Except nothing ruined my happy innocent bliss faster than the sight of ... The Savings Bond.
C'mon people! I'm a kid! I want the Barbie with the business suit and the Pretty Cut 'n Grow and yes, I want another Fashion Plates because I lost pieces from the other two I already had. And the Spirograph, hello! Love that too! And Hungry Hungry Hippo? All the boys think I'm cool because I like playing that and Connect Four.
Savings Bond??!? What kind of fun am I gonna have with a Savings Bond?!
Oh.... how I wish I knew back then what I discovered at 18. Back when ATMs were MAC machines. Back when my savings account passbook was my access to quick cash. When I discovered the sublime joy ... of cashing the ol' once-hated Savings Bond.
My cousin's kid is turning 2 today. I am the kid's godmother, mainly by default (long story). Yeah, you guessed it, I don't have a present. And, because they live in Florida and I live in here, it's easy to think I don't have to rush around getting a gift, right?
... OK, FINE, I admit I completely forgot.
So, I am going back to the time-honored tradition that I know will be appreciated (in 18 yrs) and is me helping teach this child about financial growth (yawn). But more to the point, you can now buy Savings Bonds online. Hahahaah, seriously! And now that you're thinking about it... (and you're reading this, so I know you're thinking about it)... you, too, are thinking, "Yeah, Savings Bonds aren't such a bad idea! (Especially when they can be purchased last minute!)"
So, here it is... Some Stuff I Learned When Buying The Much Loved Savings Bond:
- The government has a website for this, of course they do: Treasury Direct
- The famous savings bonds we all got as kids, the Series E... it's now the EE Bond.
- So, you open up an account at this site, and can buy bonds 24-7. The recipient gets an email saying the bond is sitting in this account thingy. Then they manage the bond online -- you can see how much interest is being accrued (I imagine this is like watching grass grow).
- If you have old paper bonds, you can convert them into these newfangled online electronic bonds.
- Giving to a kid, or maybe don't know a person's SS#? You can use your own soc number (the gov needs it for tracking the bonds)... But the good news, they no longer print the whole SS# on paper bonds, they put only the last few digits if it's printed anywhere.
- More info from the gov at Savings Bonds as Gifts.
And now, The One Most Important Thing You Need To Know About Buying A Last Minute Savings Bond Online:
- This account you have to open with Treasury Direct? Five minutes of registration, and now you got your account number, you got your password, and you're ready to rock and roll?
...'Coz apparently, to log in, you also need the other code #. The one that's on your Account Card.
The Account Card that they're putting in the mail for you right now. Yes. The mail.
(The up side, once you've finally got this code in hand, then yes you can do your imuplsive, middle-of-the-night bond purchases. Until then, absolute squat.)
So, last minute gift-givers (ME)... you can still get old-fashioned paper bonds by going into a bank. But it still gets sent in the mail. However -- the Treasury Direct website offers a nifty certificate you can print that basically says, "Hey, I bought your savings bond and it's on the way..." (paraphrasing here). Which in my case, I'd also have to put in the mail too.
I guess that means that all I'm accomplishing today is sending an email that says, "Hi little child, sorry this isn't a fun toy. Just an email letting you know that an exciting and educational Savings Bond is on it's way! YAY!"
No wonder kids love me.