How to Track Savings Bonds in Quicken

How to Track Savings Bonds in Quicken

Not quite a year ago, my wife and I started investing in Series I Savings bonds. For those that are unaware, “I Bonds” are low risk, inflation-indexed savings bonds issued by the Federal government.

Unlike CD rates, which are fixed, I Bond rates are adjusted for inflation on a semi-annual basis in May and November. When it comes to buying I Bonds, you have two options… You can purchase them online using TreasuryDirect or by visiting your local bank.

The primary limitation with I Bonds is that you can only purchase $10k worth of them ($5k electronic and $5k in paper form) per calendar year per social security number. Anyway… My wife and I both bought our annual allotment last year, which meant that I needed to start tracking them in Quicken.

While Intuit provides some guidance on how to do this, I ultimately ended up adapting my CD tracking strategy to track our I Bonds. I started by creating a new “brokerage” account, which I named “US Treasury.”

From there, I created a new security for each of the bonds that we purchased and gave them descriptive names, like this:

IBond-04/10-ABC-E
IBond-04/10-ABC-P
IBond-04/10-DEF-E
IBond-04/10-DEF-P

Where “ABC” and “DEF” were replaced with my and my wife’s initials. The date in the middle incicates when we bought them, and the letter at the end indicates the format (E = electronic, P = paper).

I then entered “buy” transactions for each of these by purchasing the appropriate dollar amount at $1.00/share. So, for example, a $5000 savings bond would be recorded as 5000 shares @ $1/each.

Since you get credited for the full first month of ownership no matter when during the month you purchase them, and since we bought all four of them during the same month, I recorded the transaction date as April 1, 2010 for all four bonds.

Now, how do we check and record the interest earned? For starters, you can check the value of your bond by visiting the following website: link. You’ll need to enter your bond type, denomination, serial number, and issue date.

The interest earned is simply the difference between the present value and the original (or previous) value. Because the interest is accrued within the bond, I simply treat the change in value as a dividend reinvestment (transaction type “RD”).

While there are other approaches out there, this works flawlessly, and allows you to track an unlimited number of bonds within a single Quicken account. At a minimum, I’ll be checking and updating the value of our bonds once per year – in January.

3 Responses to “How to Track Savings Bonds in Quicken”

  1. Anonymous

    I found two approach for electronic iBonds but I like the option #1 better.
    Option #1: track yearly interest as growth in price
    a. Create single security class per purchase date.
    eg. iBonds_300_042011 for $300 @ 4/2011 or iBonds_489_012010 for $489 @ 2/2010
    b. in Quicken Investment account, bought security name list in #a as 1 shares.
    eg. 1 share $300 bonds, 1 share $489 bonds at date bought.
    c. at the end of each year, go to TreasuryDirect link list above or Savings bonds Wizard application, find out what each packet iBonds worth.
    eg. for $300 at 2012 worth $312 with $12 interest earn
    or for $489 at 2011 worth $492 and 2012 worth $503.
    d. Enter each year bond worth from #c into each Security details. Here is how: (Quicken 2011)
    – View -> “Security List” (CRTL-Y)
    – find iBonds_xxx_xxxx and double click
    – Select “Update” -> “Edit Price History”
    – enter each year new price from #b.
    e. If done correctly, your holding should account cost basis of $789 (300+489) and market value of $789+all_interest earn through the year.

    Option #2:
    a. Same as Option #1a
    b. Same as Option #1b
    c. Same as Option #1c
    eg. for $300 at 2012 enter $12 interest earn
    or for $489 earned 2011 $3 and 2012 earned $14.
    d. in Quicken investment account, each year enter “IntInc” transaction for value found in part #c.
    e. Then enter another transaction “RtrnCap” (return of capital) with a negative value from part d.
    eg. for $300 at 2012, enter -$12 RtrnCap and for $489 at 2011, enter -$3 and 2012 -$14.
    f. If done correctly, the cost basis will be $789(300+489) + all_interest earn through the year.

    There isn’t a single method that works for iBonds but Option #1 has more work but interest earn as bond price increase each year vs Option #2 tracks interest earn as interest but compensate with negative return capital since interest in iBonds are not liquid until sold.

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