Laddering is a technique used to manage the ups and downs of interest rates. A deposit is split equally among 5 GICs ranging from 1- to 5-year terms. As each GIC matures, you reinvest it in another 5-year term.
This technique ensures 1 investment matures each year, minimizing the interest rate risk and allowing for some liquidity in a portfolio.
Here's an example:
Your initial investment is $10,000.
Divide this amount into 5 separate investments of $2,000 each.
Put each $2,000 into an investment with a 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year and 5-year term.
When your first investment matures after 1 year, you reinvest that $2,000, plus the interest you've earned, in a 5-year term investment.
Each year, 1 of your investments will mature. You would then reinvest in a 5-year term, possibly benefiting from a higher interest rate and continuing the laddering process.
How can laddering GICs benefit you?
Security in GICs:
- Minimize interest rate risk. By investing in regular intervals, you can reduce your investment risk. Only a portion of your portfolio comes due at any one time. This strategy can limit your exposure to possible fluctuating interest rates.
- Maximize the long-term rate of return. If you convert your investments as they mature to 5-year terms, you can take advantage of the possibility of higher interest rates. Longer-term investments typically offer better interest rates than short-term investments.
- Comfort of guaranteed returns. You're secure in the knowledge that your investments will grow at a constant interest rate, with a guaranteed return at the end of the term.
Flexibility to respond to investment opportunities and financial needs:
- Ability to respond to interest rate changes. You'll have access to 20% of your investments every year. If the interest rates are higher, you can invest in longer-term investments. If interest rates drop or temporarily flatten out, you can minimize your risk, because only 20% of your investments are maturing at any one time.
- Increased availability. Each year, a part of your investment matures and you'll be able to spend it if that's what you need to do. You also have the opportunity to make new investment decisions.
- Ability to choose the maturity dates. You can have specified investments mature when you know you’ll need money for a large purchase or special occasion, such as college or wedding expenses.