EE savings bonds may seem old-fashioned, but many people still turn to them for college savings or gift giving. Their guaranteed rates of return, government backing and tax advantages are all features that have stood the test of time. And even though your grandmother may have given you savings bonds back in the day, you probably won’t buy them the same way she did. While it’s still possible to purchase EE Bonds by mail or by visiting banks, increasingly, these savings instruments are being sold online Even the bonds themselves are being kept in electronic, instead of paper, form.
How to Buy Savings EE Bonds
Open a TreasuryDirect account (see Resources). TreasuryDirect is a U.S. Department of the Treasury website, where you can buy Series EE savings bonds, among other things, online. One advantage of using TreasuryDirect is that you can access it around the clock. Another is that you don’t take physical possession of the bonds themselves; they will be electronic bonds held in your TreasuryDirect account.
Use your TreasuryDirect account to make one-time purchases of EE bonds, either for your own investment purchases or for giving as gifts to others, usually children. Bonds can be purchased in amounts of $25 or more, with a total maximum of $5000 in any calendar year.
Set up a payroll deduction to purchase savings bonds. Request that your employer deduct funds from your pay and have them direct deposited in your TreasuryDirect account. This process is as simple as setting up a direct deposit to your checking or savings account. Once your TreasuryDirect account reaches $25 in value, you can use it to purchase EE bonds.
Visit almost any financial institution. EE bonds are still sold at banks, credit unions, brokerages and even Federal Reserve Bank branches. And if you want the paper bond to keep in your possession or to use as a gift, this is your best option for obtaining one. Be sure to allow some lead time for gift giving, however, as it can sometimes take several weeks for the bond to arrive.
Buy your savings bonds by mail. If you’d like a paper bond, but don’t want to visit a bank or other financial institution, you can order paper EE bonds by mail. The order form is available on TreasuryDirect and through some financial institutions. You must pay for mail order EE bonds with either a check or postal money order.
Items you will need
- Social security number
- In order to buy a savings bond, you will need either your social security number, or the number of the person for whom you are buying the savings bond.
- If you already hold paper bonds, you can convert them to electronic bonds at TreasuryDirect.
- Never buy a savings bond on eBay or another auction site. Since the ownership of these bonds can’t be transferred, they won’t have any value to you other than as a collector’s item.
- Beginning in 2011, paper savings bonds will no longer be available through payroll savings plans sponsored by employers.
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