"It's almost always for their kids and grandkids," she says. "It's really an awesome opportunity for people and a learning opportunity for their kids. They get the bond in the mail and show it to their kids and say, 'Look, this is for your education.' It shows the kids that their parents aren't only concerned about their education but actively saving for it."
D2D Fund reported that in a pilot program, 70 percent of the bonds purchased via the tax refund option were bought for others — children, grandchildren and other loved ones.
Thomey also says that using bonds is a great way to save for a rainy day because they are harder to use initially (they can't be cashed at all for a year and have cash penalties if cashed before five years). "You can't just take it out like a debit card," she says. "You have to think about it. It takes a process."
Flacke says between 6 and 9 percent of people told about the opportunity to save with bonds do so. He hopes the numbers increase with the Save Your Refund awards.
"I'm a huge fan (of the Tax-Time Savings Bond program)," Thomey says. "I've seen it really impact people in terms of saving long-term."
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