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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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This is just a short post to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season. Thank you for your support throughout 2021. Please note that I will be on a holiday schedule through New Year’s with a reduced number of posts.

Before I prepare for Christmas, I have a couple of holiday related tips to share.

Series I Savings Bond can be a nice gift

If you are in need of a quick gift for a family member, you might want to consider buying an electronic savings bond as a gift. The Series I bond is one of the rare savings products that is able to keep up with inflation. The value of that feature has become apparent this year as inflation has been surging.

Buying savings bonds as a gift is not as easy as it used to be when you could just buy a paper savings bond at a bank. Today, gift savings bonds are issued only in electronic form (When you file your IRS tax return, you can buy paper I bonds for others if you are owed a refund.) Details are provided at this TreasuryDirect page. Step-by-step buying details are provided in this TreasuryDirect tip sheet.

The savings bond gift giver and gift recipient will need to have an account at TreasuryDirect.gov. However, the gift giver can buy a savings bond before the recipient creates a TreasuryDirect account. Another important thing to note is that the gift giver will need the recipient’s Social Security Number. The purchase amount range is from $25 to $10,000.

Once it’s bought, the gift giver can then print out one of the TreasuryDirect’s paper gift certificates to give as a physical gift. There are nine holiday themed gift certificates from which to choose.

For the recipient to actually receive the savings bond, he or she will have to have a TreasuryDirect account. For recipients under 18, their parents will need to create a minor linked account. Once the account has been created, the gift giver can finish the savings bond gift process by delivering the savings bond to the recipient. In this step, the gift giver must enter the recipient’s TreasuryDirect account number.

For more details on I bonds, please see my review of the latest I bonds.

Update 12/28/21: This TheFinanceBuff article was just published with many useful details about buying I bonds as gifts, including why you may want to buy one for your spouse.

Joining credit unions via family

I’ve been sharing this tip for many years. It’s a useful tip to remember during the holidays since it’s a time when families get together. Thanks to your family, you may be eligible to join many more credit unions than you realize. That can give you more access to better rates and more competitive banking products. This year I decided to create this separate post with the details of the different ways that family members can help you join a credit union.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Hopefully these tips will help you or your family members earn more interest in 2022. May the spirit of the holidays fill your home with love and peace. I wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022!

Comments
TJ
  |     |   Comment #1
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.....
milty
  |     |   Comment #2
To Ken and the rest of DA's contributors (yes, including even those that I don't always agree with) :
A Merry Christmas and hopefully a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
ichaelm
  |     |   Comment #3
Merry Christmas, Ken! And thank you for the wealth of information that your website has provided to all of us!
Ratesaver
  |     |   Comment #4
Marry Christmas to you and your family... You help me make decisions I need to go forward. Thanks.again
Hooked
  |     |   Comment #5
Merry Christmas and enjoy your break, Ken! I continue to be thankful to you and this site.

Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy holiday season!
midas89
  |     |   Comment #6
Ken, wishing you and everyone endless love, happiness, good health, and fun at this holiday season!
remmymo
  |     |   Comment #7
Same to you and yours.
From a baby boomer who expected to live off the interest of their savings, your website is a lifesaver!
numberten
  |     |   Comment #8
Happy holidays to all, This is my most favorite blog. Thanks for providing useful and accurate information. Thanks.
Rosedala
  |     |   Comment #9
Oh Ken, you are always thinking of us, how kind and helpful you always are!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR GREAT FINANCIAL HELP!

I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year and beyond! :)
kcfield
  |     |   Comment #10
Ken, thank you for the gift of your financial knowledge and savings insight that you so freely share throughout the year. My wishes for a peaceful Christmas to all who celebrate.
#11 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
Beef
  |     |   Comment #12
I could not open a TreasuryDirect Accout online because my identiy could not be verified, so I need to complete a hard copy application which requires a seal of signature guarantee, amongst various options. I don't have a brick-and-mortar bank, what can I do? There is a whole list of options that Treasury offers but none of them are really practical. Any suggestions?
Choice
  |     |   Comment #14
Did you overpay your taxes and plan to get up to $5k in refund paper ibonds? Or is that 15k?
111
  |     |   Comment #17
It's up to $5K in paper bonds via a tax return refund (in addition to the basic $10K online), per SS no., annually.

For complete info., see https://www.kitces.com/blog/federal-series-i-savings-bonds-inflation-712-composite-rate-treasurydirect-compare-fixed-income-investments/
Choice
  |     |   Comment #18
From another DA post…

Saw the following from an ibond blog posting…has anyone come across this and/or went to TD or Treasury on conflict? Q/A

"How much in I bonds can I buy as gifts?

"The purchase amount of a gift bond counts toward the annual limit of the recipient, not the giver. So, in a calendar year, you can buy up to $10,000 in electronic bonds and up to $5,000 in paper bonds for each person you buy for."

The above is the last q/a at
https://treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/ibonds/res_ibonds_ibuy.htm#gift

This q/a would strongly suggest one could buy up to $15K in tax refund paper bonds but only for the 3 entries on form 8888. Of course the instructions for 8888 are more limiting
unmesh
  |     |   Comment #15
@Beef

My son had this issue too, probably because he had an address change a few months ago and provided his new address in the application. He has an account at a B&M bank but they say they've never heard of signature guarantees :-(

I then looked into linking an additional bank account to my Treasury Direct account and it too needs a signature guarantee. My brokerage account people knew about signature guarantees but only provided it for assets that were going to be transferred to them!

It would be great if anyone posts a success story where a paper form submission to Treasury Direct worked.
Rickny
  |     |   Comment #16
I tried to get a TD account on line and I was denied for the same reason as "beef".I had the same problem with Chase with getting a signature guarantee.

After going to Chase HQ the branch was told that a teller stamp would suffice. I submitted the paperwork and the account was approved.
unmesh
  |     |   Comment #26
@Rickny

Was it sufficient for you to tell the branch that a teller stamp would suffice or did they need to hear it from Chase HQ directly?
gregk
  |     |   Comment #20
For potential I Bond purchasers before year end, - if you want the transaction processed in 2021
the very latest date you can make the purchase is Wednesday, Dec. 29th, which will get booked the next day Dec, 30th. Because Dec,31st is a Federal holiday, a Dec.30th purchase won't cut it, as processing won't happen until Jan 3rd 2022.
Ken Tumin
  |     |   Comment #21
Thanks everyone for the holiday wishes. I and my DA team greatly appreciate your support!

One note about I bonds, I added a link in this post to a useful article on buying I bonds as a gift.
Choice
  |     |   Comment #22
And, not to distract, those that think $10k cap on EACH TD account is so negligible, what’s the most that can be put in ONE IRA each year…think about it!
gregk
  |     |   Comment #24
I just don't see the correspondence Choice. An IRA isn't a specific investment vehicle but a retirement planning and tax deferral device. Yes, they're both subject to limitations imposed by the US Government, but that's not enough family resemblance to make them comparable in any meaningful way.
davidinNY
  |     |   Comment #23
Ken & everyone else,
Thank you for the great advice over the years. Without your direction, I would not be as safe as I am. Merry Christmas to all!
David

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