Spouses Should Be Aware Of Household Finances

By Gayle Lagman-Creswick

Dear Gabby Gayle:

The letter from “Miserable” in a recent column mentioned that her husband “handles the finances and keeps them close to himself.” Let me tell you a story. My stepfather also handled the finances and kept them close to himself. My mother assumed all was OK financially, as they were able to buy what they wanted. When he died (after a long illness), my mother found a note he’d left her – it said she should file for bankruptcy. When all the bills came in, she discovered she was facing $80,000 in credit card debt. With the help of a compassionate banker, she made it through, but spouses should be fully aware of what is going on financially. Whether Miserable’s husband simply doesn’t want her to be bothered with finances, feels she is incapable or is actually hiding something, his position is wrong. If her name is on their checking/savings/investment accounts, she should be able to examine them by going directly to the financial institution if necessary. If her name isn’t on the accounts, she should probably see an attorney if her husband won’t relent. Enjoy your columns – keep up the good advice.

Signed, Seen It Before

Dear Seen It Before:

Thank you for writing. This happens far too often. Please, readers, take heed!


Dear Gabby Gayle:

I read in one of your columns some time ago that one of your biggest fears is that your children will start treating you as if they are the parent and you are the child. I’m here to tell you that is happening to me. I had a recent surgery and complications and since then, they are telling me I need to think about assisted living, move into sheltered living, etc. I had given my daughter Power of Attorney so she could pay my bills while I was down. I have completely recovered and I am back to all my old routines. My mind is good, I’m a good driver, have an active social life. I don’t know what happened during my down time. It is as if they think they should take over my decision making and my business. I do not want to offend them but how can I get them to lay off!?

Signed, Still OK

Dear OK:

I don’t know what changed in your children, but I can guess! Maybe they thought their active mother was invincible, and then all of a sudden they had to face the fact that she would not be around forever. Or, they felt like maybe they had not paid enough attention to you and are trying to make up for it. I do not think this is a big problem. Having kids that care is a wonderful thing. I think you should thank them profusely for being there for you and let them know you will call on them when you need something. Let them know that their time spent with you is the most valuable thing they give you. You should see the letters I receive from those who have children who do not appear to care! Good luck.


Dear Gabby Gayle:

I have had a few dates with a nice gentleman (I thought). The other night, he took me to a very fine restaurant and we had a wonderful dinner and wine. After dinner he said, “Did you enjoy dinner?” To which I replied that it was wonderful. Then he said, “Now you need to come to my house, and we will have dessert.” I could tell by his voice that he was not talking about ice cream. I told him that I would have to pass on that. He became very sarcastic and said, “That is the last $100 meal you will get from me.” I was shocked. Is this the way things are with dating these days? Sounds like if you are going to dance you have to pay the fiddler!

Signed, Count Me Out

Dear Count:

This is why some women insist on paying their own way – so there is no assumed obligation. At any rate, some men expect it and others do not. You need to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince.