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Jewish World Review August 10, 1999 /28 Av 5759

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted -- DEAR BRUCE: I'd rather you didn't mention where I live, since I don't want to pull it down further, but the fact is that jobs here are almost nonexistent. I read in the national newspapers that the unemployment rate is the lowest in 20 years, yet I, a college graduate, am unable to get anything other than a minimum-wage job. My wife and I both grew up in this area -- our roots are here, and this is where we want to stay. How can we attract industry to our area, so we can have decent jobs? -- READER IN IMPOVERISHED AREA.

DEAR READER: I sympathize with your position, but my friend, if you can't make it there, go somewhere where you can. The prosperity around the country is absolutely amazing. It may be that you and your wife need to move away in order to establish yourselves in another part of the nation. With a decent college education and the will to succeed, opportunities in the U.S. are endless. It isn't as if you have to leave forever -- airplanes do go back and forth for occasional weekend visits. With telephone calls at a dime a minute or less, you could easily keep in touch with the family. If you insist on staying in one small piece of geography, you place an extraordinary burden on your shoulders.

DEAR BRUCE: Recently, my husband and I attended a twentieth reunion of my high school class. I bought a very special and expensive dress to wear. The dress was a disaster! It simply didn't hang right and I was very embarrassed. I discovered the problem late on Saturday evening, just before the affair, and there was nothing I could do but wear it. I took the dress back on Monday and told the store that I was very disappointed in the way it fit and that I wanted to return it. The storekeeper was very solicitous, but she said that once it had been worn there was no way it could be returned. She did offer to try to alter it and correct the problems, but under no circumstances could it be returned, since it was no longer saleable. I think they sold me a piece of merchandise that was inferior and they have an obligation to stand behind it. My husband tends to think that the storekeeper's position is reasonable. What do you think? -- C.T. Hartford, Conn.

DEAR C.T.: I, too, believe that the storekeeper's position is reasonable. You certainly had the opportunity to try on the dress and look at it as long as you wished before you elected to buy and then wear it. I think that the offer of an alteration is a very reasonable one. Ask yourself -- would you want to purchase this dress, knowing it had already been worn by someone else? I think not.

DEAR BRUCE: I currently owe about $2,000 to various collection agencies, and I am unable to keep up with the payments. I make about $1,000 a month and I have $500 in fixed expenses. I have seen advertisements for debt consolidation services and have considered applying. How do they work, and would I wind up paying more interest for these services than I am currently spending? -- A.G. York, Neb.

DEAR A.G.: Our government found out a long time ago that it is impossible to borrow oneself to prosperity. Given your circumstances, the only reasonable answer is to increase your income. This means either you or your spouse (if you have one) will have to take a second job. I recognize how difficult this can be, but there is no way to dig yourself out on your current income. Your life would certainly be a great deal more pleasant if you could eliminate this debt.

DEAR BRUCE: I am a debt-free college student with $10,000 to invest. I have listened to the radio, watched infomercials and read books, all of which tell me that with their help I can out-perform the market average and do better than most financial planners. It seems legitimate, but I am naive when it comes to business -- I'm an electrical engineer, not an economics major. What do you think? -- R.J. State College, Pa.

DEAR R.J.: There are many people in the investment advice business. I would only do business with a Certified Financial Planner. Bear in mind that nothing is absolutely sure-fire -- you can get burned by all manner of conditions. Learning how to invest is as complicated as learning to be an electrical engineer. You have to devote time and effort into learning the language of business and your options. With a relatively small amount of money, the only person that can serve your interest is you. You worked hard for that money, so work equally hard to learn what the investment world is all about.

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).


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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