There are many ways to ladder. It ultimately comes down to how much flexibility you want with withdrawing funds, and how long you want to deposit your money. Try building a CD ladder to see how it works.
Let's say you want to deposit - into a CD for - years. If you want the high yield of longer-term CDs, but you also want flexibility, try CD laddering. To ladder this deposit, you'd open - separate CDs with - each. As you can see below, one of those CDs would mature every year. At that point, you could either withdraw the funds, or roll them into a new CD that would mature at your original --year . In - years time, you'd have a total of -, plus yearly accessibility. On the other hand, if you don't need yearly accessibility to your funds, put the entire - into a traditional --year CD. After - years, you'd have a total of -.
The total was calculated using your estimated deposit amount with the current APY. It's just to illustrate your earning potential if you started laddering today. Remember, rates can change until you make an actual CD deposit—only then is the APY locked in.