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Savings-Bonds-Alert: Paper vs. TreasuryDirect

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Paper vs. TreasuryDirect

Series EE Savings Bonds purchased electronically at TreasuryDirect are issued at face value...$50 for a $50 bond. Paper bonds are issued at half their face value. Why is this done? Will the electronically issued bond be worth less in the future than a paper bond? Tom's response When Series EE bonds were first issued, one of the things used to create excitement about them was they reach face value is just X years. The X has been as low as 8, but it's currently 20, which doesn't create much excitement. The number of years it takes to reach face value depends on the prevailing level of interest rates, and interest rates are very low right now. Meanwhile, in the context of TreasuryDirect, it simplifies things a great deal to get rid of the idea of a "face value" that's different from the "current redemption value". All you see on TreasuryDirect are initial investment and current redemption values. However, TreasuryDirect EE bonds are guaranteed to double in value in 20 years, just like the paper ones. The return is exactly the same.


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