15 Second Savings Bond Lesson – How To Protect Your Bonds From A Natural Disaster

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There are over 535 million paper U.S. Savings Bonds* in circulation according to SavingsBonds.com. It is always a smart idea to store your bond information online for peace of mind and more importantly to protect your investment in case they are ever destroyed due to a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, earthquake, fire or flood. Replacement is much quicker and simpler when you take the right steps. Do it now before a disaster strikes.

  1. Enter & store paper bond information  – including serial numbers – with a safe and secure online bond management service, such as SavingsBonds.com’s VIP Membership©, for as little as $5.95 per year (includes monthly bond e-statements & additional unique reports and services).
  2. Make a photocopy of the bonds. Store actual bonds in a water tight, fire-proof safe or in a safe deposit box.
  3. Keep the photocopies along with a Bond Inventory Report© printout which lists all your bonds,  current cash in values,  interest rate performance and total interest earned amounts (for tax purposes) with your other valuable documents.  Write the username and password on the Bond Inventory Report©.

If your actual bonds are ever destroyed (or lost or stolen) print out your Bond Inventory Report©.* Submit the Inventory Report along with a completed government FS 1048 form. Once submitted, you should receive either instructions on how to obtain electronic bond replacements (paper bonds are no longer issued) or the cash equivalent. Important: If you receive cash, you will have to report the total amount of interest earned from those bonds on your Federal Income Tax Return. Know the total interest earned amounts (found on your Inventory Report©) to avoid potential unpleasant tax situations.

*Bond Statistics as of 3/31/17. SavingsBonds.com’s Bond Inventory Report & Monthly Bond e-Statements are available exclusively at SavingsBonds.com.

By Jackie Brahney, Marketing Director, SavingsBonds.com, jbrahney@savingsbonds.com, @savingsbondsgal

About SavingsBonds.com:
SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

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15 Second Savings Bond Lesson – Purchasing Savings Bonds

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Learn What You Need To Know About Purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds In 15 Seconds From SavingsBonds.com

  • As of January 2012, only electronic Series EE and Series I Savings Bonds are available for purchase.
  • You can no longer purchase paper bonds at a bank.
  • The only way to obtain paper Savings Bonds is via a Federal Income Tax Refund. You can “purchase” up to $5,000 in paper Series I Bonds annually with your tax refund.
  • The minimum savings bond purchase is $25, the maximum purchase is $10,000.
  • In a single calendar year you can purchase up to $10,000 in electronic Series EE bonds, up to $10,000 in electronic Series I bonds, AND $5,000 in paper Series I Bonds.

About SavingsBonds.com:
SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

By Jackie Brahney, Marketing Director, SavingsBonds.com, jbrahney@savingsbonds.com.

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Attention Parents: Can You Benefit From The Savings Bond Education Tax Exclusion Program?

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According to SavingsBonds.com, the government offers a beneficial Savings Bond Education Tax Exclusion Program that allows qualified taxpayers to exclude from their gross income all or part of the interest paid when redeeming eligible U.S. Savings Bonds to pay for higher education expenses.

Since bonds did not have to be earmarked for education expenses when initially purchased, many parents may be able to take advantage of the savings bond tax benefits.

To Qualify:

1. Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds issued after 1989 apply.

2. Purchaser must be at least 24 years old when the bonds were bought.

3. Post-secondary institution must be a college, university, or vocational school that meets the standards for federal assistance.

4. When using bonds for a child’s education, bonds must be issued in either one or both of the parents names.  The child can be named as a beneficiary, but not as a co-owner (on paper bonds).*

5. Parents can also use the program for their own college education expenses and bonds must be registered in their name.*

6. Certain income amounts and limitations must be met. If married, you must file jointly. Check IRS Publication 550 for annual income amounts or SavingsBonds.com Education Page.

7. Use  IRS form 8815 when filing for the tax exclusion.

Qualified Education Expenses Include:

  • Tuition and fees (including required course expenses and lab fees).
  • Expenses that benefit the parent, the spouse, or a dependent (if parents claim as an exemption).
  • Paid expenses for required courses as part of a degree or certificate-granting program.
  • Paid expenses for sports, hobbies or games if part of a degree or certificate program.Note: Books, room and board are NOT qualified expenses. Qualified expenses are reduced for any applied scholarships, fellowships, employer-provided educational assistance (and other forms of tuition reduction).

