Got an email recently from someone and almost overlooked it as the title said something about asking my opinion on savings bonds, zzz… Fortunately I pushed through, and hidden inside was a lovely question about how to honor some gifts given to the person around 30 years earlier :)
Here is the note below, followed by my kinda-sorta-could-be-good-advice afterwards? I’ll need your help coming up with more ideas for her please!
Hey J Money,
I’ve been mulling over a money question now for the last year and haven’t gotten far. I was reading your blog and thought, “What the heck, I’ll see about getting an outside opinion!” from you and/or the Budgets are Sexy community.
My great-grandparents bought me 30 year Series EE savings bonds for my birthday, Christmas, etc. for the first two years of my life. They’ve been sitting ignored in my safe for the last decade and I noticed last year that they were reaching their maturity dates. The last one matures this year and I need to cash them out. I looked up the values and, all together, the bonds are worth a bit over $500.
So, here’s my dilemma. My great-grandparents were pretty fantastic people who I respect a lot. They purchased these knowing full well that they wouldn’t be around when I was an adult, much less when these bonds matured. I feel like I ought to earmark it to do something significant or symbolic or something with it other than tossing it in our checking account. Any thoughts?
I know you have no idea what my financial picture looks like or even if it matters. But, for the record, I’m happily married for 8 years to my high school sweetheart, have two great daughters (3 years and 5 months), own a home that we put 20% down on, no debt other than $12,000 for my husband’s masters degree (he graduated in May), 6 month emergency fund, and socking away money every month for retirement and our kids’ college funds.
Would love any feedback you have!
Aren’t her great-grandparents the best?? I told her I did the same thing years ago with all my savings bond gifts from my g-parents (6 total) and ended up putting them towards maxing out my Roth IRA for the year. Something I’m sure they would have been proud about :)
Here’s actually a snapshot of them from one of my very first blog posts:
[If you go to TreasuryDirect.gov you can look up and track all your old paper bonds too FYI. Though I brought mine to a local bank to cash in instead of the site as it looked a helluva lot more complicated and time-consuming. (Though great for research!)]
I told her I also thought it was smart to convert them over too just in case they ever get lost or stolen/burned up in a fire one day (they are made of paper, after all!). Much better to keep that $$ electronic or stashed/invested somewhere vs in paper notes.
As for ideas on how to honor her great-grandparents? I could only come up with two, which is why I need your help after you’re done reading this :)
- Re-invest the money into the stock market so it continues to grow – but much faster
- Re-invest the money into something for HER. Like further education or a passion or something special that she could even do with her family together. We tend to be pretty obsessive with saving and budgeting on this site, so this would make for a perfect opportunity to do something they’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet.
Although now that I think about, her grandparents kinda already got their wish, didn’t they? To have a smart, thoughtful, and financially-conscious great-grandchild on their hands? I mean, who spends time going out of their way to write people on the internet for tips?? That speaks volumes in itself! ;)
So well done, Courtney. I’m sure they’re smiling down pretty hard right now. Let’s see what some of our smarty pants readers here offers up idea-wise, but however you proceed they’ve already accomplished their mission. And there’s nothing wrong w/ just sitting on some cash too! Cash = options = freedom!
Here’s to grandparents and savings bonds everywhere :)
PS: Do you think one day grandparents will give out bitcoins as gifts?? They’ve stopped selling paper bonds at banks since 2011. You can only get them now at the U.S. Treasury’s website (TreasuryDirect).
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!