But there's also a humble investment for hoi polloi that compares favorably with these clever buys. That would be I Savings Bonds. The biggest problem with them is that you can't buy them by the truckloads.

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Historical CPI-U Linked Rates

Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is the measurement of inflation that the Fed uses to determine the variable rate of the I Bond's total rate. This is also called the inflation rate of the bond. The CPI-U value is released monthly, but the I Bond rate is only adjusted semiannually in May and November. I Bonds purchased in November through April use the CPI-U change from March to September. I Bonds purchased between May and October use the CPI-U change from September of the previous year through March.

Historical Initial Variable Rates


Mean: 1.07%
Median: 1.14%
Highest rate: 2.85%
Lowest rate: -2.78%
Issue DateCPI-U Variable Rate
November 2018 1.16%
May 2018 0.98%
November 2017 1.11%
May 2017 0.98%
November 2016 1.38%
May 2016 0.08%
November 2015 0.77%
May 2015 -0.8%
November 2014 0.74%
May 2014 0.92%
November 2013 0.59%
May 2013 0.59%
November 2012 0.88%
May 2012 1.10%
November 2011 1.53%
May 2011 2.30%
November 2010 0.37%
May 2010 0.77%
November 2009 1.53%
May 2009 -2.78%
November 2008 2.46%
May 2008 2.42%
November 2007 1.53%
May 2007 1.21%
November 2006 1.55%
May 2006 0.50%
November 2005 2.85%
May 2005 1.79%
November 2004 1.33%
May 2004 1.19%
November 2003 0.54%
May 2003 1.77%
November 2002 1.23%
May 2002 0.28%
November 2001 1.19%
May 2001 1.44%
November 2000 1.52%
May 2000 1.91%
November 1999 1.76%
May 1999 0.86%
November 1998 0.86%
September 1998 0.62%
Page last modified 9/25/2011