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How to Build a GIC Ladder to Boost Earnings

Man using Saven Financial app to purchase GICs

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are a smart way to add security and growth to your savings portfolio. With Saven Financial's competitive rates, like our current 5.3% for a 1-year GIC, you can lock in a guaranteed return on your investment. That means peace of mind knowing exactly how much your money will grow. But sometimes, longer-term investments offer even more attractive returns. Locking in for those longer terms could mean missing out on potentially even higher rates.

That's where a GIC ladder comes in! This strategy lets you take advantage of those higher long-term rates while keeping some flexibility. You divide your investments across GICs with different terms, benefiting from rates like Saven Financial's 5.2% for a 2-year or 4.75% for a 3-year GIC! This way, you can continue to invest in higher-interest options while keeping some funds accessible if needed. Ready to build a GIC ladder that maximizes your returns? Let's dive in!

What is a GIC Ladder?

Think of a GIC ladder as a set of stairs for your savings. Instead of putting all your money into one GIC with a single maturity date, you divide it across several GICs with different terms.

Example: Let's say you have $10,000 to invest. You might put $2,000 each into GICs with terms of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years.

With a GIC ladder, each "rung" of your ladder represents a different GIC maturity date, creating a staggered schedule where a portion of your money becomes accessible each year. A GIC ladder offers several advantages:

  • Potential for higher overall returns: As each GIC matures, you can reinvest it at the prevailing rate. If interest rates have gone up in the meantime, you'll lock in a new, higher rate for that portion of your investment. This flexibility allows you to take advantage of changing interest rates over time rather than being stuck with the rate you locked into at the beginning with a single GIC.

  • Regular access to cash: An annually maturing GIC means a predictable income stream. A portion of your investment matures yearly, so if you need some of your money, you won't have to break the entire GIC and pay penalties. This staggered approach provides flexibility and peace of mind, knowing you can access some of your savings. At the same time, the rest grows at a guaranteed rate.

Benefits of a GIC Ladder

A well-constructed GIC ladder is a powerful tool for maximizing your savings potential. Here are the key advantages it offers:

  • Increased earnings: A GIC ladder allows you to reinvest your money at the best available interest rate regularly. Over time, this could lead to significantly higher earnings than a strategy where you put all your money into a single GIC. Even if rates fall during some periods, only a portion of your money is affected, minimizing the impact.

  • Flexibility: Needing cash unexpectedly can be stressful. With a GIC ladder, you know a portion of your investment will mature yearly. You won't have to break all your GICs and potentially lose out on interest if you need to withdraw funds.

  • Stability: The majority of your money remains invested in secure GICs. Your ladder lets you take advantage of higher interest rates offered for GICs with longer terms, giving you the stability of knowing your principal is safe. It's like the best of both worlds: steady growth and some accessibility.

Remember, your GIC ladder is customizable. The number of rungs and the length of GIC terms can be adjusted based on your financial goals and how much accessible cash you might need in the coming years.

How to Build a GIC Ladder

Building your own GIC ladder is surprisingly straightforward. Let's break down the steps:

Step 1: Decide on your investment amount

Determine how much money you want to commit to your GIC ladder. The amount could be a lump sum or a series of regular contributions over time that you would eventually divide into your GIC ladder.

Step 2: Choose how many "rungs"

The typical GIC ladder has five rungs (representing GIC terms of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years). You can adjust this based on your preferences and desired flexibility.

Step 3: Divide and conquer

Divide your total investment amount by the number of rungs you've chosen. This number gives you the amount to allocate to each GIC term.

Step 4: Purchase your GICs

It's time to take action! Open GICs with terms corresponding to your ladder plan. With Saven Financial's online savings, exploring your options and setting up these investments is straightforward.

Step 5: The reinvestment cycle

Here's where the magic truly happens. As each GIC matures, reinvest the principal and earned interest into the longest-term GIC available. This strategy ensures you lock in the most attractive rates on the bulk of your ladder.


Let's say you invest $10,000 in a 5-rung GIC ladder. You divide your investment into five $2,000 portions. After one year, your 1-year GIC matures, and then you use that money to purchase a new 5-year GIC. Your ladder always maintains those "rungs" representing GICs maturing in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years.

Tips for Successful GIC Laddering

To get the most out of your GIC ladder, keep these tips in mind:

  • Monitor interest rates: Staying aware of interest rate trends can help you make informed decisions about when to reinvest and the length of GIC terms to choose. If rates rise, consider adjusting your ladder for more short-term GICs to take advantage of higher rates sooner.

  • Assess your liquidity needs: Consider how much money you need to access regularly in the coming years. A GIC ladder works best if you can leave most of your funds invested for longer terms.

  • Review and rebalance: It's wise to revisit your GIC ladder occasionally, especially if your financial circumstances or overall interest rates change significantly. You should rebalance your ladder by adjusting the amounts invested in each term.

  • Utilize Saven Financial's tools: Saven Financial offers online tools and resources to help you visualize your GIC ladder and calculate potential earnings. Take advantage of these to see how the strategy could work for you.

  • Bonus tip: If you're building your GIC ladder within a TFSA, all your interest earnings will accumulate tax-free, boosting your returns!

Your GIC ladder is a tool to aid your financial goals. By understanding the principles and applying these tips, you can customize your GIC ladder to create a savings strategy that maximizes your returns and provides peace of mind!

A GIC ladder can be a brilliant addition to your savings strategy, offering a well-balanced approach to boosting your returns. It provides a way to navigate interest rate fluctuations while maintaining stability and flexibility. While this strategy is best suited for funds you won't need in the immediate future, it's worth considering if you want to make the most of your hard-earned savings in the long run.

Ready to start building your GIC ladder? Saven Financial makes it easy. Explore our current GIC rates and helpful online tools to see how a GIC ladder can unlock new financial growth and security levels for you. Let your savings reach new heights!

Stay ahead with SavenSmarts!