I-bonds are a worthwhile investment

Question: There was a time that Marketplace Money was very pro I-bonds. I haven't heard them mentioned in years. This year, when I submitted my tax return, I was given the option to purchase I-bonds with my refund. Thoughts? Rebekka, Los Angeles, CA

Answer: I remain a big fan of I-bonds. For example, I wrote about them here and here.  You can learn more about I-bonds at the Treasury Direct website. 

In Risk Less and Prosper: Your Guide to Safer Investing, authors Zvi Bodie and Rachelle Taqqu (finance professor at Boston University and financial consultant, respectively) give a strong endorsement to owning I-bonds, especially for small savers.

Here is their list of key features. I-bonds ...

  • Provide security because they are U.S. Treasury securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. 
  • Sell at face value, as a type of savings bond. 
  • Do not trade in the market. 
  • Offer liquidity and can be cashed in any time after 12 months. 
  • Can never have a redemption value less than the amount that you paid for them. 
  • Continue to earn inflation-indexed interest for up to 30 years. 
  • Allow investments as small as $25.
  • Have a tax advantage.

I couldn't agree more. I-bonds are a good place to save. So, if it makes sense for you to save your refund, I would definitely consider putting the money in I-bonds.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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