Smart Money: Buy stock in U.S. company for return

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DEAR BRUCE >> My Social Security income is $1,300 a month, and I collect $500 a month from an annuity. I have $5,000 in savings and recently sold land and have $15,000 to invest. I am 80 years old. What are your suggestions?

— M.P.

DEAR M.P. >> Taking into account that the $15,000 is well over half of your total savings, a conservative approach is the best. The stock market has any number of fine American companies that would certainly give you, on average, with dividends and interest, possibly 5 percent or $750 a year. I know it doesn't seem like an excessive amount of money, but 5 percent is not an unreasonable expectation.

DEAR BRUCE >> I understand the controversy over mandated Obamacare fees placed on diners at restaurants. I don't support Obamacare, and these fees added to restaurant bills make us all pay for a fraudulent health care program. Restaurants don't want to raise the price of meals to cover their costs of complying with Obamacare, so they hide mandated fees in the fine print on the menu in hopes people won't see it.

I didn't support Obama, and I don't support his fraudulent health care scam. How do I know a waitperson will use that mandated fee I am paying for their health care and not for a trip to Hawaii? No one knows how the money is really used.

— Jim

DEAR JIM >> Your observation that some restaurants may cover the costs by increasing prices on the menu hoping no one will see it is a possibility. I certainly see your frustration over mandated fees. I don't know if there is anything you can do to fight this in the courts and very few of us can afford to do so. I know it's not what you wanted to hear, Jim, but the reality is that's where it seems to be. No matter which way you jump, you're stuck!

DEAR BRUCE >> Our son and daughter-in law bought their home in 2006 for $230,000. The down payment was $46,000 with a 15-year mortgage. Today, the market value of the house and property is $114,000. The balance of the mortgage is presently $150,000. Since they are now in the beginning stages of a divorce, what would you recommend is the best thing they can do?

DEAR READER >> A 50 percent market value drop on the property is difficult to consider. I don't see in the short-term how you can overcome it. You most certainly ought to discuss this with the bank. It may be far better off with a short sale than having you declare bankruptcy. The costs will be considerably higher to the bank if it foreclosed on the house, which it may not bother to do.

Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com.


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