FREQUENTLY ASKED TREASURY BOND QUESTIONS
 
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I have old Series E bonds. The government supplied table (by the treasury) doesn't give actual rates of earnings, only redemption values, and interest, is there another source of info to determine actual rate, and APR of bonds issued in 04/57 and 07/63,07/64.

The rates on the Series E Savings Bonds that you own were fixed until the Treasury went on a market-based formula starting November 1982. I don't know what your initial rates are for the bonds purchased April 1957, July 1963 and July 1964, but I requested the data from the Federal Reserve Bank, Savings Bond Division, in Buffalo, New York. I walked over to the New York Fed today and they said everything is now processed in Buffalo. I also wrote to the Treasury Department. The phone line didn't get me any live people.

I requested Tables of redemption Values, the Guaranteed Minimum Rate Chart, Semiannual Interest Rate Bulleting, the Treasury Circular on Public Debt Securities 1-80 (31CFRPart 351). Also, a list of the semiannual rates since they went on the market-based program if not included in the above.

I received some savings bond data from the Federal Reserve Bank. Your bonds that were purchased in April 1957, July 1963, and July 1964, had their maturities extended to forty years from issue date. The bonds will cease accruing interest after their respective extended maturity dates.

This information has been taken from the November 1995 (i) Tables of Redemption Values and (ii) United States Savings Bonds Earnings Report from the Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Public Debt. I ran the numbers through a yield calculation program and came up with the yields shown below.

We are assuming $100 face value purchased at a cost of $75 on the first days of the month listed. Redemption Values as of February 1, 1996

          April 1957 bond: Redemption Value $738.32. Yield from purchase date is 6.03%.

          July 1963 bond: Redemption Value $581.40. Yield from purchase date 6.40%

          July 1994 bond: Redemption value $571.32. Yield from purchase date 6.55%.

These bonds have gone through various interest changes over their lives and since November 1, 1982; the interest rate has been based on 85% of the 5-Year Treasury bond rate, reset every May and November first. The five-year rate is listed below. For bonds issued after May 1, 1989 the rate is rounded to the nearest .01 or basis point or 1/100th of 1 percentage point. Prior to that date the rate is rounded to the nearest quarter of 1%. Thus, the five year long term savings bond rate for the six month period effective November 1, 1995 is 5.16%, 85% of the 5-year Treasury rate of 6.08%. I come up with 5.17% but the Treasury maybe has a difference rounding mechanism.

Effective Date, then (5-Year Rate)

11/1/95 (6.08%)

5/1/95 (7.42%)

11/1/94 (6.96%)

5/1/94 (5.53%)

11/1/93 (5.00%)

5/1/93 (5.62%)

11/1/92 (5.93%)

5/1/92 (6.56%)

11/1/91 (7.50%)

5/1/91 (7.73%)

11/1/90 (8.46%)

5/1/90 (8.25%)

11/1/89 (8.21%)

5/1/89 (9.19%)

11/1/88 (8.65%)

5/1/88 (8.12%)

11/1/87 (8.44%)

5/1/87 (6.87%)

11/1/86 (7.13%)

5/1/86 (8.26%)

11/1/85 (9.83%)

5/1/85 (11.17%)

11/1/84 (12.87%)

5/1/84 (11.71%)

11/1/83 (11.04%)

5/1/83 (10.17%)

11/1/82 (13.05%)

 

 

 

My wife and I would like to give our new niece a US Savings Bond. Any recommendations? She is 2 months old and we are looking for something she can redeem at 18+ yrs old. 

Interest is taxable either annually or taxes can be deferred until the bond is cashed in. There is an education feature that allows the interest to be excluded from taxable income if the bond owner pays tuition and fees at qualified educational institutions. However, the exclusion applies only to the taxpayer, his or her spouse, and any legal dependent. Also, only bonds issued in the name of a person who was 24 or older can be used for the exclusion. Bonds issued in the name of a child as owner or co owner are not eligible. This looks as though it leaves you out.

Additional information ought to be available at your local library or bank. One thing however, since the niece has about 18 years until college, why not consider an equity mutual fund or possibly a balanced fund. Equities have proven to have greater returns than savings bonds over an extended period of time. 

I need your help to screen the authenticity on the us treasury bonds issued in 1975 due 2005 these are 30yrs bonds with 8 1/4 percent interest coupons. Is there any way to verify the serial numbers, cusip numbers by getting on line or call a phone number to us securities or Federal Reserve or any other dept that carries such info.

