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Good news on U.S. savings bonds

A history of U.S. Savings Bonds

The Treasury announced today that it will keep the $20,000 annual limit on savings bonds purchases. The figure seemed slated to go down to $10,000 with the end of paper savings bonds on Dec. 31, 2011. The good news is the current limit stays in force.  

Since 2008, investors could buy a maximum of $5,000 in each series and in each form (paper or electronic). So a single owner could buy $20,000 in one year. As of January 1, 2012, paper bonds are no longer being sold through financial institutions. With today's announcement, the total amount an individual can purchase in online savings bonds in one calendar year is $20,000. An investor still can purchase up to $5,000 annually in Series I paper savings bonds using his/her tax refund and IRS Form 8888.

You can read the full press release here. I had complained about the imminent cut in purchases in this Makin' Money post, A Sad Personal Finance End to 2011. I was far from alone. Zvi Bodie, finance professor at Boston University; Peter Tufano of Oxford University; and many others protested the impending policy shift. So, I guess it's a Happy Personal Finance Beginning to 2012! I would still like Treasury to expand the program, however. But that's for another day.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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