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Savings Bond Wizard – How to Calculate What Your Bonds are Worth

Looking to find out how much your savings bonds are worth? Unfortunately, the Savings Bonds Wizard is no longer offered by the Treasury Direct website. Instead, you'll need to use the Treasury's new savings bond Calculator.
Kane Pepi
Author: Kane Pepi
Last Updated: March 24, 2020

The Savings Bond Wizard was a useful tool offered by the Treasury Direct website that allowed you to calculate how much your bonds were worth. This was handy, as attempting to figure out the current market value of EE and I Bonds is challenging when you have multiple yields and maturities to take into account.

Unfortunately, the Saving Bond Wizard is no longer available at the Treasury website. Instead, it’s been replaced by a new bond calculator. Although the calculator yields the same result, it’s slightly less user-friendly than its predecessor.

In this article, we explain the ins and outs of how the new bond calculator works, what it allows you to do, and how you can calculate the current value of your savings bond portfolio.

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    What was the Savings Bond Wizard?

    A snippet of the old savings bond wizardThe Savings Bond Calculator was a downloadable tool that allowed you to manage your savings bonds via a single platform. It was free to download on Windows PC’s, and you could obtain updated figures on your bond portfolio as and when you saw fit.

    The overarching benefit of using the Wizard was that you could easily import new bond holdings. After all, each savings bond is likely to come with its own characteristics. For example, you’d need to enter the bond serial number, face value, issue date, coupon rate, and more.

    Although the Savings Bond Wizard is no longer supported, the good news is that you can export your portfolio data and import it into the new calculator. 

    Exporting Your Data From the Savings Bond Wizard

    With the Savings Bond Wizard dating back to the mid-1990s, it’s likely that you have heaps of data stored within the program. Thankfully, there is no requirement to input each and every entry into the new calculator, as you can simply export this via a single file.

    Here’s what you need to do.

    • Step 1: Open the Savings Bond Wizard on your desktop device
    • Step 2: Click on ‘File’ at the top left-hand side of the screen
    • Step 3: Click on ‘Export’
    • Step 4: Give your exported file a name
    • Step 5: Make sure you save the .htm file somewhere you can easily retrieve it later

    And that’s it, you’ve just exported up to 15 years worth of bond records via a single click.

    Import Your File into the new Savings Bond Calculator

    So now that you’ve exported your historical bond records, you will now need to upload it into the new calculator.

    • Step 1: Click on the .htm file that you previously saved
    • Step 2: The file will open and show you your current bond balance and the amount of interest earned to date
    • Step 3: Click on the ‘Go to Savings Bonds Calculator’ link
    • Step 4: You will then be taken to the Treasury Direct website
    • Step 5: You will now be able to view your current savings bond portfolio value in the new calculator
    • Step 6: In order to view a break down of each and every bond within the portfolio, click on the ‘view’ button

    Now that you’ve imported your historical records into the new calculator, you won’t be able to use the old Wizard again. As such, you’ll need to get used to manually entering every new bond purchase that you make.

    Adding Bonds into the new Savings Bond Calculator

    Below we have listed a step-by-step guide on how you can add newly purchased savings bonds into the calculator. You will need to repeat this process manually for each bond that you buy.

    Step 1: Visit the Treasury Direct Website

    Your first port of call will be to head over to the Treasury Direct website and log into your account. You should be able to see the ‘Bond Calculator’ button; click it.

    Step 2: Enter Bond Values

    Much like the old Savings Bonds Wizard, you will need to enter the specific details of the bond you want to add to your portfolio. Make sure the information matches the bond like-for-like or the calculator will give you incorrect figures. There are four values in particular that you need to enter, which includes:

    • Series: This relates to the type of savings bond you want to add; this needs to either be EE Bonds or I Bonds.
    • Denomination: Enter the specific denomination of the bond; for example, $5,000 or $10,000.
    • Serial Number: You’ll need to enter the serial number that is attached to the bond. This ensures that your yields are calculated correctly.
    • Issue Date: The issue date also validates the correct yield on your bonds; enter the month and year that is attached to the bond.

    There are a couple of glitches on the new savings bond calculator with respect to denominations.

    Savings bonds offer super low yields, although they are virtually risk-freeFirstly, if you’re trying to enter EE Bonds into the calculator, for some unknown reason it automatically converts a $10,000 bond into a $5,000 denomination. As such, you will need to make multiple entries to manually rectify the bug.

    For example, let’s say that you want to enter two $10,000 EE Bonds, which are collectively worth $20,000. You will need to repeat the process four times ($5,000 x 4) to get to the $20,000 EE Bond value. Once you do, the calculator will correctly show you the current market value just across four bonds instead of two.

    Secondly, there is also a glitch when entering I Bonds. The bond calculator doesn’t recognize that the rules surrounding I Bond purchase limits have recently changed. While you could previously only purchase $5,000 per year, this has since been upped to $10,000. As such, you’ll need to enter your investment in multiples, so if you want to enter a $10,000 I Bond, you’ll need to repeat the transaction twice so that it reflects 2 x $5,000 bonds.

    Step 3: Save Your Bond Portfolio File

    When you have finished adding your newly purchased bonds into the calculator, you will need to save your bond portfolio. If you don’t, you will need to repeat the above steps again. Unfortunately, the calculator once again presents a glitch; if you’re using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, the file won’t be compatible with your device.

