Dear Amy:

I am a young newlywed. My mother-in-law works at the bank that my husband and I use.

We have had an account together for more than a year and have three loans (car, truck and mortgage), plus a checking and savings account.

My mother-in-law checks all of our accounts frequently. She then tells others (such as my parents) when we are getting low on funds or are a few days late on a payment. She then transfers money to our account when we get low.

A few times, I didn't know she had done this and I thought I had extra money to spend, so I spent some, not knowing that I owed my mother-in-law money that she had deposited into our account. She now knows to tell me when she does this, but I don't like it at all.

How do I tell her that I want her to get out of our business and let us handle our money?

I have tried talking to my husband, but he usually gets mad at me and defends her. I have also thought about moving our accounts to a different bank, but how do I do this without upsetting her?

I want to grow up and not feel dependent. I want to do it on my own, without her looking over our shoulders.

Wants to Be in Charge

What your mother-in-law is doing is unethical. Her habit of hacking into customer accounts shows terrible professional judgment and could put her job in jeopardy. I can't imagine a bank that would tolerate this behavior from an employee, even if she is well-intentioned and even if she is making unauthorized deposits instead of unauthorized withdrawals.

It might help you to get over your squeamishness if you realize that you need to save your mother-in-law from herself. You also need to stand up to her before she violates your independence and privacy in other ways.

You and your husband simply have to develop some marital backbone. He should take the lead in dealing with his mother, but because he doesn't, you might have to handle this independently. You should say to her, "I know you mean well and that you're trying to help us, but what you are doing makes me very uncomfortable. When we set up our accounts here, we didn't think that you would be looking at our accounts."

Then you should move at least your deposit accounts to another bank. Don't run this idea past her -- just do it. Choose an institution that offers good interest rates and free checking, and one that has no meddling mothers-in-law on staff.

Dear Amy:

I have enjoyed the letters and comments in your column about senior discounts.

Some years ago my wife, sister and I were traveling through the West. We stopped at a national park, and my sister and I were given senior discounts. My wife wasn't offered the discount because they said they knew she wasn't old enough (she was one year younger than I).

Instead of showing proof of her age, she paid the extra fee, and spent the rest of the trip opening doors for the "old folks" and helping us up the stairs.

I invite all of those sensitive about being offered senior rates to come to my neighborhood grocery store, where we receive the reverse treatment.

When I purchase beer, I am asked for proof of my age. (I am 85.) Signs at the counter affirm this store ruling -- all beer and liquor purchasers must show proof of age.

I tell people in line that I don't drink the beer -- I just like to be carded.

You're Only Young Twice

I like your style.

I hope you can persuade your neighborhood grocery to offer a senior discount on beer and liquor. That way you could be carded and offered your discount on the very same transaction!

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

(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.