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  Ask Dr. Don By Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA,    

Your savings bonds are still good

Dear Dr. Don,
I have some savings bonds from 1983. My bank has informed me that it is no longer cashing bonds in. I have two questions. The first is: Would bonds issued in 1983 still earn interest today? The second question is: How should I go about cashing in my savings bonds?
-- Amy Accrue

Dear Amy,
I'll assume that you own Series EE savings bonds issued in 1983. Such savings bonds will continue earning interest through 2013, or 30 years from the date of issue. The Bureau of Public Debt has a savings bond calculator on its Web site that will allow you to input the issue date and denomination. The calculator will return the bond's current value and tell you when the bond stops earning interest.

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Older Series EE savings bonds, like yours, have interest earnings credited every six months. If you cash in the bond just before it increases in value, you'll lose the last six months' worth of interest. It's best to redeem your Series EE savings bond just after it has increased in value. The Bureau of Public Debt has a page on its Web site that discusses "When Savings Bonds Increase in Value."

Your bank should have been able to point you to a bank in your area that redeems savings bonds. Ask again the next time you're at the bank. The Bureau of Public Debt doesn't maintain a list of banks that will redeem savings bonds.

You can write or call the branch of the Federal Reserve Bank that handles savings bond transactions in your area. The Bureau of Public Debt has a Web page that allows you to input your zip code to locate contact information for the Federal Reserve Bank branch that can help you.

-- Posted: Sept. 21, 2004

  More questions from Dr. Don

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See Also
Idle savings bonds losing interest
What's the best time to cash in savings bonds?
Financial advice glossary
More Dr. Don stories

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