Nearly a year after the catastrophic Equifax hack exposed 147 million Americans’ personal and financial data to cybercriminals, consumers are about to get a break — something especially useful for home buyers and owners.
Dear Mr. Berko: Our stockbroker wants us to invest about 20 percent of our $510,000 joint account in Chinese stocks. He has given us a list of 20 stocks to buy that sell for between $8 and $21 a share. I don’t recognize any of the names (list included), but they’re supposedly the best and biggest stocks on the Hang Seng index. Our broker is very enthusiastic and believes that this Chinese portfolio could double in three to five years. We are conservative investors in our late 40s and can’t afford to make mistakes. We figure we have 20 years to build value. Please share your thoughts on these Chinese recommendations.
Dear Mr. Berko: What’s the difference between exchange-traded funds and mutual funds? I just read your column on convertible bonds and noticed that you only recommended ETFs and didn’t write about mutual funds. I bought $10,000 worth of Franklin Convertible Securities Fund in 2007, and it’s worth about $17,000 today. I’d appreciate it if you could recommend several other convertible bond mutual funds like that one.
Dear Mr. Berko: Please give me your thoughts on Tootsie Roll Industries. I’ve been buying Tootsie Rolls for over 50 years, and until several weeks ago, I did not know that this is a public company. I have enough cash in my account to buy 1,000 shares of Tootsie Roll Industries and will do so if you think it’s a good long-term investment.
Dear Mr. Berko: Please explain convertible bonds. We’re in our late 50s. We are not aggressive investors and own a $310,000 portfolio of stocks — mostly utilities and other income stocks — yielding 3 to 9 percent. A stockbroker tried to explain convertible bonds to us, but she just made it more confusing. Could you give us a simple explanation so we can have a clearer understanding? And could you recommend some convertible mutual funds to buy? We have about $21,000 to invest.
Do you really need an escrow account attached to your mortgage? Aren’t you capable of remembering when it’s time to pay tax and insurance bills? These questions suddenly are more controversial than you might guess.
Dear Mr. Berko: I’ve never seen you talk about Coty. I bought 1,000 shares at $31 in 2016, and it crashed before my check cleared. My Wells Fargo broker says I should sell the stock and buy a fancy annuity that actually sounds good. What do you think?
Dear Mr. Berko: I’m 20, and I’m going to be officially engaged this September when George, my 23-year-old fiance, after two years of hard work, will get his promotion to manager and will be making $15.50 an hour.