A CUSIP number refers to the identification of a bond issue. Serial numbers refer to the numbers assigned to the particular pieces of paper for the bind issue. If you need help in authenticating a bond, namely the 8 1/4s of 2005, then go to the local Federal Reserve Bank and bring the bond certificates. They can check to see if these are counterfeits or not. Certainly the Fed, as agent for the Treasury, will be able to verify serial number on particular bond paper.   I doubt if this can be done over the telephone. You will probably find it necessary to present yourself and you bond paper in person.

 

How do you create or find the symbols for US notes, bonds and bills to get daily quotes from the various online services?

Please view the Treasury Section of Bondsonline.                                   

 

 

I just got married and received a $500 bond. What I'd like to know is:

1.        How long do I hang on to these until "mature"? (& What exactly does that mean)

2.        What is the current value (if any?)

3.        Do they earn any payable interest yearly?

4.        Any other general info you can give me, as Iím wholly unfamiliar with savings bonds.

Your $500 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds was purchased at 50% of its face amount or $250.

There are two maturity dates for the bonds. The original maturity is 17 years after the issue date and the final maturity is 30 years after issuance. Because savings bonds earn a market rate of interest, it is not certain when it will reach its face value. However, if the market rate of interest is not sufficient for a bond to reach face value in 17 years, then the US Treasury will make a one-time adjustment to increase the redemption value to face value.

These bonds do NOT pay interest. Interest accrues until redemption or maturity. For the first five years it earns a short-term rate of interest, which is 85% of the 6-month US Treasury bill yield. A new rate is effective each November and May first and reflects the markets rates for the August, September and October period and the February, March and April period, as applicable.

Long-term rates are earned after five years and reflect 85% of the five-year Treasury bond year for the same periods as noted above. Interest is ADDED to the face value of the bond at those May and November 1st dates AND IS NOT PAID OUT SEMI-ANNUALLY. When you redeem you bond you will get the value of the bond as of the last interest crediting date. Bond cashed in between the scheduled interest accrual dates do not get the accrued interest for the interim period.

You say that you just received the bond. Therefore, if issued prior to November 1, 1995, your $500 face amount bond is worth approximately $256.60. If issued on or after November 1, 1995, the bond is only worth $250. You must confirm these figures at a financial institution. They have be obtained from sources believed to be reliable but not guaranteed by me.

If you cash in the bond, you will owe federal income taxes on the interest. You may elect to defer the tax until the bond is cashed in or reaches final maturity.

NOTE THAT SERIES EE SAVINGS BONDS MUST BE HELD FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS. A BOND ISSUED IN JANUARY CAN BE REDEEMED IN JULY.

 

 

 

Currently rates are on the rise. Do you see a short-term turn around with the bond market that rates could achieve a 7% again? How long, this coming week or are we looking at months?

I am not nor have I ever been in the business of forecasting interest rates. It seems to be a futile effort. In the bond business I feel that one should be concerned with the relative values of the bonds, one against the other rather than taking short-term speculative ins and outs where one often gets whipsawed. Each year the Wall Street Journal reports on the prognostications of eminent economists covering the economy and interest rates and the record is viewed as lousy by most. Maybe the average of them is better and there is a service that does just that.

But today I have dusted off my old swami's crystal ball and looked into the near future. I feel that we will not hit the 7% level on the long guy (about 6.40% close on Friday) in the next two or three months. I feel that it is more likely than not that the Fed will drop rates a notch at the next meeting towards month's end and that a stab for under 6.20% is possible.

I am sure that you won't make any money on my opinion. It is subject to change at any time as are all forecasts. And, it is likely no better than yours as you probably follow interest rates and short-term movements more closely than I do. If I were on a bond sales and trading desk then perhaps I would have a different view of this type of forecasting. I remember one time that our bond sales group made a lot of money betting against the weekly forecasts of our tried and true (and fairly paid) money market economist. The few others that made anything might have been the firms that benefited from transactions, not the short-term fluctuations of the market place.

 

What are the safest bonds with a fair return?

I will go on the assumption that you mean by "safe" that the bond is free from credit risk. I will also assume that by "fair" you mean average compared with other current yields; neither too low or too high. I place the emphasis on the safe or quality angle.

