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Getting A Bundle with Bonds

The bank teller's jaw dropped and she reached for her cash drawer as the Center for Scientific Review employee smiled broadly. No, he hadn't cracked and turned to robbing banks. He was cashing an envelope full of U.S. Savings Bonds his grandmother bought him years ago on the payroll savings plan. "What a wonderful thing she did!" the teller exclaimed. Indeed, the money will help him buy his first home.

The good news for all NIH employees is that they now have an opportunity to do something wonderful for themselves and their families. The annual NIH Savings Bond campaign was officially launched with a pizza-fest on May 11 in Wilson Hall. Savings Bond coordinators and canvassers from each NIH institute and center, as well as the Office of the Director, were encouraged to bring the good news to their coworkers. The campaign extends through June and is headed this year by CSR.

CSR's Dr. Brent Stanfield boosts bonds.

CSR deputy director Dr. Brent Stanfield inspired the gathering with stories of employees who are realizing their dreams with Savings Bonds, paying college tuition, buying a new car, saving for a rainy day and planning for a better retirement. He explained that, with the stock market going up and down, Savings Bonds are looking better than ever. They are safe, pay competitive rates and provide unique tax advantages. The new I bonds are particularly attractive as they are guaranteed to grow above inflation for up to 30 years. They currently earn 5.92 percent interest annually while EE Bonds earn 4.5 percent.

Canvassers from CIT enjoy a pizza luncheon. They include (from l) Tanya Smith, Stephanie Greenleaf and Andrea Redmond.

According to Stanfield, many people don't realize how much wealth can be built with the payroll savings plan. He cited a 1999 survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America showing that a significant number of Americans believe that their best chance for building wealth for retirement is playing the lottery. The financial wizards at the Motley Fool have explained the fallacy of this belief by noting that — on average — a person who bought $50 worth of lottery tickets each month for 40 years would spend a total of $24,000 and most likely have little to show for it. On the other hand, a person who bought $50 a month in Savings Bonds for just 30 years would have a nice "jackpot" of approximately $50,000, based on a 6 percent annual rate of return. All this for just $1.64 a day — about the cost of a cup of coffee and a donut. This is the amazing thing about Savings Bonds and the payroll savings plan — anyone can get a bundle without having to rob a bank or gamble, and with the inflation hedge of I bonds, the bundle is guaranteed to mean something.

Terry Little (l) and Brenda DuPuy of CSR preside over a pizza at the bond kickoff.

When Savings Bond coordinators and canvassers make their rounds this year, they should be met with smiles. They won't be asking their coworkers to do something good for their office, their IC or the federal government. They will be bringing a real opportunity for NIH'ers to do something good for themselves and their families.


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