If you bought treasuries the past 10 years versus owning I bonds, how would you have done?

Has anyone looked up the comparison of I bonds versus buying treasury bills and notes? We had a robust stock market post 2009 for a majority of the time sans some corrections and flat stretches. Maybe fixed income will play second fiddle to stocks again?

No way to model that… not without hand-labor and hand-picking interest rates at different points in time.

I guess I was thinking if you bought an equal amount of I bonds and rollable one year treasuries in 2009, how would think be comparing to each other right now? I tend to think that the I bonds would have done better for some reason, but I would need to look at inflation rate component data. Based on this site:


a 3 month t bill reinvested would have had arbitrarily a growth from $1976 to $2083 ( chart entries for aggregated growth from $100 at start of 1928) from start of 2009 to end of 2021. So, about 5.4% total growth in those 13 years.

I think I may stick with I bonds as a savings account for long term semi-emergency money. I am capped at $10,000 annually which is not a problem but I have read that proposals are in place to increase that to $30,000 per a person.

You can purchase more than the $10k in I Bonds by using your Federal Income Tax refund, if you get one. I think you can purchase up to $5k more using your refund money. I’ve never done it, but I’m thinking about it, though I don’t get that much of a refund.

Do it! IRS Form 8888. I get my bonds one month after my e-file is accepted. I turn around and convert mine to electronic bonds which then live at Treasury Direct. There’s a sort of complicated procedure.

That’s interesting – they aren’t issued as electronic bonds on your T-Direct account?
Well, it’s once a year at most, if you do it, so probably not too big of a deal!

They mail you paper bonds and they are beautiful. I might just keep the next set of bonds. I miss seeing them. It’s like gold coins vs the GLD ETF. Prepay an extra $5000 of tax using Form 1040-ES so you get the full amount.

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Calculate the Value of Your Paper Savings Bond(s) (treasurydirect.gov)

Over ten years, I-Bonds bought in Oct 2012 have gained 21.92%, that’s 2% per year compounded. For a cash substitute, it’s fine. Tax deferred, no State or Local tax, can’t go below 0% interest, keeps up with inflation generally, no default risk unless the USA collapses as a Nation… pretty nice features.

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Wow – I thought they had done away with paper bonds.
I was thinking of prepaying some extra tax – I have to withdraw $ from an inherited IRA, so I can withhold extra tax $. I file early, so it’s not long between when I pay the tax and when I’d get the bonds.

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You can’t buy the paper bonds anymore, but you can get them as a tax refund. It’s weird, after all it’s the government

Wish they didn’t have the $10,000 limit per person. I know about the tax refund part. I mean if I want to purchase $50,000 in I bonds, let me!

well, getting bonds via tax refund involves 2 different but related agencies, the IRS and Treasury. The IRS has basically been defunded for decades, using old DOS software systems. So it’s possible that the issue is technological and not governmental. But it’s just easier to blame “the government”.
While nobody loves the government, it should be funded well enough to do its job, and the IRS has been defunded (until recently). I would bet that if taxes were simplified and if everyone paid, the tax rates would be lower for everyone. Instead, only the wealthy, the corporations, and the extremely poor don’t pay taxes, so it burdens everyone else with higher taxes. But that’s another discussion thread…