Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I am the middle sister of three . My mother has always favored my younger sister , "Louise" despite periods of seriously bad behavior . Mom has bailed Louise out of numerous poor financial decisions . She also takes her and her son on cruises and buys them expensive presents .
I recently found our Mom is giving Louise a monthly allowance . This is creating some resentment . I feel I'm being punished for working hard and making better choices . Mom says she will make it up to me when she passes , but I doubt there will be much left at the rate Louise is bilking her .
I make an effort to include my mother in everything with my family , but Louise only spends time with Mom when she being treated to a shopping spree . My older sister is in desperate need of assistance , and I want to ask my Mom to match what she gives to Louise . Am I being fair or greedy ? I am hurt and confused about what to do ?
Distressed daughter .
Dear Distressed Daughter ,
This has nothing to do with fairness . Your mother is playing favorites and your resentment is perfectly understandable .
Nonetheless , it's Mom's money . She is not obligated to give any of her adult children an allowance and if she wants to give everything to Louise , that is her choice . If it alienates her from her older daughter , that is the sad consequence.

Dear Maxy ,
I have become friendly with a woman in my building who really has a good heart , but she is rough around the edges . She is so incredibly loud when she talks that I can hear her way before she gets to my door . She just talks at a super-high level . I feel like I almost need earplugs to be around her . I am not sure what I can do about it . I can tell she doesn't realize she is so loud . She didn't grow up with a family full of kids or anything . Who knows what's up with her , but I can't take it . I have never said anything before about her tone of voice , but I'm afraid that if I don't say anything , I will just have to avoid her .
My Head Hurts

Dear My Head Hurts ,
It is not rude for you to tell your friend that she is talking to loud . Consider it self-preservation . Be direct with her . Ask her to lower her voice . Explain that you have noticed that especially when she gets excited about something she raises her voice and sometimes it's just too loud . Ask her for permission for you to give her a signal to lower her voice . For example , you can literally use your hand to show her that you would like her to bring the volume down .
If she agrees , know that it will take a while for her to be able to honor your request . If she has been talking loudly for years , that is her natural volume . You may also suggest that she have a hearing test . Sometimes people speak loudly when they have compromised hearing .

Dear Maxy ,
I just got a big check for a job I did a few months back and I was so excited to get some money that I went out and spent it all . I feel like such an idiot . But I had gone so long being broke that I wanted to treat myself . The treats just seem to grow and grow and get out of hand .
Now I am back at square one with all kinds of bills to pay and no money to pay it . I do have a couple of checks that I'm waiting for , but I realize that I have created a terrible pattern . I have done this before , I'm not proud of myself , but I know what I do .
How can I stop this cycle of binge spending and then being broke ?
Throwing in the Towel

Dear Throwing in the Towel ,
You need help , immediately . Many people with financial challenges such as yours get help for free from Debtors Anonymous , ( ) Through this program , you can learn what your triggers are and discover ways to resist the temptation to fall into your own traps . You have proven to yourself that you cannot handle your finances on your own . Remember that and get the support you need . Essentially , you are dealing with a type of addiction . Because it has to do with something you need in your life , it is something you cannot walk away from . Instead , you must learn to manage your behavior . It would be wise for you to get a compassionate financial advisor who can help you negotiate with creditors , develop strategies to pay down your debt and otherwise help you get set on a path to making healthier choices about how you live and spend . You can get free advice from the IRS , your local unemployment office and your local community center .

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