EE bonds are one of the most common forms of investment available in the United States today. EE savings bonds are used by many investors as a way to maximize their savings. Here are the basics of EE bonds and how they work. 

What Are EE Bonds?

Series EE bonds are a form of savings bond that are issued by the United States Treasury. They earn a certain amount of interest depending on when you purchase them. Technically, by purchasing this type of bond, you are lending your money to the federal government. The government uses the money and then pays you a rate of return based upon market interest rates. You can purchase an EE bond at half of the face value of it. Therefore, if you want a $50 EE savings bond, you will pay only $25 for it. The Treasury guarantees that it will be worth at least the face value by the time it matures. If it is not, the Treasury will adjust the rates to make up the difference. 

Purchasing EE Bonds

Purchasing EE bonds is one of the simplest investment transactions you can make. You can buy them from a bank or financial institution as well as online. If you choose to buy them from your bank, you will have to fill out a simple form. It will request your personal information, including your name and Social Security number. The Treasury will use this information to tie the specific bond's serial number to you. Therefore, if the bond is ever lost, you may be able to retrieve it. You can pay the bank for the bond, and then the bond will be processed and mailed to you. 

If you choose to purchase the bond online, you will need to visit the United States Treasury website. You will have to open an account with them. This is also a simple process and can be done in a few minutes. You will then have to fund the account. Once your account is funded, you can then purchase the savings bonds that you want. They can be digitally held for you in your online account, which makes keeping track of them much easier. 

Returns

EE bonds are one of the safest forms of investment in the world because they are backed by the federal government. With such safety, you should not expect to receive a very high return on investment. As a result of the low interest rate, you should use them as only a part of your portfolio. For example, EE savings bond rates are typically less than 2 percent. You could secure a higher rate of return from many other investments; however, they would not be as safe. 

Cashing In

You have to wait at least a year before cashing in your EE bonds. These bonds mature at 20 years and should be doubled in value by that point. If you wish, you can hold them and receive interest for as long as 30 years from the date of purchase. 

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