Dear Dave: My grandfather died about a month ago, and I recently learned that in his will he distributed his money unevenly between his children and grandchildren. I received significantly more than other members of the family, but I make $140,000 a year. I'd like to give them some of my inheritance to even things out. How would you approach this?
Dear Kate: You're obviously unselfish and have a really good heart. But honestly, it was your grandfather's decision and his money to do with as he pleased. It wouldn't be wrong or greedy to simply keep what you have without worrying about it a second longer.
If some of your relatives are having financial troubles and you feel that making a gift of a portion of your inheritance will help, you can do that. With your income, it's probably not going to change your life in a big way. My advice would be to look at your relatives and their situations objectively and see if something like this would really be a blessing. Then, if your heart and your head still tell you it's a good thing, do it.
Dear Dave: Considering the condition of the economy, how secure should I feel about the solvency of my pension?
Dear Crystal: In many ways, this would depend on your particular pension. Some pension funds are very well-run, very solvent and are in great shape. Others are poorly managed and not the type of programs in which you'd want to invest any of your money.
The biggest problem with a pension is that it's the property of the organization. If it's a union pension, it's not yours — it's theirs. All they do is pay you out of the fund. So if they go broke, you lose everything you had in there. If it's a business that has the pension, that makes them the owner — not you.
That's the beauty of the 401(k). You're the actual owner. If the company you work for goes broke or the union does a poor job of managing things, it doesn't harm your investment.
Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. There are good pensions and bad pensions, just like there are great managers and lousy managers. Just make sure you check into the solvency of the program before you put your money in there!
Dear Dave: What do you think about predictions of a major deflation of U.S. currency?
Dear Steven: I think woven into your question is another question: What do I think about the predictions of our economy completely collapsing? The truth is I don't believe for one second that our economy is going to completely collapse. Do we have some serious problems that should be addressed? Yes. Do we have politicians who are stupid and who don't want to address these problems? Absolutely. But does that mean the world is coming to an end? Of course not!Comment on this story
It does mean, however, that you and I need to demand that the people in Washington stop playing games and do their jobs. This ridiculous spending spree we've been on for years has to stop. Government spending on all levels — national, state and local — is ridiculously out of control.
I've heard end-of-the-world predictions most of my life. But the truth is, we're not going to see anything of that magnitude until Jesus comes back. No, I'm not going to predict or believe that the U.S. currency is going to collapse. Don't spend all of your time and energy worrying about conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios. Spend it living life!
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