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Jewish World Review March 6, 2000 / 29 Adar I, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Too rich for a Roth IRA? -- DEAR BRUCE: I'm 33 and my wife is 31, and our combined annual income is $103,000. We are both interested in starting Roth IRA accounts, but we are not sure if our incomes are too high. -- A.H. Dayton, Ohio

DEAR A.H.: To get the full benefit of a Roth IRA, as joint filers, you and your wife's adjusted gross income must be $150,000 or less.

DEAR BRUCE: My wife and I own two homes, one in California and the other in Nevada. The Nevada property was a recent acquisition. We plan to spend about half of our time in each location. For tax purposes, we would like to establish the Nevada property as our primary residence. What do we need to do to achieve this? -- A.R. (e-mail)

DEAR A.R.: You know that California is going to want you to continue to pay their income tax since Nevada has none.

I too maintain a couple of homes, and what I did was to move everything to one house. I pay my bills from here, I vote from that address, my dog has a collar issued by the appropriate authorities in the area. My driver's license, my library card and my cars are also registered there.

If you did the same, even if you don't spend 12 months of the year in Nevada, it would be pretty hard to argue that it is not your permanent address.

You should also have a full wardrobe in the house. Under no circumstances can you lease the house out or even give it to friends for extended periods of time. In short, give all of the appearances of a lived-in home. There is nothing that says you must live there year-round to collect. You get to choose where you consider yourself to be at home. In fact, one of our former presidents used a hotel in Houston, Texas, for his permanent address.

DEAR BRUCE: My wife and I are teachers and have accumulated about $210,000 in our retirement fund, but we have tried to stay very safe and have earned only 4 percent to 7 percent. I am 52 and my wife is 49 and we would like to retire around 60.

We recently moved $150,000 of these funds into a mutual fund. The investments were made with a large national company through an agent that I have known forever. He is an honest, hardworking fellow, and I trust him.

Was this a good idea? -- S.M. Eureka, Calif.

DEAR S.M.: I think that it was a good idea that was well overdue. Assuming you have an adviser who knows the marketplace, he certainly will have no difficulty in achieving a far greater return for you than the pittance you had been receiving. It's just a shame that you didn't make this decision three or four years ago, but then, hindsight is 20/20.

I would consider putting all my money into something a tad risky because the reward could be so much better.

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).


03/01/00: Is time-sharing a scam?
02/29/00: Paying for nursing-home care
02/28/00: Rely on a real-estate lawyer
02/23/00: Keeping child's money safe from divorce
02/16/00: Just how important is a 401(k)?
02/14/00: Shaky partnership buying house
02/11/00: Protection by residential zoning
02/09/00: Benefiting from a reverse mortgage
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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