SavingsBonds.com Tips:

  • Purchase savings bonds in smaller denominations.
  • Paper bonds may be worth a lot more than their face value.  Always obtain current bond values before redeeming.
  • Only redeem enough bonds to pay the current college tuition expenses.
  • If any excess monies are received from cashing in savings bonds that EXCEED the qualified expenses, that amount of excludable interest is reduced pro rata.
  • Qualified higher education expenses must be incurred during the same tax year the bonds are redeemed.
  • Both the principal and interest from the bonds must be used to pay qualified expenses to be able to exclude the interest from one’s gross income.

For more information, go to SavingsBonds.com Education Bonds page. See IRS rules

*For electronic savings bonds, check the Treasury Department for proper registration.

About SavingsBonds.com:

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership© which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

By Jackie Brahney, Marketing Director, SavingsBonds.com, jbrahney@savingsbonds.com, @savingsbondsgal

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Three Best SBPF – Savings Bond Protection Factors

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SavingsBonds.com reports nearly 50 million Americans own over $150 billion worth of U.S. Savings Bonds that are not properly protected.

Here are the top three things bond owners can do to improve SBPF – Savings Bond Protection Factors this summer:

1. Keep Detailed Savings Bond Inventory List or Copies Stored Away From Paper Bonds.

  • Write down a list of savings bond information. Indicate the series, denominations, issue dates and always include serial numbers.
  • Make photocopies of all paper bonds.
  • Best Protection–  enter (paper) bonds into SavingsBonds.com’s, complimentary online bond calculator©. Include serial numbers for quickest and easiest replacement.  A personalized, detailed, color-coded Savings Bond Inventory Report will automatically be created (and can be printed out). The report provides all the essential information needed to make smart  financial decisions.
  •  A current Bond Inventory Report© is also a useful verification report when cashing in bonds at a bank or financial institution.

2. Always Review Current Bond Values And Interest Rate Performance Before Cashing In.

  • Do a bond analysis before cashing in any bonds using an online bond calculator.
  • NEVER arbitrarily grab a bond from the pile.  Some older paper bonds, which are still earning interest, could be the best interest rate performers.
  • Own a lot of bonds?  SavingsBonds.com’s Cash In Report© will save investors a lot of time and guess work. The Report also helps determine the correct amount of bonds to redeem, based on the dollars needed, thus helping reduce unnecessary redemptions as well eliminating the need to have to report excess interest income on a Federal Income Tax Return. 

3. Inform Trusted Individuals About Your Savings Bonds.

  • Over $23 billion dollars worth of bonds have reached final maturity and no longer earning any interest, and have not been redeemed. Many bonds are likely owned by deceased individuals, or were forgotten about.
  • Often, entitled co-owners, beneficiaries and heirs are not aware that the savings bonds exist. A trusted family member or friend, or even a financial advisor or attorney, should know where the actual bonds are stored.
  • Keep all savings bond records and website and password information (when using a bond management service see below), with legal documents such as wills and estates.

If holding onto savings bonds, using an on-line bond management service, such as SavingsBonds.com’s VIP Membership© helps bond owners maximize their investment and avoid losing money.  VIP Members receive monthly Savings Bond Statements providing current bond values and the pertinent financial information needed to properly protect and manage their bond investment.

About SavingsBonds.com:

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership© which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

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Should You Redeem Savings Bonds Or Use Credit Cards For Vacation Expenses?

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SavingsBonds.com reports summer vacation spending is hitting all time highs. Before swiping your credit cards to pay for your vacation, consider cashing in some lower yielding savings bonds before hitting the road.

Cashing in savings bonds earning only 3-4%, as opposed to paying 18-20% or more interest on credit cards – sometimes for several months or even years – may make a lot of financial sense.

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator is a quick and easy tool to obtain paper savings bond cash-in values. For first time users, a color coded, personalized, detailed Savings Bond Inventory Report© is also included, which is not offered elsewhere. Important detailed information for each bond, including interest rate performance, maturity, timing and taxation issues and more, are indicated. A “What This Means To You” report simplifies the information.

