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Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2000 / 3 Adar I, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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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 possible.

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).


02/07/00: Ensure your insurability
02/04/00: Absurd community zoning laws
02/02/00: Money or securities?
02/01/00: Can we KO a custodian?
01/31/00: Why sell a home you love?
01/26/00: Everyone needs a will
01/25/00: Will splitting stocks affect rollover?
01/24/00: Should early retirees contribute to SEP?
01/21/00: Strategies for paying off debt
01/20/00: Is 15-percent growth achievable?
01/19/00: Selling a second home
01/18/00: Running from a time-share
01/14/00: Don't be a spendthrift!
01/13/00: Who gets the house?
01/11/00: It all depends on size of estate
01/06/00: Check references before hiring an advisor
01/04/00: Savings bonds a bad investment
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...

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