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Savings-Bonds-Alert: Saving for College with Savings Bonds

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Saving for College with Savings Bonds

I am interested in looking at Series EE Savings Bonds as a monthly investment for my young son who enters college in the fall of 2010. Is it a good choice to invest in these? Whose name should go on them? What would this investment look like on a monthly investment of $250 ($500 bond-face value) when they are redeemed in 2010? Tom's response Because you'll need your money in six years, a conservative, low-risk investment like Savings Bonds is a better choice than higher-risk investments that typically earn more over longer terms but could leave you with less money than you've invested in a term as short as six years. To estimate the future value of your investment, just multiply your $250 times the number of months you'll put money in. It's six years to 2010, plus four years while your son is in college, times 12 months, times $250 = $30,000 or $7,500 a year. Because of the interest you'll actually have more than that, but the interest will primarily cover the inflation that occurs between now and then. In 2010 you'll have a little over $18,000 in 2004 dollars. If you think inflation and interest rates are going to go up in the next few years, Series I Savings Bonds might be a better investment than Series EE. The Series I rate is the higher of the two right now. But without a crystal ball to foretell the future, it's impossible to say for sure. Because both Series EE and Series I rates change every six months, it's not possible to tell you exactly what you'd have by 2010. Click here for the page on my web site that describes the educational features of Savings Bonds in detail (note that if you go this route, your name should be on the bonds). In my book, I present an alternative way to use Savings Bonds to provide for a college education for your child. It minimizes taxes and has none of the limits of this deduction. In fact, your child doesn't even have to go to college to take advantage of this method.


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