U.S. Savings Bonds that are Earning Over 6%

Several of our clients have recently reported hearing “financial professionals” on national radio advocating cashing older Series I Savings Bonds. Before you follow that ill-fated advice, here is something you need to know. There are two groups of older savings bonds that are providing strong returns. If you bought I bonds from September 1998 through October 2001 you have some of the best bonds in the program. The fixed rates on these bonds range from 3% to 3.6%. This guarantees that you will always get that amount above inflation. When they enter their six-month earnings period between November 2009 and April 2010, these bonds will earn an annual rate of 6.06% to 6.36% (a combination of the fixed rate and inflation rate). Not too shabby when many money market funds are below 1%. I bonds purchased from November 2001 to October 2002 are also big winners. They will be earning an annual rate of 5.06% for their next six-month accrual period that follows November 2009. If you do not own these Series I Bonds and were hoping to get in on a good deal, it is to late.  Savings bonds are registered securities and do not trade on the secondary market. Savings bonds purchased since 1980 can be earning between 0% and 6.5%. If you are unsure about the interest rates that each of your bonds is earning, a Savings Bond Statement from the Savings Bond Informer provides the customized information you need. Never cash a savings bond without an understanding of the interest rates and timing issues that apply to it.