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Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 1999 /20 Kislev, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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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 away.

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).


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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