DEAR BRUCE >> I have to pay the IRS $3,000 this year because I was self-employed. I already filed my taxes in April and haven't heard anything from the IRS. Will they set up a payment plan or make me pay in full?

— Reader

DEAR READER >> I assume that you filed your taxes without sending in the appropriate funds. That was the smart thing to do! You will be receiving a demand for payment soon. If you can afford to pay it all, then that's the way to go. If not, you should contact the IRS and ask if you can set up a payment plan. The likelihood is that will be allowed.

DEAR BRUCE >> My husband and I are both retired. He is 73 and I am 69 years old. We are living on a monthly pension. We have health insurance, a home, a rental condo and over $200,000 in savings. We want to earn more from our savings than the 1.7 percent at a credit union on at least $100,000. Would you recommend blue chip dividend stocks or Vanguard Index 500? We are in the 25 percent tax bracket.

— Ann

DEAR ANN >> Sounds to me like you're doing very well, except for the pennies you're earning at the credit union, and you can expect no more on a savings account either. I sound like a broken record, but I recommend well-established American stocks and blue chips that also earn an honest dividend.


DEAR BRUCE >> Wendy's has begun selling its products through self-service kiosks. This move reduces personnel as labor costs rise to cover Obamacare amid the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15. Responsible business columnists like you said employment reductions would be a necessary consequence of higher labor costs. Do you expect a future in self-service fast food?

— Reader

DEAR READER >> I think there is a future in self-service. Do I think there will be fewer people employed and those who are employed will be asked to do more? Not a question about it! The market will eventually find its own level; whether it's $15, less or more is not really material. By and large the one legitimate criticism over the $15 an hour is that the open door to beginning employment (which is what fast food has been for millions of kids) will now be partially closed. If employers have to pay that kind of hourly rate, they're going to hire older people with more experience, and that's the reality.

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