How to Give the Gift of US Treasury Savings Bonds

When my wife and I were first combining our finances, my wife had to track down some savings bonds she’d received from her grandfather when she was a child.

Her bonds were still accruing interest, those Series EE bonds earn interest for 30 years, and finding them was a simple matter. Unclaimed savings bonds are one of the most common types of missing money. (Finding your bonds is easy too, just go to Treasury Hunt)

Gifting US Treasury Savings Bonds has fallen a little bit out of favor in recent years but it’s still a decent way to teach saving. While there’s something symbolic about holding the paper certificate (paper certificates were phased out in 2012), the important message is that of saving.

Table of Contents
  1. How to buy savings bond gifts
  2. Print a paper gift certificate

How to buy savings bond gifts

The process is easy and the Treasury has this tutorial to help you understand the process. You’ll need the sound on to watch it.

If you’re more of a reader than a watcher, the process has two parts – buying the bond and delivering it.

Here’s how to buy the bond:

  1. Register an account at TreasuryDirect
  2. Collect the gift recipient’s Full Legal Name, Taxpayer ID or Social Security Number
  3. (When you give the bonds and want to deliver them electronically, the Recipient’s TreasuryDirect Account Number, but you don’t need it now)
  4. Log into TreasuryDirect and click BuyDirect in the Menu
  5. Select Series EE
  6. Enter the Recipient’s information as the new Registration Information and check the “This is a gift” box.
  7. Select the Recipient’s information as the registration, enter the amount, funding source, and set Purchase Frequency.
  8. Review the Purchase Review page to ensure all the information is correct. Smile at your confirmation page.

After you purchase the bond, it’ll appear in your account in about a day. You can’t deliver it to your recipient for five days, this is to confirm the funds (ACH takes up to 5 days).

If your recipient is a minor, they need to have a Minor linked account that is associated with a parent/guardian.

Here’s how to gift the bond:

  1. After 5 days of purchase, log into your Treasury Direct account.
  2. Click on the Gift Box link in the top menu.
  3. Select the bond you want to gift and click Submit.
  4. Click Deliver — remember, you’ll need their TreasuryDirect account number.
  5. You can deliver all or part of it – double check the review page. Click Submit and the bond will be delivered.

Now you’re done!

If you’re thinking about what bonds to buy, might I recommend Series I savings bonds – the rates on these are great right now!

Print a paper gift certificate

You can’t get a fancy looking savings bond certificate from the Treasury but you can do the next best thing — you can print out a gift certificate from the Treasury.

treasurydirect-gift-certificate

See their 27 gift certificates templates for occasions like graduation, holidays, weddings, and simple thank yous. It’s a nice touch… better than a print out of the confirmation page. 🙂

Finally, here’s how you (and they) can calculate the value of that savings bond down the road.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

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    • Jim Wang says

      I don’t plan to but I’d been thinking about it so I wanted to see what the process was. Our kids are still too young to really “get” the idea we’d be trying to teach with the gift of savings bonds… maybe in a few years though.

  1. Mollie says

    Savings bonds from my grandparents and aunt were very helpful for getting me through some college expenses. The savings bonds weren’t a huge amount, but they were helpful. I was so grateful for them.

    I tried to continue the tradition with my nephew, and I gave him one or two before they phased out the paper bonds. The online system seemed way too cumbersome and pushed me to opening 529s for my nieces and nephews. Thanks for going to the trouble of laying out the new process.

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