Do you have excess cash reserves that you won’t need for 12-months? If yes, then consider Series I savings bonds. These bonds pay a fixed rate for the life of the bond (today it is 0%), plus the annualized Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate. With the interest compounded semiannually, these I Bonds will pay a total annualized interest rate of 7.12% through April 2022, well in excess of any other safe yield obtainable (*see below on liquidity constraints). If inflation rises, the rate will go up when it resets in April. The bonds also protect against deflation: the overall rate on the bonds can never fall below zero. A win-win scenario.
In addition, the interest on an I Bond is exempt from state and local income taxes, and if you use the proceeds for qualified higher-education expenses, the interest is exempt from federal taxes as well (*income restrictions apply). Interest is deferred until the bond matures or is cashed in and you don’t pay federal taxes until you redeem the bond.
Maturity takes 30 years, and you must hold a Series I bond for 12 months, but you can cash them in after one year with a small penalty and after five years without any penalty.
You can buy up to $10,000 per person per year directly from Treasury Direct. Couples can use a year-end strategy to bring their holdings to $40,000, with each spouse buying $10,000 in December and another $10,000 in January. Another $5,000 in I Bonds can be purchased with an income-tax refund.
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