US Treasury Series I Bonds
Our insight articles and conference calls have talked a lot about inflation over the past year or so. We’re seeing the effects of it everywhere from the gas pump to food costs to interest rates, etc. While most of the effects of inflation are negative, we wanted to make you aware of an opportunity that inflation has created; U.S. Treasury Series I Bonds.
U.S. Treasury Series I Bonds, or I Bonds, will offer annual interest payments of 9.6%, based on the bond’s latest inflation rate calculation, which is tied to March’s consumer-price index. That’s 9.6% annualized for bonds backed by the full faith of the U.S. government. Considering a 10-year US Gov’t Bond is yielding 2.86% as I’m writing this, it’s hard to imagine a better deal in fixed income right now.
Here’s how they work:
You buy these bonds straight from the government at Treasury Direct. We cannot buy them for you.
The yield is computed every 6 months (in May and November) and compounds semi-annually.
There is a fixed component (which is currently 0%) and an inflation-indexed component tied to CPI that resets semi-annually.
There is an annual $10,000 limit per person (you can buy them for your kids too).
You don’t pay any state taxes and federal income tax can be deferred until redemption.
If you use these bonds to pay for education expenses they are tax-free.
You cannot cash in these bonds in the first 12 months.
If you cash in before 5 years is up, you pay a penalty of 3 months’ worth of interest.
After 5 years you can redeem penalty-free.
The downsides are as follows:
The Treasury Direct website is not the easiest to use.
You can’t buy the bonds in a tax-deferred account like an IRA or 401(k).
You cannot do joint accounts so both you and your spouse would need to create their own account.
There are 3 rates you need to keep in mind:
We know the current rate (7.12% if bought before April 28, 2022)
The next rate, on May – October purchases and 6-month renewals, will be 9.62%
The rate after that, from November 2022 – April 2023 purchases and renewals, will be determined later.
IMPORTANT: If you think you would like to buy I bonds this year, it will be best if you do that by April 28th!
Bottom Line: We wanted to make sure our clients were aware of these relatively obscure government bonds because we feel like these could be a really good idea as an alternative to CD’s, excess bank savings, or an intermediate savings goal right now.
As always, please give us a call if you would like to discuss.