3. Series I bonds
Overview: The U.S. Treasury issues savings bonds for individual investors, and an increasingly popular option is the Series I bond. This bond helps build in protection against inflation. It pays a base interest rate and then adds on a component based on the inflation rate. The result: If inflation rises, so does the payout. But the reverse is true: If inflation falls, so will the interest rate. The inflation adjustment resets every six months.
Who are they good for? Like other government-issued debt, Series I bonds are attractive for risk-averse investors who do not want to run any risk of default. These bonds are also a good option for investors who want to protect their investment against inflation. However, investors are limited to buying $10,000 in any single calendar year, though you can apply up to an additional $5,000 in your annual tax refund to the purchase of Series I bonds, too. (And there’s a little-known secret to get around that annual limit, too.)
Risks: The Series I bond protects your investment against inflation, which is a key downside to investing in most bonds. And like other government-issued debt, these bonds are considered among the safest in the world against the risk of default.
Rewards: Series I bonds earn interest for 30 years if they are not redeemed for cash, but the rate will fluctuate with the prevailing rate of inflation.
Where to get them: You can buy Series I bonds directly from the U.S. Treasury at treasurydirect.gov. The government will not charge you a commission for doing so.