DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old niece still lives at home. She works full time and attends college online. She's a hard worker who doesn't do drugs or engage in risky behavior.
I pay her a bonus for every A she earns, and I also pay for her health insurance. Though I gladly pay the college bonuses, I have misgivings about continuing to pay for her health insurance, even though I can afford it. She doesn't make much money at her job, but she goes out to restaurants and bars often, attends concerts, and takes trips out of state three or four times a year.
When I was her age, I also went to college, worked a low-paying job, and lived with my mother. Although I went out with friends often, I never wasted money on those other things - especially vacations. Should I continue paying her health insurance for her? I don't know if I'm being judgmental or enabling irresponsible behavior.
- Protective in Houston
DEAR PROTECTIVE: You are obviously a generous person, but, yes, you are being judgmental. Your niece is working, studying and living a clean and healthy life. You had a social life when you were your niece's age; you should not begrudge her having hers.
Going to restaurants, bars, and concerts is normal for a young woman her age. However, if you prefer not to subsidize the vacations because you feel they are excessive, discuss your feelings with her before deciding what to do.
Time to move is now
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have lived like nomads for the last few years. We have bought, sold, and moved many times for all sorts of silly reasons. Our 5-year-old daughter finally started school, yet we don't feel at home here. We now realize buying and selling may not be for us, so we are renting, but we still aren't happy.
We moved here to be close to my oldest and dearest friend, whose kids are now grown, and to my sister, who hardly talks to us or sees us. My husband's sister and her husband's family love us and treat us well. They have suggested we should move near them. They have kids our daughter's age. The only issue is possibly not finding a good home or school. Private school could be an option.
Would another move be bad? Should we make a final move before our daughter gets vested in school and friends? It would put us within walking distance of several families we spend a lot of time with and who love us very much. We are afraid of judgment from everyone.
Please help us sort it out.
- Hopeful Nomads in Illinois
DEAR NOMADS: Forget about the judgments. You will survive them. The older your daughter becomes, the more difficult moving away from the people she knows will be for her. If you are going to move to an environment more compatible for you, your husband and your daughter, the time to do it is now, so her education and social relationships will not be as disrupted as they would be when she is older.