Smart Money: Don't invest borrowed money


By Bruce williams

DEAR BRUCE >> My bank just gave me a $5,000 credit card line. I have never used a credit card before. I am seriously thinking about using the card to invest.

What do you think I should invest in? A small business, the stock market, owning land, or do you have any suggestions? I do not want to make a bad investment. I also do not have any investment experience.

— Reader

DEAR READER >> Using a credit card is no problem as long as you make your payments on a monthly basis and avoid incurring serious interest. The idea of borrowing money, which is what you're talking about doing, at a substantial rate of interest and investing in the market, which you know little or nothing about, sounds like a terrific recipe for disaster.

The idea of investing money in the market, however, is a good one. You should start reading your local newspaper and magazines that are geared toward investing. You will be surprised how much you'll learn. At that point, if you have any extra money to invest, no problem.

DEAR BRUCE >> My daughter is in medical school, and by the time she is done, she projects having around $200,000 in student loans. Some of these cost 7 to 8 percent and are of the kind where interest continues to accrue but payments are deferred while in school. I told her that she is going to owe a lot more than she borrowed by the time she starts repaying.

I read that new student loans are now around 4 percent. Is there a way she can modify or refinance her high-interest loans?

— A.C.

DEAR A.C. >> I would suggest that you go down to the finance office at the school she attends and find out what could be refinanced and at what rates. Oftentimes, student loans that are around 4 percent can be found. It may take a little digging, but it is worth the research. There are also programs where a medial student, after graduation, agrees to practice in a community for a few years and the community will pay off the loans.

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