needs a rainy day fund to cover a broken water heater,
an out-of-the-blue blowout on a car tire and other
what about a few to-do items to fill a rainy day job
jar? Maybe target small tasks that you easily can do to
shore up your finances during downtime this summer.
THE LAND OF MISSING U.S. SAVINGS BONDS: About 48 million
savings bonds are in limbo and could be just sitting in
a box or a bag in the attic uncashed. Itís real money.
the big buzz this summer is that the trendy Uber, the
on-demand car service, raised $1.2 billion in additional
funding and now essentially would be valued at a
staggering $17 billion. This is nothing but a paper
number. What the car service company would actually be
worth one day is unknown.
consider this less sexy fact: Around $16.4 billion in
real money is out there in savings bonds that are no
longer earning more interest but have not been cashed.
The amount was as of late May.
up to you to figure out if any of those bonds belongs to
you. So why not take time this summer to get a handle on
savings bonds, especially if you suspect you or your
parents might have picked up savings bonds 30 years ago
or more and forgot to cash them.
a few thousand dollars of those missing bonds might be
in Dadís attic or basement. Iíve heard one too many
stories from baby boomers who cleaned up the house after
Mom or Dad passed away and were shocked to spot a stack
of savings bonds. I know that story well. I once placed
some bonds in my motherís cedar chest and forgot about
them for more than 20 years.
start a search, go to TreasuryDirect.gov
and click on Treasury Hunt.
you might be able to track down information on Series E
bonds issued in 1974 and after and Series EE Bonds
issued in 1980 and after. A Series EE bond bought in
June 1984 or earlier has already matured. Others bought
in 1984 in later months will reach full maturity this
issues of Series E savings bonds are no longer earning
you find the bonds at home, great. You can also go to TreasuryDirect.gov
to find out what theyíre worth and they can be cashed
at your bank. At the site, you can find more forms.
recommend taking a second step and do a more complete
search by filing Form PD F 1048 to track down savings
bonds that might have been bought in the early 1970s,
1960s or 1950s. Those bonds, too, would have stopped
earning interest but would not show up in the electronic
Treasury Hunt system.
A LITTLE SUMMER READING: Pick up financial books that
can help you figure out your own finances ó or
understand the bigger financial picture.
boomers can spot useful tips in "How to Retire the
Cheapskate Way" by Jeff Yeager, whose website is UltimateCheapskate.com.
of Yeagerís tips: Put together a household inventory
of valuables. Youíd have a record for insurance or
help you realize youíre underinsured, too. Knowing
what you own ó say, coins ó could help if you need
to generate extra cash one day or give your heirs an
idea of what might be valuable. Any such inventory, of
course, also could turn into what Yeager calls a
"screaming wake-up call" that shows what you
have that you do not even use.
deeper dives, a reading list might include "A
Fighting Chance" by Elizabeth Warren, who discusses
the financial fight for the middle class, or "Flash
Boys: A Wall Street Revolt" by Michael Lewis, who
highlights how the stock market is rigged to benefit
A SMALL STEP TO GET A BETTER EYE ON YOUR CASH: Take a
few minutes to set up alerts on your checking or banking
account to spot signs of trouble.
issuers let you set up text message or email alerts that
will alert you when a payment is due, if you are
approaching your limit, or if a purchase exceeds a
dollar threshold, for example," said Gerri
Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com.
alerts can help you stay on top of things while
UP THE "EXTRA CASH" YOU HAVE ON HAND: Maybe
you let your credit card rewards pile up unused. Or toss
aside gift cards. That money can just sit there unused,
unless you pay attention. Ditto for coupons or gift
cards received for a rebate.
all potential walking-around cash during the summer. Who
knows? If you spot uncashed savings bonds that you
received for a birthday 30 years or 35 years ago, you
could end up with a super summer after all.