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All posts tagged savings bonds

Written by: Paul Murray, CPA, ABV, CFF

During the past several years I’ve met with a number of clients whose parents or grandparents steadily invested in U.S. Savings Bonds during World War II and beyond. They were diligent savers and supported our country through the purchase of various issues of bonds. The most common scenario; “my grandparents purchased $25 U.S. Savings Bonds every month for years and stored them in their safety deposit box, dresser, file cabinet, etc.”. There they would sit for years and years with little attention or thought. The problem arises when these bonds mature and stop earning interest. The bond holders are aware of the maturity date when initially purchased but that’s it. No subsequent notices are ever sent by the financial institution or U.S. Government to the bond holder. IT’S UP TO THE BOND HOLDER TO TRACK THESE DATES AND REINVEST OR REDEEM THE BONDS AS THEY MATURE. I recently met with a client whose parent passed away and he discovered $8,000 face value worth of bonds and cashed them in for over $75,000. The unfortunate part of the story (other than losing a parent) was that the bonds quit paying interest 10 years prior to his parents death!

Our Depression Era generation for the most part were hard working conservative savers. They bought and held bonds and securities for the long term. You may want to ask your parents and grandparents if the unfortunate situation mentioned above could apply to them or any of their siblings.

Outlined below are important dates to check and see if your savings bonds continue to earn interest and a link to see if your bonds have matured.

The following savings bonds no longer earn interest:



E All   issues
EE January   1980 through July 1983
H All   issues
HH January   1980 through July 1993
Savings   Notes All   issues
A, B, C, D, F, G, J, K All   issues

How long bonds earn interest based on issue date:




E May   1941- November 1965 40   years
December   1965 – June 1980 30   years
EE All   issues 30   years
H June   1952- January 1957 29   years, 8 months
February   1957- December 1979 30   years
HH All   issues 20   years
I All   issues 30   years
Savings   Notes All   issues 30   years

You can also check Treasury Hunt, if you’re not sure whether you own any bonds that have matured.

Starting next year, you’ll no longer be able to buy paper savings bonds at banks and other financial institutions.

Paper savings bonds, which have been around since 1935, will be replaced by electronic bonds come January 1, the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt said Wednesday.

Treasury said the move will save taxpayers $70 million over the first five years.

“Savings bonds are very much a part of this country’s history and culture, and will remain a part of America’s future — but in electronic form,” Public Debt Commissioner Van Zeck said in a statement. “It’s time for us to take a 1935 model and make it a 21st century investment tool.”

What’s your savings bond worth?

In 2012, you will only be able to buy electronic savings bonds in Series EE and I through TreasuryDirect, a free online bond-buying portal that has been available since 2002.

There will be one exception, however: You’ll still be able to use your tax refund to buy Series I paper savings bonds.

The Treasury announced its “all-electronic initiative” last year, and has already ended the sale of paper bonds through traditional payroll plans. The department estimated that the all-electronic initiative, which eliminates costs associated with printing, mailing, storage, and fees paid to financial institutions for processing savings bond applications, could result in a total savings of $120 million over the next five years.

For those who hold paper savings bonds, don’t put them in the shredder. The bonds can still be redeemed at financial institutions. Paper bonds that have yet to reach their maturity date and have been lost, stolen or destroyed, may also be converted to electronic form.