I know some people are already looking forward to next year’s tax refund check. If it’s not going to be spent paying off Christmas credit card debt then you may want to consider purchasing some US Savings Bonds.
All you need to do is fill out a simple form — Form 8888 — and attach it to your tax return when you file. On Form 8888 you simply indicate who the bonds should be issued to and the amount you want to purchase (in increments of $50.00 and up to a maximum of $5,ooo.00). If you do not want your entire refund going to the purchase of savings bonds, simply indicate what you want to do with the balance: paper refund check, one or more bank accounts, my bank account perhaps.
Savings bonds may seem like an old-fashioned investment, but it’s a smart investment these days. The Treasury Department describes them as a “low-risk, liquid savings product” that earns interest and protects you from inflation. You must pay federal taxes on the interest earned from savings bonds. But no worries about volatility, and they’re worth considerably more than Green Bay Packers stock.
If you like the feel of actually holding a paper savings bond in your hand, then purchasing them with part of your tax refund may be your last shot at doing so. Beginning January 1, 2012 paper savings bonds will no longer be available for purchase at financial institutions. Electronic savings bonds are available for purchase at any time through www.treasurydirect.gov.