Life Advice



Ask Amy: Credit card accounts churn up concern

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

With the holidays approaching, my wife and I are unsure about what we should do for gifts, since we’ve never met them.

This is uncharted territory for us.

– Ed

Dear Ed: You should ask your son for guidance. For the next little while, it will be his job to help build a bridge between his parents and his partner and her children.

Keep your offerings modest, and as an extra little nod to his new partner, you might send her a specialty from your home region: a piece of locally made pottery, or honey, syrup, or hot sauce. Let her know that you are looking forward to meeting her and the children.

Dear Amy: I love your column. I do have a comment on “Southern Bride,” whose hubby wants her to clean out her retirement account to fund their house.

Taking money from retirement accounts such as 401(k)s before the age of 59-1/2 will trigger a 10 percent penalty.

And even though this is (ideally) a temporary withdrawal, the money cannot just be redeposited once she gets it back, as there are limits to annual contributions.


I would agree with you that the realtor's plan for the husband to fund this house purchase with proceeds from his house sale is far superior, and it also relieves the bride's worry that the groom will not repay.

– In the Know

Dear In the Know: “Southern Bride” didn’t note where her retirement savings were invested, but thank you very much for considering the tax implications.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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