Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Husband shoulders family's financial worries

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

You are on the cusp of retirement and college expenses; both are game-changers. You two should create a realistic budget that includes charitable giving, vacations and some other "free-spending" experiences.

I suggest that as you are totaling the receipts this year, you start by inviting her into the process, and ask for her help in mapping a sound financial future.

A certified financial planner can give you a realistic view of what your financial future holds. Planners who specialize in working with couples can also help to navigate some of the personal and relational issues related to spending and saving.

Dear Amy: Our daughter and son-in-law are millennials. They have asked, for the last two years, that we limit gift-giving at Christmas to $100 per person. My husband and I have complied.

Our son-in-law's parents do not comply. This year the in-law family decided to take a trip together later in the year (in lieu of gifts). However, on Christmas Day, our son-in-law's mother showed up with more gifts than we had bought for the kids, including an expensive grill for her son.

It is so wrong (in my opinion) that we follow the $100 limit, and the MIL does not!

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It's not the money/cost, because both sides can easily afford to spend more.

I know we can't control her, but who can make her stop? It upsets us!

-- Upset Mother

Dear Mother: Boundary-crossers often use gift-giving as a way to leap over fences, control people and sew some passive-aggressive disrespect along the way. I assume that this embarrasses your daughter and her husband; we know that it embarrasses you.

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