Although I’m glad I got a 5.65% CD when I did, of course I wish I’d invested more and for a longer term than 6 months. But it’s not too late to still lock in a CD at an okay rate.
Or so I’d hoped. Recently, it seems the pickings are slim.
Emigrant Direct, whom I already bank with, is offering a whopping 3.50% APY for 6 months up through 10 years, and it’s hard for me to imagine why someone would want to lock that rate in at all, let alone for ten whole years. But a 4-something rate I’d take, for a little while at least. Just long enough to weather some downturn until I figure out my next steps.
Sovereign Bank has a 6-month CD at 4.25%, which I shut my browser window on in disgust before I realized it was one of the best rates out there.
I’m hesitant to go with this because my FNBO Direct savings account is still at 4.30%, though I can’t imagine that will last long in this environment. The best short-term CD rates I could find at Bankrate.com were 4.40% APY from Flagstar Bank for 1 year and 4.90% for 6 months at Countrywide with a $10,000 minimum.
I’ve been happy so far with my other Countrywide CD, so I opened two of their 6-month 4.90% CDs, one for my mother, since her high yield savings account’s rate has recently plummeted, and one for myself. I’m not feeling the lower-rate love so I’m hesitant to commit for longer than that, but 6 months of a decent rate works for me, especially as I watch the savings interest rates continue to decline.
I do plan to use some of the lower rates to my advantage, however. I’ve been keeping close watch over 30-year mortgage rates, and plan to refinance some of my mortgages if they creep low enough.
On my primary residence, I’ve got a 7-1 ARM mortgage with a nice 5.25% rate, but if I’m still living here in 2011, the rate could jump on me as it moves to adjustable. I also have a small 7 year balloon mortgage. I used this strategy to split the total mortgaged amount 80-15 to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance) since at the time I only had 5% to put down.
The balloon mortgage is at 6.99% and even though the monthly payment is positively tiny, it annoys me in principle. I could pay it off in a year’s time, but my financial advisor felt I’d be better off using that money elsewhere. Plus, it’s deductible, so the rate isn’t quite as bad as it looks initially.
I always planned to sell my cute little 750 square foot home before the 7 year point, but am attracted to the idea of locking in a nice 30 year rate so I have the option to stay here as long as I’d like. It’d be nice to get rid of that particular concern.
It’s tricky trying to figure out just how to time these changing rates. Everything I read seems to talk about a long recession underway, but I can’t be sure just how low rates will go. I do feel like in a few more weeks’ time, 4.90% will be a thing of the past.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published February 5, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.