Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 1999 /18 Teves, 5760
DEAR S.B.: You might consider talking to another broker or two, showing them your portfolio content from two years ago and asking them how they would have invested your monies. You should then ask them how they would handle your portfolio for the next couple of years. Unfortunately, more often than not somebody has an axe to grind, and the only person without the axe would probably charge you a fee for the service, and such a fee could be substantial.
DEAR READERS: I have in front of me a two-page, single-spaced letter received from L.C., via e-mail. It is far too long to reproduce here, but I will summarize it for you: A young couple started a business, which they thought was doing well. After the first year, they had a $40,000 tax liability and $60,000 owed to unsecured vendors. The writer went on to say that they do not buy new clothes, travel or eat out; they have no health insurance, both of their cars are now uninsured, one of their children needs medical help that they can't afford, and of course there is nothing tucked away in the bank. She goes on to say that her husband is depressed. They don't have the money to file for bankruptcy, which she doesn't want to do anyway. Can I suggest anything that will help? The fact is that there are times when you have to know when to "fold" as well as when to "hold." If you get in that deep of a hole with a small business, it's time to bail out.
Bankruptcy is not going to have any affect on your taxes, but it would get the other monies owed off of your back. Both of you could then go out and work for others, work off your tax liability and then have a decent lifestyle. I know that sounds a bit Polyanna-ish, but I know of no other way to get out of a spot like this. You gave your business your best shot. When it's clear that it's not going to make it, it's time to fold it up and salvage what you can.
DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I paint trailers. We used to make a decent profit at this, but now the guy we work with has independent contractors who want us to bill them for $10 an hour, as opposed to our usual per-job charge. Is it worth it? -- M.C., Pa.
DEAR M.C.: The whole question revolves around whether or not you can make any money at $10 an hour. My thoughts are that you probably can't. What you haven't told me is how much you made before, divided into an hourly basis. When you start to deduct such costs as Social Security, Medicare, possible state taxes for unemployment, general business and overhead from the payroll, it seems your employer is taking advantage of you -- and if I were you, I would not let that
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12/23/99: Options good only when company's strong