“Everyone knows that they should save,” Jerry Kelly says. “But not many people know how to get started.”
Kelly is the Campaign Director for Ready.Save.Grow., the U.S. Treasury Department’s effort to inform the public about how it’s possible to start saving easily with U.S. savings bonds.
“The great thing about savings bonds, and what people don’t know, is that you don’t have to make a lot of decisions,” he continues. “Once you set it up, it can be on autopilot.”
That’s right. It’s possible to automate your savings with U.S. Savings bonds when you an open an account at TreasuryDirect.gov and begin setting money aside. “You can put in as much as you want,” Kelly says. “The money you put in accumulates, and once it reaches $25, it is used to buy the savings bond you designate.”
Opening an Account with TreasuryDirect
It’s fairly easy to open an account with TreasuryDirect and start saving with the help of U.S. savings bonds. “You need a taxpayer identification number, usually a Social Security number to open an account,” Kelly says. He also says that you will need to answer the same sorts of questions that are required when opening a bank account. “Once you have your TreasuryDirect account, you just take your banking information and enter it so that you can have automatic withdrawals.”
It’s also possible to set up your U.S. savings bond plan with your employer. “Once you have your TreasuryDirect account, you can get our routing number. Take your account number and our routing number to payroll, and tell them how much to direct into your account.”
This makes buying U.S. savings bonds quick and easy, and can make them part of your overall savings strategy without too much trouble at all.
What are Your Savings Bonds Options?
Kelly says that you can choose between two different types of bonds:
- Traditional EE Bond: The Series EE bond is what many of us are familiar with. As of this writing, Kelly points out that the rate of return on the Series EE bond is 0.2%.
- Inflation-Adjusted Bond: You can also get a Series I bond, which is adjusted for inflation. “Right now, the fixed portion of the interest rate on the bond is 0%,” Kelly says. “But the interest rate adjusts to CPI, so the rate of return is higher right now because of inflation.”
An inflation-adjusted bond can help you avoid losses due to inflation, on top of protecting your capital.
The U.S. Treasury no longer issues paper bonds, so you have to manage your account electronically. It’s also possible to convert paper savings bonds you received in the past to electronic bonds to make it easier to manage all of you savings bonds.
“We want people to know about the safety and affordability of U.S. savings bonds,” Kelly says. “There are no fees, no loads, and no commissions when people come directly to us. Our system has never been compromised, and our bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.”
With the ability to start saving with as little as $25, and with the ability to set up the automatic savings plan, you really can get started with a good savings plan when you use U.S. savings bonds.