What is the maximum annual Savings Bond investment?

Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Categorized as: Buying US Savings Bonds

Is the $5,000 annual limit on Savings Bond purchases related to the face value of the bonds or to the investment? In other words, is the annual limit in terms of Series EE face value $5,000 or $10,000?

Tom’s response

The limit is how much you can invest. As of January 1, 2008, you can invest $5,000 per calendar year in paper Series EE bonds, which will have a $10,000 face value.

You can invest another $5,000 in paper Series I bonds as well as $5,000 each in electronic Series EE and Series I bonds, for a total of $20,000 a year.

Since the limit is based on a calendar year, you are also able to invest, for example, $5,000 in electronic I bonds in late December and another $5,000 a few days later in early January.

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10 Comments

On May 26th, 2008 brian said:

Hi Tom:
Your book has been quite valuable to my portfolio planning. Is it true that there is legally no limit to the number of paper I-bonds that I could buy with co-owners, provided they have not exceeded their limit? Why would this not work with electronic purchases with treasury direct?
Thanks
Brian

On May 27th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Brian – the limit is per Social Security Number, so if you use the co-owner’s SSN, and you have enough potential co-owners, there’s no limit on paper.

The same would apply to TreasuryDirect, but on TD the second co-owner (you in this case) has fewer rights than paper co-owners (for example, no right to cash the bond; owner can remove you from registration with a few keystrokes), so I would be more cautious there.

Tom Adams

On August 29th, 2008 Stephen said:

So, according to the above logic. I could have a scenario of the following:

Paper Bonds:

I (my SSN) could purchase $5000 of I-bonds in a particular year (Me as owner and my wife as benefeciary). Then in that same year purchase another $5000 using my wife’s (Owner) SSN, and me as a co-owner and have a total of $10000 I-bonds in that particular year ($10000 that I could potentially cash in because I am the owner on the first $5000 and co-owner on the second $5000 where my SSN is not tied to but still co-own?).

This seems a little……I am understanding this correctly?

On August 30th, 2008 Stephen said:

So according to the logic above:

One can buy an unlimited dollar amount of savings bonds as long as you are a co-owner and the primary owners SSN does not surpass the calendar year purcahse limit? In other words just keep on chaning the primary owner everytime the SSN reaches the limit?

Is this a loop-hole in the purchasing limit? This seems a little……am I understanding this correctly?

On September 2nd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Stephen – The way the Treasury tells if you’re over the limit is by looking at the Social Security Number on the bond, so the limit is per SSN.

You could only invest an “unlimited” amount in Savings Bonds this way if you had an “unlimited” number of people you were willing to make the first-named owner of your Savings Bonds.

Tom Adams

On February 23rd, 2009 Mike said:

Hi Tom,

In 2008, I purchased $5,000 worth of I bonds through TreasuryDirect and $5,000 paper of the same. Then, at the end of the year, I converted the paper to electronic- just to put everything in one place. Now, on the list of converted bonds, I had some others from much earlier years, the 2008 bond is noted with the status of “Restricted Security.” None of the others, in the converted or non-converted account indicate this status.

Does this mean that it surpasses the maximum purchase? What should I do?

Thanks very much in advance.

On February 24th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mike – I haven’t heard of this before, but it’s likely that it doesn’t mean anything more than that the converted I bonds aren’t past their one-year anniversary yet. If that’s the case, you can’t redeem them, and TD needs some way to note that.

Could you check the issue dates and see if that’s what’s going on? If you have a Jan or Feb 08 I bond that still says “Restricted Security” let me know.

Tom Adams

On February 25th, 2009 Mike said:

Hi Tom,

Both the electronic and paper purchases were made in March 2008, yet the electronic one doesn’t have the same status. Still, if you’re right, the status on the paper one should change next week. I’ll let you know.

On February 26th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mike – yes, please let me know. If the note is still there in March I’ll do some additional research on this for you.

Tom Adams

On March 5th, 2009 Mike said:

Hi Tom,

As of today, 5 March 2009, the converted paper bond still carries a status of “Restricted Security.” However, there is one other difference between that one and the others in my account; this one is held jointly. It’s indicated with my name and SS#, then “OR”, and my father’s name. I don’t know if that can trigger the status note.

I am still worried that when I read the TD rules, they indicate “$5,000 per series and TIN per calendar year”, without distinguishing between paper and electronic purchases of the same series.

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 Savings-Bond-Advisor.com. 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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