To score the best CD rates, watch for limited-time promotions

By Sabrina Karl

When you’re looking to sock money away in a certificate of deposit, the No. 1 way to maximize your earnings is to do your homework and shop around. That’s because today’s internet-connected world enables you to search the rates of dozens of banks and credit unions offering CDs nationally or in your area.

As you plot out what you’d like to invest in CDs and for what duration, you’ll likely think of one year, two years, three years, etc. And what you find may fall into those tidy increments. But being flexible will open you up to opportunities that could boost your earnings.

Flexibility allows you to capitalize on promotional CDs that may have unconventional terms. Banks and credit unions tend to have a standard menu of traditional-duration CDs always on tap. But many will offer a special certificate from time to time, one with a much better rate and perhaps an unusual term. It’s not uncommon to see promotions for 5-month, 17-month or 21-month CDs.

Being open to odd-term CDs and adjusting your plan based on what you unearth will help you build a CD portfolio that may not look like what you originally plotted out, but will maximize what you earn from your CD investments.

Another kind of flexibility is also useful, and that’s flexibility of timing. Promotional CDs tend to pop up without warning, and are often available for a limited time. So patiently shopping over time, instead of on a single day, will lead you to more special offers. Funds flexibility will then enable you to jump on a great deal when you find one.

The most lucrative CD portfolios are seldom predictable, perfectly tidy collections. But for savers willing to shop over time and move when they turn up a winner, bottom lines are rewarded.