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Dear Abby: Slow payment for bookkeeping strains family relationships

DEAR ABBY
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I take care of my daughter-in-law’s taxes and have for the past 15 years. I have never charged her for it. When she brings me the paperwork, it is always a mess. I told her I would be her full-time bookkeeper and charge her $300 a month, but it’s like getting blood from a turnip. I have to beg her each month for my pay.

My husband said I should stop doing it for her. What should I do? I feel that this is driving a wedge between us. She owns a small construction cleaning service and makes good money.

—Good with Figures

in Florida

Dear Good: Your daughter-in-law may resent the fact that you want payment for keeping her finances in order, but I’ll bet you’re charging far less than a nonfamily member would. It’s time to tell her that dunning her for money every month has become too stressful. Suggest that she set up an automatic fund transfer to your account to cover the monthly fee. If she’s unwilling to do that, then your husband has the right idea and it would be better for both of you if she hired someone else for these services.

Dear Abby: One of my dearest friends has a nasty habit of making snide comments about people who are overweight. We’ve been friends for more than 40 years, and she has always been this way.

Now that I’m older, I have packed on a few pounds myself, and when she says these things in a conversation, I’m like, “Hey, I’m overweight too! Am I disgusting?” I can’t seem to find the words to get her to think about what she says.

It doesn’t really hurt my feelings, but it makes her sound like a horrible person, and she really isn’t. She’s a dear in almost every other respect. I would like to get her to stop this, so what’s your advice?

— Friend has a Fault

Dear Friend: The next time she does it, say out loud, “Hey, I’m overweight, too! Am I disgusting like you say about those other people? I have listened to this for 40 years and enough is enough! You are sweet, but when you say those things, you come across as nasty and judgmental. So cut it out!” (Better late than never.)

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