Along with stocks, bonds are a common type of investment. While bonds carry less risk than stocks, investors still might want to know what they are getting themselves into when they are considering purchasing a bond to benefit their investment portfolio. Especially for US savings bonds, you will need to know what they are and how to calculate them to understand if it will be worth the return on investment.
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What Is a Savings Bond?
According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, “savings bonds are debt securities issued by the US Department of the Treasury to help pay for the US government’s borrowing needs.” Essentially, when you issue a savings bond, you are loaning money to the government for them to fund projects or to fund debt and/or expenses.
The US Department of the Treasury issues US savings bonds in values between $25 and $10,000. In terms of risk, savings bonds are considered relatively safe, as the US government backs them. It’s worth noting that you cannot cash in a savings bond for 12 months. However, you may not want to cash them in so soon anyway — the longer you hold a savings bond, the more interest you will be paid by the government.
How Do Savings Bonds Work?
Bonds are issued at their face value ($25 to $10,000). However, to incentivize the investor, the government will attach an interest rate to the loan an investor might give them to make the return on investment above face value. Therefore, holding onto savings bonds will net the investor more money than their principal investment.
There are several different types of savings bonds — some of which may adjust for inflation, while others may appreciate with a different type of interest, such as fixed interest. US savings bonds offered include Series I, Series HH, and, most commonly, Series EE bonds.
Series EE Bonds
EE bonds are generally what people are referring to when speaking about US savings bonds. Series EE savings bonds are guaranteed to double their value over the term of the bond (usually 20 years) and cannot be purchased/sold in the open market, making them a non-marketable security. This bond type has a fixed coupon rate, and interest is paid semiannually.
US Savings Bond Calculator
Calculating the value and maturation of your savings bond may best be done on a savings bond calculator. To do so, you will need:
- The type of savings bond;
- The denomination of the bond;
- The bond serial number;
- The issue date.
This information will be needed to provide the calculator with the necessary factors to find out what your savings bond is worth.
How To Cash in Your US Savings Bonds
There are two ways in which you can purchase a savings bond, and, according to how you purchased your bond, you will redeem it differently. Electronic bonds, such as series EE bonds, may be redeemed online after 12 months on the TreasuryDirect website. After logging in, you may cash the amount of your bond — however, EE bonds cashed before five years will lose three months of interest. Paper bonds can generally be cashed at most local financial institutions, or at:
Treasury Retail Securities Services
PO Box 214
Minneapolis, MN, 55480
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