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Jewish World Review June 19, 2000 /16 Sivan, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Consumer Reports

Take the money and run! -- DEAR BRUCE: I have worked for the government for almost 30 years. I am just turning 50, so I can retire at approximately half pay. I wish to take advantage of this and go on and do something else.

My husband thinks that I am crazy. I am making over $40,000 a year, and he feels that I haven't got a prayer of making that much. He may be right, but I can most certainly earn $20,000, and that would be supplemented by my pension.

Would you please give me some ammunition to help convince my husband? I really can't think of myself working here for another 10 years. -- T.M. Topeka, Kan.

DEAR T.M.: You are absolutely right. You are working for 50 cents on the dollar if you are earning $40,000 but can receive $20,000 in the form of a pension.

Furthermore, you have a right to do something different, even if it results in a little less income. Not every judgment with regard to employment can be made solely on the basis of what you can earn. There are many professionals earning less money in their professions than they could get doing something else. But they enjoy and get satisfaction from what they are doing. Would it be reasonable to tell them to quit their jobs and do something that was unpleasant to make a few more dollars a week? I think not.

Your husband, in my opinion, is being extremely unreasonable. This is your life and your career, and you should make the decisions. In my opinion, for what it's worth, taking the 50-percent pension makes a ton of sense.

DEAR BRUCE: I pride myself in paying my family's bills on time. You can imagine my shock when I got a late notice from the two credit card companies with which we deal. I explained to the fellow on the phone that I had mailed the checks in ample time and I can't understand why they didn't get them. You can imagine my chagrin when I opened my purse the other day and found that I never did mail those bills. They are insisting on a late charge, and I feel that since I was just careless this one time, they should waive it. What are your thoughts on the matter? -- C.D., Bangor, Maine

DEAR C.D.: From the point of view of a businessman, if this was the first time that you were late, I would waive the charges because you are a good customer. However, from the legal point of view, your contract says if you didn't pay on time, then you would be charged.

Writing the checks is not enough; you do have to mail them. But in a competitive enterprise, it would seem to me that it would be good business practice to cut you a break this one time. I would point that out to them.

DEAR BRUCE: Like a lot of folks, we are living from paycheck to paycheck. Our car insurance is due every six months, on the first of August and the first of February. The company allows you 15 days leeway for paying so that if your money is in their pocket by the 15th of the month you are OK.

As luck would have it, we paid late last month and had an accident on the 17th. Our check didn't arrive until the 18th. The accident was pretty severe. When I turned the claim in, they said that there was no coverage because the money had not been paid on time. It was only a couple of days late. Who do I have to go to make the company live up to their bargain? They have been taking my money all of these years, and now I want them to cover me. -- L.T. Chattanooga, Tenn.

DEAR L.T.: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there is absolutely no reason in the world why the company should honor your claim. You didn't meet the contract stipulations. You waited until the very last minute to send your check in, figuring that nothing would happen anyway.

Well things do happen, and I certainly do sympathize with your problem. But you didn't pay on time, and therefore there was no coverage.

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).


06/16/00: Utility company incursion
06/15/00: Insurance settlement is no bargain
06/13/00: A straightforward form of bankruptcy
06/08/00: In the computer's clutches
06/07/00: The trouble with tenants
06/05/00: Do I really need title insurance?
06/01/00: The truth about nursing home insurance
05/30/00: Keep mother-daughter loan simple
05/25/00: CDs for security, not investment
05/24/00: Battling with collection agency
05/22/00: Are callable CDs a waste of time?
05/18/00: Building a college fund
05/16/00: Even death brings no relief
05/15/00: House is 'worth' what's offered
05/12/00: Borrow from Mom and Dad?
05/11/00: Your heirs, your choice
05/09/00: Mutual-fund investigations
05/05/00: Credit cards vs. debit cards
05/04/00: Lawyer are good for something
05/03/00: The binding nature of contracts
05/02/00: You know you are in trouble when ...
05/01/00: Can primary residence be rented out?
04/28/00: A full refund after five years?
04/25/00: Get a homeowner's title policy!
04/24/00: Beware of errors in your favor
04/18/00: $10,000 limit on gifts
04/17/00: Invest or repay student loans?
04/13/00: Beware of Internet auctions
04/11/00: Six percent is a pittance
04/10/00: Married couples should share windfall
04/07/00: How not to blow an inheritance
04/06/00: Get genetic screening for Tay-Sachs
04/05/00: Beating the look-back period
04/04/00: Providing for retirement
04/03/00: Readers disagree on time shares
03/30/00: The road back to good credit
03/29/00: Pre-tax dollars in IRA taxed later
03/27/00: Gambling on business ventures
03/22/00: Old cars as hobby, not investment
03/20/00: Tax on foreign gifts?
03/16/00: How to buy government bonds
03/13/00: Buying treasury instruments
03/09/00: Subcontractors must pay S.S.
03/08/00: Real-estate lawyers are essential
03/07/00: Don't expect compensation for ideas
03/06/00: Too rich for a Roth IRA?
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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