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Treasury Investments/Securities - Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, Savings Bonds, TIPS And STRIPS

Aug 17, 2007
Treasury investments, or securities, are bonds issued by the Department of Treasury. In basic concept, they are the many different forms of loans that the people of the U.S. give to the government. There are four types of treasury securities:

1. Treasury bills or T-bills: these are securities that have a length of maturity that is less than one year (13, 26 or 52 weeks). Therefore, they are offered in a discounted form. Instead of offering interest along with the repayment amount, purchasers are offered more money at the time of maturity than they paid for the bill to begin with.

2. Treasury notes: This kind of security has a longer maturity date of 2, 5, or ten years, and they are sold in $1,000 increments.

3. Treasury bonds: With a long maturity date of 10-30 years, these securities can be helpful for investors who need to build a long-term strategy. Treasury bonds in paper form can be converted to electronic form.

4. Savings bonds: These securities differ from others in that they are registered to one person only and therefore cannot be actively traded. Also, they are the most affordable kind of treasury investment, as investors can purchase them for as low as $25.

What are the not-so-popular kinds of treasury investments?

In addition to these kinds of treasury investments or securities, the government also sells Patriot bonds, and STRIPS (Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal Securities). These investments separate the interest and principal parts of the security; they have the structure of a T-bill and mature between 1-30 years after issuance.

They are also the stripped version of TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities). As zero coupon bonds, they do not pay interest payments. I Bonds and TIPS complete the wide variety of Treasury Investments. These bonds are purported to keep up with inflation, with the interest rate or principal balance adjusting with the nation's economy.

What are the advantages of investing in the treasury securities?

Except for savings bonds, each of these is traded extensively on the market and can be easily converted to cash. They are backed by the Federal government and are usually considered low or no-risk investments. The interest on these "loans" is not taxable on the local or state level.

These securities are registered. This simply means that when these are purchased, the name that these are registered to is the sole owner. So, if you lose them these can easily be replaced if misplaced.

How can somebody invest in savings bonds?

In the past savings bonds were issued on paper. Since October 2002, the US treasury went high-tech and started to offer an online service TreasuryDirect. So, these purchases can be made online at your convenience.
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