Jewish World Review Dec. 29, 1999 /20 Teves, 5760
DEAR BRUCE: I bought a new car radio for $600. They offered me an extended warranty through the store, but I passed. They said if I came back within the month, I could still purchase the warranty for $70 for three years. Are these warranties worth getting? I have heard differing thoughts on the matter. I am a college student, and I don't have money to throw away. -- J.I., via e-mail
DEAR J.I.: Extended warranties are a very good buy in some cases, such as lawnmowers that are used for larger pieces of lawn than they were designed for. Under ordinary circumstances, I would not even consider a warranty on a car radio, however. How many times have you had a problem with a car radio in the first three or four years of its life, if ever? I would say no to this one.
DEAR BRUCE: My wife and I are planning to buy a manufactured home. Would I still need to use a lawyer when purchasing one? What are your feelings on the matter? -- S.T., via e-mail
DEAR S.T.: If you are putting the manufactured home on rented property -- such as in a trailer park -- for legal purposes, you are buying a vehicle rather than a home. But if you are having it permanently affixed to a piece of property you own, an ordinary closing with a lawyer would be required. I have no strong feelings either way about manufactured housing. Some are quite good and some are on the shoddy side. I have a very close friend who lives in a manufactured house, and he is very happy with his purchase. I would be diligent in my investigation of the manufacturer, to be certain that they have an excellent reputation.
DEAR BRUCE: I have 143 $100 EE Savings Bonds issued over varying years since the early '90s. I keep reading about how poor the return is on these investments. Would you suggest that I cash them, or should I hold on to them to their maturity? -- G.E., via e-mail
DEAR G.E.: You will find that the smartest time to cash in your EE Savings Bonds is right after the interest has been posted. Your bank can advise you on the specific dates. In today's world, the minuscule interest that the EE Savings Bonds pay out make them a very poor investment. They are riding on the patriot wave and on their past performances. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I would cash them in. It will be up to you to decide what to do with the money. You mentioned mutual funds in your letter, and this may be one way to go. Remember that all mutual funds are not equal, however -- you must do some research to find the best
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
12/27/99: Checking up on investment handlers
12/23/99: Options good only when company's strong
12/20/99: Capital gains tax sometimes best
12/17/99: Don't give up your nest egg
12/15/99: Small-claims court no panacea
12/13/99: Termite company not liable for termites?
12/10/99: Services provided must be paid for
12/06/99: How do we minimize house-sale gain?
12/06/99: Maximize your tax shelter!
12/02/99: My neighbor won't maintain even a modicum of civility
12/01/99: Long-distance rentals a bad idea
11/29/99: Mortgage strategy A-OK
11/18/99: Students can work and learn
11/16/99: Value is what will sell
11/11/99: Y2K: No big deal for real estate
11/08/99: Real life is tough luck
11/03/99: The right time to cash a savings bond
11/01/99: Slow road for savings accounts
10/29/99: What do you want from insurance?
10/27/99: You have a right to see your tax forms!
10/25/99: Why own a house at 65?
10/22/99: Online fine, but CDs?
10/20/99: Love, honor -- and separate credit
10/18/99: Find the value of your stocks
10/15/99: Property lien prevents trade
10/13/99: Clear up debt, only then tie the knot
10/11/99: If it ain't broke...
10/04/99: Should I stick with the company IRA?
10/04/99: Get a financial education!
10/01/99: Insurance: Not much one person can do
09/30/99: Lost tickets are lost cash
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner
09/27/99: Adult children should help out
09/24/99: Tips for first-time home buyers
09/21/99: Use the rule of 72s!
09/17/99: Legal strategy can be a pain
09/15/99: Teen drivers drive up insurance
09/13/99: Always use an attorney!
09/10/99: Whose taxes are they, anyway?
09/08/99: How do I roll over my 401(k)?
09/03/99: How can I work out my IRS payments?
09/01/99: When your company can't pay you
08/30/99: Beware of shady viatical investments
08/26/99: Landlords vary on security deposits
08/25/99: Educational IRAs must be spent on education
08/23/99: Finding out the value of old stocks
08/20/99: How to get an FHA refund
08/19/99: 100 percent financing is a scam
08/16/99: Will I have to pay a capital gains tax?
08/16/99: Thinking about PMI
08/13/99: Short-term mutual funds a-OK
08/11/99: It's your job to shop around
08/10/99: Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted
08/09/99: 'Pre-approved' doesn't mean a thing
08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
08/04/99: Bank IRA the lowest-risk option
08/03/99: Reverse mortgages good for the elderly
08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
07/28/99: Get a lawyer -- it's worth it!
07/27/99: If it ain't broke...