Forgotten but not gone.
Are your savings bonds still earning interest?
Do you have old savings bonds hiding somewhere in the back of a closet or buried deep inside a safe-deposit box? If so, you might want to dust them off and see if they are still earning interest.
According to USA Today, there are approximately 47 million unredeemed, fully matured government savings bonds currently circulating—or should we say, hibernating—in the U.S. What’s more, the total value of these bonds is estimated to be $16.1 billion.1
While $16.1 billion may seem like a lot to overlook, it’s easy to see how it could happen. When purchased, most savings bonds have a maturity date 20-30 years in the future. And, unlike the owners of IRAs, 401(k)s, or even federally insured CDs, savings bond owners do not receive regular statements to remind them of their status.
Since matured savings bonds no longer earn interest, it’s important to know exactly when they come due, and to cash them in at the earliest opportunity. That way, you’re sure to get the maximum value, and are free to use the money more productively in the future.
So how do you know when a savings bond matures? While the following chart may prove helpful,2 one of the easiest ways is to visit Treasury Direct, the U.S. Treasury’s official website, and click on the appropriate link.
|EE||January 1980 through February 1985|
|HH||January 1980 through February 1985|
|Savings Notes||All issues|
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury.
You can also use the Treasury Direct site to find out how much an existing bond is worth, the interest rate it currently earns (most are fixed, but some are adjustable), and even the amount of taxes that will be due when you redeem it. Keep in mind the interest on U.S. savings3 bonds may be subject to federal—but not state or local—income tax. If you want, you can report the interest every year you hold the bond, or wait until you redeem it and pay the tax all at once.
Helpful tip: You may be able to avoid federal income taxes if you use your bonds to pay for qualified higher education expenses. There are eligibility standards, of course—especially if you want to fund a child’s education—so be sure to consult your tax advisor before taking any action.
If you have savings bonds that are no longer earning interest, or would like to come up with a plan for those that are about to mature, please let us know. With all of the insurance and financial products at our fingertips, we can help you find some safe, productive, and potentially tax-efficient ways to put this money to use.