Savings Bonds have been called "the All American Investment." They are an easy way to save money safely and get a good market return. Rates change every May and November based on either current market rates or inflation. Current rates can be found at the Savings Bond
There are two main types of bonds offered. The Inflation Indexed - or I Bond - is designed to offer all Americans a way to save that protects the purchasing power of their investment by assuring them a real rate of return over and above inflation. I Bonds have features that make them attractive to many investors. They are sold at face value in denominations of $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 and earn interest for as long as 30 years. I Bond earnings are added every month and interest is compounded semiannually. They are state and local income tax exempt and federal income tax on I Bond earnings can be deferred until the bonds are cashed or stop earning interest after 30 years. Investors cashing I Bonds before five years are subject to a 3-month earnings penalty.
The Series EE Savings Bonds pay interest equal to 90 percent of the average 5-year Treasury securities yield for the preceding six months. This means that the rates on EE bonds are based on rates set by participants in the large government bond trading market. The Series I Bond, on the other hand, carries a fixed base rate plus a semi-annual calculation based on the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
The Series EE bond replaced the E bond, which is the one most associated with World War II war bonds. The first Series E Bond was sold to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau on May 1, 1941.
During World War II, many of Hollywood's most popular celebrities participated in bond drives to aid the war effort. The poster art used to advertise war bonds is still frequently seen in special exhibits in museums. The war bond campaign has been called a unique fusion of nationalism and consumerism. They offered Americans a financial and moral stake in the war.
Before this, Liberty Bonds helped finance World War I and President Woodrow Wilson both purchased and took part in War Bond Drives as well.
Following in that same tradition, The Department of the Treasury unveiled the new Series EE Patriot Bond on December 11, on the three-month anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. The funds raised by the bonds will contribute to the federal government's overall effort to fight the war on global terrorism.
Series EE savings bonds sold through financial institutions will be especially inscribed with the legend "Patriot Bond." The legend also will appear on Series EE bonds available at the Bureau of Public Debt's Savings Bond Direct
For more information about how to buy savings bonds, you can go to the Savings Bond website mentioned above. Both Series EE and I bonds may be purchased through savings bonds payroll deduction plans as well, so you might want to check with your employer to see if they offered that way.