How Series EE Savings Bond interest rates work

Thursday, March 9th, 2006
Categorized as: Savings Bond interest ratesSeries EE US Savings Bonds

If you’re interested in finding out what interest rate your Savings Bonds are currently earning, just ask my Savings Bond Calculator. It will give you both the current rate and current value of your Savings Bonds.

Although Series EE Savings Bonds have a reputation of being an easily understood investment, few investors actually understand how they work. In part, this is because the Treasury has regularly changed the rules for calculating EE bond interest.

Understanding rate periods

Moreover, you can’t understand Savings Bond interest rate rules unless you understand Savings Bond rate periods.

Every Savings Bond has a series of six-month rate periods that begin with the month in which the bond is issued. Today’s Savings Bonds pay interest for 30 years, so they have 60 rate periods.

What’s confusing is that the Treasury announces new interest rates for Savings Bonds in May and November, but the announced rates don’t apply to a specific Saving Bond until its next rate period begins, which is zero (for bonds purchased in May or November) to five (for bonds purchased in April or October) months later.

Series EE Savings Bonds issued since May 2005

Since May 2005, newly issued Series EE Savings Bonds have come with interest rates that are fixed for 20 years – they pay the same rate for each of their first 40 rate periods.

However, when one of these bonds reaches its 20th anniversary, the Treasury has the right to change the fixed rate for the final ten years of the bond’s life.

All Series EE Savings Bonds issued during the six-month period following a May or November rate announcement pay the same fixed rate.

The Treasury also guarantees that these Series EE bonds will double in value in 20 years. This creates a guaranteed rate of 3.50% if you hold the bond that long.

Series EE Savings Bonds issued between May 1997 and April 2005

Unlike newly issued Savings Bonds, all Series EE Savings Bonds issued in April 2005 and earlier have rates that adjust every six months.

The bonds issued during this eight-year period earn an interest rate during each six-month rate period that is 90% of the average yield for five-year Treasury securities in the previous November-April or May-October period.

Savings Bonds in this group that were issued in June 2003 and later are guaranteed to double in value in 20 years (this is an implied interest rate of 3.50%); for those issued in May 2003 and earlier the guarantee is 17 years (4.12%).

Series EE Savings Bonds issued between May 1995 and April 1997

The Series EE Savings Bonds issued during this two-year period are similar to the Series EE bonds issued later, however their rate is 85% (rather than 90%) of the average yield for five-year Treasury securities.

All Savings Bonds in this group are guaranteed to double in value in 17 years.

In addition, all Savings Bonds in this and earlier groups have redemption values that increase every six months. (For Savings Bonds issued in May 1997 and later, the redemption value increases monthly.) This creates a hidden redemption penalty of lost interest if you don’t redeem right after the redemption value increases.

Series E and EE Savings Bonds issued before May 1995

Both Series E and Series EE Savings Bonds issued before May 1995 have rules that are very different from Series EE bonds issued later.

Interest rates on these bonds are calculated two different ways. At redemption, the method that provides the highest return is used to calculate the value of the bond.

One method uses a feature these Savings Bonds have called guaranteed rates. But to understand guaranteed rates, first you have to understand maturity periods (not to be confused with the rate periods we discussed earlier).

A Series EE Savings Bond’s first maturity period lasts as many years as it takes the investment to double in value. The length of this first period depends on when the bond was issued. The bond’s guaranteed rate during this first period is the rate that will accomplish this doubling in value.

All of the Savings Bonds in this group have already doubled in value except for those issued in March 1993 and later. Those bonds are guaranteed to double in value in 18 years (which creates a guaranteed rate of 3.89%).

When the original maturity period ends, the bond enters a new 10-year maturity period. At that time the Treasury can change the bond’s guaranteed rate. Since March 1993, the Treasury has set the guaranteed rate for Savings Bonds entering new maturity periods at 4.00%.

The length of a Savings Bond’s final maturity period is usually less than 10 years – it depends on the length of the first maturity period.

The second method used to determine the interest rate of these bonds is based on the average of a set of market-based rates (85% of the average of 5-year Treasury marketable security yields) published by the Treasury during the life of the bond.

Consequently, the interest earned during any particular rate period depends on which of the two methods will give the bond the highest value.

  • If the first method is best, the bond will earn whatever rate is required to make its value reach the guaranteed rates in effect during its life.
  • If the second method is best, the bond will earn whatever rate is required to make its value reach the average of the market-based rates published during its life.

In most rate periods the bonds in this group pay the highest rates of any EE bonds.

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FDIC Insured Certificates of Deposit can pay 1 or 2% more than savings bonds when held for a similar length of time. See top CD Rates Below:


On April 7th, 2006 Nico said:


How does the treasury set rates on EE bonds? Are they tied to regular bond yields or something like that?

There’s probably a link around here somewhere, I’ll keep clicking.

On April 7th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Nico – I assume you mean the new fixed-rate EE bonds, as for all the others the rate setting method is described above.

For the fixed-rate EE’s – the ones issued in May 2005 and later – the Treasury only says the rate is based on the 10-year Treasury rate.

As with the I bond fixed-base rate, the EE fixed rate is set administratively, which means the Treasury sets the rate without any publically-announced constraints, criteria, or rules.

Since we only have two data points, it’s not really possible to figure out if the Treasury is using any criteria it’s not talking about.

Nonetheless, for the record, as compared to the average daily rate for 10-year Treasury securities over the prior six months, EE rate announced in May 2005 was about 83% of the 10-year rate and EE rate announced in November 2005 was about 81% of the 10-year rate.

On April 11th, 2006 Betty Jo Walters said:

I have several 200 dollar series EE bonds purchased on July 17, 1984. When would be the best time to cash these in, in order to receive the largest amount of return on my investment?

On April 12th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Betty Jo – Put Tuesday, July 1, 2014 on your calendar as the best day to redeem your bonds. That’s the day they stop earning interest.

Between now and then, the first business day of January and July are better than other days, because those are the days the value of your bonds increases because of an interest payment.

On March 17th, 2007 Kathie said:

Current Rates Question – Older EE bonds.

I assume that each new 10 year period you mention above is what is called an ‘extended maturity period’ in the quote below from the government website discussing guaranteed minimum.

So, take an EE bond issued in May of 1981 – initial maturity of 8 years – – – so, the new 10 year maturity you mention starts in 1989 or there-abouts. That would seem to say the guaranteed mimium rate is adjusted to 6% for this bond.

Yet, the charts from the Feds say 4% is current rate for this bond.

So, I am thinking you meant to say at each subsequent 10 year maturity period the rate can be readjusted. Hence, the feds used the first bullet in the most recent adjustment.

