Invest, invest, and invest. If you're not saving you should be investing. Or people say. If you're new to investing and are concerned with risk, a certificate of deposit may be the easiest option for you.

A certificate of deposit, a CD, is a savings certificate with a fixed interest rate and affixed maturity date. Basically, it's a savings account with a fixed interest that you can't access for a certain period of time. The higher the interest rate, the more your CD will yield. Since the funds have no liquidity, the pay off is the yield from the interest. CDs generally considered low risk investments and the FDIC insures CDs up to $250,000.

All commercial banks offer CD accounts but you will most likely get a better deal from lesser know banks like Ally, Barclays, CIT, or other online banks. The longer the term, the better interest rate you will get. However, the longer the term the longer the risk associated with the CD. A major drawback is that if an interest rate significantly increases during the term you will not be able to benefit.


Some banks, not all, offer rate bump CDs, where you can request an interest rate bump if market interest rates rise during the tenure of the term. The bank doesn't do this automatically and even if you ask for the interest rate bump it isn't guaranteed yes. Ally Bank and CIT bank offer rate bump CDs, but there's different stipulation for the accounts. CIT requires a minimum of a $25,000 deposit and Ally only offers bump-rate CDs on two and four year agreements.

So, should I open up a CD account?

Right now? If you are looking for a high yield investment, then no. CDs are most beneficial whenever there is a high interest rate. Since interest rates are so slow, the interest rate will not yield substantial earnings at this time. For example if you invested $5,000 in for a 24-month term with an interest rate of 2.5 percent that compounded daily, your earnings would be $256.08. However a CD does generate more interest than an average savings account. If you are saving for long term goal and want to prevent yourself from dipping into the money, then a CD might be viable option for you. Keep in mind that you will be hit with a penalty fee if you withdraw money from a CD before it come to full term.

A CD ladder could be the happy medium. The Federal Reserve is planning increasing the rate at least three more time in the next year. As the economy strengths, interest rates generally go up. Creating a CD ladder would allow you to take advantage of increasing rates and have more liquidity. A basic CD ladder will have at least three rungs. Each "rung" is a CD with differing interest rates and term agreements. Let say you have a one-year, a two-year and five-year CD. When the one-year CD agreement ends, you would open a new CD at a longer term with the money. That way you will be getting a higher interest rate as your money grows.

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.