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Terry Savage: Series I bonds - Everything you must know

Terry Savage, Tribune Content Agency on

In an era of low CD rates, Series I savings bond rates are astounding — currently 9.62%! Interest rates on Series I bonds are adjusted every six months to reflect inflation.

From May 1 through November 1 the interest on I bonds is 9.62%! That rate will be paid on all I bonds purchased during this period for the succeeding six months, whether you bought them in early May or waited to buy them until late October. There’s no rush – you’ll get six months’ interest at the current 9.62%!

And if rates adjust higher in November, as seems likely, you’ll also get a guaranteed six months of that higher rate, starting immediately after the current six-month rate ends!

Here’s what you need to know about buying Series I bonds:

—The only place to buy savings bonds now is through the federal government website TreasuryDirect.gov, where it’s easy to set up an account and make your purchase with money taken directly from your bank account. You will need your bank routing and account numbers. You’ll see your purchase in your account the next business day.

—You can open an account in your name, using your Social Security number. Spouses must each open a separate account, even if the money is coming out of a joint bank account. You can open an account in the name of your revocable living trust. And you can still buy “gift bonds” (see below). But you cannot purchase savings bonds in an IRA.

 

—There is a $10,000 per person per year limit for purchases of savings bonds. (You can also buy an additional $5,000 per year in bonds using your tax refund. But the request must be made at the time you file your taxes.) Minimum purchase is $25.

—The purchase limitation is based on the Social Security number. So, each spouse, for example, could purchase $10,000 of bonds. There is one exception: if you also have a revocable living trust that uses your Social Security number, it can also buy $10,000 worth of bonds in one year, in addition to the $10,000 purchase in your own name.

—Bonds can also be registered for two people, using the designation “with” or “POD” (payable on death).

How interest on savings bonds is paid and taxed:

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