Correct or all wet ?

From the Treasury’s web site:

  • 4% for bonds entering an extended maturity period since March 1993
  • 6% for bonds issued or entering an extended maturity period between November 1986- February 1993
  • 7.5% for bonds issued or extended from November 1982-October 1986
On March 20th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Kathie – you are correct. The Treasury has the right to change the guaranteed minimum rate at the end of each maturity period. The May 1981 bond in your example had an initial maturity period of 8 years – which is an interest rate of 8.85%. The guaranteed minimum rate for this bond was adjusted to 6% in May 1989 and to 4% in May 1999. It could be adjusted again in May 2009. The bond will stop earning interest in May 2011.

Tom Adams

On May 22nd, 2007 Keith said:

I have several $100 denomination EE bonds purchased between Feb. 1991 and May of 1995. It appears that the newer ones are actually worth less than the the face value based on a calculation site that I visited.

Should I just cash all of these in and put the money in a better earning vehicle? My daughter starts college in fall of 2009.

On May 22nd, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Keith – You don’t say how many “several” is, but most other investments have a $1,000 minimum and don’t pay their highest rates until you have much more invested – usually $10,000 to $25,000 at least.

You may also be able to get a tax deduction if you use the bonds on your daughter’s college tuition.

Tom Adams

On July 27th, 2007 Gladys Totty said:

I converted a Series EE bond into a CD in February, 2007, I know the total amount of interest earned on the date I converted and need to know what agency I report this amount to. IRS 1040 2007???????

On July 27th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Gladys – you report it on your 2007 1040 Income Tax Return, which isn’t due until April 2008.

Between now and then, you and the IRS will receive a 1099-INT tax form with the amount of interest you should report on your 1040.

Tom Adams

On October 21st, 2007 michelle carbeck said:

My father, who works for the gov’t, has purchased a $100 EE bond every month since 1979. His paycheck reveals that he paid $37.50 for the 09/07 EE bond. Your calculator says that the price was $50. Also, his lawyers feel that the bonds should be cashed and reinvested into a money market that the trustee could control. Can you explain the discrepancy of the cost for the bond and the pros and cons of reinvesting these bonds? BTW my father is 80yrs old.

On October 22nd, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Michelle – I can’t explain the figures you’re quoting. Perhaps his employer matched a portion of the investment? Perhaps his employer used $12.50 from a previous month? $37.50 is how much a $50 E bond (which hasn’t been issued since June 1980) would have cost.

Have the lawyers explained the tax consequences of cashing all these bonds at once to you? Do they even understand what the tax consequences are? Why would you give up bonds earning 4% for the lower rates and higher risk of a money market fund? Why not just re-register the Savings Bonds to the Trust? You are exactly the kind of person I wrote Savings Bond Advisor for. You need to spend a weekend reading it before you allow the lawyers to do anything with the Savings Bonds.

Tom Adams

On November 18th, 2007 Tom Kubash said:

Is there any penalty for deferring redemption of E bonds for a couple of years, for a tax advantage? Thank You!

On November 19th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Tom – the first penalty is that you’re not earning any interest. Within five years that penalty amounts to more than the taxes for most people.

In addition, the IRS says you owe the tax in the year the bond stops paying interest, no matter when you cash it. As a practical matter, it’s fairly unusual for the 1099-INT that reports the interest to the IRS to be backdated to the year the bond stopped paying interest, but it does happen in some cases.

In that scenario the penalty would be that you’d have to file an amended return for a previous year and pay a penalty for late payment of the tax.

Tom Adams

On January 25th, 2008 Laurin said:

Is it better to hold the paper bonds or to put them into an electric account to hold them. Is there a better way for them to gain interest except to wait 30 years for them to mature completely? I’m not quite sure I understand. I believe all my bonds have not even hit the amount they were even purchased for. I have 2 bonds for every year since 1988 they were all purchased in either november, decemeber, march, or april.
THank you

On January 25th, 2008 Laurin said:

I didn’t mention but all my bonds are EE bonds with a 50$ denomination.

On January 25th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Lauren – I prefer electronic, but it’s a matter of personal preference; one way isn’t better than the other for everyone.

EE bonds are purchased at half face value so your bonds were purchased for $25 each and they are all worth more than that.

The only way to accumulate interest is to hold on to the bonds until you need the money.

Tom Adams

On February 4th, 2008 Kay Simmons said:

We have 3 ‘$50’ EE bonds from 12/90 and 11/91. Would it be any advantage for us to cash these in and purchase an I bond?
Also, my 89 yr old mother took some of her money and put it in 2 6 mo. CDs- $2500. ea. [I think that money was part of what she needs to withdraw from an IRA.] They come due next week. She asked me if she should put it in bonds instead. I ask you. Thank you.

On February 5th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Kay – your bonds are worth less than $200. The interest difference between EE and I won’t pay for the gas to get to your bank to make the change.

Likewise, for your 89-year-old mother, the advantages and disadvantages of CDs and Savings Bonds tend to cancel each other out and leave just a misty fog. Whatever she prefers is best.

Tom Adams

On February 6th, 2008 David said:

I inherited several EE bonds from my aunt who bought them in 8/89 and has my name listed along w/”POD” on the face of the bond. If I cash one of the $5K bonds, am I responsible for paying the total interest the bond has incurred? Does the bank issue me a statement to that effect? On the Savings Bond wizard program it shows the bond earned a little over $4K in interest for a current face worth of little over $6,500.

On February 8th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi David – yes, all the interest the bond has ever earned becomes part of your taxable income. The bank uses a 1099-INT tax form to report the income to the IRS (you get a copy).

If your name appears after the “POD”, you’ll need a copy of your aunt’s death certificate to cash the bond.

Tom Adams

On February 28th, 2008 robin said:

David’s question “almost” answered mine. My nana died and my mom said that we would have to pay 1/2 the amount of bonds in interest. I do not understand. If I have a $5k purchased in 1987 how much taxes am I required to pay? with the economy we could really use the money

On February 28th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Robin – either you or your mother have misunderstood. The most you could possibly pay in taxes – if you were in the highest tax bracket – is 35% of the interest earned.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if half the value of the bond was interest, but the government doesn’t charge 100% tax on the interest.

You add the interest to your income tax form as income, then pay tax at your tax rate on the additional income.

Tom Adams

On March 5th, 2008 Tom Ouellette said:

When my children were in school, years ago, they purchased savings stamps which were later redeemed for savings bonds. Are there stamps worth anything today?.

On March 6th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Tom – the information you’re looking for is on my page about Savings Bond stamps.

