Dear Jeanne and Leonard: To help her get away from an abusive husband, I moved my daughter and her 7-year-old son into an apartment above our garage. To further help her out, my husband (who’s her stepfather) and I bought her a car and paid for her insurance.
When “Michelle” subsequently got a divorce, my husband and I hoped that, with our support and with the marriage behind her, she would get back on her feet, both economically and emotionally. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened. Michelle is irresponsible with money and gets furious when we point it out (she is always angry with us about something and unrelentingly disrespectful). She pays no rent and has run up huge bills with people in town, bills she never pays. And though she earns very little, she recently rented a 60-inch TV and all new furniture. Her apartment over our garage would rent for $850 per month, and we could really use that money for our retirement and for our disabled son. But we’re considering selling and moving out of the area, just to get away from Michelle. What do you think we should do? We would have kicked her out long ago, but we love our grandson.
– Tired, Ohio
Dear Tired: You can’t allow your daughter to use your grandson to blackmail you into supporting her for the rest of your life. Whether it’s by selling the property or by evicting her, you need to shove Michelle out of the nest. You and your husband have done all you can to get her back on her feet, and all you’ve received in return is resentment. It’s time for this bird to fly on her own, and the sooner the better.
We realize that getting tough with Michelle will lead to hardships for your grandson. But you can’t continue to allow your daughter to imperil your retirement and your ability to provide for your disabled son. Do whatever you can to help your grandson directly – buy him clothes, for example, and the computers he’ll need – and try not to worry about the problems Michelle creates for herself. It won’t be easy, we know. But remember, if you and your husband don’t protect yourselves from your daughter, you are going to run out of resources with which to help both her son and yours.
Dear Jeanne and Leonard: Am I missing something? I recently won a short vacation for two that included transportation, hotel accommodations, admission to three museums and a gift certificate good for one meal. I invited a friend to join me, and the whole time we were away, “Kimberly” let me pay for all of our other meals. On the last day, I finally asked her to help pay for dinner, and she got miffed. Shouldn’t she have been offering to pay her share from the outset? It’s not like this was a date or anything. We’re two single women.
– J.R., Ontario
Dear J.R.: Your companion should not have been offering to pay for her share of the meals. She should have been insisting on doing so – and insisting as well on treating you to a dinner or two to reciprocate for being taken on the trip.
You’re not missing something. Kimberly is: good manners.
Dear Jeanne and Leonard: When I’m getting on a shuttle bus at the airport and the driver grabs my bag and puts it in the luggage rack – not an overhead rack, but the easy-to-reach rack by the door – do I have to tip him?
Dear W.W.: Only if you want to. Tipping the driver isn’t necessary, though some folks do. If the spirit moves you to join them, fine. If it doesn’t, you won’t be doing anything wrong. Why? Because the driver’s compensation is higher than it would be if passengers were expected to tip.
Please email your questions about money and relationships to Questions@MoneyManners.net.