DEAR BRUCE: I used a ride-share service for a short 12-minute trip from my office to the Amtrak station to travel to New York City. The inexperienced driver lost his way because his GPS malfunctioned, and I missed my train. When I told the driver I would not pay for the hour-long drive that caused me to miss my train, the man became angry and threatened me. I called the police and filed a report. I filed a complaint with the company and they said, "Sorry." Please tell me how you would handle this. -- Reader
DEAR READER: I think you handled things as well as you possibly could. You shouldn't have to pay for the mistakes of an inexperienced driver who loses his way because his GPS malfunctioned. You did the appropriate thing by calling the police and filing a complaint when he threatened you.
Beyond that, although you're aggravated, how much more can you pursue it for the costs involved? Let it go and put it behind you.
DEAR BRUCE: I put $100,000 in a self-directed IRA in 2008. It is invested in land that has lost almost all of its value. (Today, the IRA is worth only about $6,000.) Can you please advise me as to what kind of professional I should talk to or a strategy for getting out of this? -- R.C.
DEAR R.C.: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you chose to put $100,000 in a self-directed IRA, and you must have known that it was invested in land. The fact that the land has lost almost all of its value is a very unfortunate result of a risk you undertook. Given the fact that 94 percent of the money is gone, my inclination would be to leave it where it is. It's possible that the land may someday appreciate again.
If you're not comfortable with that choice, cash it out and, by all means, report it to whatever financial authorities exist in your state. I really wouldn't count on anything happening, certainly not in the short term.
(Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.taeradio.com. It is also available at www.brucewilliams.com.)