

This is the amount you will put into to each of the CDs in your ladder. To arrive at this amount, the CD laddering calculator divides the amount you have available for CD investing by the number of CDs in your ladder.

FV without:FV without ladder:Future value without CD ladder:Future value without CD ladder:

Future value without CD ladder:

If you were to invest the total amount available for CD investing in a single CD, at the longest term you are willing to wait for maturity, this is the future value of that CD for the same time frame as the length of your CD ladder.

FV with:FV with ladder:Future value with CD ladder:Future value with CD ladder:

Future value with CD ladder:

This is the future value of your CD ladder as of the maturity of the longest term CD.

Addtl int:Additional int:Additional interest earned with ladder:Additional interest earned with CD laddering:

Additional interest earned with CD laddering:

This is the additional interest you could earn by building a CD ladder as opposed to investing all funds in a single, shorter term CD.

If you would like to save the current entries to the secure online database, tap or click on the Data tab, select "New Data Record", give the data record a name, then tap or click the Save button. To save changes to previously saved entries, simply tap the Save button. Please select and "Clear" any data records you no longer need.

Help and Tools


What a CD ladder is, how it works, and why you should consider building one.

What is a CD Ladder?

A CD ladder is a method of purchasing certificates of deposit in such a way as to earn a higher interest rate while still having access to some of your certificate of deposit cash at a tolerable frequency.

More specifically, a CD ladder is the process of splitting a lump sum into numerous CDs, each with a longer maturity than the previous. This laddering allows you to earn higher rates of longer terms while still having maturities coming due on a short-term basis.

How Does a CD Ladder Work?

To illustrate how a CD ladder works, suppose you had $10,000 available for CD investing, but you're afraid to tie up your cash for any longer than 6-months. Therefore, you elect to purchase a $10,000 6-month certificate of deposit that pays you, say 1% interest.

The downside of that certificate of deposit investment is that if you purchased a 36-month certificate of deposit, you might have been able to earn 2.25% on your money -- thereby more than doubling your interest earnings.

With CD laddering, you can achieve a happy medium.

Using the above example, instead of investing $10,000 in a single 6-month certificate of deposit earning only 1%, you would split up the $10,000 into 6 CDs -- each with a term that is 6-months longer than the others.

In that case, you would put 1/6th into a 6-month CD, 1/6th into a 12-month CD, 1/6th into an 18-month CD, and so on.

Next, as each of your original CDs reaches maturity, you roll them over into a certificate of deposit having the longest term -- which in our example is 36 months.

The beauty of CD laddering is that eventually all of your money will be earning the higher interest rate (2.25% in our example), but you will still have access to 1/6th of your cash every six months. Cool!

When Should You Consider CD Laddering?

CD laddering, or CD investing in general, should only be considered if you have a fully funded emergency fund (3-6 months of your take-home pay, preferably stored in a money market account), and you have paid off all of your high-interest debt.

If you don't have a fully funded emergency fund, then you shouldn't be putting your savings into an account where emergency withdrawals will wipe out your interest earnings -- or worse, incur early withdrawal penalties.

Or, if you have outstanding high interest debt, then it doesn't make any sense to earn 1-3% in a certificate of deposit when you can earn 18% by using the cash to invest in your debt.

Adjust Calculator Width:

Move the slider to left and right to adjust the calculator width. Note that the Help and Tools panel will be hidden when the calculator is too wide to fit both on the screen. Moving the slider to the left will bring the instructions and tools panel back into view.

Also note that some calculators will reformat to accommodate the screen size as you make the calculator wider or narrower. If the calculator is narrow, columns of entry rows will be converted to a vertical entry form, whereas a wider calculator will display columns of entry rows, and the entry fields will be smaller in size ... since they will not need to be "thumb friendly".

Show/Hide Popup Keypads:

Select Show or Hide to show or hide the popup keypad icons located next to numeric entry fields. These are generally only needed for mobile devices that don't have decimal points in their numeric keypads. So if you are on a desktop, you may find the calculator to be more user-friendly and less cluttered without them.

Stick/Unstick Tools:

Select Stick or Unstick to stick or unstick the help and tools panel. Selecting "Stick" will keep the panel in view while scrolling the calculator vertically. If you find that annoying, select "Unstick" to keep the panel in a stationary position.

If the tools panel becomes "Unstuck" on its own, try clicking "Unstick" and then "Stick" to re-stick the panel.