Tom Adams

On March 18th, 2008 Jean Brady said:

I have bonds from 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993. I have paperwork that says that the interest rate is guaranteed. However, when I looked at the information on the computer, on some of them, the rates changed every month. Also, will the rates change on the accrual date? How can I find out how much the interest will be on the accrual date? Thank you.

On March 19th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Jean – your question is a puzzle to me. I suspect you’re looking at the lifetime “yield” of your bonds, which could change every month, not the current “rate”, which hardly ever changes on EE bonds of this vintage.

Also I don’t think “accrual date” means what you think it means and I’m not sure what you mean when you use that term.

Tom Adams

On March 28th, 2008 Ben ODell said:

Mr. Adams,
I have 12 $50 EE Savings bonds from 1990-1995 in my name but one has an incorrect social security number. Can anything be done to change that? If not what should I do with it?

On March 28th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Ben – see this post.

Tom Adams

On April 6th, 2008 Tracey said:

Tom, I was given $50 EE Bonds during 85-89 and I’m wondering if I should leave them as is or cash in. At today’s value they are not worth much more then their original value, (but do have a nice rate). After reading some of your advice to others and considering how I will be taxed I’m thinking I should just leave them alone. Do you have any advice? I would appreciate hearing from you!

On April 6th, 2008 Judith Nunes said:

I have 3 EEE Saving Bonds, 1 $50.00 1991 and 2 @00.00 1989. How much are they worht today and should I cash them in?

On April 7th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Tracey – Given that you’ve kept them this long without losing them, you might as well hold on until 2015, when the earliest one will stop earning interest.

Judith – Scroll up to the top of this page – on the right there’s a calculator you can use to find out the value of your bonds. There’s no particular reason to cash them now.

Tom Adams

On May 8th, 2008 Bruce Sherman said:

I own a Series EE Bond and want to give it to my grandson as a gift. Can I transfer the bond to him? Thanx.

On May 9th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Bruce – you can, but you will owe income tax on the interest the bond has earned as of the transfer. And when your grandson eventually cashes the bond, the 1099-INT will report all the interest the bond has ever earned and he will be highly likely to pay the tax a second time. So it’s a bad idea, but if you still want to do it, the information you need is here.

Tom Adams

On May 22nd, 2008 Shane Williams said:


Starting on 1 Sept 2000, every 10 months I would purchase a $1000 EE bond. I stopped but these bonds in June 2007.

Along with another line of automatic bond investing, I accumulated 17 $1000 EE bonds. I also just opened up a Teasury Direct account and in a few weeks I will be able to few the current amounts for all of my bonds.

Would I be better off using the money from the sale of the EE bonds to buy I bonds?

I really think that I should wait until I can get the current balances and interst rates of my EE bonds before making a decision.

Thank you for the great site!

Shane Williams

On May 22nd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Shane – EE bonds issued in April 2005 and before pay much higher rates than the ones issues since then. Although I was recommending that people buy I bonds in that time frame before April 2005, since you already have the EEs they may be worth keeping at least until they are 5 years old and you can redeem them without penalty.

For EEs issued in May 2005 or later the choice is easier.

Tom Adams

On June 10th, 2008 Mitch Foy said:

Tom, I have about $10K in Series EE bonds in $100 denominations dating from 1990 to 1999. I in checking savings account rates it looks like it’s better to hold these rather than cash them in. Question… I have a 12 year old can I or should I consider transferring them to him for his collage when he enrolls? Does this qualify for a tax break over my cashing them in? How hard is it to transfer them?



On June 11th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Mitch – if you want to be eligible for the college tax deduction, you need to have the bonds in your name. More on this here.

Tom Adams

On July 1st, 2008 Karen Doran said:

I found your sight very helpful, but I am still a little confused as to how to calculate how many years to maturity.I have 4 series E from 1971 and figured they are at their max, which I calculated from you sight. But I also have Series EE 7 from 1983 and 4 from 1986 and 1 from 11-27-01. They have all appreciated, so do you think we should hold onto them if the maturity date is 30 years? Thanks

On July 1st, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Karen – You should read this page.

Your ’71 bonds stopped earning interest in 2001 – you’ve lost 7 years of interest so far which would have covered the income taxes and more; you need to cash them and reinvest. There’s no reason to cash the others.

Tom Adams

On July 3rd, 2008 Karen McMillen said:

I have a student entering college fall 2008. I have EE savings bonds that are listed as: daughters name or Mom’s name and also Mom’s name or Dad’s name. I believe that our combined husband/wife income will just be over the amount that will make the interest earned on the EE savings bonds (purchased > 1990) tax exempt. Can I have my daughter cash the bonds that are in daughters name OR Mom’s name; then have her file taxes. Will she then be eligible for the $850 tax exemption and taxed at the child’s rate beyond that? I am only talking about a few thousand dollars in EE bonds, but taxes are killing us, and who wants to pay more taxes? thanks.

On July 3rd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Karen – Yes, if your daughter has no other income and she’s 18 or older, this is the way to go. For more information, you should take a look at the posts here on the kiddie tax and the college education deduction.

Tom Adams

On July 8th, 2008 Keith said:

I have been purchasing $200 denomination EE bonds since Nov 1990. My daughter starts college this fall and I want to start cashing some in. Do I cash in the oldest ones or look at the interest rates and cash in the ones with the lowest interest rates.

On July 8th, 2008 Keith said:

More info for previous question. I have purchasing the $200 bonds at 2 bonds per month every month since oct. 1990.

On July 8th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Keith – in general, you should go by the interest rate. Starting with the newest ones would be better than starting with the oldest ones, but getting the maximum value out of the bonds requires more tricks than that.

My book has a table on page 182 that’s there to help folks like you decide which ones to cash first.

Tom Adams

On July 28th, 2008 George said:

I have a few EE savings bonds I bought in Feb 93. Checking their value over the last 4 months has resulted in the same market price. Do these bond still pay interest? And if so, at what rate and how often does it change?

I also have other EE savings bonds bought between Jan 94 and Nov 2002. I understand that these pay interest for 18 years, but I am not sure at what rate. Please advise.

On July 29th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

George – all EE Savings Bonds earn interest for 30 years.

As the article at the top of this page points out, EE bonds issued in April 1997 and earlier increase in value every six months. Your Feb 93 EEs will increase in value in Feb and Aug.

You can find out the rate your bonds are paying using our Savings Bond Calculator at the upper right.

Tom Adams

On August 1st, 2008 Kathleen said:

I just used your savings bond calculator. It said that the current value of my bond is worth $178. This bond was bought in December of 1984. If I choose to cash it in, do I get $178 plus the face value of $100, or do I just get $178?

