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I-Bonds - paper or electronic?
Old 10-21-2010, 04:51 PM   #1
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I-Bonds - paper or electronic?

I am just wondering if there are any I-Bonds owners here and how they keep I-Bonds - as paper or in TreasureDirect?
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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I have my I-bonds electronic only.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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My I-Bonds are all through Treasury Direct
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #4
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I have my I-bonds electronic only.
Did you convert?
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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My I-Bonds are all through Treasury Direct
Does Treasury Direct accounts for interest on monthly basis and does it allow forecasting interest payments?
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:02 PM   #6
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All my I-bonds are electronic as well. Treasury Direct has this savings bond calculator which allows you to forecast interest payments:

Calculate the Value of Your Paper Savings Bond(s)
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:44 PM   #7
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My I-bonds as well as EE bonds are all paper and reside in my safe deposit box. I use the Savings Bond Wizard to track the value and keep an inventory.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Did you convert?
No, but I did have a lot of small EE-Bonds in paper format that I converted. It was a few years ago but I recall that it was easy enough. (I've since cashed them all in).
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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I had some paper bonds and then opened a TreasuryDirect account and bought some there as well. The funny thing is that I wanted to convert all my paper bonds to electronic format, but I had to wait for an "invitation" to do that. This was a few years ago, so they may have gotten caught up and eliminated the wait to convert.

I now hold everything in the electronic account only.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:43 PM   #10
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Thank you all!

I have all I-bonds in paper in my deposit box and still not sure if I should convert.
One thing that makes it unconformable is the fact that Treasury Direct does work with s/w like Quicken.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:39 PM   #11
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If you go electronic, will a surviving spouse (or other heirs) know that the account exists and how to access it? Will that info be safe from others?
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wanaberetiree View Post
I am just wondering if there are any I-Bonds owners here and how they keep I-Bonds - as paper or in TreasureDirect?
I've been buying small quantities of Savings Bonds by payroll deduction for years. I get the paper bonds in the mail and keep them in my safe deposit box. But the payroll deduction plan is being phased out. I don't know if I will buy more Savings bonds or just invest the money elsewhere. A new baby relative arrived last spring—maybe I will start a 529 for him instead of the bonds.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:13 PM   #13
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another question - if I convert a paper $30K bound, will I be able to sell it in smaller parts, say $5K x 6 ?
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:14 AM   #14
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Thank you all!
I have all I-bonds in paper in my deposit box and still not sure if I should convert.
One thing that makes it unconformable is the fact that Treasury Direct does work with s/w like Quicken.
The Internet reference expert on this subject is Mel Lindauer over at the Bogleheads. I'd read the Bogleheads Wiki on the subject before posting, but they may be able to help you with that partial-redemption question.

The main difference between electronic & paper bonds is that the Treasury will replace paper bonds (lost, stolen, damaged) but will not "replace" electronic bonds which have been electronically lost or stolen.

We converted an inch-high stack of EEs to electronic last year. It was so flawless and painless that I don't understand why the banks & credit unions don't immediately suggest it to their customers instead of launching into detailed explanations of the seven circles of hell we'd have to navigate to use their "services" to redeem a paper bond.

You could use the Savings Bond Wizard to track the value of your bonds and enter that into Quicken manually. I don't bother doing it more frequently than annually or upon redemption.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:53 PM   #15
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another question - if I convert a paper $30K bound, will I be able to sell it in smaller parts, say $5K x 6 ?
Yes, I'm pretty sure you can.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:15 PM   #16
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Paper.

Maybe someone knows - my understanding is that I can cash the bonds at any bank which is a part of the FED system. Been 7 years since I bought mine, but I was thinking that was why I chose to keep the bonds in paper. I liked the idea of walking into a bank with a stack of bonds and walking out with a stack of currency, a counter check or a notation in my check book as to the new (and check-writeable) balance.

I'm sure it's easy to use the electronic system too. It's just that I'm a luddite (or dinosaur) and prefer the pieces of paper. Other than fire or theft, is there any major disadvantage to keeping paper? (sounds like there could be a disadvantage to electronic - if they are lost - How do you lose an electronic bond)
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:38 PM   #17
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Maybe someone knows - my understanding is that I can cash the bonds at any bank which is a part of the FED system. Been 7 years since I bought mine, but I was thinking that was why I chose to keep the bonds in paper. I liked the idea of walking into a bank with a stack of bonds and walking out with a stack of currency, a counter check or a notation in my check book as to the new (and check-writeable) balance.
Yeah, I like that idea too, but that's not shared by Bankoh or First Hawaiian or CPB or even NFCU...

