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What Are 10-Year Treasury Notes and How Do You Buy Them?

  Reviewed by: John Csiszar, CFP, 1996-2010      Updated December 04, 2018
  Written by: Ryan Cockerham
What Are 10-Year Treasury Notes and How Do You Buy Them?

A 10-year Treasury note is a type of U.S. Treasury security sold in order to finance federal debt. Treasury notes mature in more than one year, but not more than 10 years. In this way, notes differ from Treasury bills, which are short-term securities of one year or less. Notes can be purchased in the public securities market, or at federally operated auctions. The maturity date, yield and interest-rate coupon amount – along with an investor’s goals and resources – affect the prices at which 10-year notes are sold.

Tips

  • A 10-year Treasury note is used by the U.S. Treasury as a means to finance federal debt obligations. These notes can be purchased in various public securities markets or federal auctions.

Notes Vs. Other Treasury Securities

U.S. securities include Treasury notes, Treasury bills – often called T-bills – T-bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). Notes and T-bonds pay interest to holders every six months, paying the face value of the security upon maturity. Unlike notes, bonds mature after a time period of more than 10 years, and normally are sold in large increments – $100,000 or more – and to financial institutions.

Treasury bills are short-term debt instruments that mature one year or less from the issue date. Investors buy T-bills for less than face value, and the interest paid equals the difference between the purchase price and the par value at maturity. A 26-week, $10,000 T-bill purchased for $9,500 would earn $500 in interest when it matures. TIPS pay interest semi-annually, with the principal value adjusted for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index.

Exploring Savings Bonds

U.S. savings bonds, unlike other types of securities, cannot be redeemed by anyone other than the registered owners. In other words, savings bonds cannot be transferred or sold on public securities markets or at auction. That being said, savings bonds can be transferred from one owner to another using one of several methods. For example, you can transfer series EE bonds to a new owner by completing Form 4000 with the U.S. Treasury Department.

Savings bonds are issued in both paper and electronic forms, whereas T-notes, T-bonds, T-bills and TIPS are provided only electronically. Treasury notes, bills, bonds and TIPS can be purchased for a minimum of $100, while U.S. savings bonds are sold in increments of $25.

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Identifying Market Issues

Treasury notes are issued with future maturity dates of two, three, five, seven and 10 years, and are issued in increments of $100. Purchase prices and interest rates are determined at auction and the price can be more than, less than or equal to the face value, or par amount, of a note. Being a fixed-rate security, a Treasury note’s price is based on current market interest rates and the fixed interest rate attached to the bond. A bond with a price below its par value has a higher yield-to-maturity than its stated interest rate, and a bond with a price above par has a lower yield-to-maturity than its stated interest rate.

Learning How to Buy Notes

Treasury notes can be purchased through a private securities broker, government securities dealer, a bank or other financial institution, or through TreasuryDirect. All Treasury securities are issued in what’s called the book-entry method, where entries are recorded in a central ledger. These entries can be conducted through a commercial-bank form with your bank or broker. It is a multi-tier system involving the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, banks, brokers and other financial institutions. TreasuryDirect is an online system through which Treasury purchases can be made. Auction dates are published through various outlets, including lenders, brokers, dealers, TreasuryDirect and the Federal Reserve.

About the Author

Ryan Cockerham is a nationally recognized author specializing in all things innovation, business and creativity. His work has served the business, nonprofit and political community. Ryan's work has been featured at Zacks Investment Research, SFGate Home Guides, Bloomberg, HuffPost and more.

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