Here’s A Step-By-Step Guide To Using The Treasury’s Savings Bond Calculator

By David Enna,

This article is repurposed from a version originally written in June 2018.

For investors in U.S. Savings Bonds – EE and I Bonds – the Savings Bond Wizard was an excellent tool for keeping an accurate inventory and tracking past and current values. But as of June 1, 2018, the U.S. Treasury discontinued the Wizard and replaced it with a Savings Bond Calculator, a tool that’s a little less user friendly.

(TreasuryDirect is adamant that the Savings Bond Calculator will not work for electronic I Bonds. But that is not true. It does work, except for the $5,000/$10,000 issue and the results you see will be accurate. But keep in mind that the calculator will not show you the last three months of interest for an I Bond held less than 5 years.)

So you have to enter $5,000 twice to reflect a $10,000 purchase. The same is true for EE Bonds, but it’s a little more tricky. If you enter a $10,000 denomination for an EE Bond, the Calculator converts that to a $5,000 issue price because the denomination equals the EE Bond’s full value in 20 years. So if you just bought $10,000 in EE Bonds, you’d need to enter two $10,000 denomination transactions. The calculator will list the issue price and current value for each correctly as $5,000.

When you hit enter, the bond is immediately added to your inventory. There is no confirmation screen. So be careful when you take this step.If you make an error – or redeem a bond and you want to remove it – just click on the ‘REMOVE’ button on the right hand side of the main-page listing.

Saving your updated Calculator file

This step is also a little tricky, and is complicated because every Web browser has different ways of saving files. Treasury Direct has a nice rundown of instructions for widely used browsers. Be aware, however, that Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are listed as ‘not compatible.’ Here are the basic steps:

You probably want to change that file name to something more meaningful and make sure to save it to a place you can find it later. One possibility would be to name it ‘June 2018 Savings Bonds’ … but make sure to save the file as HTML ONLY. Some browsers will try to save the entire web page – photos and all – and you don’t want that.The Calculator directs you to the printer-friendly page to save, which is basic HTML. It should save cleanly.

Returning to this file in the future

I called my file ‘Sample Test File2’ and when I double click on it, it sends me to the printable list of my bonds. At this point, I am viewing the file on my computer and nothing has updated. I need to click on the ‘RETURN TO SAVINGS BOND CALCULATOR BUTTON’ to actually enter TreasuryDirect.

Also, during the entire process of writing this article, I never logged into TreasuryDirect. The Calculator is not behind a login wall, which makes it very easy to use. Does that raise security concerns? I’d say the concerns are minimal but others might find this troublesome.

At any rate, I would NOT enter the actual serial number into that column. I think very few people use that column for that purpose, anyway. The other information is fairly generic.


About Tipswatch

Author of blog, David Enna is a long-time journalist based in Charlotte, N.C. A past winner of two Society of American Business Editors and Writers awards, he has written on real estate and home finance, and was a founding editor of The Charlotte Observer's website.
This entry was posted in I Bond, Investing in TIPS, Savings Bond, TreasuryDirect. Bookmark the permalink.

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