A reader in Pennsylvania says every year, residents on the block where he and his wife recently bought a house celebrate the holidays in a big way. But he and his wife never make a big deal about Christmas and don’t want to spend our money on decorations. What should they do? Also: Why it’s OK to put mother’s care costs ahead of her promises to grandchildren and how to keep a birthday tradition now that friend is married.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: For the past five years, a friend and I have made good money buying foreclosed-on houses from banks, fixing them up and then either selling them or renting them out. Last year, though, “Matt” got married, and now his wife, who manages a fitness center and who knows zero about real estate, insists on reviewing every decision we make. Matt and I never had trouble agreeing on what to buy or when to sell. But now he has to run everything by his wife.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: We have two sons and don’t know which one to choose as the executor for our estate. One lives locally but has family responsibilities that keep him busy, while the other has no family but lives out of state. Which one do you think we should appoint? By the way, neither is very good at managing investments or sensibly handling large sums of money, so their relative financial skills are not a reason to choose one over the other.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I’m in a bicycling club, and we plan our Sunday rides so that we always wind up at a cafe. There, some of us order lunch, while others just have coffee drinks of one kind or another. I’ve noticed that the coffee drinkers generally tip 15 to 20 percent on their drinks, and to me that’s not enough, given that they’ve taken the table for over an hour. But no one else seems to think this is a problem. Am I wrong?
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I want out of the lakeside vacation cottage that I inherited from my grandfather. He left it to me a couple of years ago, with the request that I let my cousins use it, too. Well, between property taxes, utilities and maintenance costs, the place is very expensive to own.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: My grandson’s shyness is causing a problem. In May I gave him two checks, one for his birthday and one for his college graduation. When a month went by and the checks weren’t cashed, I emailed him and asked that he please cash them and let me know when he’d done so. He’s never replied, and the checks have never been cashed.