SAVINGS BONDS FOR KIDS: How to Invest in Savings Bonds for Kids

Savings bonds for kids
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A monetary gift is always a terrific choice for a special youngster in your life who has everything. You can both show them how much you care and do something good for their future. Making a financial contribution is often as simple as placing a few dollars in an envelope. That’s not to say that these presents don’t have value. Fortunately, there are additional gift options that convey the same emotion but have the added benefit of earning money over time. It is possible to purchase or give money to kids or grandchildren in your life today while also investing in their future well-being and aspirations by buying US Treasury savings bonds for them.

In contrast to other assets, such as stocks or real estate, savings bonds have limited growth potential. Savings bonds are a type of investment that has been around for a long time. Stock market index funds are often more profitable than older assets like mutual funds.

Do you have second thoughts about giving a savings bond to a young person in your life? Learn more about savings bonds, the benefits and drawbacks of buying them for children, and some other options to think about if a savings bond isn’t suitable for you by continuing to read this article!

What are Savings Bonds?

The Treasury Department of the United States of America issues savings bonds as a kind of investment. It’s a low-risk, high-return investment.

As though lending money to the government, purchasing a savings bond is akin to investing. It’s up to the government to return your money after a set length of time. While you’re at it, you’ll also be able to cash in on interest payments.

TreasuryDirect, the official treasury bond website of the United States government, offers internet purchasing of savings bonds. Whether for oneself or as a gift, they are available.

Gifting savings bonds to children is becoming increasingly common. Their prices don’t fluctuate with the stock market, making them a low-risk investment that provides a steady interest.

When compared to some of the finest investments for kids, savings bonds give a paltry return on investment (usually less than 1%). (like stocks).

How Do Savings Bonds Work?

The federal government backs up savings bonds that the U.S. Treasury gives out. They’re available for as little as $25 or as much as $10,000, depending on your budget.

Buying a savings bond is simply lending money to the government, and you’ll get your money back at a later period. The interest can build up for up to 30 years while you wait.

However, you must wait at least five years before cashing in your savings bond to receive all of its accrued interest.

It’s best to give a savings bond as a gift when the recipient is ready to redeem it at its full maturity.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, approximately 80 million maturing savings bonds worth $29 billion remained unredeemed as of April 2021.

There Are Two Different Types of Savings Bonds:

Series EE Bonds:

In the form of monthly interest payments, these bonds are available in electronic form.

They will at least double in value in the next 20 years. A 0.10 percent interest rate will be paid on Series EE bonds acquired until April 2022.

Series I Bonds:

With an IRS tax refund, you can buy a Series I bond on paper, but you can also get these bonds online.

Unlike Series EE bonds, they have a fixed interest rate and a variable interest rate that fluctuates with inflation. This makes them distinct from Series EE bonds.

A Series I bond purchased until April 2022 carries a 7.12 percent composite interest rate. Every six months, a portion of this rate is linked to inflation.

Purchase limits are in place. You can buy up to $10,000 in electronic Series I bonds, $5,000 in physical Series I bonds, and $10,000 in Series EE bonds in a calendar year.

Additionally, these figures exclude any savings bonds received as a gift.

How do Series EE bonds work?

Minimum purchase: $25

‍Maximum purchase: $10,000 per year

Interest rate: A constant rate (currently 0.1 percent ). In addition, the return on investment for EE bonds is guaranteed to double after 20 years (which works out to around 3.5 percent if held for 20 years)

Minimum ownership length: 1 year

Interest-earning period: 30 years, or until redeemed, whichever comes first

Early redemption penalty: Before 5 years, forfeit the previous 3 months of interest; after 5 years, no penalty

Tax considerations: Interest is taxable as income at the federal level but is free from most state and local taxes. If it is used to pay for qualified educational costs, however, interest may be exempt from taxation at the federal level.

There is no other savings bond quite like the Series EE bond, which, if kept for the full 20 years, will see its value increase by 100%.

Series EE Savings Bond;

The interest rate that is paid out on EE bonds is relatively modest (currently 0.1 percent ). On the other hand, if the bond is held for 20 years, a one-time adjustment will be made to ensure that the value of the bond has increased by an amount equal to its face value.

Bonds of the Series EE have the potential to produce a return of 2% annually for 20 years. This is the same as an interest rate of approximately 3.5 percent.

On the other hand, if you don’t keep it for 20 years, you’ll just benefit from the reduced interest rate that was in effect when you bought it.

In sharp contrast to that:

  • In 20 years, a $1,000 EE bond would be worth $2,000 in cash.
  • Only $1,019.17 would be earned on a $1,000 EE bond kept for 19 years (based on current interest rates)
  • EE bonds often make the greatest sense if they are to be held for at least 20 years, due to the peculiar interest structure of the bond. Series I bonds, on the other hand, are more likely to yield bigger yields over time.

How Do You Redeem Savings Bonds?

An online TreasuryDirect account is the preferred method of redemption for holders of savings bonds. A connected bank account can receive the original purchase money, as well as any earned interest, once the transaction has been completed.

EE and Series I bonds must be held for at least one year before they can be redeemed. For the first year, you can’t use them.

To redeem your savings bond early, you’ll have to pay a little fee. The previous three months have been quite exciting for me.

I-bonds can be redeemed after 20 months, but only 17 months of interest will be paid out to you because of an early redemption penalty.

Pros and Cons of Savings Bonds for Kids

There are good things and bad things about savings bonds that you should know. Remember these crucial points.

