Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 1999 /20 Kislev, 5760
Mortgage strategy A-OK
DEAR BRUCE: When we bought our home, we paid as little down as possible and invested our money in mutual funds and some equities. Our thought is that they will grow faster than paying off the mortgage early. Is this strategy a good one? -- J.R., via e-mail
DEAR J.R.: It's one that I have been recommending for years. Certainly there is nothing sure about any type of investing other than the degree of risk. If history repeats itself, as it seems to be doing, your investments will far outpace the relatively modest amount of interest you are paying, and that amount is being reduced substantially because of tax deductibility.
DEAR BRUCE: I read your column and was interested in finding out more about Roth IRAs. Are banks the only place that you can purchase this type of IRA? -- KATHLEEN, via e-mail
DEAR KATHLEEN: Heavens, no! Banks are one place to invest your money under the Roth umbrella. Any brokerage house or no-load mutual fund can handle the mechanics of setting up a Roth IRA. You must understand that a Roth IRA is not an investment, as such. It is the law or the umbrella that allows you to shelter investments within the Roth package. Any broker or banker can explain how to shelter your investments within a Roth IRA.
DEAR BRUCE: Our house burned to the ground four years ago. We are not in the position to rebuild, yet we are assessed taxes on the empty lot. We have done everything in our power to get rid of it, including listing it with a real estate agent, offering to give it to the neighbors as an extension of their property and offering it to the township. We owe about $4,000 in taxes, and the plot has been appraised at $8,000. No one wants it, and as long as we own it, we will be taxed on it. How do we get out from under this? -- J.W., via e-mail
DEAR J.W.: If you fail to pay the taxes on a regular basis, sooner or later the taxing agency will foreclose on you and you will lose the plot. If you don't have a mortgage on it, just stop paying the taxes -- and in two or three years, the problem will go
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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