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November 2, 2020

When You Stop Saving With Savings Bonds

Filed under: Finance — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:21 am

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Edgar Dworsky For 25 years, Consumer World, the creator of Mouse Print*, has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, and independent investigations. It is your generosity (and not advertising nor corporate contributions) that keeps Mouse Print* and Consumer World available as free consumer resources. So MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your support again this year. Your gift will be most appreciated.

Remember when U.S. savings bonds were a popular gift? You could give someone a $50 savings bond, but only pay $25 for it. It would grow over time to eventually reach the face value. Savings bonds have fallen out of favor by most investors because of very low interest rates and their long maturity periods.

Recently, MrConsumer finally decided it was time to cash in some old savings bonds from 1966, 1969, and 1995. He had long since forgotten which savings bonds continued to earn interest and which did not. As it turns out, that was an expensive lesson to learn.

US savings


The series “E” bonds from the mid-60s stopped earning interest after 30 years. This means that while the $25 bond pictured above actually was worth just over $123, it hasn’t earned a penny of interest since the mid-90s — some 24 years ago. Duh.

And a $100 series “EE” saving bond from 1995, which still had five more years until it matures, was only worth $111.56 due to a variable interest rate of only 1.02-percent currently.

So take a tip from this experience — check the value of your savings bonds with this handy tool and quickly cash in those that mature and stop earning interest.

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  1. Tip on EE Bonds – hold for 20 years and they double for a rate of 3.5%. But only if held for 20 years – then cashed in right away. Beyond that they earn considerably less.
    Hold for 1 day less than the 20 years and they will earn about 1% per year (if that).

    Comment by Rob Novick — November 2, 2020 @ 7:44 am
  2. Savings bonds always seemed like a joke to me. Imagine if someone had just put $25 into the S&P 500 for you in 1995.

    Comment by Joel — November 2, 2020 @ 10:11 am
  3. If you found these savings bonds in a desk drawer after over 25 years, I would consider them to be ‘found’ money. If you have forgotten that you had them, then it really wasn’t planned as an investment. Celebrate the fact that you could still redeem them for more than the face value and take your family out for a nice dinner, or better yet, pay off a credit card.

    Comment by blasher — November 2, 2020 @ 10:20 am
  4. I find your articles so informative. I have come to know many older people through the VFW Auxiliary, also retirees from the government, who could find this information helpful, so I posted it on my FB page. Thank you for such great reading (and forwarding)!! 🙂

    Edgar replies: Thanks so much, Cathy, for the kind words and spreading the word about Mouse Print* and Consumer World.

    Comment by Cathy Burns — November 2, 2020 @ 10:59 am
  5. I have a war bond purchased in 1943. Is this the same story?

    Edgar replies: Herbert, look up the value on the Treasury’s website (link is in the story above). And here is some information about “war bonds”:

    Comment by Herbert Campbell — November 2, 2020 @ 11:17 am
  6. I had purchased some bonds back in 2001 when we got married and they had done well. I believe there used to be an official app you can download that would keep track of the value. Back then US Savings bonds earned a decent return, but also back then regular savings accounts were earning over 5%. Things have changed with the lowering of the Fed rates and savings accounts are now losers. The moral of the story, use financial tracking software or a website like Personal Capital to keep track of your investments and PAY ATTENTION

    Comment by Dave — November 2, 2020 @ 9:43 pm
  7. What if u find savings bonds in a storage unit in someone else’s name could u cash them in if the person passed away?

    Comment by Bill Walton — November 2, 2020 @ 10:17 pm
  8. Yes. If you are the next of kin or listed as an air. Need to have proof but it is possible.

    Comment by Steve T — November 3, 2020 @ 6:29 pm
  9. My dad left me some bonds. POD to me. But, here’s the catch. My brother is making my mom send them to me one at a time every other month. I’m wondering what can happen to these bonds that might be left, if I pass away before I get them all? Do they go to my child? ( Who is 22) or could my brother be able to take n cash? Thanks…

    Comment by Nancy — November 4, 2020 @ 1:31 am
  10. Thank you for posting the website.
    For years I kept track of my bonds’ growth until mid 2018 when the bond site wanted me to create an account in order to track worth. I chose not to create an account so it has been a couple years since I checked their value.

    Comment by Jhc — November 2, 2020 @ 10:50 pm
  11. At this very moment, savings bonds accrue a very low interest rate. BUT, if it’s between CD’s and a bond, get the bond. With bonds, rates are variable and change every 6 months. They pay more than CD’s (any CD’s) and the interest is state tax free. So no matter what the rate is, it’s more cause you don’t pay tact on the interest. You do on the CD’s. And unlike stocks, the rate is guarantied not to go negative. And as long as you hold for no less than 5 years, there is no penalty if you cash in before the 30 years you get compounded interest on it. Don’t rule these out if you typically hold CD’s.

    Comment by Steve T — November 3, 2020 @ 6:27 pm
  12. I have $2300.00 worth of i bonds that mature in 2032. I bought them between 2000 and 2010..they are all $50.00 bonds.should I cash them in

    Comment by Mark haftet — November 3, 2020 @ 8:03 pm
  13. Mark – DO NOT redeem your bonds. Here is a chart of the interest rates they are receiving — all better than what you could get today:

    Anything more than 0.00 your ahead and will stay ahead. These are the fixed rates that will rise above inflation.

    November 1, 2010 0.00%
    May 1, 2010 0.20%
    November 1, 2009 0.30%
    May 1, 2009 0.10%
    November 1, 2008 0.70%
    May 1, 2008 0.00%
    November 1, 2007 1.20%
    May 1, 2007 1.30%
    November 1, 2006 1.40%
    May 1, 2006 1.40%
    November 1, 2005 1.00%
    May 1, 2005 1.20%
    November 1, 2004 1.00%
    May 1, 2004 1.00%
    November 1, 2003 1.10%
    May 1, 2003 1.10%
    November 1, 2002 1.60%
    May 1, 2002 2.00%
    November 1, 2001 2.00%
    May 1, 2001 3.00%
    November 1, 2000 3.40%

    Comment by Rob Novick — November 4, 2020 @ 8:19 am

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