Tracking the U.S. savings bonds

older series of savings bonds cannot be redeemed directly at the bank

Savings Bond

The family was looking to calculate the value of some United States Savings Bonds we’ve unearthed. I have about 30 of them, $100 Series EE, from the mid-1990s. I went to the TreasuryDirect site, Calculate the Value of Your Paper Savings Bond(s). The earliest one is gaining interest at a robust 4%, the last one at a paltry 1.08%.

When I leafed through them recently, I noticed that I was missing one! I could tell because I was buying them every eight weeks but there was a gap in the summer of 1995. Fortunately, I can send info to the Treasury Department and get an electronic replacement. Savings bonds these days are only issued in an electronic version of either bond, also trackable at TreasuryDirect.

Here’s a useful feature on the website. You can create a list of your paper bonds. BUT “if you’re using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser, the Calculator won’t save your inventory.” Nope. You can use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Navigator or Communicator, MSN Explorer, Opera, or Safari. Now I have used IE and Netscape. To my surprise, I DO have Firefox on my current computer, though I don’t recall actually using it.

As a librarian, I had often discovered that there are some obscure state and federal websites that simply don’t use certain popular browsers. Some note this right on-site — and some DON’T. About a decade ago, I realized that if I wanted to download a file from a certain Census page, IE was the only way to go.

Series EE, Series I… 

This FORBES article explains the different types of U.S. Savings Bonds. Bankrate notes that “in general, holding any savings bond beyond 30 years is essentially pointless as this is when bonds stop earning interest. So if this is your situation, it’s time to cash in that bond.

Forbes: “If you have a paper savings bond, you can often redeem this bond at a local bank or credit union. According to the Treasury Department, more than 95% of savings bonds are cashed at local banks and credit unions.

“But some older series of savings bonds cannot be redeemed directly at the bank or credit union. In that case, you will need to fill out a special form FS Form 1522, and send the bond to the Treasury Department’s Treasury Retail Security Services team with a certified signature and direct deposit instructions.

“Even if your bank or credit union cannot cash an older bond for you, or if you have special circumstances like needing to redeem a bond that was inherited as part of a deceased person’s estate, the bank will typically be able to help you understand the process for redeeming the bond and can certify your signature on the Treasury form. So, when in doubt, start by going to the bank.”

Its name is Bond: Savings Bond

The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

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Our family – mostly I – is cleaning out our attic, and that fact MAY become the source of several blog posts. I have noted that it has become a bit of a sore point. We all have stuff up there, but I have items that are relegated there because there’s no room on floors one and two, according to the powers that be. So I have two bookcases, with books, that I would be inclined to access, e.g.

When we decided to get the attic insulated, it took THREE years. Moving all the stuff to half of the attic, then have it insulated. Then paint it, which I would have skipped. And for a brief time – maybe six weeks, the attic was again a usable space. But then time to insulate the other half, so everything’s then in the OTHER half of the room. And this took the contractor FOREVER to do, until I got…rather grumpy about it, let’s say. Room gets insulated; floor, which was weakened, was repaired; room (again, I believe unnecessarily), was painted.

NOW, finally I could put things from one side of the attic into the other, rather than have everything packed to the ceiling on one side, where I can’t access/find anything. Some of the clutter are old bills and the like, which I WOULD have gotten to a couple years ago, if that had been possible.

One box, I quickly determine was receipts of The Wife’s, all from 2004, the year the Daughter was born. One thing I DID take out was a $50 savings bond. Hmm, I wonder what it’s worth. I go to the TreasuryDirect calculator, and discover that a $50 savings bond purchased in April 2004 doesn’t mature until April 2034. The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

I then remember that I have a about two dozen $100 savings bonds, purchased for $50 each, from the mid-1990s, and I should check their value.

The first one, purchased 01/1993, has gained $89.56 in interest, is still gaining at 4.00%, and is now worth $139.56, more than face value. Cool.

The first ones I got in the next two years are worth somewhat less: the one I purchased 02/1994 has $57.56 in interest, still at 4.00%, for $107.56. 01/1995 has $53.72 in interest, at 4.00%, for $103.72.

But then it drops off badly. My 01/1996 purchase $50.00 has made $50.00 in interest, but is getting only 0.59% interest now. And the last one I bought, in 08/1997 has garnered only $36.20 in interest, and is receiving only 0.63%.

So if I were to have to cash them in, I’d start with the 1996 issue, then 1997, 1995, 1994, and keep those 1993 bonds for last. Savings bonds don’t seem to be the golden value they used to be.

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