One more quick savings bond update… the official rate for new I Savings Bond was announced and the variable rate is indeed 1.18% but the fixed rate was a surprise at 0.20%. It’s still very small, but the last time we got a rate slightly above inflation was May 2010.
This means that if you buy a I Savings Bond from November 2013 to April 2014, you will earn 0.20% + a variable rate based on inflation updated every 6 months. The first six month variable rate is 1.18%, so your total rate for the first six months is 1.38%.
Short-term CD replacement? If you wanted to use this bond like a short-term CD, at the very minimum you would be guaranteed 6 months at 1.38% and then 0% after that. If you assume you buy at the end of November and hold for 11 months to maximize interest, with the 3-month early withdrawal penalty your effect annual rate would be approximately 0.75%. That’s not a bad floor considering that the minimum scenario would only occur if we had mild negative inflation (deflation).