Investors owning several paper savings bonds should consider a bond management program such as  SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership© (for as little as $5.95 a year) to receiving monthly e-Savings Bond Statements along with helpful reports and tools including the unique  Cash-In Report©

By entering the amount of money needed, the Cash-In Report© will indicate which bonds should be cashed in first and which should be held, based on financial performance. It eliminates a lot of guesswork.

While savings bond are often purchased for retirement and education purposes, most people end up redeeming savings bonds for other reasons.

Cashing in some lower yielding savings bonds to pay for a vacation may be a lot smarter and less stressful than returning home to hefty and often high interest charging credit card bills. However, it is important to consider all financial consequences before redeeming bonds.

Check and compare values and interest rate performance for each bond so that you hold onto the higher yielding bonds and redeem the poorer performers. It is important to review the total interest earned amounts for each bond BEFORE they are redeemed. Total interest earned amounts will need to be reported on a Federal Income Tax Report in the year the bond was redeemed.

It is important to take into account all financial and potential taxation issues in order to make prudent financial choices of whether to use credit cards or redeem bonds to pay for your summer vacation.

 

About SavingsBonds.com:

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

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Three Important Savings Bond Facts

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SavingsBonds.com says over 50 million individuals own U.S. Savings Bonds which are stored away and not being properly managed. Here are three important savings bond facts every investor should know:

1. Savings Bonds Are Not Created Equal.

Various series of bonds, such as A-D, E, EE, I, H and HH have been sold since 1935. The series, month and year of issue will determine the rules, regulations, interest rates, maturity dates and investment performance for that bond, which can vary a lot. To quickly learn bond values access SavingsBond.com’s complimentary savings bond calculator

2. Paper EE Bonds Can Be Worth A Lot More Than The Face Value.

When a paper bond has reached face value – the dollar amount printed on the bond – it has reached its initial maturity.  They will continue to earn interest beyond their face value until they reach final maturity, which is usually 30 years from the issue date.

Once a bond reaches final maturity it will no longer earn any interest. Holding onto matured bonds is like giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan.

Since January 2012, savings bonds have been sold at face value, in electronic format only. The only way to obtain a (Series I) paper bond is via a Federal Income Tax refund.

Misunderstanding bond values often results in redeeming too many bonds when needing to raise cash. Investors also arbitrarily grab bonds from the bottom of the pile. They often mistakenly cash in the highest interest rate performers and hold onto the worst performers in their portfolio.

3. Cashing In Savings Bonds Creates A Taxable Event.

The difference between the purchase price and cash-in value is considered report-able interest, which must be included on a Federal Income Tax Return in the year the bond is redeemed.

Redeeming a substantial number of bonds that have earned a lot of interest in any given year could also create unpleasant tax surprises, especially for those on social security.

When redeeming, interest earned amounts over $10 will be reported on a 1099-INT, which will be either issued on the spot or mailed (in the first few months of the following year) by the financial institution that cashed in the bond(s). Electronic bond owners must go to their Treasury Direct Account and print out the 1099-INT.

A complimentary savings bond calculator which includes a detailed Bond Inventory Report©, provides cash in values, interest rate performance, total interest earned amounts, maturity and tax information for paper E, EE and I Savings Bonds. An easy to understand, ‘what this means to you,’ explanation helps investors make smart financial decisions about their bonds. Once educated, investors can confidently choose the best (lower interest earning) bonds to redeem first, and hold onto the better performers.

Whether holding or redeeming bonds, having basic financial information can help investors maximize their investment, avoid losing money and prevent unfavorable tax situations.

About SavingsBonds.com:

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

 

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Can Anyone Cash In My Savings Bonds?

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Savingsbonds.com says do not fret about your paper bonds being cashed in by an unauthorized person if they are ever lost or stolen.

Savings Bonds are a registered security, meaning only the person(s) named on the actual (paper) bonds can redeem them (or parents or guardians in the case of a child or handicapped person).  Banks or financial institutions should ask for proper ID before redeeming any bonds.

Note: If there are two co-owners listed on the paper savings bond (usually the word “or” appears between the two names) either person can cash in the bond without the other persons consent.

About SavingsBonds.com:

SavingsBonds.com’s complimentary calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.©

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