Picking up Nickels

Thursday, October 15, 2015

September 2015 CPI-U numbers released: Wait for November 2015 I Bonds

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the September 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) inflation data this morning, which decreased by 0.16% last month.

As always, now is one of the best times to consider purchasing I Bonds. The reason for this is that we now know what the rate of return for October 2015 I Bonds will be for both the first and second six month periods, which is important since I Bonds must be held for 12 months before they can be redeemed.

Using the CPI-U data from March 2015 (236.119) and September 2015 (237.945) (courtesy of inflationdata.com), we can calculate the variable rate for the second 6 month period for October 2015 issue I Bonds:

That would mean these bonds would earn a rate of 0% (using 0% fixed & 0% variable) for the first 6 months and 1.54% (combined 0% fixed & 1.54% variable) for the second 6 months. Obviously, it makes sense to wait until November to make the purchase to avoid six months of 0% interest. Even though we only know the interest rate for the first six months of November 2015 Series I savings bonds, that 1.54% rate is competitive when compared to short term investments like the 1 year CD @ 1.30% APY currently being offered at CIT Bank.

The dip in oil prices over the past year or so telegraphed the current 0% composite rate, so I will probably buy the maximum amount from treasurydirect.gov in November since I have held off on buying so far in 2015. I'll continue to keep an eye on the CPI-U in the meantime and will evaluate my next potential purchase in April 2016.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 2015 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on October 12th, 2015:

Asset Sep
Checking 849 3,002 2,153
Money Market 57,821 65,146 7,325
Savings Bonds 95,505 95,638 133
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 46,380 46,490 110
Brokerage 123,170 119,999 -3,171
401k 125,852 130,456 4,604
Roth IRA 97,163 105,667 8,504
SEP IRA 494,247 505,125 10,878
529 Savings 123,087 126,008 2,921

Total Assets $1,164,074 $1,197,531 $33,457

The S&P 500 has been a bit volatile since the last update, although it is currently up 3.34% during that time:

(chart courtesy of yahoo.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for September remained at 5.1%, although the 142,000 jobs added was considered weak . Oil prices have continued to rise slightly to the $47 level, yet I've seen local gasoline prices fall a few cents to the $2.03 per gallon I most recently paid.

On the financial front, Mrs. Frugalson and I made our 2015 Roth IRA contributions and I also took a distribution from my S Corporation. I have a Penfed 1.21% APY 1 year CD maturing soon, which will likely be put toward a Series I savings bond purchase. The September CPI-U inflation numbers are also due out on Thursday, although it is pretty much a lock that the best option is to wait until November to by the savings bonds.

On the non-financial front, it's been nice not having any near term plans to have contractors doing work on the house. I have a few small DIY things I'd like to get done before the cold weather comes, but I can at least work on those with a low budget at my own leisure. :)