I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Discussion of the Bond portion of the Permanent Portfolio

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mathjak107
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by mathjak107 » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:42 am

pugchief wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:27 am
mathjak107 wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:16 am

A penny saved Isa penny earned but without good compounding it’s always a penny .even less with inflation

What I meant is explained here

https://www.kitces.com/blog/worried-abo ... all-stuff/
Yep. And the same applies to investing as it does to spending.
Yep . Me concentrating on 10k worth of i bonds in the big picture really does nothing for me …I am better served finding better bank deals and credit card deals as far as bonuses
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by vnatale » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:57 am

mathjak107 wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:42 am

pugchief wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:27 am

mathjak107 wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:16 am


A penny saved Isa penny earned but without good compounding it’s always a penny .even less with inflation

What I meant is explained here

https://www.kitces.com/blog/worried-abo ... all-stuff/


Yep. And the same applies to investing as it does to spending.


Yep . Me concentrating on 10k worth of i bonds in the big picture really does nothing for me …I am better served finding better bank deals and credit card deals as far as bonuses


I understand all you say ... on both ends.

As I write this I am drinking tea partially made from used tea bags. That does not require any more of my time to do so. But I lament that I no longer will fight for all $5 or $10 savings as I'd always do in the old days because now "it is just not worth it". This is me who has to still be in the top 1% of frugality (if not the top 0.1%!).

I heavily questioned the iBonds because a single person (without going through a lot of machinations) is limited to buying only $15,000 per year. Plus, if you were going through a full portfolio makeover with just about all other investment components you have no limits on how much you could invest into each component.

That is definitely NOT the case with iBonds.

If one were doing a total makeover on a $500,000 portfolio the most one could today into iBonds would be $15,000. Which would only be 3% of your total portfolio. Plus of that annual $15,000 1/3 of it ($5,000) has a limited time frame to buy it (only upon submitting your tax return and then that submitted tax return finally resulted in your getting credited for the purchase). I am well aware of the arguments that many have made here that over many years $15,000 per year will start adding up. But it is still not the same as being able to make a lump sum purchase of just about any other investment.

All that said I've become an enthusiastic iBond purchaser since 2020 buying all that I am able to do so.

However on the other end please let us know whenever you can on your credit card deals and bank deals.

I have the credit card that gives me 2% on all purchases (1% on charging plus the other 1% on paying the bill). The problem for me with many of the bank offers has been twofold. One if requiring to do so many debit purchases per month (I've yet to do one in my life). The other is that the investments are limited to only so much -- bringing us back to the iBonds limitation you've cited.

Getting back to iBonds. At some point I will resurrect the point someone made here regarding how many of us will go through all kinds of contortions to squeeze out some extra return on the cash portion of our investments. Buying iBonds seems to require much effort than some of those contortions with greatest absolute dollar returns.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:21 pm

I don't get why you'd think buying I-bonds is trouble. It takes maybe 10 minutes a year to do.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by mathjak107 » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:51 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:21 pm
I don't get why you'd think buying I-bonds is trouble. It takes maybe 10 minutes a year to do.
I don’t want to send more money to any more non local accounts then I have to or deal with more 1099s. Plus We have multiple sheets We keep for the kids to know what’s what in case of a common death in an accident which has to keep being changed .

Then the account has to be linked to other accounts to get the money to and fro..

Not worth it when I can go to citi bank and get 1500 bucks in one shot on 100k for a few months or 800 on 50k
Last edited by mathjak107 on Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by barrett » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:57 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:21 pm
I don't get why you'd think buying I-bonds is trouble. It takes maybe 10 minutes a year to do.
Exactly! It's a piece of cake.

For most of us who are into personal finance (I think that's why most of us are here, right?) we feel the little optimizations add up to something worthwhile over time. It's better to own an S&P index fund that has an expense ratio of .04% than one with an expense ratio of .25%. Mathjak's bank scheme sounds like a great hack. We buy the cheapest gas in town. I don't own any exercise machines at home but I pay $100 per year and use the equipment at the gym like a madman, etc., etc.

For many of us sticking a portion of our cash in I-bonds each year is totally worth it.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by Mark Leavy » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:19 pm

barrett wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:57 pm
For most of us who are into personal finance (I think that's why most of us are here, right?) we feel the little optimizations add up to something worthwhile over time.

<snip>

For many of us sticking a portion of our cash in I-bonds each year is totally worth it.

No opinion on iBonds per se, but I am strongly against the little optimizations.
I think they are a distraction. I call it "optimizing the small". Local Optimizations for the mathematically inclined. They can make you feel like you are optimizing while you are actually doing nothing that will have a real impact on your life. They are a distraction from asking yourself the bigger questions.

