I am 80, a widow with $41,000 invested in Ginny Mae securities. I expected to get interest and a partial return of principal each month. I receive the interest, but principal payments are only $36 to $38 a month. When I asked, the brokers told me people are not paying off their loans. I would like to enjoy some of the principal, as I don't expect to be around in 2006 when the Ginny Maes mature. R. H.
Government National Mortgage Association pass-through securities are good investments when purchased at the right times (when iterest rates are high) and sold when prices are high (interest rates are low). Now would not be a good time to sell.However, you might wish to sell and rebuy and income-type mutual fund that would permit you to withdraw a specific dollar amount monthly. The monthly payment could include all of the earnings from the fund, plus a portion of the principal to increase your spendable income. How long your $41,000 would last would depend on earnings from the fund and how much you withdraw monthly. A capital withdrawal chart, available form Backwater Corporation (Box 752, Mercer Island, Wash. 98040 -- $1 plus a long No. 10 stamped, self-addressed envelope), will tell you precisely how long your principal will last. Getting out of the one interest-sensitive investment and into ahother would not be unreasonable -- what you might lose on one side would be gained on the other. Be sure to seek out a no-load income mutual fund to avoid a front-end sales commission.