The End Is Near for Savings Bonds

When you live long enough, you often see old things come around again as new. Hemlines go up and down, hairstyles change. But sometimes the good stuff goes away and doesn’t come back.

Like the milkman. Like doctors who made house calls. Like paper Savings Bonds.

Remember when you got your first bond? It was a tangible item you could hold in your hands and read. Maybe you got one when you were married. Maybe you did the same for your children when they had big life events. If nothing else, they were a safe place to save money.

They’re gone now. The paper version of Series EE Savings Bonds is no more. January 1 marks three years since we’ve been able to buy them. You have to get on the computer and order them online (www.treasurydirect.gov). You open an account, working your way through many steps, and putting in a lot of personal information, such as your bank accounts. Your details have to be verified before you can make a bond purchase. Not surprisingly, bond sales have plummeted since the change.

The website lists good reasons to go electronic: You can see all your bonds online and you don’t have to keep track of pieces of paper. You can redeem them and have the money wired to your bank account. You can change the bond’s registration name with the click of a few keys. And, if you have paper bonds, you can convert them to electronic. See www.savingsbonds.gov for more information.

Keep in mind, however, that the current interest rate on Series EE bonds is 0.10 percent. Interest on even a simple savings account is higher.

P.S. — There is hope, however. After seeing cell phones get smaller and more complicated, with smaller buttons, the more basic flip phone apparently is coming back.

 By Matilda Charles

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.