Nothing like a
Americans snatched up nearly $11 billion in I Bonds, which are inflation-adjusted U.S. savings bonds, over the past six months, compared with around $1.2 billion during the same period in 2020 and 2021, according to Treasury Department records. That figure will likely rise even higher on an expected jump in rates next month.
Another common question is to buy this week in April or wait until May. Here is another perspective:
I Bonds will be subject to at least one rate change in a 12-month period. Elliot Pepper, a financial planner in Baltimore, doesn’t know what the next rate after 9.6% will be. So, he’ll try to mitigate the risk that it will be lower than 7.12% by taking half of his annual limit and “locking in” the combined 7.12% and 9.6% and then buying the remaining $5,000 in late October, when he has more visibility about the next rate.
If the rate then is lower than 7.12%, Mr. Pepper said he would have been better off investing his $10,000 maximum before May. If the rate is higher than 7.12%, he would have been better off buying the bonds after May, he said.
My view remains that historically, a 7.12% inflation rate is much higher than average. So if you take a step back, your options are:
7.12% for 6 months + 9.62% for 6 months + ??? for 6 months
9.62% for 6 months + ??? for 6 months + ???? for 6 months
I’d rather lock in the 7.12% over an unknown number. However, if the new rate in October does end up being even higher, I will still eventually get that future ??? rate as a long-term holder of I bonds (it’ll just be shifted six months later). Finally, you get to start earning the interest a month earlier if bought in April. As I had the cash available in other low-interest vehicles, I saw no reason to wait. I’ve already maxed out for 2022 and 2021 (and 2020 and 2019…)
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