Thank you,


On August 2nd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Kathleen – the calculator shows the total redemption value; so your bond is worth $178. Keep in mind that the original investment was just $50, so the value has increased 2.5 times.

Tom Adams

On August 11th, 2008 Art Powell said:

My mother recently died. She and my father, who is still alive, have a substantial number of EE bonds bought in the 1980s and 1990s. The bonds were issued in both names. Given the substantial amount of accrued interest, would it be a good idea to get the bonds re-registered so that my father and I are the owners of the bonds, rather than leaving them as is? My thinking is that this would be a way to maximize the interest deferral period if my father were to die because I would become the owner at that time, and the accrued interest wouldn’t have to be recognized upon his death. My father is 80.

On August 11th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Art – On the one hand, death of a bond owner doesn’t automatically make the accrued interest taxable. On the other, you have a large number of options to sort through to figure out which one is right for your father. That information isn’t on the internet anywhere, but it’s in my book, which you can order from Amazon using the link above and on the right.

Tom Adams

On September 15th, 2008 Melissa said:

Im 18 and just received 4 $50 denomination series EE savings bonds. They were bought between 12/1990 and 12/1991. When are the best times to cash them in to receive the highest return? I am starting college soon and am not sure if I could hold onto them until full maturity

On September 15th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Melissa – hold on to them if you can, but cash them if you need the money. The best time to cash is in the month of issue or exactly six months later. More info here.

Tom Adams

On September 24th, 2008 luther paschal said:

hi tom,

i’ve recently purchased two 50 dollar ee bond for 25 dollars a piece. if i kept on purchasing them every mouth in this order how long would it take to double my money. by the way i’m 23 years old and i would like to enjoy the money before i die.

On September 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Luther – in the article at the top of this page, there’s a section for bonds issued since May 2005. A sentence in that section answers your question, “The Treasury also guarantees that these Series EE bonds will double in value in 20 years.”

Tom Adams

On September 24th, 2008 Xuan Nguyen said:


What is the maximum purchase in one calendar year.

Xuan Nguyen

On September 25th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Xuan – the information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On September 29th, 2008 gregory bogen said:

1) I have US Savings Bonds Series EE $1,000 denomination, issued in Dec 1992 and one issued in April 1993. Will I earn more interest if I redeem them in January rather than now?

2) These bonds were linked with my father’s Soc Sec Num. My father died 1 week ago. I understand that since I inherited the bonds I will be responsible for paying federal income tax on the interest accrued from the day of his death until the day when I redeem them. If so am I correct in assuming that since the amount of interest earned is the same from the day of the issue until Sep, when he died, as in Oct or Nov, if I redeem them in any of these 2 months I will not owe any federal tax beyond what my father has to pay?

On September 30th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Gregory – you would maximize your interest by holding on to the bonds. If you must cash them right away, the best day for the April bond is Oct 1 and the best day for the Dec bond is Dec 1.

Income tax on all the interest the bonds have ever earned has to be paid by someone. The SSN on the bond isn’t used for anything except tracking the bond if it’s lost, so that’s not important here. You should expect to pay tax on all the interest yourself.

Tom Adams

On October 2nd, 2008 Todd said:

Hello Tom,

I received several $50 EE bonds and 1 $1000 EE bond as I was growing up. I have recently realized that I have lost them and was wondering if there is any way to get bonds reissued when you do not know the serial numbers or the exact dates that they were issued.

Thank you for your time,

On October 3rd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Todd – the info you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On October 22nd, 2008 Beverly Keen said:

I have ee bonds purchased from Jan 1986 thru June of 1999. When I look on the calculator, it shows the bonds from Jan 1986 thru 1993 earning 4%. The other bonds are from May 1997 thru June 1999. They show earnings of 2.74% but were getting a better rate before. Will the bonds getting 4% stay at 4% until they stop getting interest? Will the bonds getting the 2.74% ever go back up or do they stay at 2.74% until they stop getting interest? If I cashed in the 2.74% bonds and purchased I bonds what rate would they get? Can EE bonds be transferred to I bonds (tax deffered)?

On October 23rd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Beverly – Your bonds earn a guaranteed minimum over the life of the bond (not on an every-six-months basis). If they earn more than 4% early, they can earn less than 4% later and still meet the minimum. That’s what’s going on with your 2.74% bonds.

I bonds have a higher rate now (rates here), but they’re not guaranteed to stay the same – an I bond rate can go to zero and changes every six months.

EE bonds can’t be transferred to I bonds. You have to cash the EE bonds and use the money to buy I bonds.

Tom Adams

On November 11th, 2008 MARGARET SICA said:


On November 11th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Margaret – the info you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On November 12th, 2008 Kate said:

I have two $500 EE bonds, purchased in 12/1992 and 12/1993. According to the treasury website’s calculator, the 1992 bond is now worth $583.80 and is earning 4% interest, and the 1993 bond is now worth $462.00 and is earning 2.79% interest. I now need to cash in one of the bonds to pay a $400 expense. What is the reason for the discrepancy in interest rate, and which bond should I cash?

On November 13th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Kate – the 1992 bond was guaranteed to reach face value in 12 years. By the time the 1993 bond was issued, this had been changed to 18 years. That’s why there’s so much difference in the value of the two.

Keep the more valuable 1992 bond and redeem the 1993 bond.

Tom Adams

On November 18th, 2008 Keith said:

My father passed away and left EE Savings Bonds (10/1992) POD to my brother, sister and me. My father used the Accrual Method II to report interest on the savings bonds each year as it accrued. He reported the interest on his IRS 1040 and Schedule 1. When my siblings or I redeem the bonds, the bank will use a 1099-INT tax form to report the income to the IRS. In order to avoid paying tax on accrued interest to date of Dad’s death, how do we indicate (verify) that my father used the Accrual Method II to report interest on the savings bonds each year as it accrued?

On November 18th, 2008 Tammy Foster said:

My Grandmother bought a 25 dollar face value E series bond for me in around 1966. ( I was five at the time) I am not sure of this purchase date. I had lost track of this bond and it has been resting for many years now… is it still of any value?

On November 19th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Tammy – yes, you can still cash it in, but it has stopped earning interest and isn’t ever going to be worth any more that it is now. There’s more info on how to cash it here.

Keith – when you do your tax return for the year in which you cash the bond, you enter all the 1099 interest in the interest section, then under that you write “US Savings Bond interest previously declared” and you subtract back out the part your dad already paid taxes on. You don’t have to verify this unless you are audited. At that point the auditor would want to see copies of your father’s tax returns showing he paid the tax.

