I've always supported initiatives to make it easier for consumers to save, so I was encouraged by President Barack Obama's announcement of steps to help American families build their retirement savings.
Among the most intriguing steps is one that enables taxpayers to opt to receive their federal income tax refund in the form of an I Savings Bond, starting next year.
The "I" stands for inflation, and the main purpose of these bonds is to protect the bondholder from inflation.
To do this, I bonds adjust their rate every six months to track changes in the level of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. In periods of deflation, I bonds protect your investment by never losing value.
Allowing taxpayers to obtain their refunds in the form of Savings Bonds is a great idea, said Ken McDonnell, program director of the American Savings Education Council, a coalition of public- and private-sector institutions committed to making saving and retirement planning a priority for Americans.