Savings Bond advice

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
Categorized as: Series EE US Savings Bonds

We have series EE savings bonds dating back to 1983. Are they still drawing interest? If so, what is the rate and how often is interest paid? What advice do you have for these bonds? Can they just be left to continue earning interest as they are or what do you suggest to get the most benefit from them?

Tom’s response

Bonds issued in 1983 will earn interest until 2013. Whether you should keep them or cash them is a complex question - it depends on what other assets and liabilities you have and what your investment strategy is.

You might consider consulting a competent fee-based financial advisor (avoid advisors who don’t charge fees - they get paid by earning commissions on products that may not be best for you).

Savings Bonds are an excellent choice for the low risk portion of an investment portfolio. Most advisors recommend socking away at least 6 months worth of income in low-risk investments.

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20 Comments

On March 8th, 2008 Shannon Smithe said:

I have 5 $100 face value EE bonds ranging in issue date from 10/95 to 10/97. I want to get the most vlue I can from them but I also would like to redeem at least a few of them soon (either now or within the next few years). If I were to redeem them sometime in the next year or so, what date/period would you recommend for highest value?

On March 10th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Shannon - The 10/95 bonds should be redeemed as close to October 1 or April 1 as possible. Because of a rule change in May 1997, you can redeem the 10/97 bonds near the first day of any month.

There are pros and cons both ways as to which ones you should cash first, but the difference at your investment level is tiny, so don’t worry about it.

Tom Adams

On November 4th, 2008 Mary Aldridge said:

Can EE savings bonds be rolled into another type of bond after maturity? I have been reading different statements on these bonds. We have series E and also some series EE bonds from the mid 80’s. Do they stop earning interest at maturity or do they keep earning itnerest until you cash them?

On November 5th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Mary - There are no rollovers. Savings Bonds earn interest for 30 years then become stinker bonds. The government is happy if you don’t cash them, but you owe income tax on the interest and it’s a financial mistake not to cash them, hold back what you need for taxes and reinvest what’s left.

Tom Adams

On December 23rd, 2008 Rey said:

I have a 1986 $500 EE Savings bond–what is it’s value today? Should I hold it longer or cash and reinvest?

On December 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Rey - there’s a calculator at the top of this page - right side - where you can look up the current redemption value of any Savings Bond. You’ll get the best returns if you hold it for the full 30 years that it pays interest.

Tom Adams

On December 30th, 2008 Ken said:

I have monthly $200 EE bonds with issue dates 05/2001 - 12/2004. I’m confused as to when to actually cash them in (some people have said to cash them in after 5 years, and other have said to cash them in right before the maturity date). I want the maximum value I can get from the bonds. When should I cash in the bonds?

On January 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Ken - Savings Bonds pay interest for 30 years, so if you don’t need the money, there’s no reason to start cashing them until 2031. The best time to cash them is right after they stop paying interest, not right before they stop paying interest.

Tom Adams

On January 27th, 2010 James said:

Hi,

Can some one please tell me how or where I can find the social security number(s) of the individuals on series EE bonds?

Back in 2005, my Mother passed away and I was named Executor of her Estate. On several bonds she purchased, her name is listed on each bond along with either my Father, who passed away many years ago or my Brother. They both share the same first name but have a different middle name. Unfortunately, none of the bonds have an intial to help me establish who the co-owner or beneficiary is.

Also, my Brother legally renounced any interest in the bonds as well as her estate and basically signed them over to me. If it is indeed his name on the bonds, can he change his mind (it’s been four years now since he legally renounced his interest) and have the bonds reissued under his name now?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide me with.

On January 28th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

James - the only Social Security Number collected when a Savings Bond is purchased is that of the person making the purchase, so the SSN info you’re looking for doesn’t exist.

The question of whether your brother can change his mind isn’t a Savings Bond question and I don’t know the answer. You say he legally renounced any interest. Show the paperwork to a lawyer and ask what it means. If the agreement was with your mother, it may have become null and void when she died.

If you treat the name as that of your father, the bonds became sole owner bonds in your mother’s name at the time of his death. If you proceed from there, the bonds belong to your mother’s estate, not to you, and should be distributed according to her will or other court directive. In most states, I think, this means you and your brother (and any other siblings) would split the proceeds.

If you treat the name as your brother’s, then they are his bonds and already registered in his name. The solution to your problem is one of those two places or somewhere in between them.

Tom Adams

On April 4th, 2010 Lizz said:

Hi Tom,
My grandparents have given me $50 bonds for my birthday every year from 1988 to 2003. I read were you said that bonds issued in 1983 reach maturity in 2013, so it makes since that my oldest bonds will not mature for a while. I’m wondering with the economy as it is, what would be the smartest move for me. I’m single, with no kids, little expenses; I don’t need the money; I don’t want to lose it and would like to access it if I need to in the future. What would you suggest?

Thanks for your insight!!

On April 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Lizz - There’s no reason to do anything unless you need the money. If you like the idea of online banking, you could open a TreasuryDirect account and have the bonds converted to electronic bonds, but if you don’t like electronic banking, just hold on to the bonds you have.

But in that case you should photocopy the bonds and keep the photocopies someplace separate from the bonds themselves in case they’re destroyed in a disaster of some kind.

Tom Adams

On April 16th, 2010 Laurie said:

We have misplaced bonds that belonged to our daughter that were given as gifts when she was born in 1988. Is there any way we can “replace” them?

On April 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Laurie - the information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On April 22nd, 2010 Laura said:

Tom,
My father-in-law has several savings bonds, 3 of which are less than 5 years old. He is in a nursing home and we’ll be filing title 19 for him very soon. Can you explain what the penalty (P5) is for cashing bonds or how its applied?

Thanks for such an informative website.

On April 22nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Laura - I’m sorry, but I don’t even know what Title 19 is. This seems like a question about Savings Bonds, but it’s really a question about how Title 19 works and that’s not something I know anything about.

Tom Adams

On April 22nd, 2010 Laura said:

Thanks Tom. I was really asking more about the penalty. Title 19 is basically when you sign over everything to the state in exchange for the care at the nursing home.

On April 22nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Laura - I’m sorry, now I get it. You’re asking about the penalty for cashing a Savings Bond before its fifth anniversary.

The penalty is the most recent three months interest and it’s already been deducted from the redemption values you see in Savings Bond calculators like the one at the top of the page. Most people don’t even know they’re paying a penalty as there’s nothing obvious about it.

Tom Adams

On May 26th, 2010 Al bondanza said:

I heard you can reissue EE & I bonds. Can EE bonds be reissued to the the children at value,or must the deferred Taxes be paid before reissue? Is there a simple form? Bond years “93″

On May 27th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Al - The info you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on Savings-Bond-Advisor.com. I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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