4 Things I Don’t Like About Investing in CDs

One of the oddest things about being human is how we can hold two truths at once. For example, I feel great about myself when I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but I don’t always enjoy the idea of preparing broccoli instead of opening a Snickers. I like the idea of doing the right thing financially, but I’d sometimes rather do something else.

Maybe that’s what has me thinking about certificates of deposit (CDs) these days. Here are a few things about CDs that absolutely bug me. I admit they’re silly, but I sometimes wonder if others feel the same way.

1. Commitment

One of my biggest financial blunders occurred when I invested in my first CD. I foolishly did not ensure I had enough money in an emergency savings account and ended up having to withdraw the funds I needed before the end of the CD term to cover a financial emergency. That withdrawal meant I lost any interest I might have earned if I’d just left the money alone.

Decades later, there’s plenty in my emergency savings account, and still, there’s something about committing money for a specific period of time that bugs me. For someone who’s been married since their teens, it’s a bit surprising that I find the idea of commitment so suffocating, but I do.

Like the cauliflower I plan to bake for dinner tonight, I invest in CDs because they’re good for me. The less mature, commitment-phobic part of me has to go along with it because I give myself no other choice.

What gets me through: I’m always happy I did the right thing once a CD matures, and the funds I had sitting around have earned a nice sum of interest. It’s knowing that I’ll be glad I invested once it’s all said and done that pushes me to invest in another CD.

2. Buyer’s remorse

Have you ever heard the term “analysis paralysis”? I have it. Making a decision can take forever because I’m so afraid of doing the wrong thing. For example, I’ve been looking for new cushions for my patio furniture for months, certain I will regret any decision I make. It’s a ridiculous problem.

Before I invest in a CD, I shop (and shop) for the best CD rates offered by a financial institution I know and trust. Inevitably, the moment I make the money transfer, I find an even better rate somewhere else and spend a couple of days wondering why I didn’t wait 10 more minutes.

What gets me through: Whenever I’m at a restaurant with other people, I find myself looking across the table once the food is delivered, wishing I’d ordered the same thing as the person across from me. I’ve learned to accept that as part of my personality. The same is true of CDs. I’ve come to expect that I will find a better rate shortly after making an investment, and just expecting it to happen takes the sting out of it. Even I think it’s a ridiculous issue.

3. “When I Die” updates

Like my father before me, I have a “When I Die” file prepared for my family. That way, if anything happens to me, my husband and children will know where to find everything they need to carry on financially. One part of the file concerns financial accounts. Any time I open a money market account (MMA) or transfer money to an IRA, I make an update so they’ll be aware of where money can be found.

Because it’s so important to me, I find myself visiting that file — often. But updating it with my and my husband’s information gets old. Given all that I feel needs to be accomplished each day, that small task sometimes feels much larger than it is.

What gets me through: Although I hope to work forever, my husband plans to retire in five years. Allow me to assure you: The man is going to spend his first day of retirement looking at a list of jobs that have suddenly become his. Updating the “When I Die” file is among the tasks I plan to happily hand over. Knowing there’s light at the end of this tunnel helps.

4. One more thing on my “to-do” list

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the tiny things on your to-do list? Truth be told, whenever it happens to me, it’s probably because I either created an unrealistic list or got caught up in something not on the list and lost track of time. Still, I really dislike the feeling of being behind.

The last thing about CDs that bugs me is that I need to keep track of when they’re set to mature. If I forget about one, it’ll roll over into a new CD, and the new CD may not have a rate I’m willing to get locked into.

What gets me through: Once I separate my anxiety from reality, I realize that I can add maturity dates to my calendar, just like I add everything else that needs to be done in my life. There’s no reason to be dramatic about it.

My point is this: If we look closely enough at anything that’s good for us, we may find something about it we don’t especially enjoy (weightlifting comes to mind). Like other financial decisions, if we allow ourselves to skip out on something because it doesn’t feel “just perfect,” we’re also skipping out on the profits we could have earned. And as goofy as my complaints may be, I refuse to lose out on profits by skipping CDs altogether.

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