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Archive for October, 2010

Why I Bought My First Series EE Savings Bond

October 14th, 2010 at 03:23 pm

OK baselle, since you asked:

Did something recently that I never thought I would do ... I purchased a Series EE Savings Bond in my Treasury Direct account. Until recently, I've been able to find better options for cash not needed in the short term (such as CDs or High-Yielding MMAs). And although I own TIPS and used to buy Treasury Notes, it has been quite awhile since I bought a Treasury since, to be blunt, the yields suck. And Series EE Bonds always seemed to be just about the worst.

That was then. Welcome to 2010, and the age of ever-shrinking yields on bank accounts.

Last month I was looking for a place to park a bit of cash that I knew we would not need until our retirement years. (Our IRAs would have been my first choice, but they had been maxed out.)

After scouring rates on CDs and MMAs, I was getting frustrated at the low rates I was finding. Not expecting much, but figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to poke around on the Treasury Direct site.

Found out that Series EE Bonds Savings Bonds purchased through Oct 31 are earning 1.4% interest. Not so good. For some reason I kept reading & I learned some interesting tidbits:

- A Series EE Bond earns interest for 30 years
- You have to hold the bond for at least 1 year
- After 1 year, you can cash out the bond any time
- If you cash it out before you have had it for 5 years, you will pay a penalty of 3 months' interest
- That means that if you hold the bond for 5 years, you can cash it out any time after that for no penalty
- THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING: Your bond is guaranteed to double in value in 20 years! (I had to double-read that part to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me.) Based on my calculation, that means that if I hold the bond for 20 years, the US Treasury will add enough value to the bond so that my interest earned equivalent will be 3.5%.
- TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE ATTRACTIVE: Interest income on federal taxes is deferred until the bond is redeemed. (I think state income tax is also deferred, but I'm in a no income tax state so didn't verify that.)

What this means for me is that I'm guaranteed 1.4% (tax deferred) holding the bond for 5 years, and 3.5% (tax deferred) if I hold the bond for 20 years. In 5 years, I'll see where interest rates are and decide if I want to cash the bond in and move the money or continue to hold it.

If anyone else is interested, I recommend going directly to the source and confirming all information on the US Treasury's web page: www.treasurydirect.gov

And if you have children & are saving for their college education, be sure to read about the tax advantages to using Series EE Savings Bonds to pay for their education. (If I had a newborn & knew I could earn 3.5% for 20 years, probably tax-free, I'd be buying an EE Bond!)

Plodding Along to Road to Balance Sheet Affluent

October 12th, 2010 at 03:25 pm

I haven't sat back to see where we were on our journey to Balance Sheet Affluent (formula is there on my sidebar if you're interested) for quite awhile. Today I had a "sit back and look at the big picture" afternoon and decided to do an update. We're at 1.72 times expected net worth, which means we are solidly on track (actually, a bit ahead of schedule right now).

I guess we'll just keep plodding along, doing what we have been doing: working, spending sensibly, saving, and investing conservatively.

In the folder where I track our net worth and our journey to BA, I have a sheet of paper with the following words in big bold letters. These are what Dr. Stanley (author of "The Millionaire Mind") says are common characteristics of those who are Balance Sheet Affluent:
Social Skills
Supportive Spouse
Hard Work

P.S. - I bought my first Series EE Savings Bond recently! I will blog about that next.

P.P.S. - Way off topic, but has anyone heard from Brooklyn Girl? I wonder & worry how she is doing.