When you think about investing, you may immediately think about the stock market and high-priced possessions such as real estate (like the landlords you may have met in college who flip houses for money).

Although it may seem like you need a lot of cash to invest in anything nowadays, that’s not always the case. Different types of investments can help you accrue a healthy return on your money without the added risk or a lot of capital. And that means you can beef up your savings without those sleepless nights – good deal!

One riskless investing method you may want to consider is called CD Laddering. CDs – or Share Certificates as they are known at your credit union – are savings products that earn a higher dividend rate than regular Share Accounts. This is because you deposit your money in a Share Certificate for a set “term” (period of time). For instance, you can invest in a Share Certificate for six months, one year, three years or maybe even five years, depending on what your financial institution offers.

Here’s how laddering works: Let’s say you have $500 in your Savings Account, and you want to start earning more money. Instead of investing the entire $500 in one Certificate, you can invest in five separate Share Certificates. Purchase a 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, and 5-year Certificate (or the terms that work for you). Each year, roll the Certificate that comes due to a new higher yield 5-year Share Certificate. By the fifth year, all of your Certificates will be receiving the highest dividend, plus you will only have to wait one year as opposed to five for a Certificate to mature. This means you’ll have access to your money faster since you can’t tap into a Certificate while it’s maturing (unless you want to pay a penalty).

If this technique sounds confusing, don’t worry – a member service representative at your credit union will be able to help you get started on the road to great returns. To learn more about investing for your future, read some of the other articles in this section, or stop by your credit union and ask us how we can help.