Pros

A low-risk investment:

The United States government stands behind savings bonds. Their worth won’t drop until the government fails to pay its debts (which is highly unlikely). Savings bonds are safe investments, unlike more volatile investments like stocks, which might lose money.

‍A long-term gift for a child:

You can increase the impact of your financial donation by investing in savings bonds, which rise in value over time. Financial gifts can help a child get started on the right financial path.

‍No commissions or fees:

Savings bonds are bought through TreasuryDirect instead of a stockbroker. Purchases and redemptions are free of any fees or commissions.

‍Tax advantages:

Most state and local taxes on savings bond interest are excluded. On the other hand, federal income tax is still required on interest payments.

Cons

Low rate of return:

There is a lower rate of return on savings bonds compared to more aggressive investments like stocks To decrease their risk, investors must accept this trade-off.

‍Requires a separate account:

TreasuryDirect is the only place where you may buy savings bonds. You can’t buy them with a regular brokerage account or a custody account for a minor. 

‍Minimum holding periods:

The owner of Series I and Series EE bonds must wait at least one year after purchase before redeeming them.

‍Interest penalties:

In both types of savings bonds, if you redeem them before the five-year mark, you will be penalized. For early redemptions, you will lose the interest accrued for the last three months. I-Bonds can be redeemed after 25 months, however, only 22 months of interest will be paid.

‍Adjustable rate:

Every six months, the interest rate on I-bonds varies. Whatever inflation rate was mentioned at the time of purchase is only valid for 6 months.

Inflation will be the determining factor in future interest rates. The interest rate on Series EE bonds, on the other hand, is fixed and cannot be altered.

Buying Savings Bonds for Kids

Savings Bonds on Treasurydirect

When it comes to buying savings bonds for kids, TreasuryDirect.gov is the only place to purchase savings bonds. This is the only way to buy electronic savings bonds.

You can also use your tax refund to buy physical Series I savings bonds, but only if you are due for a refund. To purchase paper bonds, you can only do it via electronic means.

You or someone else can acquire a savings bond. The receiver might be included in the bond as either an “owner” or a “co-owner.” You can give savings bonds to anyone, even children.

The recipient must already have a TreasuryDirect account for this to work. If they don’t, open an account before you buy the bond. A parent or guardian must set up a minor-linked account for a child to use the service.

A TreasuryDirect account is required for the buyer as well when buying savings bonds for kids. Because of this, you and your child must each create an account.

Necessary Information to Purchase Children’s Savings Bonds:

  • The full name of the child
  • The social security number of the child (SSN)
  • The TreasuryDirect account number of the minor
  • A social security number (or tax identification number) for the child must be obtained from the parents.
  • If you want to buy savings bonds on behalf of someone else, you’ll need that person’s tax ID number.

Treasury bonds purchased as gifts must remain in the account of their buyer for five days before being transferred to their intended recipient.

Print up a certificate describing the savings bond donation as an option. However, you must still follow the above-described online procedures.

You should already know that you can’t buy or sell savings bonds on the open market or through stock brokerage accounts. After the 1-year waiting period, TreasuryDirect is the only place where savings bonds can be acquired and redeemed.

Purchase Savings Bonds for Grandchildren

To purchase digital savings bonds as a present for your grandchildren, you can use the TreasuryDirect website, managed by the US Department of the Treasury, which is a secure web-based system. For those unfamiliar with the process of purchasing digital savings bonds, these are the essential steps you need to follow to purchase them:

  • Go to www.treasurydirect.gov.
  • Log into your TreasuryDirect account (or open one in your name).
  • Purchase the type of savings bond you wish (Series EE or Series I), in the desired denomination ($25 to $10,000).
  • Deliver the savings bond gift to the recipient’s TreasuryDirect account.
  • Print out a gift certificate to give to the recipient.

The recipient’s full legal name, Social Security number, and TreasuryDirect account number are all required. Once the minor’s parent or legal guardian has set up their own TreasuryDirect account, they can give their minor the gift of savings bonds as long as they have the proper permissions to do so.

To continue in the purchase of savings bonds for your grandchildren, you’ll store them in your own account’s “Gift Box.”

Then transferring them to the child’s account later is an option if the parent or guardian does not want to set up an account.

As a parent, you must supply the Social Security number of your child since the bond will count toward their yearly bond purchase limit, not yours.

Series EE electronic bonds, Series I electronic bonds, and Series I paper bonds each have a combined annual purchase limit of $10k. This includes all three types of bonds: electronic and paper.

All I’m Saying Is This:

For the 2020 and 2021 tax years, you can make tax-free gifts to as many people as you want, up to $15,000 per year ($30,000 if you and your spouse live together). This includes gifts to 529 college savings plans.

Working with skilled tax professionals is recommended due to the complexity of tax legislation. To ensure that your family can purchase or give cash gifts, such as buying savings bonds for your kids and grandchildren, while also reducing tax penalties, you should take a proactive approach.

Savings Bonds For Kids FAQs

Are savings bonds still a good gift?

Yes, Investing in savings bonds, which yield interest over time, is considered a secure and simple financial strategy. In addition, minors can hold them in their name, making them ideal presents for children.

How can one buy savings bonds for kids?

When it comes to buying savings bonds for kids, TreasuryDirect.gov is the only place to purchase savings bonds, as this is the only way to buy electronic savings bonds.

How can you purchase savings bonds for grandchildren?

To purchase savings bonds for grandchildren, you can use the TreasuryDirect website, managed by the US Department of the Treasury, which is a secure web-based system.

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