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Daughter Deep in Debt Needs Counseling, Not More Money

DEAR ABBY: Three years ago I gave my adult daughter, married with a child, more than $16,000 to help pay off her debts because she couldn't pay her bills. She and her husband maintain separate accounts, which I find odd. He pays certain expenses; she pays others. Now I find she's deep in debt again and needs more help.

I'm 69, married and retired. We have some savings and I'd like to help her. However, I'm afraid if I take more money out of our savings, we may not have enough to cover an emergency or if either of us needs nursing home care.

She is a good and loving daughter, and I feel bad that I may not be able to help her. Do you see any solution to my problem? -- DENNIS IN VIRGINIA

DEAR DENNIS: You must stop enabling your adult daughter. Rather than offer more of your savings, it's important to find out what is causing her spending problem. (Drugs? Depression? A shopping addiction?) Then steer her and her husband to a credit counseling organization that can help her without placing your future welfare in jeopardy.

Legitimate credit counseling firms are affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. This isn't your problem, and it shouldn't be. You have done enough.

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