I have some old savings bonds my parents gave me shortly after I was born. How can I find out if they’ve stopped earning interest?
Most savings bonds earn interest for 20 or 30 years. After that, they should be cashed in so you can invest the money elsewhere. If you have old E bonds or H bonds, they’ve all stopped earning interest—the last E bonds were issued in 1980 and the last H bonds were issued in 1979. EE bonds earn interest for 30 years, so any of those bonds purchased from the time they were introduced in January 1980 through July 1986 have stopped earning interest. HH bonds earn interest for 20 years, so any of those bonds purchased from January 1980 through July 1996 have stopped earning interest. I bonds, which were introduced in 1998, earn interest for 30 years.
For a list of savings bonds that have stopped earning interest, see the list at TreasuryDirect.gov. You can also use the Treasury Department’s Treasury Hunt tool to check on the status of Series E savings bonds issued in 1974 and later, and for all Series EE bonds. If you provide your Social Security number, the tool will let you know whether there are savings bonds issued in your name that are no longer earning interest. You’ll see instructions for cashing in the bond if it’s in your possession, or steps to take to file a claim if you have lost the bond.
For more information about savings bonds, see Bond Basics: U.S. Savings Bonds. For more information about cashing in paper savings bonds or converting them to electronic form, see How to Cash In Savings Bonds.
As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.
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