Tom Adams

On November 28th, 2008 TJ Regan said:

I am in the need of money now and need to decide which bond to cash in. Which one would be best to cash: a $200 bond dating February of 1985, $200 bond from April 1993, or a $200 bond from April 1994? Which one would you cash and which ones would you hold onto?

On December 1st, 2008 Tom Adams said:

TJ – I’d hold on to the 2/85 bond and cash either of the others; it doesn’t matter which.

Tom Adams

On December 3rd, 2008 Tommy said:

When you cash in a Series EE U.S. savings bond between the six month compound dates, do you get the interest earned from the month-date of the bond and the month it is cashed in? For example, for an August 1997 bond cashed in this month (December 2008), do you get interest for August, September, October, and November, or is the value of the bond just what it was at August 2008?

On December 4th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Tommy – it depends on when the bond was issued.

Since the bond you ask about was issued in May 1997 or later and is more than 5 years old, its value increases every month on the first day of the month and you receive all the interest earned through the end of the previous month.

Bonds issued in April 1997 and before, on the other hand, only increase in value once every six months.

Bonds that are less than five years old increase in value every month, but when you cash them you don’t get the most recent three months of interest. This is an early redemption penalty.

Tom Adams

On December 18th, 2008 Lacey Talbott said:

I have a EE savings bond purchased in 1990 face value of 200.00 it is currently getting 4% interest and is 263.04 dollars its maturity date was in 2002 and final maturity date is 2020. I have the opportunity to put the bond along with additional money into a certificate earning 4.90 percent interest. Should i wait to add in the bond or will it ever get above 4.90 percent as the certificate will?

On December 19th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Lacey – your EE bond will never get 4.90%. However, the difference between the 4% it is getting and 4.9% on $263.04 is a little over $2.35 a year. Is it worth the risk and hassle to move the funds?

Tom Adams

On December 29th, 2008 Katy said:

I have 13 savings EE bonds issued in my handicapped sons name with my social security number. His grandmother had been buying them from 1993 to 1995. They were recently brought to my attention. Here’s the problem, my son receives his medical care through government benefits and cannot have more than $2000.00 in assets or he will lose his benefits. They are worth close to $5000.00. Can I have them reissued into my name? If I am to do this my son is not competent and cannot sign them over to me, so how would I do this?


On January 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Katy – You need to consult a lawyer who specializes in government benefits. Even though the assets involved in your case are Savings Bonds, this is a government benefits question, not a Savings Bond question.

Tom Adams

On January 5th, 2009 Eric Suro said:

We have an 8th month daughter. My parents just bought a $200 EE Savings Bond for her X-mas present and plan to do this for her Birthday and X-mas each year until she is 18. They didn’t realize it took 30 years to mature. Their plan is to give her money twice each year that she can use when she is older (16+) at her discretion. I told them that they would be wiser to give me the $100 to put in a Money Market Savings account twice each year rather then give bonds at a rate of 1.3% and that don’t appreciate for another 30 years. Am I correct?

On January 6th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Eric – your understanding of “30 years to mature” is incomplete. What it means is that the bonds stop paying interest after 30 years. It doesn’t mean they can’t be cashed for 30 years.

Actually, you and they would be wiser yet to set up a Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP) for your daughter and put the gift money, as well as additional funds, into that.

Tom Adams

On January 9th, 2009 Kathy K said:

My son has a series EE bond issued 07/1988 for $50 that he would like to cash for tuition payments. It has his name on it, but his late father’s social security number. My name is listed as POD, but no social. How does he go about cashing this?

On January 9th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kathy – the info you’re looking for is here. The SSN on the bond is of little consequence.

Tom Adams

On January 11th, 2009 Joanne said:

My husband and I were given 2 $1000 Series EE Patriot Bonds as a wedding gift 2 years ago. Can you tell us how much they will be worth 20 years from the issue date and 30 years from the issue date? Thanks.

On January 12th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Joanne – the person who gave you these bonds paid $500 for each of them. They are each worth a little more than that now. In 20 years they’ll be worth $1,000 each.

I can’t tell you how much they’ll be worth in 30 years, because the interest rate they’ll earn those last 10 years won’t be known until they’re 20 years old.

Tom Adams

On January 20th, 2009 Daniel said:

I have 20 $50 EE bonds accumulated from the late 90s to mid 2000s. Having started a new business in the last couple years, I have accumulated some credit card debt. Doesn’t it make sense to pay down some of the credit card debt (10% interest) by cashing the bonds?

On January 20th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Daniel – From a financial perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to earn 4% on the bonds and pay 10% on the cards. This is the opposite of what banks do (borrow cheap, lend high) and is a money-losing situation.

The best thing to do is cash the bonds to pay off the credit cards now, then use the money that would have otherwise gone to paying off the plastic to buy new Savings Bonds. You are loaning the bonds to yourself and the tough you has to make sure you get your money back.

If you can’t get yourself to replace the bonds then you’re just throwing the money away and it might be better to keep the bonds for a true emergency.

Tom Adams

On February 5th, 2009 Theoline Isaacson said:

If I cash a EE bond–original price $5000.00–present value $20,860.00 how much will I receive after the tax deduction? Thank you.

On February 6th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Theoline – Assuming you are a U.S. citizen and not subject to backup withholding, you will receive the full 20,860.00.

You have to figure out how much you owe in tax on the interest when you do your taxes for the year in which you cashed the bond. For an amount this large, you should make an estimated tax payment.

The actual amount of tax depends on how much other income you have. You should probably consult a tax advisor to determine the correct amount to send in.

Tom Adams

On February 24th, 2009 John said:

I really don’t have a clear understanding of how the bond market works but have heard experts like Jim Rogers say, “you’ve got to sell short government bonds, because the numbers are just staggering.” How does this effect me and my bonds that I have? Should I go out and cash them in? The oldest one that I have is from 1983. The others are from the early to mid 90s. Please let me know what you think my best action is.

On February 25th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

John – Jim Rogers isn’t talking about Savings Bonds; he’s talking about Treasury Bonds, which are very different securities.

Rogers expects interest rates to rise. When this happens, the value of Treasury Bonds goes down. Thus his advice to short them.

However, if rising interest rate changes have any impact at all on your Savings Bonds, it will be that you’ll earn more interest. So there’s no sudden need to do anything different than what you’ve been doing.

Tom Adams

On February 25th, 2009 John said:

Tom- Thank you for explaining that; what you said definitley makes sense. I take the advise of Jim Rogers and he stated on Febuary 4th:

“I will tell you that anybody who buys government bonds is making a terrible, terrible mistake. If I were you, I’d go home and sell your bonds.”

