I-Bonds are a Decent Investment again, right?

I-Bonds are a Decent Investment again, right?

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I’m never really certain.

Back in 2005 I started making monthly I-Bond purchases, you know, under the impression that I was making a low risk but profitable financial move.

The routine lasted for over two years before I realized that the returns were terrible.

Now, though, I look at the little bit that I still have stashed there and it’s currently earning 3 to 4 times as much as the much larger pile of money that I have tucked away in an ING savings account.

So now, 4 years after the fact, they’re looking like a great investment. It’s almost a shame that I have so little in there…

So, this morning, I find myself with an extra $350 burning a hole in my pocket (a pleasant occurrance — due entirely to an increased effort to cut my spending — Thanks DD!) and I think I’ve decided that I-Bonds are the place to go…

Sure, the fixed rate for anything I purchase before April 30 is only 0.7%currently half that of ING — but with the wacky variable rate that the government resets twice per year added to the equation, the rate is actually 5.64% for, at the minimum, the next 6 months. Read about it here.

The only downsides, that I’m aware of, are that I can’t get at the money for at least one year and if I cash out before the 5-year mark, I lose a couple of months worth of interest as a penalty.

Thing is, we’re only talking about $350 here.

Let’s be realistic… I can certainly survive a year without it and if I cash out before the 5-year mark, well, the lost interest is negligible.

And do you wanna know what’s really sad?

The biggest reason I’ve leaning this route this so that my I-Bond balance is 4-figures in the next net worth update, you know, to make that row look a little bit meatier…

And I can honestly admit to the fact that I’m utterly confused as to how the interest rates are calculated — even having “invested” in them for nearly 5 years now…

I figure that it’s better that I do this with the money instead, I dunno, of going hunting for something silly (yet expensive) on eBay…

The alternate plan tossed around (very briefly) was to buy some Ford and General Electric stock but I just don’t feel like $350 is enough to even bother with — especially with the associated fees involved…

I think I’ll just wait until I have $1k burning a hole in my pocket for that sort of thing…

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Pants in a Can Factoid:
An I-Bond is an inflation-indexed savings bond available for purchase from the US Treasury Department.

They have a fixed rate of return plus an inflation premium. The fixed rate and the inflation premium are adjusted every May and November by the Treasury Department but the fixed rate assigned when you buy the bond is good for as long as you hold it.

In my case, the .7% will be fixed for as long as I keep it. The inflation premium rate, however, will reset next month but I will continue to receive the initial inflation premium for the next six months and then it will reset to the rate that is to be determined next month. (See — this is the part where it gets kinda messy.)

The inflation premium, in theory, ensures that you don’t lose the purchasing power of your investment over time.

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