How to track down lost savings bonds

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Do you know what bonds are? Bonds are where you’re kind of like the bank lending somebody money. When you buy savings bonds, you lend money to the federal government. With corporate bonds, you lend money to companies. And when you buy municipal bonds, you’re lending money to cities, counties and states.

In the past, Clark has spoken with great enthusiasm about some types of saving bonds, including Series I savings bonds. Throughout the late 1990s and early last decade, Series I bonds were a phenomenal deal.

In fact, Clark’s wife Lane bought Series I bonds at their peak interest rates. She was earning 8% on her savings bonds a few years back while the rest of the country was still trying to emerge from the economic doldrums of the Great Recession. That was at a time when you could barely earn 1% on your money in savings or CDs!

How to locate a missing savings bond

Often, people buy savings bonds when a child is born and then years later have no clue where they are. Or maybe they purchase savings bonds for themselves through a payroll deduction at work, but those too go AWOL. It’s a common problem.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

There’s a form from the U.S. Department of the Treasury that you can fill out to start the process of tracking down lost savings bonds. It’s called Form 1048 and it’s available here.

Any questions you may have about the process can be addressed via email to the Treasury Department or you can call Treasury Retail Securities at 844-284-2676.

A note on Series I bonds

Over the last several years, Clark hasn’t really been talking about Series I bonds because they weren’t as good of a deal.

But for those who are interested in this legacy investment that’s been talked about often on the Clark Howard Show through the years, here are a few notes of interest:

Series I bonds have a two-part interest rate: There’s a fixed rate and then there’s a floating rate based on inflation. The rate resets every six months.

With Series I bonds, you face a 90-day interest penalty if you cash them in before five years, much like with a CD. (You must hold an I bond for a minimum of 12 months.) Paying that penalty could be worth it if CD and savings rates take a big jump shortly down the road. Nobody knows what the future holds. You will need to see what the reset rate on your Series I bonds is in six months and then decide if you want to bail or stay put.


For more on rates and other questions about I bonds, you can visit

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