Ahhh….savings bonds. Throughout the years, savings bonds have been popular gifts. Grandma and grandpa have given their grandchildren savings bonds for birthdays to encourage saving for the future. They were easily available savings vehicles that you could purchase at your local bank or, in some instances, through payroll deduction. The paper certificates are those you might stumble across in a stack of old papers or locked away in your safety deposit box.
What do you do if you find that you have savings bond certificates?
- Check the dates. All savings bonds have a maturity date; a date at which they stop accruing interest (i.e. Series EE bonds accrue interest for 30 years). You can use any number of online savings bond calculators to find out if your bonds have matured.
- Transition to Electronic Bonds. The U.S. Treasury recently stopped issuing paper bonds to save costs. If you own paper bonds that are still accruing interest, consider establishing a Treasury Direct account to convert your paper bonds to electronic bonds. This helps eliminate the risk of loss or damage to the physical bond certificates. If/when your bonds have matured, you can cash them in and have the proceeds deposited to your bank through Treasury Direct.
- Check the registration on the bonds. Savings bonds seem to be easily forgotten. It is not uncommon for a client to find a bond in the name a deceased relative, in a former/maiden name, or in custodial registration for a child who is now a well-established adult. Updating the registration on active savings bonds now can prevent headaches later. Registration changes can be handled through Treasury Direct.
- Last but not least, document that you own savings bonds. List these holdings with your financial planner and on your Personal Record Keeping Document to ensure that these assets are not forgotten if something happens to you.
While savings bonds are not as en vogue today as they were in past decades, they can still be valuable assets. It is worth taking the time to bring the old bonds into the current century with Treasury Direct.
Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012 and 2013, Sandy was named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.
Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.
The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.