U.S. Savings Bond Calculator — Determining the Value of Your Bonds
Understanding how to use savings bond calculators allows you to determine the future value of your money.
Contributing Writer at Tally
December 8, 2022
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. Always consult with a professional financial or investment advisor before making investment decisions.
When it comes to managing your money, one option is a savings bond. A savings bond is a long-term money management tool that allows you to earn interest without taking on much risk.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about savings bonds, including:
What they are
How they work
Using U.S. savings bond calculators to predict the value of your bonds
Why savings bonds could be a useful financial tool
By the end of this article, you should have a much better understanding of how you could potentially incorporate savings bonds into your money management plan.
Savings bonds — The basics
Savings bonds are “debt securities issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury,” according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They “are considered one of the safer investments because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Many investors use them to diversify and balance their investment portfolios.
Bonds come with interest rates and maturity dates. Bonds yield interest, which could boost your earnings. Once you cash in your savings bond, you receive a payout of the principal plus any interest you earned. Because the bond owner receives interest payments, bonds are categorized as debt securities. You can purchase two types of U.S. savings bonds: series EE bonds and series I bonds.
Series EE bonds
Series EE bonds have fixed interest rates, which means your rate will never change. These bonds have a final maturity date of 30 years after the issue date. The government guarantees that the rate of your Series EE bond will double if kept for 20 years, so there may be a one-time adjustment at the 20-year mark to ensure the value of the bond has doubled.
Series I bonds
Series I bonds have variable interest rates. The interest rate can either go up or down during the bond's life.
Additionally, series I savings bonds have an inflation-adjusted rate calculation twice per year. As inflation rate changes, so will the interest rate on the bond. The interest rate on series I bonds was as high as 9.62% until October 28, 2022. This is the highest rate of return ever for an I bond.
U.S. savings bond calculator
Now that you have a better idea of how bonds work let’s take a closer look at how to calculate their value.
First and foremost, if you have electronic savings bonds, you can view the value directly in your TreasuryDirect account, available at TreasuryDirect.gov. Bonds are purchased through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The TreasuryDirect.gov website is where you purchase an electronic savings bond. When you buy your bonds, you’ll store them in your account. You can log in to view your account balance and current bond yields.
You’ll need a few things to calculate their current value if you have paper bonds. You’ll need to know:
The series type
Denomination, otherwise known as the face value of the bond
Bond serial number
Then, the U.S. Savings Bond Calculator provided on the TreasuryDirect.gov website will tell you the current value of your bond. You can also put in dates in the past or the future to find the value of your bond at any point in time.
Let’s say, for instance, that someone purchased an EE bond for you in January 1991 when you were born. The total denomination was $100. When you plug this information into the TreasuryDirect.gov savings bond calculator, you’ll see that you earned $157.36 in interest and the bond had a final maturity date of January 2021, which makes sense because it is 30 years past the issue date.
The savings bond calculator will also show you the next accrual date if your bonds still yield interest. You can also see your year-to-date interest and current interest rate on your I bonds.
Discovering the value of your paper savings bonds takes a bit more effort than doing so for your electronic bonds. Your electronic bonds are stored in your TreasuryDirect account, and you can look up the value instantly.
You can use the TreasuryDirect U.S. savings bond calculator to determine the value of your paper bonds. You’ll need information like the type of bond, denomination, and issue date to obtain the current value.
Where to cash out paper bonds
If you have an electronic bond, you can redeem it directly via your TreasuryDirect account. But redeeming a paper bond takes a bit more effort. Depending on the value of the bond and how many you are looking to cash out, you may be able to do so at your local bank, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
If you can’t cash them out at a local bank, you’ll need to complete an FS Form 1522 and mail them to the Department of Treasury.
Why savings bonds can be a useful financial tool
When it comes to storing your cash, you have a few options available. Options include:
Bonds can be a safe option because they do not present many risks. For instance, if you purchase an EE bond, the value will double in 20 years.
The problem with this, however, is that bonds may not keep up with the inflation rate. Essentially, this means that the value of your bond in 20 years will be less overall than it was when you purchased it.
Knowing that bonds can be useful under a few different circumstances. Where they excel is in portfolio diversification and management. The stock market, for instance, can be risky. Adding bonds to your portfolio can add balance to your portfolio, increasing stability and cutting down on risk.
However, bonds may not be the best option for something like your emergency fund. In these cases, you may want to consider a credit union savings account, a money market account or a high-yield savings account. Both options may have higher interest rates than bonds. You will also be more liquid, and able to pull your money out without facing early withdrawal penalties.
Bonds can be one part of your money management strategy
When it comes to managing your money, you have many different options. One option that you may consider choosing is a savings bond from the U.S. Department of Treasury. There are generally two types of savings bonds, series EE and series I.
Knowing how to calculate the value of your bonds is useful, as it allows you to manage your funds and cash out at the appropriate time. You can view the value directly in your TreasuryDirect account if you have electronic bonds. If you have paper bonds, you can use the U.S. savings bond calculator the Department of Treasury offers.
If you’re looking for more money-management techniques, sign up for Tally’s† newsletter. The newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox and contains the latest news, tips and tricks to help you reach your financial goals.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.