Jewish World Review Sept. 30, 1999 /20 Tishrei, 5760
DEAR R.S.: I see very little that you can do. You are correct in your observation that at one time it was very easy to use an airline ticket. You either used it or got a credit. It is much more difficult today with "security" regulations which are really just an instrument to help the airlines restrict the use of tickets by anyone other than the person they were sold to. That is something that needs to be revisited. Losing an airline ticket is very similar to losing cash. I can sympathize, because I have done precisely the same thing.
DEAR BRUCE: We are a young family and are very much on a budget. A conventional car just doesn't suit our needs with four young children. The cost of a new S.U.V. is staggering when we compare it to the amount of money that we can allocate for this purchase. I have suggested to my husband that we should consider a used automobile. He says that he has never owned a used car in his life and he is not going to start now. The reality is that we are not going to have a car big enough for our family unless we buy a used one. He maintains that you are buying someone else's troubles. Can you help me persuade him that this is not a bad thing to do? -- M.R., via e-mail
DEAR M.R.: Your husband is living in another age. Today, a well-maintained automobile can be driven 100,000-plus miles with no serious repairs needed. You are the wiser one in the family. If you can't afford a new large vehicle at this time, and I congratulate you for recognizing that fact, what is wrong with one that is four or five years old? Older automobiles are a little harder to purchase, given the fact that you will have to spend some time in the selection process, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that there are some excellent automobiles that will give you satisfactory service and offer the space that you require for your family. Given your budgetary constraints, this is the only way to go. If you are nervous about buying a used car, by all means engage a mechanic to give the car a once-over. This way you will feel confident that you are getting a decent mode of transportation at a price that you can afford.
DEAR BRUCE: I received a very pleasant surprise in my bank statement two months ago. There was an extra $2,500 in my account. I know that I have never had that much money in the account during this lifetime. I am 23 years old and consider this quite a windfall. I did nothing other than accept what they showed on my statement as being accurate. Is there any problem with me spending this money? -- R.W., via e-mail
DEAR R.W.: Sure, go ahead and spend it -- though you may do some jail time. The fact that a mistake was made and you realized that it was an error prohibits you from taking advantage of that mistake. What you should do is to go down to the bank and point it out to one of the officers so that it can be corrected. By absolutely no stretch of the imagination should you feel free to spend it, because spending that money knowingly would very likely be a criminal
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner