**Cashing in Savings Bonds: A Guide to Turning Your Investment into Cash**
**What Are Savings Bonds?**
Savings bonds are government-backed debt securities that support the federal government’s spending and investments. These bonds are a type of investment where you lend money to the government, and in return, they agree to pay you back with interest on a specific date called the bond’s maturity date. The Treasury has issued several types of savings bonds over the years, but currently, the two types available are Series EE and Series I.
**Series EE Savings Bonds**
Series EE savings bonds are purchased at face value and double in value after 20 years. They continue to earn interest for 30 years, after which the bond matures and stops earning interest. You can buy Series EE bonds online through the TreasuryDirect website, with a maximum annual limit of $10,000.
**Series I Savings Bonds**
Series I bonds work differently than Series EE bonds as they hedge against inflation. These bonds have a fixed interest rate plus a variable component that is adjusted semiannually. The interest rate can change every six months as long as you hold the bond. While Series I bonds mature after 30 years, you can cash them in earlier. However, they are not eligible for redemption during the first year of ownership, and if you cash them in between years 2 and 5, you’ll incur a penalty of three months’ interest. Series I bonds can be purchased electronically or with your tax refund, with an annual limit of $10,000 for electronic bonds and an additional $5,000 for paper bonds using your tax refund.
**Savings Bonds and Maturities**
Savings Bond Series | When They Mature
Series I | 30 years but can be redeemed as early as years 2 through 5 with penalty
Series EE | 30 years
Series HH | 20 years
Series A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K | Not issued or earning interest, but may be eligible for redemption
**How to Cash in Savings Bonds**
The process for cashing in savings bonds depends on whether you have electronic or paper bonds.
**Cashing in Electronic Savings Bonds**
Cashing in electronic savings bonds is a simple process that can be done through the TreasuryDirect website:
1. Log into your TreasuryDirect account to access your electronic bonds.
2. Select the savings bonds you want to cash in from your account dashboard.
3. Choose the option to redeem the bond.
4. Specify the amount you want to cash in.
5. Select the checking or savings account where you want the money to be sent.
6. Confirm your banking information.
7. Finalize the transaction and wait for the funds to be sent to your bank account within a few business days.
**Cashing in Paper Savings Bonds**
For paper bonds, you can generally cash them in at most local banks or credit unions. The process differs depending on the type of savings bond you have:
**Series EE or I Paper Savings Bonds**
If you want to cash in your paper savings bond at a bank or credit union, check if they provide this service and find out their cash limit and identification requirements. Alternatively, you can cash paper bonds through TreasuryDirect by following these steps:
1. Fill out Form 1522 with the necessary information about the bonds you want to cash in, including serial numbers and their value.
2. If the total value of the bonds is more than $1,000, get your signature notarized on the form.
3. Mail the completed form and bonds to the provided address.
4. Await the processing of your request.
**Series HH Paper Savings Bonds**
You can only cash in Series HH savings bonds through the Treasury. Follow these steps:
1. Fill out Form 1522, including the necessary information about the bonds you want to cash in.
2. Get your signature notarized if the total value of the bonds is $1,000 or more.
3. Mail the form and bonds to the provided address.
4. Check the date for the next interest payment before cashing in the bond to ensure you receive the full interest payment.
**Paper Bonds from Older Series**
If you have paper bonds from discontinued series such as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, and Savings Notes, the process for cashing them in is the same as for Series HH bonds.
**Cashing in a Child’s Savings Bond**
To cash in a paper savings bond issued in the name of a child under 18, an adult, such as a parent or guardian, needs to lead the process. Apply the following steps:
1. Write a statement on the back of the bond, certifying that you are the parent or guardian of the child and provide the child’s age and understanding limitations.
2. Sign with your name “on behalf of [child’s name], a minor.”
3. Cash in the bond at a participating financial institution or through the Treasury.
**Cashing in Inherited Savings Bonds**
If you inherit a paper savings bond, cashing it in is relatively straightforward:
**Series EE and Series I Bonds**
If the bond is still earning interest, you may choose to hold onto it until maturity. Moreover, you can have the bond reissued in your name through the TreasuryDirect website. Alternatively, you can cash the bond using the previously mentioned steps.
**Series HH Savings Bonds**
Follow the same steps as for Series HH paper savings bonds mentioned earlier.
Cashing in savings bonds is a straightforward process that can be done through either electronic means or by visiting a local bank or credit union. By understanding the specific steps and requirements, you can easily turn your savings bonds into cash. Remember to review the types and maturities of your bonds to make informed decisions regarding their cashing-in.