CD calculator: Are your CDs losing value to inflation?
As inflation rises, it becomes more important that your investments keep pace. Use this simple tool to see if your CD investments are gaining or losing value.
Inflation can run at a higher rate than many CD interest rates -- and when it does, your investments can actually lose value. This CD calculator shows how well your certificate of deposit is performing against inflation and lets you compare other CD options at the same time.
Know your CD's inflation-adjusted value at maturity
Inflation eats into the return you receive on any investment. Knowing how much can help you recognize which CD performs best against inflation and might help protect your assets. Your inflation-adjusted value at maturity tells you how much your current CD rate is likely to gain or lose relative to inflation over the life of your CD.
The calculator's default inflation assumption is based on the Consumer Price Index increase over the past 12 months. However, if you prefer to use a different inflation assumption, you can enter one manually.
Compare interest rates on CDs
Besides comparing your current CD rate to inflation, this calculator can also help you weigh your options. You can enter the interest rate for a new CD you're considering or see if our featured banks are offering one of the best CD rates for the amount you want to invest. Click on the bank's logo, if it appears, to automatically populate their current CD rate into the calculator for comparison.
How to use the CD calculator to compare rates+
There are five input boxes in the CD comparison calculator. Type over the example amounts in each input box to enter your information. Here's how:
- Enter the amount you want to invest:
Put in the dollar figure you want to invest in a new CD. Don't bother with dollar signs or commas -- the calculator will take care of those automatically.
- Enter the term (in months):
Put in the length of the CD you want. Notice that this is measured in months; so a four-year CD, for example, would be entered as 48 months (4 years x 12 months).
- Enter annual inflation rate:
The number already in this box is based on the inflation rate over the past 12 months. If you feel inflation may be different going forward and want to input a different rate, simply type a new inflation rate over the existing one.
- Enter the interest rate on your current CD:
Put in the CD rate offered by your current bank.
- Enter the interest rate for your new CD - or click to select one of our featured banks below to compare rates:
If you've already identified a possible new CD rate that you want to compare with your current bank's rate, enter that here.
If you want the calculator to show you another alternative, click on one of the bank logos immediately below this instruction line. Clicking on one of those logos will automatically enter that bank's rate into this field so you can see how it stacks up against your current rate.
When you click on the "calculate" button, your results display immediately below. The column on the left shows amounts that relate to your current bank's rate, and the column on the right shows amounts based on the potential new rate you chose. Three lines display in each column:
- Nominal value at maturity:
This is the total dollar value the CD will have when it matures, based on the size of the CD you entered and the interest rate you selected.
- Inflation-adjusted value at maturity:
This amount indicates how much the amount you entered above will be worth after inflation when the CD matures, based on the inflation assumption you chose.
- Purchasing power gain/(loss):
This amount is the difference between the original value of each CD and the inflation-adjusted value at maturity. If your CD will lose value to inflation over the life of the CD term, this number will be shown in red.