Do You Always Have to Wait a Full Year Before Buying I Bonds Again?

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  • You can only buy a certain amount of I bonds in a calendar year.
  • That doesn't automatically mean you have to wait 12 months to buy more.

The quick answer? Not necessarily.

In late October, investors rushed to purchase I bonds to take advantage of the generous 9.62% interest rate they were paying. In November, the rate on I bonds fell to 6.89%, which is still attractive, but clearly, not as enticing as 9.62%.

One thing you should know about I bonds is that you can't purchase an unlimited quantity. Rather, you're limited to $10,000 worth of I bonds per year.

That $10,000, however, is on an individual level. So if you're married, you and your spouse can each purchase $10,000 of I bonds per year for a total of $20,000.

If you bought $10,000 worth of I bonds in late October, you may be wondering if you need to wait a full year -- say, until late October of 2023 -- to purchase I bonds again. And the answer? If you have the money to buy more I bonds, you can do so once 2023 rolls around. You definitely don't have to wait 12 full months to make that purchase.

The rules of purchasing I bonds

While you're only allowed to buy up to $10,000 worth of I bonds in a single calendar year, once a given year is over, that limit resets for you. So if you bought $10,000 worth of I bonds recently, you can purchase additional I bonds in January 2023 since it's a new calendar year. You don't necessarily have to wait 12 months from the time you last bought I bonds.

If you bought I bonds this year, should you buy more in 2023?

That depends. If you're all set with a solid emergency fund, then it could pay to put your extra money into I bonds. But first, you'll want to make sure you've boosted your savings nicely, especially since many financial experts are still convinced a recession will strike at some point in the new year.

But let's say you're good on emergency savings and have a $5,000 year-end bonus on your hands. Even if you bought $10,000 worth of I bonds in 2022, it could still make sense to use that $5,000 to buy more of these bonds in 2023.

For one thing, I bonds are still paying a generous amount of interest, and that 6.89% rate is good through April. From there, the rate of your bonds might change depending on inflation levels. But that 6.89% return is still pretty strong.

Also, the stock market has been very volatile this year and is still down year to date. We don't know what the next month has in store for the market. But if you're looking for a safer place for your money, I bonds could be a smart choice. This especially holds true if all of this recent stock market volatility has been a source of stress for you.

All told, 2023 could be a good time to buy I bonds -- whether you did so in 2022 or not. And if you're sitting on losses in your brokerage account, you may want to consider an investment whose value won't swing wildly on a whim.

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