I was going for a file in my documents folder, and as I did so, I noticed a saved Web page named "SBCPrice." That's the inventory of my various savings bonds that I did on the Treasury Department's Web site; the most recent calculation was in April 2010. Most of those bonds were purchased as gifts for me in the early 1990's. But three of them bore issue dates of July 1981, just a couple of months after my birth. If you know the general characteristics of Series EE U. S. Savings Bonds, and recall which birthday I celebrated not too long ago, you might realize the same thing I did about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, upon seeing that file. Those three particular bonds had reached final maturity - that is to say, they no longer accrue interest.
I decided to cash out those three bonds. The only reason to keep them would be to maintain something that could be liquidated in the event I desperately needed cash at some point in the future. In the event that happens, I still have those other bonds, which continue to rack up interest every six months. That being the case, the three 1981 bonds are effectively at the peak of their value right now. Whether I redeemed them yesterday or five years from now, I would get the exact same amount. Therefore, continuing to hold the bonds reduces their effective purchasing power, which would be slowly inflated away. And so, I drove to the local Capital One Bank, and for each of the three $50 face value bonds, I received $146.90.
What to do with this new found four hundred and forty American dollars? Well, I am now thinking about replacing my cell phone - you know, the really old one I mentioned last night. And despite my mild perturbation at Apple Inc. last month, I'm leaning heavily toward the iPhone 4. (I had thought about the 8 gigabyte 3GS version before redeeming these bonds.) If any readers have any tips, tricks, or recommendations - on the phone, data plans, or what I should do with the rest of the money - please let me know below.