Jewish World Review March 27, 2000 / 20 Adar II, 5760
Gambling on business ventures
DEAR BRUCE: You have spoken both in your book and on the radio about the fact that if you are going into business for yourself you may have to put everything you have into it, including your home. Would you include a 401(k) in this? -- U.M. (e-mail)
DEAR U.M.: I have said that "I" have had occasion to put everything that I own into a business venture. I am not going to counsel someone else to do so unless they fully understand the risks involved.
Starting a small business, at the very best, is an iffy proposition. Most will fail. To lose your home and the equity in a retirement fund might be perceived as a personal tragedy.
I see things a little differently; I think that anything worthwhile might be worth gambling for. Of course, I want the edge, meaning that if I work 30 hours a day, I have a big leg up on the guy who only works 12.
This is a very personal decision, certainly one that I am not going to take a position on, either pro or con. I can only tell you that I have done so several times and have had no regrets. You should know, however, that every time I get to bat I do not hit a home run. I have struck out my share of times as well.
DEAR BRUCE: Please tell me where I can get a living trust. -- P.S., Florence, Ky.
DEAR P.S.: Check with your attorney. A living trust is not a difficult document to have drawn up. The cost involved is determined in large measure on your state of affairs. For many people, this is a viable way of shuffling money from probate and possibly, but not likely, of finding some tax relief.
DEAR BRUCE: Someone asked you recently if there is something they can do to protect their money so it wouldn't all be spent on nursing-home care. You told him that he was too late.
Well, it isn't too late for me. Please answer the question, and let me know if I can protect what small savings I have in case my nursing-home insurance is not adequate. I am a 77-year-old widow. -- D.L., Kansas
DEAR D.L.: There is a look-back period of three years, which means that if you dispose of your money inside that period of time and require government assistance, that money can be attached. The greater moral question is, as long as you do have assets, is it appropriate for the government to pay for your care? I leave that conundrum to your own thoughts. As long as you make the look-back requirements, you can protect your
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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