Re­turn ad­dress re­quired at post of­fice coun­ters

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Bruce Wil­liams Smart Money

DEAR BRUCE: » A U.S. Post Of­fice clerk re­cently told me postal em­ploy­ees can no longer take ad­dressed let­ters with­out a re­turn ad­dress. Peo­ple can de­posit ad­dressed let­ters with­out a re­turn ad­dress into stand­ing unat­tended mail­boxes, but postal em­ploy­ees are now for­bid­den from accepting them at postal coun­ters.

It seems like the days of send­ing anony­mous let­ters are about over. Do you think this in­fringes on free­dom of the press and free­dom of speech? -- R.G. DEAR R.G.: » It seems to me that maybe there’s some nar­row pro­tec­tion in not al­low­ing you to send a let­ter with­out a re­turn ad­dress. But since you’ve pointed out that you can walk out­side and drop it in a let­ter­box and it will get mailed, it seems like an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity. If, for what­ever rea­son, you don’t want to put a re­turn ad­dress on your mail, just send it off in a let­ter­box and go. DEAR BRUCE: » My wife and I are 57 years old and want to re­tire by 62. I will likely con­tinue work­ing as a con­sul­tant or teach­ing long past that, but not full time.

Our com­bined in­come is $170,000. To­tal debt is $175,000 (mort­gage) and a $30,000 car loan. We have $700,000 in my 401(k) and $200,000 in the mar­ket with an ad­viser. We are sav­ing 12 per­cent to­ward the 401(k) and adding $2,000 per month to the mar­ket. I will have $1,400 a month in re­tire­ment in­come as well.

When we re­tire, we will be mov­ing south and will build a home. We al­ready own the lot. Given the low mort­gage rates, should we stop our mar­ket in­vest­ing and build what would be a sec­ond home there now? Homes there are $350,000 to $450,000, so $2,000 a month is a likely mort­gage.

The com­mu­nity is rapidly ex­pand­ing, and four- to six-month rentals for peo­ple build­ing their own homes have some de­mand, so we might ex­plore that, though I wouldn’t count on even 50 per­cent oc­cu­pancy. I have owned rentals, so am well aware of and have no con­cern with the chal­lenges. Tax

and in­sur­ance will add an­other $500 a month. -S.U.

DEAR S.U.: >> It would cer­tainly ap­pear that you’ve done well with your sav­ings and have an am­ple amount of money to re­tire on when the time comes. The main ques­tion is, should you move ahead

even though you don’t need the prop­erty just yet?

I sug­gest that you make a strong ef­fort to get the mort­gage in place and then rent the prop­erty out. It’s highly un­likely that you’re go­ing to see mort­gage

rates re­main as low as they are. If I were you, I would be out look­ing in the mort­gage mar­ket and get one nailed down, be­cause when they start go­ing up, I doubt se­ri­ously you’ll see them re­turn to

these lows.

Send ques­tions to bruce@ brucewil­ Ques­tions of gen­eral in­ter­est will be an­swered in fu­ture columns. Ow­ing to the vol­ume of

mail, per­sonal replies can­not be pro­vided. The Bruce Wil­liams Ra­dio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at www.taera­ It is also avail­able at www. brucewil­

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