Why I Bonds Are the Safest Investment You Can Make
Zvi Bodie is the Norman and Adele Barron Professor of Management at Boston University and author of many books, including the recent Risk Less and Prosper. He believes that I Bonds are one of the best safe investments out there
I Bonds come with guarantees, tax-deferred inflation-adjusted interest, and after one year, liquidity. This could be one of the best cash investments you ever make.
I Bonds as a Safe Investment for Your Emergency Fund
I Bonds make a great second-tier emergency fund - second-tier because you can't sell them within the first 12 months of buying them, so you need other liquid funds to rely on while you build up a stash of I Bonds.
The most you can buy is $10,000 a year per person. You can open an account directly with the Treasury through TreasuryDirect. Interest is tax-deferred. Consider building up a significant holding of I Bonds and buying the maximum amount of I Bonds each and every year.
If you look online at I Bond rates, it says the fixed rates as of May 1, 2018, is 0.30%. A semiannual inflation rate is also applied, and from May 2012 to October 2018, it is 1.11, which means an annual rate of 2.22%. Where else can you get 2.2% guaranteed tax-deferred interest on a safe and liquid investment right now while knowing that if rates go up, your rate will also likely go up? This is what makes I Bonds the best safe, cash investment you can find right now.
Learn more: I Bond Basics and How to Use I Bonds.
Use I Bonds to Fund Future Healthcare Premiums
Healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs in retirement will run about $3,500 - $5,000 a year per person. If you start buying $3,000 - $5,000 a year of I Bonds now, as the interest they accrue is tied to inflation, you can begin cashing them in later in retirement to make sure you have safe, guaranteed, inflation-adjusted investments available to cover medical costs in retirement.
Learn more: Rising Healthcare Costs and How to Budget for Them.
How to Buy I Bonds
You can open an account online with TreasuryDirect, link it to your bank account, and transfer money over to buy the maximum amount of I Bonds each year.
Learn More: How to Buy Treasury Securities Direct.
TIPS Bonds (referred to as treasury inflation protected securities) are different than I Bonds. Unlike I bonds, the interest on TIPS is not tax-deferred, so this vehicle is best owned inside tax-deferred accounts like an IRA or ROTH IRA. Unfortunately, you can't open an IRA account directly at TreasuryDirect, so TIPS in your IRA need to be purchased through a brokerage account.
Learn more: TIPS vs IBonds.