I was under the impression he was talking about savings bonds. I guess my best option, and as you explained, is to wait for the interest rates to rise and hold on to them. In fact, it seems rather pointless to get rid of them now with such low interest rates.

Thanks for everything!


On March 6th, 2009 Theoline Isaacson said:

When my two children inherit several POD bonds upon my death, can the interest be deferred until maturity or until they cash them or does it have to be paid at the time they receive them? Thank you. Theoline

On March 9th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Theoline – Heirs can continue to defer the income tax on Savings Bond interest until the bonds are cashed or stop earning interest, whichever comes first.

Tom Adams

On March 11th, 2009 mari said:

hi tom …i just start’d purchasing EE bond but from what iv’e been reading i dont think its a good idea anymore and i aslo been hearing bad talk on the radio about them. Do you think i should discontinue buying them?

On March 12th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mari – historically, the Series I Savings Bond has done much better than the Series EE.

Tom Adams

On March 20th, 2009 christine said:

Hi Tom, I have a $100 series EE bond issue date of 11-1994 when would be the best time to cash in. Looks like I’m getting around 2.89% interest now and I understand the rate changes every 6 months? Am i completely confused :-0 Thanks much

On March 22nd, 2009 Nancy Shafsky said:

I have given my 3 great grandchildren a $50. Series EE savings bond each Xmas & on each birthday since 2002. The co-owner is their mother. Is this the most advantageous way to give them money for their future educational needs or should they be cashed in & simply give the money in another form? What do you suggest? The birthdays are March, July, August & the 4th is expected in Sept. I’m 88 & would like it simplified a bit, if possible. Thank you very much.

On March 23rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Christine – in my opinion, owning one $100 Savings Bond is silly. Savings Bonds should either be a significant part of your investment portfolio or not. If not, then cash it now and mix the funds in with your other savings.

Nancy – in my opinion, Savings Bonds don’t make particularly good gifts, but if that’s what you want to do there’s more info on doing this here.

Tom Adams

On April 6th, 2009 Amy Cordrey said:

I cashed in Series EE savings bonds that were bought for my children. I cashed them in so that we could use the money for a CD. Why do I have to pay taxed on the interest when they were for my children. I didn’t know this is how it worked or I would have never did it. Can anything be done to have the interest in their name?

On April 6th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Amy – It depends on how much interest each child earned and whether the children’s names were on the bonds. If it was less than $1,600 per child and their names were on the bonds, have your tax advisor get a copy of my book. The details of what you need to do are complicated, but I think a tax specialist can help you if he or she is familiar with Savings Bond taxation issues.

Tom Adams

On April 22nd, 2009 Jim Uliana said:

My Mother-in-Law recently passed away. When going through the house we found 400 bonds her husband had bought and put away. Some of these were series EE bonds, but some were series E bonds. The series E bonds are naturally a lot more than 7 years old. (Actually, they’re from the 1970’s.) Since so much time has passed since they matured, and since both of them are deceased, when we cash them in does someone have to pay the tax and a late penalty on them? Thanks. Jim Uliana

On April 22nd, 2009 Valerie said:

Hi there – so glad to find this site!
I have a $5,000 E Series bond from 1992. When should I cash it in? What is it earning per year?

On April 27th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jim – Savings Bonds earn interest for 30 years. If the E bonds are older than that you will have to cash them. Yes, you will have to pay income tax on the interest the bonds have earned, but there’s no penalty.

With this much money involved, it would pay you to spend a weekend reading my book. You have options here and some save more tax money than others.

Valerie – You can use the Savings Bond Calculator at the top of this page to find out what your bond is worth and what rate it’s earning. You should cash it in when you need the money.

Tom Adams

On May 10th, 2009 Kevin said:

Tom –

If one were to buy $5000 in Series EE bonds now at .7%, at face value thru Treasury Diret, would they still double in 20 years at the implied interest rate of 3.5%



On May 11th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kevin – That is correct. Series EE Savings Bonds are still guaranteed to double in value in 20 years and that’s the equivalent of 3.5% if you hold them that long.

But while that looks like a great rate today, looking at past periods of 20 years, it’s not so hot.

Tom Adams

On May 14th, 2009 robin labrie said:

I have 2 EE bonds that will stop accruing interest in Oct 2010. If I don’t cash them in will I still be issued a 1099INT in 2010?
If I don’t cash them in, is there any reason why they would ever be valued any less than on the last day they accrued interest

On May 15th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robin – you will not be issued a 1099-INT, but the IRS says you owe the taxes that year anyhow.

Not cashing a bond that has stopped earning interest is almost always a huge financial mistake. After a couple of years you’ve lost far more by not earning interest than you’d have to pay in taxes.

Tom Adams

On May 26th, 2009 Howard Newhard said:

An elderly relative purchased a series E bond as a gift in 12/1975 and only just recently gave it to me. After checking, I see it is worth a substanial amount, but it is also past its maturity date. Since I obviously did not have possesion of this when it matured, how should this be handled with the IRS since taxes have not been paid on it yet? Should I cash it now or hold on to it awhile longer?

On May 27th, 2009 Curtis said:

Ok, I hate to sound stupid. But I just purchased a $200 face value EE bond at my local bank as a gift for my best friends newely born daughter.

Why did my $200 bond only cost me $100?

I remember cashing in a $50 face value bond after it matured 30 years. The bond was purchased for $25 and I remember getting maybe $250 for it when I cased it.

So I really have no idea why you purchase it for $X amount, face value says $Y amount and when you cash it you get something completely different yet??

On May 31st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Howard – Yes, if the bonds have your name on them, you should cash them now. (If they don’t have your name on them you won’t be able to cash them.) If the IRS asks you to pay a penalty, that would be the time to show the IRS that you cashed the bonds as soon as you knew about them.

Curtis – This bit of confusion is a Savings Bond marketing gimmick from the 1950s that needs a stake driven through its heart.

Series EE bonds earn interest based on how much you originally invested. The face value is meaningless, except for giving a hint about what the original investment was (half the face value).

Series EE bonds are also guaranteed to double in value (reach face value) a certain number of years after issue – that’s currently 20 years; much longer than in the days of your previous bond.

Tom Adams

On June 1st, 2009 Kay Blanchard said:

My Dad passed away a few weeks ago (my Mom has already passed) She had EE series saving bonds that were in her name OR my Dads.
When I did the bond calulator – the value now is a little over $6500.
Some are dated 10/1986 up to 8/1994. I have 2 other siblings – what should we do with these bonds. Do we enter into the estate?
Thank you kindly,

On June 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kay – yes, because there is no living beneficiary or co-owner, the bonds go into your father’s estate and are distributed according to his will.

