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Jewish World Review August 20, 1999 /8 Elul, 5759

Bruce Williams

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How to get an FHA refund -- DEAR BRUCE: We live in St. Charles, Ill., and receive the Kane County Chronicle newspaper. About two months ago, there was an article written by you regarding FHA refunds for past mortgages. We enjoyed the article, and we need to know who to write to regarding refunds. We would truly appreciate hearing from you with this information, as we have two FHA loans that we are hoping to get refunded. -- D.S., St. Charles, Ill.

DEAR D.S.: You can contact one of the HUD-funded housing counseling agencies in your area, or you can call the Housing Council Hotline at (800) 569-4287. You can also get a wealth of information from their Web site at DEAR BRUCE: We have many old stock certificates going back to 1890. None of them are in my name, though some are in my father's. My father took them in for bad loans many years ago. Is there any point in seeing if they are worth anything? If so, how do I get the money? -- C.P., via e-mail

DEAR C.P.: Why don't you contact the Securities and Exchange Commission. Here's a quote from some of their literature: "We handle a broad array of questions, from whether a company is registered with the SEC to the worth of old stock certificates and what to expect from bankruptcy and reorganizations." Since this was your dad, and I assume that he is no longer with you, his rights would pass to his heirs, which may include his children. If there was a will leaving everything to his wife, your father's rights would pass to her. If she subsequently dies, the rights will pass -- if she has a valid will -- to her designated heirs. To my mind, it is certainly worth a shot. If nothing else, you'll know the history of these companies and the old certificates will make interesting wall-hangings.

DEAR BRUCE: I recently saw a talk-show host interviewing the well-known founder of a new company. He extolled the virtues of the company and how well it was doing. As a consequence, two weeks after this company went public, the stock more than doubled. I bought 100 shares, and after that the stock went way down. It has fallen from the high 60s to the low 40s. I can't afford this kind of a loss. To whom must I complain to get my money back? -- M.C., Pahrump, Nev.

DEAR M.C.: This one is on you. Nobody put a gun to your head and told you to buy that stock. There have been a lot of high fliers out of the gate that fall off but then recover very nicely. Whether this will be true in your case, I have no way of knowing. Risk is an integral part of the stock market. Hot tips like this very rarely have any merit. I don't see any regulations or laws broken. You made a decision, and now you have to live with it.

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).


08/19/99: 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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