Picking up Nickels

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Update: The conspiracy to kill the U.S. savings bond

Unfortunately, it is time to provide an update on my three year old rant about the death spiral of the U.S. savings bond.

Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury announced that as of January 1, 2012, paper savings bonds will no longer be sold at financial institutions. Electronic savings bonds will be continue to be available at treasurydirect.gov ($5000 per individual per year), but annual contribution levels will basically be halved.

For now, there is still a loophole that will allow purchases of paper I bonds: Income tax returns can be used to purchase I bonds using IRS Form 8888. Is anyone willing to offer odds on how long it will take for the Treasury to make this purchase option disappear too? :(

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 2011 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on July 11th, 2011:

Asset Jun 2011 Jul 2011 Change
Checking 2,213 1,779 -434
Money Market 42,694 42,651 -43
Savings Bonds 36,991 37,051 60
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 98,537 98,944 407
Brokerage 103,145 106,900 3,755
401k 101,063 102,095 1,032
Roth IRA 51,296 52,121 825
SEP IRA 251,505 257,164 5,659
529 Savings 54,699 55,657 958
Total Assets $742,143 $754,362 $12,219

The S&P 500 has recovered somewhat since the last update, up 2.37% during that time:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

The unemployment rate for June rose for the third month in a row as it climbed to 9.2%. Rising unemployment, a struggling housing market, and the global sovereign debt crisis du jour don't bode well for the current "economic recovery". Oil prices have declined somewhat, falling from about $101 per barrel to around $94 per barrel despite the US and other countries releasing 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves.

On the financial front, my next domino to fall will be finally funding my 2010 SEP IRA contribution sometime in the next couple of weeks. I look forward to getting that milestone behind me.

Aside from that, it's hot and humid out there today and I need to find a cool and refreshing swimming pool with my name on it. :)