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Bill, I'll let someone else field the "market-based rate" question (for me I know what it means when I see it but I'm rather bad at explaining that to someone else.)

The rate of EE bonds, and I bonds for that matter, change every six months. However, not all earn the same rate of interest.

I just inherited a few older bonds -- the E bond (from 1976) has a rate of 4% but is yielding 6.97% -- not bad at all given the current market conditions. More recent EE bonds range from a rate of 4%, 2.46%, 2.61% (with yields ranging from 5.71%, 4.15%, and 4.51% respectively. The dates of those EEs are 1990, 1996, 1998.)

The above varied rates helps to illustrate that the factors used to determine interest earned does change. All bonds purchased within a certain time period accrue interest in the same way but what that time period varies.

I hope this helps. I'm afraid that it might be too unclear for coherence's sake.

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