Tom Adams

On June 11th, 2009 Ellen Allen said:

Two of my children, age 17 and 13 each have a $100 series ee savings bond purchased April 28, 2005. What should I do with these? They both have savings accounts, 529 college plans, and a little Ford stock. Should I cash them out and put whatever they yield in one of these accounts, or wait 20 years (which seems silly as you commented on someone else’s prior question)? Thank you!

On June 15th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Ethan – It depends on whether the Savings Bonds have any emotional value (for example, were a gift from grandparents). If so, you also have to take that into consideration. If not, it would make sense to consolidate.

Tom Adams

On June 17th, 2009 JimRo said:

I have a whole series of EE bonds issues in the mid 80’s. Some have stopped earning interest. What are the requirements to convert these bonds without a tax issue to another Gov’t bond type like I’s or HH and what is the min $$ amt. Many of these don’t come to the end of the 30 year period until 2015.
However, most of them come to tghe end of the period yearly up thru 2015

On June 18th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

JimRo – All EE bonds are currently earning interest. HH bonds were discontinued in 2004, so there no conversion options when these stop earning interest.

Tom Adams

On June 21st, 2009 james said:

hi i have a $50 series ee savings bond from 08/1996 and i was wondering when will it be worth anything and how much do you think i could earn with it? is it worth holding on to?

On June 22nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

James – I’m not sure what you mean by “anything.” The bond represents an investment of $25. The interest rate the bond pays and the inflation rate are about the same, so it will always be worth about $25 in 1996 dollars.

I don’t recommend holding on to small Savings Bond investments like this one. If you’re going to invest in Savings Bonds, you should invest enough to make the time spent tracking them worthwhile.

Tom Adams

On July 20th, 2009 William said:

I have a sales job and there is no retirement. I only have one EE bond that I purchased last week. My plan is to purchase between $100 and $200 in bonds per week. I plan to forget they are there for 30 years until they reach full maturity, and I retire. I don’t have alot of knowledge about investing or time to research. If I stick to this plan, will this be worry free investing?(Meaning: Can I forget about them for 30 years and still recieve the maxium return without complication or penalties?)

On July 21st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

William – yes, they are worry free in the sense that you can forget about them.

Historically, Series I bonds have done better than Series EE. If I were you, I’d get Series I.

There’s also a limit of $5,000 per series per year, so at the rate you’re going you’ll have to buy some of both anyhow.

You can automate this by using TreasuryDirect rather than paper bonds.

Tom Adams

On September 23rd, 2009 April said:

I have multiple Series EE bonds, given as gifts to my children, that are listed under the “giver’s” SS#. I read in one of your posts, your suggestion to always use the recipient’s SS# in order to make tracking them easier in the event they are ever lost. Would you recommend that I change them now? If so, how would I go about doing so?

On September 24th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

April – the Treasury won’t reissue Savings Bonds just to change the SSN.

I recommend that you photocopy the bonds and put the copies in a different safe place from the one where you keep the bonds. That way you have both the SSN on the bonds and the bond serial numbers if they are lost or stolen.

Tom Adams

On October 3rd, 2009 usha said:

I have $100.00 dollar series EE bonds –year 1977 and 100.00 seroes EE bonds year 1990.can I just go to the bank and cash them?what are they worth?

On October 5th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Usha – In general, the answer to your question is yes, but you should read my post on How to Cash In a Savings Bond.

You can discover the current redemption value of your bonds by using the Savings Bond Calculator at the top (right side) of this page.

Tom Adams

On February 7th, 2010 L.K. Hastings said:

When my mother died 6 years ago, she had several thousands savings bond, in her and my name, that were getting good interest. In her last income tax statement, we declared the interest to date on them as income. The bonds stopped earning interest in the last year, and I cashed them.

Since I know the amount they were worth and how much interest was declared on her last income tax statement, can I declare only the amount made between her death and now as income for purposes of federal tax?

On February 8th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

LK – Declare the full amount of interest from the 1099-INT on your tax return, then below that add a line “Savings Bond interest previously taxes” and subtract out the interest you put on your return previously. If you win the audit lottery, you just need to show the auditor the return on which you previously declared this interest.

Tom Adams

On February 14th, 2010 Aaron said:

I was just wondering, since interest rates have plummeted recently and Treasury security yields are so low right now, is it possible that the current 1.20% rate for the EE bond is actually higher than it would have been right now if the 1997-2005 rules were still in place?

On February 15th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Aaron – that’s easy to check. Use the calculator at the top of this page to see what rate is being paid on the earlier bonds. Although it’s well below the current I bond rate, it’s not below the current EE rate.

Tom Adams

On February 15th, 2010 Kay said:

Why are Ibonds currently showing 0% current interest rate? I entered bond dates from 2001 thru 2009 and they all show 0% interest. The treasury direct bond calculator shows the same thing. Interest seems to have stopped in 10/2009.

On February 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Kay – The info you’re looking for is here. You’ll find it helpful to read the comments on this post, too.

Tom Adams

On February 17th, 2010 Kay said:

Thanks Tom, I think I get it now.

On February 17th, 2010 Steve said:

I have been issued Series EE bonds through work for 25 years. Several of the bonds are missing. Is there a way to get a list of bonds that were issued to me and a list of bonds that have been cashed?

On February 18th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Steve – the info you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On February 28th, 2010 Michael said:

Hello, my mother passed away in 2007. On her passing there were 15 Series EE Savings Bonds at $100 denomination that I inherited. They were issued in the year 1990. I have already been on the Calculator page so I know their present value. What I wanted to know was according to the website these bonds will all mature in 2020. What happens to these bonds once they pass this point? Do they roll over and start a new period? And how long can they continue to accrue interest? And is there a point where they just stop earning?

On March 1st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Michael – Series EE bonds pay interest for 30 years. Some people call that maturity, but I avoid that term on this web site because it has different meanings to different people.

So, the answer to your first question is they stop earning interest; the answer to question 2 is no; and the answer to questions 3 and 4 is 30 years .

Tom Adams

On March 16th, 2010 Allan said:

Mu son received EE savings bond when he was born in July 1986.

Do these bonds continue to accrue interest? He will only cash them in once they stop receiving interest.

thank you

On March 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Allen – they earn interest for 30 years, so he should cash them in July 2016.

Tom Adams

On March 18th, 2010 william ralph said:

I have several EE bonds dating from 1988 to 1992. They were receiving from 7.35 to 5.35 or so. What interest rate are they receiving now, and when will they drop to the next lower interest rate level? I am hearing that after thet reach maturity, the bonds drop to a lower rate, and then another rate after a period of time.

