Eleanor Roosevelt: Ten Years From Now


This audio is part of the larger project The First Family of Radio: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Historic Broadcasts. You can download the entire radio hour from our podcast feed (iTunes).

March 3, 1935

In this recording, ER discussed the role of women in family budgeting and investing. The radio program was sponsored by the United States Treasury Department. The pitch of ER’s voice would shift lower over time, the result of voice lessons and experience. -Stephen Smith


Ladies and gentlemen we are speaking to you from the Marine Band in Washington D.C. The United States Marine Band, under the baton Captain Taylor Branson, in just a moment will play for you the Franklin D. Roosevelt March.

This selection will introduce a fifteen-minute program sponsored by the United States Treasury and presenting a talk on the family budget by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, wife of the president of the United States.

Mrs. Roosevelt’s talk will be addressed to the women of the country with particular reference to the advantages of systematic savings through the regular purchase of United States savings bonds, the new national issue designed for the small investor.

Mrs. Roosevelt’s presentation of this government plan to encourage individual savings will be the first of a series of similar addresses by nationally prominent women. And Mow the Franklin D. Roosevelt March by the United States Marine Band.

[March plays and fades]

Ladies and gentlemen, it is now our pleasure to present Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, wife of the president of the United States, speaking to you from the White House.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I saw, not long ago, in the newspapers a picture of a number of women who are going to take upon themselves the duty of advising their sisters as to how best to invest their money. And I read with interest, and some surprise, that women were amongst the largest investors in many fields at the present time.

This means that more women have money of their own and that instead of leaving it entirely in the hands of the gentlemen, they are now undertaking to handle that money themselves.

Many women, like many men, during the days of great speculation formed a habit of watching the ticker and speculating in much the same way that they would go window shopping and finally decide to buy something which in all probability they did not really need.

That habit has, I think, died down. But unquestionably women are thrifty and women are investors. I think that many of them are going to be much interested in United States savings bonds and they are not going to be interested only for themselves.

They’re going to be interested for the sake of their children and grandchildren and many a man who might not be tempted to buy these bonds is going to be urged to do so in order to provide an education or some special sum of money for a child or a relative in the future.

From my point of view, these bonds have one great in advantage in that they are issued in small denominations and that when you bought them you put them away for a period of ten years without having to cut out coupons and collect your interest and then worry over the reinvestment of that interest. It simply accumulates and is reinvested for you and the United States government pays you the face value of the bond ten years from the date of issue.

For instance, if you pay $18.75 today, the bonds you buy will have written on it $25 and ten years from today the government will pay you $25. If you have need of this money any time during the ten-year period, after the first sixty days, the government will redeem your bond. For the first year you will not get anything more than you paid, but after that you will get a slight rate of interest on your money, though you will get the greatest return by keeping it the full ten years.

Another important point about these bonds is that they’re registered in the name of the owner and the name is entered on the books of the United States Treasury Department and is written on the face of the bond.

The bonds, your bonds, will be payable only to the person named, except in case of death when it will be payable to their heirs. If you are unable, however, to go and collect it yourself it will be payable to a legally accredited agency.

The Treasury Department, division of loans and currency, will replace your bond incase it is lost, or stolen, or destroyed. So it is safe to feel that money thus invested is as secure as any earthy good can be.

A further advantage is the fact that while you may buy these baby bonds, as they’re called, direct from the United States Treasury you may also buy them at the post office. These bonds are exempt from present and future, federal, state, and local taxes except an estate or inheritance tax and federal surtax on income.

You may buy, for $18.75 a $25 bond, for $37.50 a $50 bond, for $75 a $100 bond, for $375 a $500 bond, and for $750 a $1,000 bond. Your bond increases in value exactly one third over the purchase price.

These bonds are designed for the investment of savings primarily so are for the small investor and therefore there is a limit to the number that you may buy in any one calendar year. In fact, no one may buy more $1,000 worth in one year.

Many of us find it hard save systematically. Here’s a chance to do it month by month. If you invest $18.75 every month for 120 months in United States savings bonds you will build an income of faith of $3,000 which will be guaranteed by the United States government and from which you can have at the end of ten years, $25 a month for 120 months.

In the same way, $375 set aside every month will build an estate of $60,000 payable at $500 a month for 120 months or available for reinvestment in any way that you may choose at the end of the ten year period.

People can buy these bonds jointly and a husband and wife can safe together and in that way can add to a retirement pension if they’re looking forward to living on a pension. Or they can safe for their children’s education if they want to send them to college.

Remember that these bonds bring you in the best return if you hold them for the full ten years. Therefore do not try to buy more than you can afford to save.

The secretary of the treasury may terminate this offer at any time he sees fit and the government is in no sense conducting a drive to sell these bonds. They are simply a method of providing people with an easy way to invest their savings and at the same time, since governments are run financially on the savings of their people, they afford a way to interest people in their government finances.

When you are a stockholder you are always more interested in what your company may do. And it is a good thing for a democracy to have an interested group of stockholders.

The sale of these bonds has been going on at a very steady rate, with practically no promotion by the government and the only reason that I’ve wanted to talk to you about them today is because I so frequently have brought to me the difficulties of older people who are left with little or no means in their declining years and then the difficulties of young people who want to continue their education or want to get enough money to specialize in some profession.

A little systematic savings and investing would save many heartaches for the ages and give many a youth a better start in life. Thank you.

We hear now The Home on the Range, played now by the United States Marine Band, it’s played as euphonium solo by musician Dawn Kimble. Home on The Range.

[Music plays]

The playing of The Home on the Range, by the United States Marine Band under the direction of Captain Taylor Branson concludes the first of a series of programs presented over the Columbian Network on behalf of the United States Treasury.

The speaker on this afternoon’s program was Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, wife of the president of the United States. She delivered her address from the White House and spoke particularly to the women of this country on the subject of the family budget.
From time to time other talks will be heard on the same general subject by nationally prominent women. Your announcer, Larry Elliott, this is the Columbia Broadcasting System.