Thursday, September 8, 2016

Structured CDs Are Not For Everyone, Or Maybe Anyone, And Almost Certainly Not You

The Wall Street Journal does a good job of explaining why investors should steer clear of "Structured CDs" and anyone who tries to foist them on customers. The truth is, they're unlike traditional CDs that savers and investors have relied on for years. They're riskier, more complicated, and as often as not perform worse than regular CDs:

Of the 325 Barclays CDs reviewed by the Journal, 239 had announced at least one annual return payment. More than half of those returns were lower than an investor would have earned from an average five-year conventional CD. Of the 118 structured CDs that were issued at least three years ago, only one-quarter posted returns better than those of an average five-year conventional CD. And roughly one-quarter produced no returns at all as of June 2016.

On the other hand, if you're looking to pay high fees to get a product that you won't understand, comes with a 200 page prospectus filled with calculus and legalese, and that will likely earn less than a plain vanilla CD, then by all means, go with a structured product.

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