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home : columns : dear harriette April 14, 2021

12/15/2020 8:02:00 AM
Daughter's credit card use upsets parent

DEAR HARRIETTE: When my daughter moved away for college, I told her that she was responsible for paying for any personal wants she may have. The whole time she was away, she never called me asking for money or for me to mail her anything. I've asked if she got a job, and she said no, but she makes money here and there doing different things. I can't imagine what kind of hustle she started.

When she came home for Thanksgiving, I noticed the number of new items she had. I snooped in her wallet and found three credit cards. She obviously doesn't understand how to use a credit card because she is maxing them out and has no job to pay the bills. If she's developing a bad spending habit now, it will only get worse. How can I talk to her about this without letting her know I went into her wallet? -- Big Spender

DEAR BIG SPENDER: You don't need evidence of the credit cards to talk to her about her habits. If she has lots of new items, it is clear that she has been spending money or someone is giving her things. Ask her if she is budgeting for her life and how she can afford so many things. Be kind when you talk to her, not judgmental.

You can also admit that you gave her a responsibility to pay for herself when she left home without preparing her for how to do that. She is figuring it out. It is not too late for you to help her. Ask her if she has credit cards and if she knows how to use them. Tell her about the importance of establishing good credit and the discipline required to do that. You have a chance to begin a conversation with her that can support her developing fiscal responsibility.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in an apartment building. I have neighbors all around me and sharing my walls. One neighbor is an older gentleman who lives by himself, and he smokes cigarettes all day long. I have asthma, and I really can't stomach the smell; most of the time when I get home from work, I am uncomfortable and can't breathe.

I have been here for only two months, and I am not sure that I can last another 10 months under these living conditions. I really want to knock on his door and ask him to stop, but I know that he can close his door on my face and keep smoking. I know there are still a few people left who smoke, but I feel like I have the worst luck that one of them is my neighbor. What other options do I have? -- Killing My Asthma

DEAR KILLING MY ASTHMA: Talk to your landlord and find out if there are any available units in your building that are not near smokers. Explain that you are having trouble breathing because of your neighbor. Ask if you can move into another space. You can also ask the landlord to speak to your neighbor, but chances are slim that he will stop smoking.

You can invest in an air purifier and green leafy plants to help clean the air, but these will not likely absorb enough of the smoke. You may need to move.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.





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