Thursday, May 31, 2018

US Savings Bonds

How to Invest in US Savings Bonds
 Investing in US savings bonds is a simple and easy way to put your money to work and begin saving money. This guide to investing in US savings bonds features in-depth information on how savings bonds work, the Series EE savings bonds, Series I savings bonds, and other products issued by the United States Treasury Department. It will explain tax benefits, where to purchase bonds, how to find out the interest rate you are earning on your money, and much more.

01 The History of US Savings Bonds  
History of US Savings Bonds and How US Savings Bonds Were Introduced
From the time they were introduced, U.S. savings bonds have proven to be one of the most popular investments thanks to the government's guarantee that you will never lose money. Read about the history of the United States savings bond program ...


Should Savings Bonds Be In Your Portfolio?

Savings Bonds in Your Portfolio
You may have an image of savings bonds as being nothing more than stodgy investments given by older relatives on birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, over the past decade, savings bonds have crushed stocks and real estate, all backed by a promise that you would never lose money. That's an unbeatable record. The question remains: Should you invest in savings bonds and if you do, how big should your savings bond investments be? Discover whether savings bonds are right for your portfolio ...

 03 Guide to Investing in Series I Savings Bonds 
Series I savings bonds investing guide
Series I savings bonds are one of the greatest inventions in the history of finance. They combine a guaranteed fixed rate of return with an inflation adjustment so that you won't ever lose purchasing power if prices rise. On top of this, the United States Government guarantees that they will never lose value and won't charge you a penny in fees when you place your savings bond order! Discover everything you need to know about investing in the amazing Series I savings bonds ...

04 Guide to Investing in Series EE Savings Bonds 
Series EE savings bonds
The Series EE savings bond is probably the one with which you are most familiar. In fact, it could very well be thought of as the grandfather of most modern savings bonds. It has some of the great features of the Series I bonds but investing in them, including how the face value is calculated, is very, very different. Find out how Series EE savings bonds work and what you need to know before investing in them ...

  • 05
    Series HH Savings Bonds

    Rolling Over Your Series EE Savings Bonds to Series HH Savings Bonds
    If you or a family member used to invest in savings bonds, you may have Series HH savings bonds still in your portfolio. Don't cash them in right away until you've read this special! They are special because you can no longer get them and they regularly generate cash income that you can live on or use to pay your bills. Read more about the now-rare Series HH savings bonds ...

  • 06
    What Are the Savings Bonds Tax Traps I Should Avoid?

    Tax Implications of Savings Bonds Ownership Reporting
    How you fill out the paperwork the first time you invest in savings bonds could have big tax implications for you and your family down the road. In fact, if you do it wrong, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes that could have been avoided. Uncover these savings bonds tax traps ...
  • How You Title U.S. Savings Bonds Can Have Big Tax Consequences

    Think Carefully About the Way You Title Your U.S. Savings Bonds

    The Way You Title Your U.S. Savings Bonds Can Have Tax and Inheritance Consequences

    How you title your U.S. savings bonds can have major tax and inheritance implications for you and your family, regardless of whether you choose to own Series I savings bondsSeries EE savings bonds, or both.  In a broad sense, there are only three ways you can title your savings bond ownership or, really, any new bond investment you may make.

    Holding Title to U.S. Savings Bonds as an Individual

    Titling a savings bond under the name of a single owner is the easiest.

     It means legally speaking, there is only a single owner of the bonds.  When this owner dies, the bond becomes part of his or her estate.  If there is no valid will and testament, and you have not selected a beneficiary (we'll discuss this in a moment) the savings bonds may be subject to the laws of Intestate Succession via probate.  These inheritance laws vary from state to state and take time, money, and effort for your heirs.  For example, in some states, your spouse will receive half of the property while your parents will receive the other half.  In certain states, your spouse will receive up to a fixed amount (e.g. $20,000) with everything thereafter divided equally between your spouse and your children.
    One way to avoid probate and intestate succession while still having single ownership is to title the savings bonds in the name of a living trust.  That way, when you die, the trustee(s) can continue to transact business, your heirs immediately receiving the benefit of the property in a way spelled out within the trust instrument.

     To learn more about this topic, read How to Setup a Trust Fund.
    Another way to avoid probate when using a single ownership title on a U.S. savings bond is to explicitly name a beneficiary with the U.S. Treasury Department through TreasuryDirect.  Upon the death of the original, titled savings bond holder, the beneficiary establishes his or her own TreasuryDirect account and follows a straightforward process to have the bonds transferred to it.

     Even if the original owner left a will, it doesn't matter because the beneficiary designation on the savings bonds override it.
    There is a major tax advantage to using the beneficiary designation in conjunction with a single owner title.  You already learned from the Investing in Savings Bonds guide that you can either pay taxes on the interest that is added to your bonds each year, or wait until you cash the savings bonds, paying all of the taxes at once. Most people choose the latter. If the owners of the savings bonds dies and passes them to the beneficiary, then the beneficiary can elect to have all of the interest earned on the savings bonds included on the last Federal tax filing of the original, now deceased owner of the bond, making it a liability of his estate. In effect, the savings bonds are being passed tax-free with the estate itself picking up the tab. This is far preferable to receiving cash, where this is not an option.

    Holding Title to U.S. Savings Bonds as a Co-Owner

    Co-ownership between spouses, family members, parents and children, or other parties, means that two people hold title to the savings bonds together. Either title holder can cash the savings bonds without the permission or knowledge of the other party, triggering a taxable event for both, so only do this if you have total, absolute faith in the other person.

    Co-ownership title of a savings bond means that if one party dies, the other co-owner becomes the new, sole owner.  The bonds pass directly to the surviving, titled owner while avoiding probate.

    Learn More About Investing in U.S. Savings Bonds

    Although they are frequently written off as not worthy of serious consideration for an investor's portfolio, perhaps due to an association with old-fashioned gifts received by children at birthday parties and Christmas from distant relatives, a substantial percentage of American families should keep savings bond investments in the back of their minds as a potentially wise place to employ funds.  This is especially true when interest rates are reasonably attractive and equity prices are rich.  Savings bonds provide absolute safety of principle backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.
     They offer meaningful protection against interest rate and duration risk.  If you select the Series I savings bonds, they can even keep pace, to some degree, with inflation.
    The biggest drawback of investing in savings bonds is the annual purchase limits Congress puts on them.  For the past few decades, it has almost been as if Wall Street has influenced politicians to take away many of the advantages of savings bonds, making them less attractive compared to other, traditional financial securities that generate profits for the firms that back them.  Frankly, I'd like to see the savings bond limit raised to something like $50,000 per individual, per year compared to the rather pathetic limit that is currently available on issues such as the Series I bonds.

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