In last week's column on high-rate certificates of deposit, Jane Bryant Quinn quoted the "average annual yields" on 2 1/2 - and five-year certificates of deposit. Average annual yields take the total amount you earn from a CD over the whole term and divide by the number of years you held.
Metropolitan Bank in Arlington, Va., for example, pays a stated rate of 7.9 percent; compounded quarterly, that's an annual compounded yield of 8.14 percent. But over the certificate's full rTC five-year term, you earn an average of 9.6 percent a year. Savers will earn the full amounts stated in the column. But when you call the banks, they may quote the annual percentage rates or compounded rates, rather than the average annual yield.