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CD Ladder: CDs mature after a specific time interval (i.e., you can buy 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 year CDs). Generally, the longer the maturity date, the higher the yield. A "ladder" is purchasing CDs that mature at different dates, so that you have a CD coming to maturity each year. That way you will have cash available if you need it, or can reinvest it if you want.