Lack of financial planning leaves an uncertain future
DEAR ABBY: My parents are in their 80s. Both are of sound mind and body. However, they never saved for their retirement and never talked to a financial adviser to help them make financial decisions. Dad receives a pension, but upon his death, Mom will receive nothing. This is the way they set it up years ago. They own their home, and that's about it for their assets.
Mom has told me several times they should be in our will instead of others we have chosen. My husband and I have saved for our retirement with our employers over the years. Because my parents haven't done it, we don't feel it is our responsibility to provide for their old age. Should we contact our financial adviser, who will get a chuckle out of this?
— NOT OUR FINANCIAL PROBLEM
DEAR NOT YOUR PROBLEM: Your financial adviser may, indeed, get a chuckle out of it — but it's not funny. The idea that you should put your aged parents in your will is far-fetched. The odds of your predeceasing them are not promising. The next time your mother suggests it, point out that if Dad dies, the house will have to be sold so that she is provided for. If she dies first, he should be fine financially.
DEAR ABBY: My husband had a heart attack last year, and since then he has become extremely volatile. He explodes for no reason and threatens me. He does not want me to talk about it to his doctor, and he's scaring me regularly. I don't know what to do. I think it may have to do with all the medications he's taking, but I'm not "allowed" to talk to the doctor. He is moody and making me fearful. Help.
— SCARED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR SCARED: Obviously, something isn't right. Call the doctor anyway. If the doctor refuses to talk with you, write him a letter about the changes in your husband's behavior, his explosive temper and your concern that it might be medication-related. If, after that, nothing changes, talk with a licensed mental health professional about what has been going on.
If you feel you are in danger, call 911. You should not have to live in fear, and if this isn't resolved, you may have to leave the marriage for your own safety.
DEAR ABBY: I have been living in my current home for eight years and frequently receive letters addressed to previous occupants, including medical bills and notifications from the DMV. (I don't open them; the envelopes have return addresses.) How long am I obligated to stick the letter back in the mailbox with "Return to sender"? I'm getting the impression the former occupants use this false address to avoid paying their bills. It makes me feel dirty and complicit when their mail comes to me.
— COMPLICIT IN MARYLAND
DEAR COMPLICIT: Why are you jumping to the conclusion that what's happening is nefarious? The former occupants may have forgotten to turn in or renew their change of address notice, or change the address on their driver's license. Stop feeling guilty for something that really has nothing to do with you. The next time one of those envelopes arrives, instead of writing, "Return to sender," write: "Not at this address."
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