Demand to buy Series I U.S. savings bonds has been so strong this week that the Treasury’s website, where the bonds are bought, has temporarily crashed. That could mean some investors’ requests weren’t processed in time to lock in the bond’s 9.62% rate by Oct. 28.
TreasuryDirect.gov notified users of that possibility on Thursday, citing “unprecedented” volumes. “We cannot guarantee that your deposit purchase will be completed before this period if your account or purchase requires additional customer support for issues such as identity verification.”
The Treasury said on Thursday it has fixed the underlying technical issues and doubled the site’s connectivity capacity to allow more customers to successfully set up accounts and buy bonds. But, A revenue official noted that there may still be some ongoing issues depending on the traffic in the next two days.
To give an idea of how large the traffic increase has been, the official said, “In the last few days of the rate window, TreasuryDirect.gov has gone from averaging a few thousand concurrent visitors to the majority of federal government websites visited.”
Historically high rate I Bond, Determined by a formula based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, it is reset every six months. It is scheduled to take place on November 1st.
It’s no surprise that demand for the inflation-protected savings bond has soared in the past week, as it’s almost impossible to find an investment that offers it. A return of 9.62% these days, and even less “safe”.
However, there are limits to how much you can invest in an I Bond. Individuals may purchase up to $10,000 in I Bonds electronically in one calendar year. (For married couples, each spouse can purchase their own I have a total annual investment bond of up to $20,000.) In addition, you can purchase up to $5,000 of I Bond paper if you use your federal tax refund to purchase it.
With the catch I Bonds, which you can hold for 30 years, ie: you can’t withdraw money in the first year. And to get the full amount of interest, you have to keep the bond for at least five years. Otherwise, you will sacrifice three months of interest.
So although it is not a liquid investment immediately, it’s a good place to park money you won’t need in the next 12 months, if only to preserve its purchasing power in today’s hyperinflationary environment.