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DEAR AMY: I have a sister who is married to someone who has been out of work for more than a year. They have more than $100,000 in the bank and he decided to work on getting an MBA to make himself more marketable.

The problem I have is that they "let" his parents purchase big-ticket items such as a furnace that costs more than $5,000.

This is irritating. I have a degree and am trying to keep my head above water. Unlike them, I don't live in a place that I cannot afford.

Do you think it's right for grown adults with money to accept money when they should be spending their own?

Aren't adults supposed to be completely self-supporting? -- Irked In Illinois

DEAR IRKED: Adults are supposed to be completely self-supporting. I completely agree with you. However, adults are also supposed to set aside their own sibling jealousies in favor of the long view.

While you can definitely have an opinion about your sister's behavior, you really have no right to comment on choices her in-laws make.

There may be more -- or less -- to this arrangement than you know. It might be a loan, for instance, or an effort to get the house ready to put on the market.

Mainly, you should make sure your own choices are wise and sound.

If your nose is firmly pressed to the grindstone, it can't be in other people's business.

Your sister is a fool to tell you her personal financial affairs -- and the next time she shares this sort of thing with you, you should warn her off.

DEAR AMY: Responding to "Wondering," who was bothered by a neighbor's loud music. Years ago, before we were married, my husband moved into a townhouse.

One day, he had the stereo on and the phone rang. It was his neighbor who said, "Why don't you come over for a drink and we can listen to your stereo." He got the point and they became good friends. -- Sunny

DEAR SUNNY: An excellent solution -- and a successful result.

(Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)


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