Suze Orman: Series I bonds are the one investment every person should have right now

Personal finance

If there is one investment every person should have right now, it is a series I bond, according to personal finance expert Suze Orman.

The bond’s variable interest rate is based on inflation, which means the asset currently has a high yield. The Consumer Price Index rose 8.6% in May, the highest rate since 1981. The annualized rate on the I bond is a record 9.62% through October 2022.

“This is a fabulous investment,” said Orman, who started investing in I bonds in 2001.

Backed by the U.S. government, the bond doesn’t lose value. Its variable rate is set every May and November. It also has a fixed rate currently at 0%.

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You can only buy them directly on the U.S. Department of the Treasury website at TreasuryDirect.gov. Available amounts start at $25 and you can invest as much as $10,000 each year, although there are some exceptions, like the ability to get up to $5,000 paper I bonds as part of your federal tax refund.

If you want to buy paper bonds instead of electronic ones, you can buy between $50 and $1,000 annually.

You can’t cash in the bond for one year, and if you cash one in before five years, you’ll lose the previous three months of interest.

While the best thing to do is hold the bond for five years or longer, if you don’t think you’ll be able to do that, don’t let it stop you from buying, said Orman, host of the “Women and Money” podcast.

A good inflation-era bet, if you can afford it

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“Given that inflation is probably here to stay for some time, even with a three-month interest penalty in years two through five … it’s still worth it, believe it or not,” Orman said.

In addition to making smart investments, also consider your current financial situation and whether or not you can continue to meet your expenses, Orman said.

“People really need to look at — what do they want to do versus what do they need to do? What do they want to buy versus what they need to buy?” Orman said.

“If you are now scrambling where every penny is going out, that’s coming in, you’re in a situation where you need to cut down.”

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