Adrian is a 58 year old small business owner who has been a bondholder for almost 30 years.
He first learned about savings bonds when he worked at one of the island’s commercial banks. One of his responsibilities was selling the security, and as he watched clients rush to purchase bonds every time there was a new issue, he decided he wasn’t going to miss out.
“From the time I started to work with them I bought them because I recognized that they were a worthwhile product: the interest rate was higher than what you were getting at the commercial banks and the fact that you didn’t pay any taxes on the interest. It was a good way to save.”
So good that Adrian encouraged his wife to buy them and has also bought savings bonds for his children.
Recalling his days as a banker, he tells stories of customers who were such avid bondholders that the staff would set aside savings bonds for them in every series. “We had a set of clients that from the time bonds landed, we knew that these people wanted the full amount, so we had to allocate bonds for these people because if we didn’t, they would say ‘you know I want my bonds and you didn’t get them for me’.”
Adrian has adopted this habit as well. He has made a practice of buying savings bonds every time a new issue opens, and when one set matures, he reinvests the proceeds. While some people save with a specific goal in mind, he says he’s accumulating wealth for the future.
Although his banking days are over, Adrian still has advice for Barbadians contemplating investing in savings bonds: “They are almost as liquid as cash. You can’t take them to the supermarket, but you can go to any bank and get your money at any point in time. And if you’re a person who’s risk averse, I say this is the perfect investment for you because there is no risk.”