How to Liquidate Investment CDs

How to Liquidate Investment CDs. CDs are an important part of an investment portfolio. They provide locked-in returns, which will insulate an investor from the ups and downs of the market. However, there comes a time when it makes sense to liquidate a CD. Whether using the money for a car, down payment on a home, college tuition or even if you're deciding to move it to another investment, getting your money out can be a tad tricky.

Plan your finances ahead of time. Part of liquidating a CD is strategizing about when you'll need the money before you lock away the cash. If you plan to buy a car in 2 years and want to set money aside, lock away the CD for a 2-year term. That way when you are ready, so is the money. The same bodes for a college tuition payment. If you want to place money in a 10-year CD, be sure to do it before the child is 7 or 8, so the money will be ready and waiting when they are heading off to begin their higher education.

Ask questions before you lock away your money in the CD. Every CD has an early withdrawal penalty attached to it. This is a guard that the bank puts in place to try and deter you from removing the money ahead of schedule so they can make their own investments. Depending on the size of the CD, this can be $25 or $50 or even a few hundred dollars. However, asking the question ahead of time will allow you to know exactly where you stand.

Create a folder just for your investment CDs. Many people like to have CDs that are different lengths. That way, their money is always coming up for renewal should they need it and they are able to shop for the best rates. But with all of those CDs, it can also become really confusing. Create a separate folder in your files with your certificates of deposit. Also, set a reminder on your computer calendar as to when they are coming up for maturity.

Keep your address current. By Federal law, the bank is required to send you a notice 1 month prior to the maturity of the CD. This will serve as another reminder aside from the ones you have created for yourself. This is important because once the CD matures, the bank gives only a small window for you to liquidate it before it rolls over. This period is usually 7 to 10 business days. Many banks also add an additional grace period of 7 to 10 business days on top of that in which you can liquidate the CD without penalty.

Contact your bank and let them know you would like to liquidate your investment CDs. The contact information can be found on the certificate of deposit itself. Whether you are liquidating after maturity or before, the process is still the same. You will have to give the CD information and verify your identity using the bank's security features. Then you will direct them that you would like to liquidate your investment CDs. At this point, they will inform you of any penalties if you are early and then ask you where you would like the funds distributed. It should be noted that certain banks require these instructions in writing. At which time you will have to create and mail, fax or scan a document with your signature.

Distribute the money as you see fit. Now that you have instructed them to liquidate the money, you have to decide where to put it. Some people have multiple accounts with the same bank and simply move it to a checking or savings account, some people put it in a mutual fund or bond, while others simply request a check be written and mailed. It is truly up to you.


  • Make sure you claim an interest earned from the CD as income on your taxes for the year it was liquidated.

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