ANNIE’S MAILBOX: She tries to teach daughter to budget

By Kathy Mitchell

and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I have been trying to teach my 20-year-old daughter the value of saving money and staying within a budget. Meanwhile, my parents give her money every time she asks.

I am newly divorced and feel it is important for my daughter to learn to live within her means. I have had several conversations with my parents about this, but it hasn’t made any difference. I am concerned that if they do not stop enabling my daughter’s profligacy, her future will be ruined and she will be dependent on others for the rest of her life.

I want her to be able to support herself. My parents taught me this when I was small, and I can stretch the almighty dollar very far. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t learned this, and I want the same for my child.

Undermined in Lewiston, N.Y.

Dear Lewiston: Grandparents have been known to indulge their grandchildren, but overdoing it is a form of selfishness. It makes the givers feel good, so they continue, even if the consequences are damaging.

How much bailing out is going on? If your daughter is behind with her bills and your parents are helping to support her, they are enabling. This largesse won’t last forever. However, if your parents give her money because she occasionally wants something special that she can’t afford, we’d leave it alone. Your daughter recognizes those purchases as gifts and doesn’t count on them to pay the rent.

Dear Annie: My daughter recently passed away after a lengthy illness. We are blessed to have had lots of support from friends and family, but I am bothered by the lack of response from her doctor. We have had the same physician for 17 years. Is it too much to ask for a condolence card?

Crying in California

Dear Crying: It used to be a fairly common practice for doctors to send a condolence card when a patient died, but this is no longer the case, and we don’t know exactly why. Unfortunately, the lack of a personal touch can give the impression that the patient was unimportant, and this is quite hurtful to the family.

Dear Annie: Although I agree with your answer to “Worried Stepmom” regarding the equal distribution of the annual cash gifts, there is a channel Dad can take to help 33-year-old “Clark” from simply waiting for the money. For a minimal fee, an attorney can draw up stipulations for how and when the money can be used.

I have three sons. Two are driven, motivated and have direction in their lives. Our third has always fought depression and, like Clark, would rather watch TV and surf the Internet all day, with no care about his future.

Our directives indicate that the receivers of any inheritance continue their education to at least a four-year degree in any field and be employed. (An exception is made if he loses his job.)

Living It in Louisville

Email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Creators Syndicate

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