Minimal savings reduce options

DEAR BRUCE: Most of my younger years were involved in raising my four children and sending them to "better" schools. I am now 65 and find that I only have about $50,000 in savings. The money is not gaining much interest at all and I would like to know what to do. Is there any investment adviser that would give me the straight scoop (as opposed to one that might have a self interest)? What about Roth IRAs? I need help and don't know where to get it. — H.B., via e-mail

DEAR H.B.: Unfortu-nately, at 65 and with only $50,000 in assets, you are going to have to do a lot of fancy maneuvering. Even if you have the maximum in Social Security benefits, as a married couple you would receive only about $20,000 a year — probably less. As to investment advisers, there is very little that anyone can tell you other than you have so little money that you will probably have to continue to work part time. At today's interest rates, your $50,000 very likely wouldn't earn $1,800 a year.

DEAR BRUCE: I have tried to call the IRS but have spent a great deal of time on hold. My husband recently passed away. There were three life insurance policies with me as the beneficiary. Is this money taxable? All policies were payable upon the death of my husband. — D.D., via e-mail

DEAR D.D.: Ordinarily, the proceeds from life insurance is not taxable. However, the owner of the policy and by whom and how the premiums are paid can sometimes dictate any tax consequences. For the relatively modest amount of money involved, I would suggest that you sit down with an accountant of your choice (not the IRS) and have this individual examine the polices, how they were paid and if there were any tax advantages taken in regard to the payment of the policy.

Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to:

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