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You should definitely consider this if you have spare cash lying around.


Key points

  • There’s a low-risk investment that’s tied to the inflation rate.
  • Since inflation is high right now, it’s offering substantial returns.
  • But you have to take action by Oct. 28 if you want to lock in the high rate.

Inflation’s been costing people money all year and on top of that, it’s also made borrowing money a lot more expensive than it had been. But it’s also opened new doors for investors looking to grow their wealth.

There’s one investment in particular that’s looking really good right now, but it’s a limited-time offer. If you want to lock in this high rate, you need to act within the next eight days.

These interest rates are at a record high

Stock market volatility and talk of a possible recession can make investing feel like a risky proposition, but when you’re dealing with I bonds, there’s virtually no risk involved. These bonds are backed by the federal government, so they can’t lose redemption value. They’re also tied to the inflation rate, so when inflation is high like right now, they can generate high returns.

Currently, I bonds are offering a historic high rate of 9.62%. There’s a catch, though. I bond interest rates change every May and November. If you want to lock in the current rate, you need to purchase your I bonds by Oct. 28. This will earn you the 9.62% return for six months. After that, rates are projected to fall to about 6.48% for the next six months, but that’s still pretty high. 

Is it a smart investment for you?

I bonds have received a lot of attention lately as a great choice for those investing for the short or medium term. Stocks are a better long-term pick for retirement savings because you’ll probably earn more on them over the course of a few decades. But I bonds offer low risk and high returns right now.

That said, there are a few things that could make them a bad choice for you. First, when you invest in an I bond, that money is locked up for a year. You can’t get it back before then. And if you cash out before you’ve held the bond for five years, you’ll pay a penalty in lost interest. That’s not the same as losing money, but it does mean you’ll wind up with a smaller return than you may have expected.

So investing in an I bond only makes sense if you have money you’re comfortable leaving alone for a few years. If not, you might be better off with a high-yield savings account that enables you to earn interest without limiting your access to your funds.

How to get started

You can purchase up to $10,000 of I bonds through TreasuryDirect. That’s the maximum you’re allowed this year, so if you’ve already purchased that much, you can’t buy any more right now.

Once you open a TreasuryDirect account, you’re able to choose the size of your bond as long as it’s at least $25. You must purchase the bond and receive a confirmation email by Oct. 28 in order to claim the 9.62% rate for your first six months.

Your I bond will continue earning interest for up to 30 years, unless you sell it first. When you do, you’ll pay federal income tax on your earnings, but you won’t owe any state or local taxes on it. And those who use the money to pay for education expenses may be able to avoid even the federal taxes thanks to an income tax exemption for this.

Investing in I bonds isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and it’s not always a surefire investment. But right now is a great time to capitalize on their unusually high rates if you have some extra cash. If you decide to invest, do your best to hold onto your money for at least five years so you can avoid penalties. After that, you can reassess whether it’s still a smart investment for you.

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