On March 18th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

William – You can use the calculator at the top of this page to see what rate they are currently earning. See the section above about bonds issued before 1995 for details on how the interest rates work.

Tom Adams

On April 4th, 2010 michael said:

Today I just received 3 $50 EE bonds from 1987. I used your calculator and found the current price and rate which is 4%.

First question, it would makes no sense to cash them now unless I needed the money as the rate is higher than current issued I and EE bonds?

Second, can you roll these over after the 30 year interest period and accure no taxes on interest? If so how (open to any inevestments)?

Third, you talked about a guarantee for doubling on EE bonds after 2005, but what about the ones in my grace period? Are they guaranteed as well because right now they are only 1.5 times face value. If they are guaranteed should I cash and put into an I bond or something earning high interest (also take in mind I am looking not to inherit taxes if possible)?

Fourth, does it matter the address and social security number on the EE bonds just as long as my name is on there as well? Main reason is my father passed way about 2 months ago and it has his ssn but my name with an old address then “OR” my father’s name.

On April 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Michael – It makes no sense to cash them because similar investments pay less interest today; on the other hand, this isn’t a great deal of money and Savings Bonds are easy to misplace and forget, which would be a reason to cash them.

You cannot roll these over after 30 years without paying tax on the interest they’ve earned.

These bonds have already doubled in value (your father bought them for half the face value on the bond).

The address and SSN on the bond are irrelevant. What’s important is that you are the co-owner. If you decide to keep them, you should consider changing the registration and adding a co-owner or beneficiary of your own.

Tom Adams

On April 9th, 2010 Ann said:

Dad bought 2 $10,000 EE bonds Jan. 1993. He was told they were special issue (1992-Feb.1993) and would draw 8% for 5 years, 6% for 7 years, then 4% until cashed. Your calculator seems to figure the first 12 years at only 6%. Was he given the wrong information when he purchased these bonds?

On April 12th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Ann – There were some Savings Bonds issued in the early 1980s that paid over 8% for their first eight years, but in January 1993 the deal was 12 years at 6% followed by an unknown rate for 18 years. The unknown rate has turned out to be 4%.

The 6% deal did end in Feb 1993 and there hasn’t been anything that good since then.

Tom Adams

On May 1st, 2010 Kyle Van Meter said:


My Father died recently and we discovered a small fortune in Series E Savings Bonds. These were located in a metal box in the attic of his home.

The bonds are series E, $1000 denomination, issued between the mid 1950’s through early 1970’s. The bonds were all purchased by our grandparents with my father’s name as the secondary owner.

All of the bonds have matured and we are working though our father’s estate to establish the ownership of them. We are not sure how to handle the tax consequences of these fully matured bonds. So far, we have spoken to two attorneys and and a couple of CPA’s, all of which are not sure. Any help on your part would be greatly appreciated.


On May 3rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Kyle – Typically the Executor has the choice of reporting the interest earned on the owner’s final tax return, on the estate’s tax return, or on the tax returns of the heirs. You’d pick the one with the lowest tax rate. However, since the bonds have stopped earning interest, ask your attorneys or CPAs to look up whether putting them on your father’s final return is still an option – it may be too late even for that.

Tom Adams

On May 7th, 2010 cheryl sargent said:

I have 2 $100 series EE bonds purchased in 8/1996 and one fro $200 purchased in 9/2000. I know nothing about these things. When do they “mature” and what are they worth now and what is the best thing to do with them? They were purchased by Grandparents for my son.

On May 9th, 2010 Anthony said:

Hi all, I have a quick question. I had been given a $500 savings bond in March of 1993. It says it’s final maturity date(according to the calculator) is March 1, 2023. Do yo uknow how I can find out how much it will be worth then? Thank you!

On May 10th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Cheryl – The best thing to do with them is to give them to your son when he’s 18 or so and let him decide what to do next. If you want to know what they’re worth now you can use the calculator at the top of this page.

Anthony – That bond has a rate that adjusts with the current level of interest rates, so there’s no way to tell you what it will be worth.

Tom Adams

On May 10th, 2010 Michael said:

I purchase a box at an estate auction and it had some old EE bonds in there. I checked with they are not showing up NE for payment. What are my options on cashing them out?

On May 11th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Michael – you have no options, only the person named on the bond can cash it. There’s more info here.

Tom Adams

On May 13th, 2010 william johnson said:

I have some old 1988 ee bonds that you indicate are getting 4% interest currently. When will they drop to a lower interest, and what will that interest be? Thank you for your help.

On May 14th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

William – in 1988 EE bonds doubled in value in 12 years, which means their first maturity period (see definition above) ended in 2000.

Maturity periods after the first always last 10 years (or until the bond stops earning interest), so you’ll end another one this year. As of today, the Treasury is setting the minimum guarantee for new maturity periods at 4%. The new one will end in 2018 when the bond stops earning interest.

Tom Adams

On May 14th, 2010 Julie Parker said:

I’m 25, my daughter is 8 and my son is 8 months old. I am clueless when it comes to savings bonds. It seems like I should go with the I bond? My daughter received $600 from her birthday party and I was going to use $400 to buy savings bonds for her. So when she is 28 she will have $800? Are savings bonds the best investment for my kids or should I look into something else? Thank you.

On May 17th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Julie – with an EE bond, the $400 would become $800 in 20 years. With an I bond it would probably happen faster than that, but it’s not guaranteed the way it is with EE bonds.

If you expect your kids to go to college you might look into a Qualified Tuition Plan as a way to save for that, but it’s difficult to say that’s better than Savings Bonds. It just another option.

Tom Adams

On May 21st, 2010 Denise said:

Hello Tom

My husband purchased 170 EE bonds between 1987 and 1991 for our two children. He died in 1991 and I have not yet attempted to cash in any of the bonds. The names on the bonds are either my daughter’s name or my son’s (she has more than him since she was born first). A statement at the bottom reads POD to my husband (who is now deceased). I would like to cash these in at their peak value and not pay federal taxes if at all possible. If I wait until their peak value, my children will be out of college (they are both in college now). Do I have to have all 170 of these bonds changed to my name first before I can get the education exemption. Or should I just wait until the 30 years and have them cash them in. I am not certain, but I think I am right at the gross adjusted income to not allow the exemption.

On May 24th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Hi Denise – Changing the name on the bonds from your children to you is a taxable event, so that won’t gain you anything. Basically, the bonds aren’t registered correctly to be eligible for the college tax exemption. There’s more info here.

Tom Adams

On May 30th, 2010 diana rintala said:

Where does a person cash in the EE bonds? At a bank or a credit union? Or does it have to go through the US treasury?
Thank you. Diana

On May 31st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Diana – the information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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