For over 90 years, Navy Federal Credit Union members have enjoyed the benefits of their membership, like amazing rates on their savings accounts and myriad tools to help them learn about even more ways to make their money earn for them. One of the most popular is NFCU Certificates, which are an excellent supplement to any savings strategy where stability and protection of your hard-earned funds are paramount.

So, what are they? Think of a certificate as a savings account for a fixed amount of money that you can’t withdraw until a predetermined time. In exchange for essentially tying up your money during that period, you’re rewarded with a much larger rate of return, compared to a standard savings account Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

While not the best idea as a primary vehicle for your savings (since you can’t access the funds until the deposit timeline has expired), certificates are excellent ways to keep large chunks of money that you know you won’t need for a year or more, protected and growing through guaranteed returns.

Even if you think you may need funds earlier than expected, some methods still allow you to take advantage of the guaranteed returns and stability of certificates that you won’t get using traditional investment vehicles (stocks, mutual funds, etc.).

Although there are usually penalties for withdrawing your funds before the expiration of your certificate term, there are also ways to maximize your earnings while guaranteeing that you still have access to that money for unforeseen expenses. This is called laddering certificates. For example, you could put $1,000 in a 6-month certificate at a predetermined interest rate, then another $1,000 in a 12-month certificate. Once your first certificate matures you could then withdraw the $1,000 plus any dividends earned to pay some outstanding bills or just make a large purchase. If the certificate matures and it turns out you don’t need that money, you could put it into another, longer certificate (generally the more time you have till your maturity date, the larger your rate of return will be). With multiple certificates maturing at intervals, you’ll never have to wait long to access at least some of your funds, penalty-free.

Like almost all NFCU financial products, there are different certificate options for investment and saving strategies.

The Standard Certificate is great for those looking to maximize their APY, with $1,000 minimum deposit and a rate as high as 5. 10% APY. Terms are available for as short as 3 months up to 7 years. For members who would like a small option, the EasyStart certificate, with terms from 12-24 months, only requires $50 to get going.

For members with a checking account and direct deposit established, there is the Special EasyStart certificate, which allows members to take advantage of a special 5.30% APY, up to $3,000 deposited.

Regardless of which option you choose, making certificates a regular part of your financial strategy is a great way to offset market fluctuations and guarantee that your nest egg never stops growing. Navy Federal’s great savings rates are just the icing on the investment cake.

What are you waiting for?

This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA. Image used for representational purposes only; does not imply government endorsement.