Ask Amy: Parents wonder about financing newlyweds

May 21, 2012

DEAR AMY: Our daughter is in graduate school full time and has an important unpaid internship position in her field. We pay her tuition and living expenses, which is fine with us.

However, she has recently announced that she is getting married. We will continue to pay tuition but feel that continuing to pay for living expenses does not seem appropriate when she is married.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the couple will make it financially without help. What is your perspective on this? -- Uncertain

DEAR UNCERTAIN: If your daughter is getting married, presumably she will now be sharing living space and expenses such as grocery bills, etc., with her husband. Her costs should decrease.

You should be very open with her (and her husband-to-be) about the support you are willing to offer and the time frame of this support.

It is not all that unusual for parents to give a newly married couple some sort of financial boost while they get their feet on the ground, but this should be finite, and it should be up to you.

DEAR AMY: A friend of mine refuses to take her soda and popcorn cartons out of the movie theater and put them in the trash can at the door because “they (the people who work there) are paid to do that” and “picking up trash gives them a job.”

She is also the kind of person who leaves her grocery shopping cart in the middle of the parking stall so no one else can park there or it rolls and hits other cars. At the office she will not assist office support staff when they are overloaded, even if she is not busy.

Not surprisingly she won’t go to a self-service gas station.

I have on occasion taken her popcorn and soda cartons to the trash but can’t always juggle both hers and mine, and when I help office staff she just looks at me and says, “Why are you doing that?”

I don’t think her behavior is laziness, but it seems to come from snobbery. I’ve never been able to come up with a good comeback, and you’re good at that, so do you have any ideas for what I should say to her? -- Frustrated and Disappointed

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Not every transgression calls forth a great comeback. Sometimes, the best comeback isn’t a snappy statement intended to put a person in her place, but rather a slow backing away from a friendship with someone who seems entitled and thoughtless.

I’m not sure why you hang around this person outside of the office to the extent that you are actually going to the movies together. Unless your friend exhibits other qualities which make her a worthwhile movie or shopping companion, you might rethink your choice to spend so much time with her.

The reason to pick up your own trash and tether your shopping cart in the parking lot stanchion is because in this world (and in our can-do culture) able-bodied adults clean up after themselves.

This does not take jobs away from other people. It just means there is one less slob for a minimum-wage worker to clean up after. The reason to pitch in at the office is because it is kindest to do so — it is also smart business.

Her behavior doesn’t inspire others to extend themselves to her, and unfortunately by the time she learns this lesson (say, when it comes time for her professional evaluation or when somebody else’s shopping cart hits her car), it will already be too late.

DEAR AMY: The young woman who signed her letter “Madison,” who was worried about her friends’ tattoos being seen in her wedding pictures, should lighten up. Literally!

In these days of digital photography, all those tattoos can be removed in Photoshop.

Madison should invite whomever she wants — and budget a bit more money to have the photos touched up. -- Alaska Photographer

DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER: This doesn’t speak to the sensitivities of the people at the wedding itself, but it is an excellent suggestion for how to deal with the photos. Thank you!

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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