US Savings Bonds

Have yours stopped earning interest?

US savings bonds are one of the most widely owned investments of seniors. After all, US savings bonds are fully guaranteed by the US government. But all too often, people tuck their US savings bonds away in safe deposit boxes and dresser drawers, and then forget them. Even if they remember where they put their bonds, many people have no idea what they are worth.

Thousands of people own US savings bonds that have stopped earning interest — and don't even know it. (If bonds aren't earning interest, they are actually losing money — inflation, even if it's low, gradually erodes the purchasing power of any investment with a fixed value.) If you own a bond that has stopped earning interest, you should cash it in, or exchange it for one that will pay interest.

To find out if your bonds have stopped earning interest, visit the U.S. Treasury Department's Web site by clicking on

US Savings Bonds

If you use a Windows-based computer, you can also download the Savings Bond Wizard from the Treasury Department's Web site; it's a free program to calculate your savings bond values. Look under Savings Bonds in the navigation menu on the left side of their page.

You can use the Wizard investment calculator program to keep track of your entire portfolio of United States Savings Bonds, or to learn more about a specific bond. When you type in a bond's serial number and date of issue, the Wizard program tells you its current value, the interest it has earned so far, when the next interest payment will be made, the yield to date, and its final maturity date (when it will stop paying interest).