Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2000 / 3 Adar I, 5760
Benefiting from a reverse mortgage
DEAR BRUCE: A widow that I know who is living on a fixed income could use a little extra money. Her home is worth around $120,000 and she owns it free and clear, so I suggested that she look into a reverse mortgage. She is 67 and not in the best of health, and she has no children or other relatives.
What is your opinion? -- R.D. Richmond, Va.
DEAR R.D.: I think that you have given her a very good suggestion. With a reverse mortgage she can receive payments for the next 15 or 20 years, and the obligation would be met upon her passing. If she would like to stay in her home and really has no reason at all to try to preserve an estate, it seems to me that she is a "poster child" for the right reasons to have a reverse mortgage.
DEAR BRUCE: My sister in California sent me an 18-page letter telling me about events in her life. Even though the letter is not in story form, I believe the elements would make a great Christmas movie. I would like to submit her letter to a party who may be interested in developing it into a screen play. How do I protect my sister's interests? -- P.A., Kalamazoo, Mich.
DEAR P.A.: The letter could be copyrighted, which would give you some degree of protection. The problem is going to be finding anyone with the resources or connections that can get a movie going by an amateur -- your chances are very, very slim.
Still, you really have nothing to lose.
For a modest fee you could have your sister's letter copyrighted, and I would suggest that you have the copyright in her name. You can then act as her agent and try to peddle the story. If you connect, a previously agreed-upon percentage of the transaction would fall to you.
DEAR BRUCE: My bank is offering me the chance to pay my mortgage in two monthly installments instead of one. They say it will save me a great deal of money on interest if I adopt this program, which requires a $375 payment to the bank to make it happen.
What do you think? -- L.T., Orlando, Fla.
DEAR L.T.: Many banks are offering these types of programs, but really, if you want to payoff your mortgage early, in almost every case you don't have to belong to their program to do it. You can reduce the interest over the long pull simply by pre-paying the principle.
In today's world your mortgage can run between 7 percent and 8 percent, and a reasonably prudent investment can yield as much as 15 percent to 20 percent. It seems to me that you would be a lot better advised to invest the money in the marketplace and keep those cheap 8 percent dollars in your hands rather than in theirs for as long as
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).
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