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Bye, Bye Savings Bonds (New Savings Bonds Rate: I = 4.52%, EE = 3.60%)

Contributed by mm | November 2, 2006 12:14 PM PST

The Treasury released the new interest rates for savings bonds this week. Savings Bond Advisor summarized the new rates the best:

Combined with the new inflation component of 3.10% that I told you about in my last Savings Bond Alert, the rate gives new I bonds purchased between now and the end of April a six-month composite rate of 4.52%.

If you own older Series EE bonds, their rates also held steady or went up. EE bonds issued from May 1997 through April 2005 earn a market-based rate, which will be 4.39% for upcoming six-month rate periods. This is 28 points higher than the previous 4.11%.

The rate for EE bonds issued during the next six months, on the other hand, was dropped 10 points to 3.60% from the previous 3.70%.

By end of the October, I had $17,900 in my Treasury Direct accounts, including $700 in EE Bonds and $17,200 in I Bonds (most was acquired last year this time when I bonds were on sale at a teaser rate of 6.73%).

Now given how the new hand was dealt, it is probably time to reflect on my savings bond strategy. EE bonds were a sure no-go -- it is hard to imagine who wants to stick to a rate of 3.60% forever. What's about I bonds?

For one thing, after staying put for 3 times, Fed seems to be sure that inflation is in control, and second, competing offers are abound, some with even more liquidity, like the 5.05% APY at EmigrantDirect's Savings Account (with no minimal) and 5.50% APY at Eloan's (with $5,000 minimal).

More importantly, I started my savings bond investing with the intention to park some of my emergency money in a high-yielding account (remember back then in November 2003, the prevailing money market account only yielded less than 3%). Now that I have access to tons of liquidity from both of my credit card lines and my margin account with Fidelity and Ameritrade (although I choose not to use it for leveraged investment), the need for keeping a dedicated emergency fund is long gone.

Therefore, today I'm redeeming most of my I bond inventory. The proceeds from the redemption will be swept to higher yield savings accounts like Emigrant or Eloan, and sit in the sideline waiting for opportunities to engage in the broader stock market. (By the way, it will probably pay for wait on certain I-bonds for a few months. Read Savings Bond Advisor's analysis on this topic.)

This Post Has Received 24 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Nagel Commented on November 3, 2006

ING does not bring the interest rate the others do, but 4.4% is respectable and their customer service is superior.


Boston Gal Commented on November 3, 2006

You will forfeit some earned interest due to redeeming before 5 years, but if you are looking for higher returns fast then redeeming could be the way to go (although I think you will be hit with some tax consequences for doing this).

I hold a small amount of Saving Bonds (EE and I) and plan on holding onto them. Having the money locked up in paper helps keep my hands off it. The bonds were purchased monthly over a period of time so all have different values and redemption rates. It seems easier to let them sit and continue to grow somewhat forgotten in the safety deposit box.


2million Commented on November 3, 2006

MM - given your income levels - have you looked at the after tax yields of a savings account vs savings bonds? I am thinking the yields maybe closer than they appear + you can defer taxes on the bond if I recall correctly.


MM Commented on November 3, 2006

Boston Gal - I'm probably a bit rear-mirrored, but by properly timing the yield, I only sacrifice 3 months of very low yield like 2.01% or 2.11% (thannks to ultra-low CPI moves six months ago).

2million - it is tax-deferred instead of tax-free, and the compounding probably cannot make up the interest rate difference considering Treasury's lack of commitment to make savings bonds attractive in the last 1-2 years.


Agnes Commented on November 10, 2006

The more money we come across, the more problems we see. The hardest part is keeping the record for savings, money spend, money left,etc. etc. I am not a saver, but I live satisfactorily.

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