All bonds are subject to various risks such as credit risk, reinvestment risk, price change or market risk caused by fluctuating interest rates. But the safest from a credit perspective are the bonds and other obligations issued by the US Treasury. The shorter maturity issues usually have less market rate risk than longer maturities. The zero coupon issues (bills and STRIPS) don't have reinvestment risk since there is no interest to reinvest. Since they are all subject to interest rate movements, they have price risk with the non-interest bearing issues subject to greater volatility than their comparable maturity counterparts.

Series EE savings bonds don't have market risk, as they are not marketable. You can redeem them after six months if you need funds but they can't be sold in the securities markets, as can other Treasury issues. One could say the yield is fair for these, neither lousy or super. Interest for the first five years is at the rate of 85% of the 6-month Treasury bill yield and at 85% of the five year Treasury bond rate thereafter to maturity or redemption. A new interest rate is effective each May and November first.

If Series EE bonds aren't for you then may want to consider T-bonds in the two to five year range yielding in the 5.40% to 5.60% range. This seems fair in my opinion. Certificates of deposit at federally insured banks will pay about 10 basis points more. These CDs are insured by the Government in deposit amounts up to $100,000. Interest on the Treasury bonds is exempt from state income taxes. Which investment is better for you? You have to decide if you want a marketable security or a unmarketable CD. You must take into account the tax consideration and transaction costs. Treasury bonds can be purchased on the auction dates through the local Federal Reserve Bank. If interested, call the FED. Look in the Articles section of Bondsonline for the Treasury Direct phone numbers.

 

 

I am looking for up to the minute bond market yield changes. Have searched the net, but can't find anything. I was looking for the employment figures that came out this A.M. so I could determine if the yields on the long bond were going up.

Please view the Bondsonline Quote/Search section. For employment figures, you may want to try looking at the Federal Reserve sites on the Internet. They may provide that information. 

 

 

I purchased bonds in 1986.  When will they mature?  What is their interest rate?

Your Series EE US Savings Bond has an original maturity of 30 years. Thus the bonds purchased in 1986 mature and cease to accrue interest in 2016 unless the Treasury changes the terms. However, you can redeem the bonds at any time.

The current interest rate from November 1, 1995 through the end of April 1996 is 6.08%. However, for bonds issued prior to May 1, 1989, the rate is rounded to the nearest 1/4 of 1%. Thus it makes the rate on your bonds 6.00%.

If your bonds were issued in Nov or Dec 1986, then the $50 face amount bond is worth $43.52. If purchased in October, then $48.50. If April through Sept $50.32, and January through March, $52.22. The original purchase price of the $50 face amount was $25.00

 

 

 

Does anyone know if there is an up to the date quote on treasury security yields/prices?

Does the Federal Reserve access the Internet?

Please see the TREASURY section on BONDSONLINE.

 

 

Can you recommend software that will compute the present value of Series E and EE Savings Bonds, if you tell it the issue date and face value of the bond?

Please go our TREASURY section.  (Make sure you have Internet access.) Also, see the SAVINGS BOND section for more information on US Savings Bonds. If you have further questions, please E-Mail use using the E-Mail button on BONDSONLINE.

 

 

What are zeros and what type of investment goals are they good for?

Zero Coupon Bonds are those issued without any periodic interest payments or coupon. They are sold at a discount from par value with the amount of the discount representing the interest due on the investment. The amount of the discount is a factor of the length of time to final maturity and the prevailing level of interest rates.

Most bonds have reinvestment risk, i.e., you do not know at what interest rate levels you will be able to reinvest the coupon payments. Since a zero coupon bond does not have any interest to reinvest, you don't have reinvestment risk.

When you buy a zero such as a US Treasury STRIP (zero) you know what you will end up with. No need to worry about reinvestment. They are good investments for those who need a certain amount at a future date and do not need current income. You pay $X now and get par in the future. Corporate, Treasury and other taxable zeros he are best for tax deferred investors such as 401-Ks, IRAs, pension plans, etc. Tax-exempt municipal zeros are good for taxable investors. You see, the interest that you DO NOT receive every year on a taxable zero is considered taxable income. It is an OID, original issue discount. Thus, you pay taxes on no incoming cash flow. It represents a cash outflow. Tax-exempt muni zeros do not have the taxes on "phantom" current income.

Zeros are most attractive when interest rates are high since you lock in a return to maturity or first call. Check the call provisions carefully. Many taxable zeros are only callable at par. But some and many muni issues are callable at the accreted value, which is the issue price plus the accrued and unpaid interest. In some cases there may be a small call premium.

Investigate before you invest. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

 

Do you see the recent weakness in bonds as a buying opportunity or as the beginning of a bear market in bonds? Please elaborate on your answer.