1) Should I change jobs?
2) Should I get divorced?
3) Should I live Portugal?
4) Am I situated to handle XYZ catastrophe?
5) Is my health good?

And any number of larger optimization questions. The tiny optimizations are a feel good drug that make you less likely to step back and examine your larger life.

Just my opinion :)
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by barrett » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:33 pm

Mark Leavy wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:19 pm
No opinion on iBonds per se, but I am strongly against the little optimizations.
I think they are a distraction. I call it "optimizing the small". Local Optimizations for the mathematically inclined. They can make you feel like you are optimizing while you are actually doing nothing that will have a real impact on your life. They are a distraction from asking yourself the bigger questions.

< Snip>
All totally valid but for the fact that most of the stuff I am talking about can be done more or less on autopilot. Good financial habits as opposed to obsessing. At least that's what I was trying to get across. Crap, now I am wondering if i should move to Portugal!
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by Cortopassi » Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:24 pm

It was an easy decision for me and my wife. 20k late last year, 20k early this year, so 40k at 7% for $2800 yearly compared to the money previously sitting in an Ally savings account at 0.5% for $200 a year.

And it did take <10 minutes.

But I certainly understand not wanting to open up more accounts.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by vnatale » Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:37 pm

FINALLY asking an at about six month old question regarding iBonds.

I filed my 2020 tax return on May 15, 2021. I realized the mistake(s) I'd made on my 2019 so that instead of my $5,000 refund going toward purchasing iBonds it was sent to me as a refund. I thought that I had done all correctly on my 2020 tax return.

I did recount here how a lot of time passed from that May 15th with nothing happening. No refunds. No iBonds purchased.

However, some day last summer I went to my mailbox and it looked like I was again getting a refund. But, WAIT! iBonds HAD been purchased.

But they came in 12 (!!!!!!) envelopes.

Four of them were $1,000 bonds. One was $500. One was $200. Then the remaining six were 50 each. So I DID get $5,000 in total.

But is this the normal way to get them? I guess they are all denominated in nothing bigger than $1,000? If so, why did I not just get five $1,000 bonds?

Finally, most importantly, what do I do with these paper bonds?

I do not yet have a bank box. They are just sitting here. What happens if they were lost or destroyed? I assume that they are NOT just like cash? They are all recorded somewhere as belonging to me?

What can I do to get rid of them by getting them converted to electronic form (just like my annual $10,000 purchases)?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by drumminj » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:38 pm

Mark Leavy wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:19 pm
No opinion on iBonds per se, but I am strongly against the little optimizations.
I think they are a distraction. I call it "optimizing the small". Local Optimizations for the mathematically inclined. They can make you feel like you are optimizing while you are actually doing nothing that will have a real impact on your life. They are a distraction from asking yourself the bigger questions.
I don't disagree with your perspective (from a math perspective, the local maximum may be far lower than the global maximum), however if one has already resolved what they believe are the bigger questions, then optimizing what you're categorizing the "smaller" items is the best one can do.

There are many decisions I could make to make more money, have a lower cost of living, etc. However, given some of the major decisions I've made (life partner, location, choice of life I want to live - land, animals, etc), the best I can do is optimize within those constraints. You may consider those "small", but that doesn't mean it's not worth _my_ time at this point.

All that said, I agree with you that one should be mindful of the challenge you make -- am I optimizing at the right level? (being a software engineer, optimizing an n^2 algorithm is a waste of time vs finding an O(n) or O(nlogn) algorithm)
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by Xan » Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:15 am

Xan wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:18 am
jhogue wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:53 am
Sorry, Xan, but we will have to agree to disagree.

I personally re-use tea bags. I also clip coupons for my local carwash.

I also labor under the assumption that everyone reading the forum personally knows that you can't invest in something unless you save something. As you suggest, the imperative to save is redoubled by the effect of our confiscatory tax system.

Much of what is wrong with the country today could be fixed by people being more careful with their own money. Dismissive attitudes don't help.
I don't believe that Mathjak had a dismissive attitude. Perhaps he could clarify his position.

Somebody said that I-Bonds weren't worth the trouble, and Mathjak said that some people clip coupons and reuse teabags, so for those people (and presumably many others!) I-Bonds would definitely be worth the trouble.
jhogue, I owe you an apology; I thought you had misinterpreted Mathjak but it seems that I was the one who had done so!

But I will say that everyone has their own threshold for what's worth the trouble and what isn't. At some point (IMHO) you have enough money that you are willing to exchange some of it for time, in the form of (let's say) not clipping coupons, or paying somebody to do the yard work, or what have you.

I do believe that I-bonds for PP cash are a no-brainer.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by jhogue » Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:53 am

vnatale wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:37 pm
FINALLY asking an at about six month old question regarding iBonds.

