Here’s a timely reader question about Series I Bonds. It’s a good question because I predict that Series I Bonds will be soon getting even more media attention soon due to an even higher inflation-linked rate.
Would it be best to wait till November 1st to purchase I bonds? You mentioned the fixed rate will probably confine at 0. but what about the semiannual inflation rate? Do u think it is likely to be more than 3.54%? I’m new to this please educate me.
Series I Bond rates react every 6 months to delayed inflation reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. August CPI-U was already reported in mid-September, and September CPI-U will be reported in mid-October. 5 out of 6 months of data are already in the books, leaving only one month of data left. The 12-month trailing inflation rate as of that August CPI-U update was over 5%. Therefore, unless that data contains a significant amount of deflation, we already know that the next inflation rate on Series I Bonds is going to be higher than the
- If you buy in September or October 2021, you will receive a total rate of 3.54% for the first six months, then the “new” (estimated 5%-7%) rate for the next 6 months, and then new rates adjusted every six months for inflation onward.
- If you buy in November 2021, you will receive the “new” (estimated 5%-7%) rate for the first 6 months, and then new rates adjusted every six months for inflation onward.
The takeaway is that either way, you will earn the “new” rate (estimated 5%-7%) eventually. If you buy in September/October, you’ll just have to wait a bit due to the staggered structure. Given that the current rate of 3.54% is still a higher interest rate than nearly any other savings account or CD is paying, I would personally just invest now if I had the cash ready and waiting. Also remember that Series I Bonds do not allow early withdrawals within the first 12 months after purchase date. As long as you complete your purchase by the end of September, it will count as purchased in September 2021 and you will be able to withdraw as of September 1st, 2022 (though subject to a penalty if held less than 5 years). It may take a little bit to set up your TreasuryDirect account, and it may take a couple business days for the withdrawal and purchase to process, so I wouldn’t wait until the last day.
Annual purchase limits. The annual purchase limit is
As noted in my
I definitely plan to “max out” my annual purchase limit for 2021. I guarantee that there will be many more articles about Series I bonds in mainstream personal finance sites in November after the new rate is officially announced.
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