I really do not forecast interest rate movements. One is more often wrong than right. I have not yet found a good crystal ball.

 

I'm considering selling some 1-year old T-notes of 5,000 and 10,000 denominations.  What is the most efficient way to do so ?  Will the Treasury sell them for me and/or buy them back?  Are there any legal/SEC repercussions of offering them for sale myself on the net?

There are two easy  ways  to sell Treasuries  through your friendly broker/dealer firm, or: directly through the Treasury.  In the last few years the Treasury has developed a program called Sell Direct. You can find more on this program at www.treasurydirect.gov/sec/secselld.htm.

I am not a lawyer so I will not give you a legal opinion as to SEC/Legal repercussions of your offering them for sale on the Net. But I do have a question. If you were to find some unknown character who would buy these from you without knowing who you are, how will you deliver them to the buyer? Will you take care of the transfer of ownership?

 

I'm an Italian trader. I would like to know which was the absolute low price really made by t-bond 30 yr, the date in which it was made, the contract (March, June) that made it and if it was the contract with maximum open interest. I would like to ask you which objective in price you have for the bearish side of the market and which timing objective.

I am not a forecaster of futures prices and so I will not give you a price objective on the bearish side of the market. Since you are a trader, you must be in minute-by-minute contact with others throughout the world who are also in second by second contact with the market. Certainly, they might come to a better opinion that I could possibly give you.

As far as low price of 30-year T bond contract, I suggest that perhaps the Bloomberg service has the information. They have extensive historical information for those who use it. I cannot do this research for you. 

Why would anyone go to all the trouble of opening a treasury direct account with all the paperwork involved including the fact that all transactions are by mail only, when it's possible to buy treasuries at issue at a nominal fee and much better service from discount brokers such as Fidelity discount ($50 fee) or Vanguard ($25 fee).

You may think TreasuryDirect is a bother but obviously many others don't have the same feeling. In fact, existing customers of Treasury Direct can transact business three different ways: mail, automated phone service (800 722-2678) and on the web (www.treasurydirect.gov).  Some investors may not want to pay even a small fee. Others may not have brokerage accounts at Vanguard or Fidelity. People do many things that others may not think are rational. However, the heart has its reasons.

It doesn't matter to me if they buy from a full service firm, a discount brokerage, Treasury Direct, or from their bother-in-law. The psychology of these people is a whole other issue. 

I'm doing research for a class project, and I would like to know where I could search on the Internet to find historical data for Lehman Brothers T-Bond Index?

The Bond Strategy group at Lehman issued a report on April 22, 1996 called "The Persistence of Corporate Asset Class utopia." The reports list the names and Email address of the strategy folks at Lehman. Perhaps they could give info on how to get the Lehman Treasury index.

The names and addresses are:

Jack Malvey            jmalvey@lehman.com

Steve Mandl            smandl@lehman.com        

Arang Varadhachary      avaradha@lehman.com

 

I am a federal government employee and got my arm twisted back in July of '88 to purchase savings bonds. I have a continuous stream of $50 bonds received each pay period (26 per year) until October '90 when it switched to $100 bonds received approximately one a month (13 per year) to the present date. I want to know the present value. When I go to the bank, they want to look each bond up in a book and tell me the individual value of each bond. I am looking for a way to calculate present value as a continuous stream, not bond by bond. Somewhere in the course of the purchase, the bonds changed series also. Can you help me? There must be a present value formula.

Sorry, but there is no easy way to get the current value of you more than 100 Series EE savings bonds. Interest rates change every six months. You have different holding periods.  You can get the tables of redemption values PD-3600 from the Bureau of the Public Debt, Savings Bonds Marketing Office, Washington DC 20226.

Also, go to the redemption calculator on the Treasury page on BONDSONLINE.

 

Where can I redeem a EE treasury bond outside the U.S.?

I would suggest you contact your regional Federal Reserve Bank or branch. Look at the Treasury Direct Program document on the Treasury page on BONDSONLINE for the information you need.

Where can I find the present value of two $10,000 savings bonds purchased in 9/92?

Try the redemption calculator for savings bonds on the Savings Bond page of BONDSONLINE.

Is it possible to get duplicate us treasury bonds? My bonds were lost while moving. Who do I need to contact about this matter?

Look at the US Savings Bond Overview document on the Savings Bond page of BONDSONLINE. There is a specific section on lost or stolen bonds and how to replace them.