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Going Paperless

Richard Connor, 12:48 pm ET

AFTER THE DEATH of my father-in-law, I helped my mother-in-law organize and simplify their finances. One task I distinctly remember: taking her to the local bank, where she cashed in dozens of old savings bonds, some past their maturity date. It was a tedious process.

It wasn’t just my late father-in-law who failed to stay on top of such things. Last year, I discovered an envelope full of Series I savings bonds that I’d forgotten about.

With the recent jump in inflation, there’s been a surge of interest in I bonds. This morning, the Treasury Department announced the yield for bonds sold during the next six months—7.12%. That annualized yield only applies for the first six months that buyers hold their Series I bonds. That 7.12% is also the annualized inflation adjustment over the next six months for bonds that were previously purchased.

All this has given me an incentive to complete a task I’d long been meaning to accomplish: Convert my savings bonds from paper to digital.

What’s involved? First, you have to create an account at TreasuryDirect.gov. You’ll need personal information, including your Social Security number, bank account details and e-mail.

Once the account is created, click on the tab at the top that says “ManageDirect.” When the “ManageDirect” page comes up, find the “Manage My Conversions” section and click on the “how to convert my paper bonds” link. Follow the directions to create what’s called a “Conversion Linked Account.” This is the account that will electronically store your bonds once they’re converted.

Next, designate the registered owner of the bonds, and input the bond type, denomination, serial numbers and issue dates. When you’re done, you create a manifest list that you print, sign and mail to TreasuryDirect, along with the paper bonds.

About a week after I sent in my paper bonds, I received an e-mail from TreasuryDirect stating it had received my bonds and was processing them. When I checked the site 13 days later, I saw the bonds listed in my conversion account.

As a test, I also purchased a new Series I bond. It was easy using the “BuyDirect” tab on the main page. Now I have a primary account containing the new bond and a linked account for my converted bonds.

I’m happy I made the effort. I no longer have to worry about losing the physical bonds. It’ll also be easy to redeem bonds whenever I want.

I always felt good about investing in savings bonds. The aerospace companies I worked for encouraged employees to participate by sponsoring easy-to-use payroll savings plans. The TreasuryDirect site can provide that same ease of use to everyone.

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David Powell
David Powell
1 month ago

Thanks for this, I’ve been meaning to start doing annual I Bond buys for my spouse, too. Thanks, this was the nudge I needed, Richard.

Rick Thompson
Rick Thompson
1 month ago

Thanks for this informative posting. I love I bonds. The ones I fortuitously purchased in September 2001 now sport a composite rate of 10.23%! While I like the idea of digitizing my I bonds, I would be hesitant to mail them. It would be great to have the option of taking them to a local bank to complete the digitalization process.

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