Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 1999 /1 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
If it ain't broke...
DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I retired in our early 60s. We have a moderate income, life insurance and savings in CDs of under $100,000. We have no debts other than the ordinary month-to-month kind. We own a villa in Florida for which we paid $55,000 and a four-plex worth at least $200,000. We spend seven months of the year in the four-plex and the other five in Florida. Are we doing the right thing, or should we be investing? -- W.C., Richmond, Ky.
DEAR W.C.: If it ain't broke, let's not fix it! It sounds like you are doing fine, although I question the $100,000 in CDs, since you could do better. You are living a good life, you are not in hock up to your ears, and you are spending time in two parts of the country that you like. What could be better than that? The only major change I would make is to put the $100,000 to work a lot harder than it is in the CDs.
DEAR BRUCE: I have some Series E bonds and a young nephew who is interested in old bonds. He would like me to sign them over to him. Would it be to our advantage? -- C.S. Lowell, Mass.
DEAR C.S.: Sounds to me like your nephew has his eyes on your money. I know of no intrinsic value on older savings bonds and I would assume that he would at least offer you what you paid for them. If you choose, as I believe you should, cash these bonds in yourself and disregard your nephew's pitch.
DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I are in our early 40s. He makes $30,000 a year, and I have always been a homemaker. We have just woken up to the fact that you have to start saving for the future. Our assets are meager, but we have equity in our home and our old cars. My husband's income is not likely to increase. We need to base our savings potential on what he earns now. Is it too late for us to build some sort of a nest egg? What would you suggest? Don't be surprised by our lack of planning; we have many friends that are in the same predicament. -- J.H. Muskogee, Okla.
DEAR J.H.: It seems to me that the only way that you two will be able to play any kind of a successful catch-up game is to put you out in the workplace. You have mentioned that you have always been a homemaker, and it may be that you will have to learn new skills or take a relatively low-paying job. Let's assume that you were to get a job for $15,000 a year. For the next 20 years, you would gross $300,000 -- all of which, less taxes, should be saved, since you are doing this so late in the game. It would give you enough money to retire in reasonable
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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