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NICHD Launches NIH U.S. Savings Bonds Drive

By Marianne Glass Duffy

Those at NIH know him as director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. But on Apr. 30, Dr. Duane Alexander was wearing a different hat — quite literally. Dressed as Uncle Sam in a star-spangled top hat and suspenders, with temporary white beard, Alexander launched the annual NIH Savings Bond Campaign at a pizza luncheon for coordinators and canvassers in Wilson Hall.

The theme for this year's campaign, headed by NICHD, is "Save for Your Future."

Alexander reminded the crowd that money invested in Savings Bonds not only helps individual investors, but also helps finance the country's borrowing needs, which are growing again in response to terrorism threats. He added that in uncertain financial times, bonds are a safe means to save for a new home, car, vacation, education, retirement, or just for a rainy day.

Uncle Sam, a.k.a. Duane Alexander

"Savings Bonds are guaranteed with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which will replace them if they have been lost, stolen or destroyed," Alexander said.

Bonds also provide an important tax advantage, he said. Interest earned on them is exempt from state and local income tax. Buyers can defer paying federal income tax on the interest earned until cashing their bonds in or until the bonds stop earning interest in 30 years. In addition, there are special tax benefits available for investors who use bonds to finance higher education.

Alexander provided an overview of the two kinds of Savings Bonds. Series I bonds are sold at full face value at a fixed interest rate that is assigned at the time of purchase. Every 6 months, an inflation-adjusted rate is added to the fixed rate to keep pace with inflation. Series EE bonds — recently renamed Patriot Bonds, after the Sept. 11 tragedy — are sold at half their face value and guaranteed to reach their face value after 17 years. Their interest rate is calculated at 90 percent of the 6-month average of 5 year U.S. Treasury securities.

"We want you to buy U.S. Savings Bonds," said NICHD Public Liaison Officer George Gaines (l) and Alexander as they do their best Uncle Sam impersonations.

Alexander told NIH'ers of three easy ways to buy Savings Bonds: Payroll Savings Plan — a set amount can be deducted from each paycheck; Easy Saver Plan — the money can be automatically deducted from a checking or savings account; Direct Online Purchase — bonds can be bought through a secure credit card transaction on the web at www.savingsbonds.gov.

Those who sign up for the payroll savings plan will be eligible for a raffle drawing on July 10. Prizes include $100 Savings Bonds, a gift certificate to Montgomery Mall and more. To purchase bonds, or for more information, NIH staffers should see their bond coordinator or canvasser.


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