Call a bank that you have an account with and see what they can do with you. Then for a look at the other side, call a bank where you don't have an account and see how negotiable those bonds really are.

Suddenly the process of electronic conversion via TreasuryDirect is simple and faster.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:52 PM   #18
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Yeah, I like that idea too, but that's not shared by Bankoh or First Hawaiian or CPB or even NFCU...

Call a bank that you have an account with and see what they can do with you. Then for a look at the other side, call a bank where you don't have an account and see how negotiable those bonds really are.

Suddenly the process of electronic conversion via TreasuryDirect is simple and faster.
Thanks. I guess you've answered my question. At least, theoretically, I can cash them at a bank. It might be best to be MY bank - not a problem.

I would guess that a threat to call the FED or Treasury with a complaint would bring most banks around, but I could be wrong. Again, a 7 year old memory, but I think i was told they were redeemable at ANY FED bank - not just one with an account. Still, since I've had an ASB account as long as I've had the bonds, I'm guessing it will not be a problem - especially since I'd likely deposit them to my CO instead of actually take the cash.

I know, I know - YMMV
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:54 PM   #19
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Maybe someone knows - my understanding is that I can cash the bonds at any bank which is a part of the FED system. Been 7 years since I bought mine, but I was thinking that was why I chose to keep the bonds in paper. I liked the idea of walking into a bank with a stack of bonds and walking out with a stack of currency, a counter check or a notation in my check book as to the new (and check-writeable) balance.

I'm sure it's easy to use the electronic system too. It's just that I'm a luddite (or dinosaur) and prefer the pieces of paper. Other than fire or theft, is there any major disadvantage to keeping paper? (sounds like there could be a disadvantage to electronic - if they are lost - How do you lose an electronic bond)
Yes, you can cash the paper bonds at a bank that you have an account with. I used to get EE bonds as rewards from a CC many years ago plus my company issued EE bonds as rewards for perfect attendance so I have cashed some at my walk-in bank in the past. (I don't have a walk-in bank anymore so I would need to convert paper to electronic these days).

I'm sure there is a way to lose electronic bonds, but I don't know that it has ever happened. I downloaded a "savings bond wizard" from Treasury Direct, and update it with the new rates twice a year. This wizard allows you to record each bond and save the details (no SS numbers or anything) in a file on your computer which you can also back up. If TD ever "lost" my bonds I have a seperate copy with numbers, issue dates etc that I can refer to. From time to time I log onto my TD account and check that the sums match my off-line copy.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:22 PM   #20
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Thanks. I guess you've answered my question. At least, theoretically, I can cash them at a bank. It might be best to be MY bank - not a problem.
I would guess that a threat to call the FED or Treasury with a complaint would bring most banks around, but I could be wrong. Again, a 7 year old memory, but I think i was told they were redeemable at ANY FED bank - not just one with an account. Still, since I've had an ASB account as long as I've had the bonds, I'm guessing it will not be a problem - especially since I'd likely deposit them to my CO instead of actually take the cash.
I know, I know - YMMV
I don't think the banks or credit unions get anything for the burden, and technically they don't refuse to cash them. They just make it such a bureaucratically miserable experience that you'll give up.

The details have been lost in my memory, but IIRC there was talk of having an account with a minimum of a $300 balance. After meeting those requirements for a month we'd be allowed to cash up to $1000 per day. Other banks had "bond redemption day" once per week. Our credit union (with which we have accounts, and used to have mortgages/HELOC) had us waiting in line for over 30 minutes before admitting it might be better to have an appointment. The bonds couldn't be pre-stamped or pre-endorsed... they had to be done in the presence of the employee. One at a time.

What was even more frustrating is that the EE bonds we held were purchased between 1992 and 1996 (for education) and only paid interest semiannually. We'd bought them with a monthly allotment during those years so I knew that I'd be going through this evolution at least every month for six months.

The conversion process takes a half-hour or so to complete, and a few business days for the snail mail and the electronic confirmation, but that beats the heck out of the bank bureaucracy. Now that they're electronic, it takes me longer to figure out how to log in to TreasuryDirect than to do the redemption. Even so the entire process is finished in less time than it would take to drive to the bank, let alone get through the process with one of their staff.
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