DEAR BRUCE: My friend, who is 71, is considering a long-term care policy that sounds like life insurance along with LTC. I’ve had a stand-alone LTC policy for a number of years, the premium being $3,000 a year. Her premium would be about $8,000 a year, but would include a death benefit. Is this the best choice, including the choice of no LTC insurance? — Pat

DEAR PAT: There’s no right or wrong in terms of selection. Let’s put aside the life insurance. How much insurance would you be purchasing for $3,000 or $8,000?

The idea of having a partial or full long-term care policy makes a great deal of sense. The cost can be very considerable; it would not be at all unusual for long-term care to cost $75,000 or more a year, which can eat up a very substantial amount of money.

As to the life insurance, that’s an “if” I wouldn’t be too concerned about. All that would do is increase what you’re leaving, and your first responsibility is to yourself. I don’t know how much money your friend has, which is another consideration. If you’re in a really long position where you pass on money to a relative, that’s another question altogether.

DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I have been reading about investments in the marijuana industry, especially the penny stocks. We have a few hundred dollars that we are interested in investing in the stock. Neither of us knows anything about the stock market and how to invest. We thought we’d invest a few hundred and see how it goes.

What would you recommend for us to get started? Do we contact an investment firm, do it online such as E-Trade or what? Any information would be helpful. — T.L.

DEAR T.L.: I have no quarrel with investing in many commodities, including marijuana, but I wouldn’t recommend penny stocks. Penny stocks have very few lucky winners, but on balance, individual investors are the last ones to know when to make a move and as a consequence, you’ll see your money evaporate.

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