Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 04, 2000 /25 Teves, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



Savings bonds a bad investment -- DEAR BRUCE: We have a number of savings bonds that were gifted to us from my mother-in-law. What do you think about starting a Roth IRA with the bonds that we currently hold and doing the same each year with the additional bonds we receive? -- D.L., via e-mail

DEAR D.L.: Why in the world would you want to do that? I think it would be a great deal wiser to convert those bonds to money, pay any taxes that are due and then put the money into an IRA in which you would have a great deal of flexibility. You should be able to outperform the interest paid by U.S. Savings Bonds with no difficulty whatsoever. I consider them a very poor investment and I think most of my colleagues would concur with that assessment.

DEAR BRUCE: For years you have strongly recommended umbrella insurance. I called my insurance agent, and they said that I had $1 million in my homeowner's alone, which is more than the average person. If I had a claim, they would fight hard before paying. Do you still recommend the umbrella? If so, we can lower our homeowner's by $350,000, get the umbrella to $1 million and therefore have $1,350,000 altogether. -- C.M., via e-mail

DEAR C.M.: I would go with you as far as getting the umbrella. However, I don't believe that $1,350,000 is enough. For just a few pennies more you can get a $2- or $3-million-dollar umbrella. It is true that you will never be in a circumstance where you would cause that much damage and agony, but the few dollars involved now will certainly give you a great deal of peace of mind later. Plus, there is the other side of the equation: If you are unfortunate and do sustain severe damage, at least you can take some comfort in the fact that the money will be there to do whatever needs to be done to repair the problems. As the new saying goes, "a million ain't what it once was."

DEAR BRUCE: We are in our 60s and have owned our home for 40 years. We would like to stay here for the rest of our lives, but it is becoming more and more apparent that this may not be possible. People are telling us that we should consider getting a reverse mortgage on our house. That way we can stay here until we pass away and the kids get the house to sell. Could you tell me what this is all about? -- L.N., Blue Ash, Ohio

DEAR L.N.: A reverse mortgage is simply a way that you can receive monthly payments against the value of your home. It allows you to use the equity in your home to live, which makes a great deal of sense to me. It is a very good tool for people who are along in years. The reason your age is a variable is that a lending company agrees to allow you to stay there for your entire life even though you exhaust the "borrowability" of the property. There are now H.U.D. reverse mortgages available. Talk to your local bank, and if it cannot perform this service, I am sure someone there can steer you in the right direction. If there is money left over for your kids, fine. If there isn't, I am sure that they won't begrudge you your own money.

Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).


12/31/99: Out of state ain't that great
12/29/99: Warranty rip-offs
12/27/99: Checking up on investment handlers
12/23/99: Options good only when company's strong
12/20/99: Capital gains tax sometimes best
12/17/99: Don't give up your nest egg
12/15/99: Small-claims court no panacea
12/13/99: Termite company not liable for termites?
12/10/99: Services provided must be paid for
12/06/99: How do we minimize house-sale gain?
12/06/99: Maximize your tax shelter!
12/02/99: My neighbor won't maintain even a modicum of civility
12/01/99: Long-distance rentals a bad idea
11/29/99: Mortgage strategy A-OK
11/18/99: Students can work and learn
11/16/99: Value is what will sell
11/11/99: Y2K: No big deal for real estate
11/08/99: Real life is tough luck
11/03/99: The right time to cash a savings bond
11/01/99: Slow road for savings accounts
10/29/99: What do you want from insurance?
10/27/99: You have a right to see your tax forms!
10/25/99: Why own a house at 65?
10/22/99: Online fine, but CDs?
10/20/99: Love, honor -- and separate credit
10/18/99: Find the value of your stocks
10/15/99: Property lien prevents trade
10/13/99: Clear up debt, only then tie the knot
10/11/99: If it ain't broke...
10/04/99: Should I stick with the company IRA?
10/04/99: Get a financial education!
10/01/99: Insurance: Not much one person can do
09/30/99: Lost tickets are lost cash
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner
09/27/99: Adult children should help out
09/24/99: Tips for first-time home buyers
09/21/99: Use the rule of 72s!
09/17/99: Legal strategy can be a pain
09/15/99: Teen drivers drive up insurance
09/13/99: Always use an attorney!
09/10/99: Whose taxes are they, anyway?
09/08/99: How do I roll over my 401(k)?
09/03/99: How can I work out my IRS payments?
09/01/99: When your company can't pay you
08/30/99: Beware of shady viatical investments
08/26/99: Landlords vary on security deposits
08/25/99: Educational IRAs must be spent on education
08/23/99: Finding out the value of old stocks
08/20/99: How to get an FHA refund
08/19/99: 100 percent financing is a scam
08/16/99: Will I have to pay a capital gains tax?
08/16/99: Thinking about PMI
08/13/99: Short-term mutual funds a-OK
08/11/99: It's your job to shop around
08/10/99: Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted
08/09/99: 'Pre-approved' doesn't mean a thing
08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
08/04/99: Bank IRA the lowest-risk option
08/03/99: Reverse mortgages good for the elderly
08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
07/28/99: Get a lawyer -- it's worth it!
07/27/99: If it ain't broke...

©1999, NEA