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. Last month, we missed out on two good properties because she was out of town and he felt he couldn’t commit to buying them until she saw them. Now she’s telling him we have to sell a house because she dislikes the neighborhood. Matt’s a good guy and a good partner, but this is driving me crazy. What do I do?
DEAR R.W.: Sorry, but Matt was a good partner. He has a new partner now — a partner senior to you, it would seem. There’s not much you can do about that.
Of course marriages are, among other things, financial partnerships, and, all other things being equal, spouses have a right to be involved in how the money is being invested. But that doesn’t automatically entitle Matt’s wife to insert herself into your and his real estate operations, any more than it entitles Matt to hire and fire employees at her gym.
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Good luck to you, though, in getting Mrs. Matt to back off, given the deference her husband is showing her. Unless you’re prepared to accept this woman as a partner, you need to find a new friend with whom to invest.
Shelter director should fix error
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: Every year my wife and I give $2,500 to the local animal shelter, and every year our gift is recognized in the annual report sent to the “friends of the shelter.” Because many of our friends and a number of my professional associates also are supporters of this organization, my wife and I were disappointed to find that our names had been omitted from the current report (contributions at our level receive special recognition).
But what really bothered us was the reaction of the shelter director, who — though she apologized for the omission — dismissed our concerns by basically saying: “What do you want from us? Mistakes happen,” and implying that we were small to care. How do you suggest we respond?
DEAR J.T.: Did she also say that one of the shelter’s dogs ate her homework?
Seriously, tell Ms. Too-Bad-For-You that this is what you want — for the shelter to send a letter to everyone on the annual report mailing list explaining that it erred in leaving your names off the roster of major donors and apologizing for its error. If she refuses, insist that she return your $2,500 (you can give it to another shelter).
Your shelter’s good works do not give it a pass on its obligation to provide donors with the recognition they’ve been promised and that they’re not small to expect. Since the director doesn’t understand this, a little tough love may help enlighten her.
You owe it to brother to stay employed
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I have five children, and my brother has none, so he’s been helping my family financially. The problem is, I hate my job and want to quit, but I know that would make my brother furious. What should I do? Right now we couldn’t get by without his help.
— Little Brother
DEAR Little Brother: By all means, quit your job — just as soon as you find a new one.
Having accepted your brother’s support and having put yourself in a position where you can’t get by without it, you owe it to him to do everything you can to minimize the financial burden you’ve become for him, starting with staying employed.
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| King Features Syndicate