Dear Dr. Don,
How many Series I savings bonds can an individual purchase in a calendar year? When I go to the I Bonds Web site, it says $30,000 but another Web site says the maximum annual purchase is $5,000 in paper and $5,000 in electronic bonds. Which one is true? Are savings bonds (EE/I series) FDIC-insured?
— Julie Jumbled
The Treasury changed the amount of savings bonds you can purchase each year to $5,000 of paper bonds and $5,000 in electronic form for both Series I and Series EE savings bonds. You can read the press release on the TreasuryDirect Web site.
I wrote a column — “What’s behind new savings bond limit?” — about the change last spring. Since the limitation is based on the first-named co-owner, a couple could vary who is listed as the first-named co-owner and double the annual investment to $40,000.
Additional purchases with your minor child/children as the primary owners are also possible if that makes financial sense for you. See the TreasuryDirect Web page “FAQs Concerning the Change in the Annual Purchase Limit for Savings Bonds” for additional information.
Savings bonds are not FDIC-insured but, like FDIC-insured deposits, savings bonds (as U.S. Treasury securities) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
Series I savings bonds purchased now through April 2009 earn 0.70 percent, plus inflation. The inflation component is currently an attractive 4.92 annualized percentage yield for a combined annualized yield of 5.64 over the first six-month period. The fixed component, at 0.70 percent, is an improvement over the 0.0 percent paid over the last six months but lower than in past six-month periods, when the fixed component was anywhere from 1 percent to 3.6 percent.
The fixed rate for new purchases and the inflation component for all Series I savings bonds were announced Nov. 1. Learn more on the TreasuryDirect Web page, “I Savings Bonds Rates & Terms.”