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I-Bond Rate, 5/1/22-10/31/22

Fixed rate 0.00%
Semiannual inflation rate 4.81%
Annualized I-Bond rate 9.62% for purchases between 5/1/22-10/31/22.


  • Thanks for the update.
  • Whatever seems too good to be true has proved to be just that, at least in my life. I'm looking for the flaw here. So far the only flaw I see is that the composite rate ( [fixed rate + (2 x semiannual inflation rate + fixed rate x semiannual inflation rate) of 4.81% is guaranteed for 6 months and no more. Theoretically it is "annualized" at 9.62% but the semiannual inflation rate may become lower and the fixed rate has been zero for a good while now. Am I missing something?

  • edited May 3
    Think of I-Bond rates as floating-rates that reset every 6 months. But floating-rates are still quoted as annualized rates for consistent comparison with other instruments.

    The formula used by Treasury is an approximation of annualization, a carryover from ancient times when calculators were not readily available.

    You are not missing anything, but keep in mind that electronic I-Bonds can be bought only from Treasury Direct and the maximum amount is $10K/yr/person.
  • To me, these seem more interesting to purchase after their fixed-rates have already gone up, which investors may have the opportunity to do very shortly.
  • edited May 3
    I am less hopeful on fixed rate going up anytime soon. There is no formula or procedure prescribed for the fixed rate (as there is for the inflation-adjusted portion) and it is entirely at Treasury's discretion. When I-Bonds were introduced in 1998, the fixed rate was set high to entice people to this new products (BTW, the US TIPS were introduced in 1997). Also, in times of low inflation, Treasury "may" set the fixed rate to make the annualized rate competitive (or not). But now, with I-Bonds paying an incredible 9.62% for this 6 month period (guaranteed by Uncle Sam), Treasury didn't feel the need to make the rate even more attractive. So long as inflation remains high, my guess is that the fixed rate won't go up.
  • The way I look at it, you’ll get at least 75% of the current inflation rate investing in I-Bonds, assuming you cash out before holding five years. I bought bonds when the rate was 7.1%, and it will go up to 9.6% for the next six months. So I’m guaranteed at least 6% return, even if inflation plummets later this year. If inflation stays high, I’ll stay invested and appreciate the gains. If it drops, I’ll lose three months interest but still gain more than currently possible with any guaranteed investment.
  • Thanks everyone. So not too good to be true but -for me - too good to pass up. Buying directly from Treasury Direct took less than a minute.
  • So it’s an almost free $962.00
  • The way I look at it, you’ll get at least 75% of the current inflation rate investing in I-Bonds, assuming you cash out before holding five years.

    You may want to take a closer look. Here's a simple example:
    - 0% inflation for the period 6-12 months ago
    - 6% annualized inflation over the past six months (i.e. prices went up 3%)

    If you buy an I-bond "now" and cash out in a year, you'll get 0% for six months, 3% for the next six months, and then forfeit 1.5% (the interest over the last three months). That's a net 1.5% for the twelve months you hold the savings bond - just half of the amount that prices increased over the past six (or twelve) months.

    If one is cashing out before the end of five years, what one wants to do is cash out three months after the rates dip. That way, one forfeits the interest during three low-rate months. The example I gave was the opposite, where you'd be forfeiting the three highest paying months - a disproportionately high penalty.
  • edited May 4
    I-Bonds purchased by end of April 2022 are guaranteed a rate of 8.37% for the next 12 months. If you purchase at end of month and redeem at start of the month the 3 month penalty effectively becomes a 1 month penalty. So factoring in the penalty the net rate for the 12 month period starting May is 7.6% which is significantly better than any fixed income instrument out there with comparable risk.

    Ally Bank 12 month FD is 0.85%. For a hypothetical family of 4, a 40K Ally CD will yield $340 compared to the same investment in I-Bonds which will yield $3,040.
  • @stayCalm, good point. While only future 6-mo returns are assured for I-Bonds, there is about 3-wk window ahead of May 1 and November 1 rate announcements (when the inflation-adjustment is known but small changes in the fixed rate may be speculated) when 12-mo returns for I-Bonds can also be projected. The media used this in mid/late-April this time around.
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