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PFNerd Gift Idea: US Savings Bond Paper Certificate

Racking your brain for the perfect gift for your little personal finance nerd? Don’t want to give them a gift card because they suck and you think cash is ugly? Why not consider giving someone something that they can enjoy in thirty years? That’s right, I’m talking about a US Savings Bond! (and the crowd goes wild!) Buying a savings bond is remarkably easy but don’t try going to TreasuryDirect because you can’t get paper certificates there. For a paper certificate, you’ll have to go to your local financial institution.

Once you get there, simply walk up to the teller and ask for a purchase application. Fill it out, pay the bank, and wait eagerly for three weeks – that’s how long it takes. Now, for the application you’ll have to provide a social security number to link to the certificate. That’s to help the Fed track you wherever you go. Just kidding, that’s just so they can look it up if you ever lose the certificate (it’s all electronic anyway). The social security number you submit will appear on the certificate. Your best bet is to use the social of the recipient so they can handle the recovery if they ever set it on fire. The government promises that the number won’t be used for calculating tax liability or anything like that.

Lastly, they can’t print anything special on the bond (of course!) so Treasury Direct offers some nice PDF gift certificates [3] for you to use! I haven’t done this as I don’t have a pfnerd to give it to but if you have done this in the past, let me know how it went.