I filed my 2020 tax return on May 15, 2021. I realized the mistake(s) I'd made on my 2019 so that instead of my $5,000 refund going toward purchasing iBonds it was sent to me as a refund. I thought that I had done all correctly on my 2020 tax return.

I did recount here how a lot of time passed from that May 15th with nothing happening. No refunds. No iBonds purchased.

However, some day last summer I went to my mailbox and it looked like I was again getting a refund. But, WAIT! iBonds HAD been purchased.

But they came in 12 (!!!!!!) envelopes.

Four of them were $1,000 bonds. One was $500. One was $200. Then the remaining six were 50 each. So I DID get $5,000 in total.

But is this the normal way to get them? I guess they are all denominated in nothing bigger than $1,000? If so, why did I not just get five $1,000 bonds?

Finally, most importantly, what do I do with these paper bonds?

I do not yet have a bank box. They are just sitting here. What happens if they were lost or destroyed? I assume that they are NOT just like cash? They are all recorded somewhere as belonging to me?

What can I do to get rid of them by getting them converted to electronic form (just like my annual $10,000 purchases)?
Vinnie:
1. Treasury guarantees the replacement of paper savings bonds that are lost, stolen, or destroyed. See TreasuryDirect.gov FAQs.

2. You can convert paper savings bonds to your online TreasuryDirect.gov account. See TreasuryDirect.gov FAQs.
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A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by vnatale » Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:10 am

jhogue wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:53 am

vnatale wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:37 pm

FINALLY asking an at about six month old question regarding iBonds.

I filed my 2020 tax return on May 15, 2021. I realized the mistake(s) I'd made on my 2019 so that instead of my $5,000 refund going toward purchasing iBonds it was sent to me as a refund. I thought that I had done all correctly on my 2020 tax return.

I did recount here how a lot of time passed from that May 15th with nothing happening. No refunds. No iBonds purchased.

However, some day last summer I went to my mailbox and it looked like I was again getting a refund. But, WAIT! iBonds HAD been purchased.

But they came in 12 (!!!!!!) envelopes.

Four of them were $1,000 bonds. One was $500. One was $200. Then the remaining six were 50 each. So I DID get $5,000 in total.

But is this the normal way to get them? I guess they are all denominated in nothing bigger than $1,000? If so, why did I not just get five $1,000 bonds?

Finally, most importantly, what do I do with these paper bonds?

I do not yet have a bank box. They are just sitting here. What happens if they were lost or destroyed? I assume that they are NOT just like cash? They are all recorded somewhere as belonging to me?

What can I do to get rid of them by getting them converted to electronic form (just like my annual $10,000 purchases)?


Vinnie:
1. Treasury guarantees the replacement of paper savings bonds that are lost, stolen, or destroyed. See TreasuryDirect.gov FAQs.

2. You can convert paper savings bonds to your online TreasuryDirect.gov account. See TreasuryDirect.gov FAQs.


Thanks for this. Any idea why they came in 12 separate bonds in 12 separate envelopes? Is that normal?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by barrett » Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:43 pm

vnatale wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:10 am
Thanks for this. Any idea why they came in 12 separate bonds in 12 separate envelopes? Is that normal?
Don't know about the 12 envelopes but Bogleheads often post about getting a bunch of smaller bonds.

ALSO, if you are going to delay converting these to electronic bonds, make sure you write down all the serial numbers and keep that list in a different place than you keep the bonds.
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by vnatale » Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:43 pm

barrett wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:43 pm

vnatale wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:10 am

Thanks for this. Any idea why they came in 12 separate bonds in 12 separate envelopes? Is that normal?


Don't know about the 12 envelopes but Bogleheads often post about getting a bunch of smaller bonds.

ALSO, if you are going to delay converting these to electronic bonds, make sure you write down all the serial numbers and keep that list in a different place than you keep the bonds.


I've been extremely casual about the whole thing.

I did not even open the envelopes until a few weeks after I received them.

It took me months on end to finally ask the above questions.

Thanks for your exhortation. I will make it a priority to get all those bonds with their serial numbesr entered into my beloved Quicken (which I have used in every way since January 1, 1994. And, which I have gradually been entering my prior spending which I have records for going back to January 1, 1969. I think I am somewhere in 1973 in that long-term catch-up project.).
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: I Bonds for Permanent Portfolio

Post by dualstow » Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:02 pm

mathjak wrote
Personally I take advantage of local bank deals which are pretty good and I can deal with larger amounts of cash in one shot .
i moved Bank Bonus stuff to its own thread in the cash portion ⇢ viewtopic.php?f=4&t=12472

// DS 🚧

In one mixed post that got moved there, jhogue noted, as an i-bonds vs bank point,
U.S. savings bonds have never charged a fee or commission for purchase or sale.
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