    Instead, you’ll need to consider using one of the following browsers:

    • Internet Explorer
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • MSN Explorer
    • Opera Safari

    You also need to give your file a suitable name, because it will save as ‘Calculated Value of Your Paper Savings Bond(s)’. Instead, consider calling it something like ‘Bond Calculator April 2020’.

    Step 4: Updating Your Downloadable File

    The next time you wish to add more bonds to your savings calculator, you will need to upload the file that you saved in step 3. To do this, you will need to find the file and open it on your device. You will then see the same portfolio layout as you saw when you exported your data from the old Savings Bonds Wizard via the .htm file.

    Only this time, when you click on the ‘Return to Savings Bond Calculator’ button, you’ll instantly be able to view your portfolio via the Treasury Direct website. Then, you can simply add new bonds as and when you see fit. When you proceed to download your updated file, be sure to give it a new name.

    What Does the Savings Bond Calculator do?

    As the name suggests, the savings bond calculator lets you know the exact market value of your savings bonds portfolio. Unlike a stocks and shares portfolio, the value of your savings bonds can only go northwards. This because savings bonds come with positive coupon rate, but there is no secondary market to sell them.

    As such, unlike other types of bonds, there is no running yield in play. Although at first glance you might think that it’s easy to calculate an asset with a pre-determined rate of interest, things start to get complicated when you have multiple coupon rates and maturity dates.

    • Let’s say that you hold EE Bonds with a coupon rate of 1%, 0.2%, and 0.5% and then I Bonds at a rate of 0.1%, 0.4%, and 0.2%.
    • You then need to factor in the differing maturity dates, as well as the specific month that the coupon payments are made.
    • For example, while four of the aforementioned bonds might payout this month, you might need to wait for a further 10 months for the remaining two.
    • This makes the savings bond calculation process a logistical nightmare!

    What Bonds Will the Savings Bond Calculator Accept?

    Much like the old Savings Bond Wizard, the new calculator available at the Treasury Bond website is only suitable for EE Bonds and I Bonds. As such, you won’t be able to enter Treasury bonds or privately-issued savings bonds. Not sure what savings bond types you actually have? Check out the below.

    EE Bonds

    Series EE Bonds, or simply ‘EE Bonds’, were first launched in the 1980s. They always come with a maturity date of 30 years and the interest rate remains fixed for the duration of the term. The specific interest rate is determined on each issue, which typically occurs twice per year. When the EE bonds mature or you decide to cash them out, you will need to pay Federal tax on your gains. You won’t, however, need to pay state or local taxes.

    I Bonds

    Series I Bonds were first launched in 1998. Unlike its EE counterpart, I Bonds come with both a fixed and variable rate of interest. The variable interest on the I Bond will move every May and November, depending on inflation levels. The overarching concept is to give bondholders fixed income and purchasing protection against rising inflation. Much like EE Bonds, there is no secondary marketplace for I Bonds.

    Conclusion

    In summary, it is a shame that the old Savings Bond Wizard is no longer available. Although the original calculator was somewhat basic, it was super-easy to use and it came bug-free. On the contrary, the new calculator available at the Treasury Direct website is glitchy, to say the least.

    As we discussed earlier, it still doesn’t recognize that the $5,000 purchase limit of I Bonds has since been increased to $10,000. As such, you need to make two $5,000 entries to represent your $10,000 I Bond investment. Despite this, the new savings bond calculator is reasonably easy to use. As long as you are not using a Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser, you’ll be able to save your bond entries every time you make an addition.

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    FAQs

    Is the Savings Bond Wizard still available on the Treasury Direct website?

    No, the Savings Bond Wizard is no longer available. Instead, it's been replaced by the Treasury's new savings bond calculator.

    What bonds can I add to the new savings bond calculator?

    Much like the original Savings Bond Wizard, the new calculator only supports EE Series Bonds and I Series Bonds. If you need to calculate other bond types you will need to use a third-party provider.

    Why can't I add my $10,000 I Bond into the new bond calculator?

    Among a number of other bugs on the Treasury Direct website, the new savings bond calculator has not been updated to reflect I Bond limit increase. More specially, it still thinks that I Bond investments are capped at $5,000 annually. As such, to reflect the $10,000 increase, you'll need to make two $5,000 entries.

    Why can't I add a $10,000 EE Bond into the new savings bond calculator?

    An additional glitch when using the new savings bond calculator is with regards to the $10,000 EE Bonds. For some reason, the system automatically changes it to a $5,000 denominated bond, so you'll need to make two entries.

    Why can't I save my portfolio in the new savings bond calculator?

    A further problem with the new savings bond calculator is that it does not support all browsers. If you're using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, it's not compatible with the calculator. You'll need to down an alternative browser.

    Should I use a third-party Savings Bond Wizard program?

    There is no reason why using a third-party program to replicate the old Savings Bond Wizard should be a problem as long as you are not required to enter the specific serial number. Instead, you'll simply need to enter key details like the yield, issue date, and bond type.

    Can I sell my EE Bonds?

    If you want to sell your EE Bonds, you will need to have held onto them for at least 12 months. If you sell them between 12 months and 5 years, you'll pay a penalty worth 3 months interest. Any sales after 5 years come with no penalty.

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    Kane Pepi

    Kane holds academic qualifications in the finance and financial investigation fields. With a passion for all-things finance, he currently writes for a number of online publications.

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