Smart Money: Gun collection poses a challenge


DEAR BRUCE >> My 80-year-old father has an extensive gun collection, with many period pieces and specialty guns. While I can certainly pick out the Civil War musket, I have no idea what some of the other pieces are, or what they may be worth.

I am an only child, so all of the dissolution issues will become my responsibility. While I understand how to sell the house and my name is on all his bank accounts, what do you recommend I do about this collection?

— K.A.

DEAR K.A. >> There are many reputable dealers who would be happy to discuss with you the sale of the collection. By making inquiries, you will find the same names come up, depending on the size of the collection.

It may be worth a great deal and may be worth very little, but please do your research before selling. When the time comes, if you can't make the inquiries, ask your attorney to do so. He should have no problem finding several reputable dealers for you.

DEAR BRUCE >> Do credit unions cover more than a regular bank regarding FDIC?

— L.M.

DEAR L.M. >> The answer is no. The FDIC coverage is exactly the same for credit unions and regular banks.

That's not free; I hope you understand that. In order to be covered by the FDIC, each bank or credit union has an obligation to pay a certain amount of premium every year. It's not an inexpensive cost, but it's absolutely necessary to stay in business.

DEAR BRUCE >> A former business associate owes me over $1,000 and won't pay. Can I file a complaint against his credit report with the credit bureaus? What information do I put in the complaint?

— Reader

DEAR READER >> The reality is, for $1,000, you're better off to forget it. Yes, you can file a complaint in small claims court, but the chances of collecting are very slim, and putting the information in the form of a complaint, even if it's all acknowledged, will do you no good. It's unfortunate that he stuck you for a $1,000, but I encourage you to stop spinning your wheels. Trying to get something put on a credit report is essentially a useless endeavor.

DEAR BRUCE >> What do you think is the best way for me to start saving money? I am 35 years old and work full-time. I have been through a really rough time in the past 20 years, which took away all my savings. I make $37,000 a year.

— Reader

DEAR READER >> The toughest thing to do is recognize you're not doing what you should be doing. In other words, you're not putting away at least a small portion of your income.

You say you make $37,000 a year. That's not a lot of money to live on, but at least 10 percent ought to go into savings the day you get your paycheck. When you reach $1,000 or more, start looking into opening a brokerage account. I do wish you well.

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