DEAR ABBY: Because of a serious illness that resulted from taking a certain medication, I recently received a settlement of more than a million dollars. I have invested most of the money, and have a cash flow sufficient to take care of emergencies and a few luxuries. I must make sure that these funds will cover medical expenses for the remainder of my life.
Ever since I received the settlement, my family (children, parents and siblings) think I'm very rich and that my money is their money, too. They constantly ask me to bail them out of one financial mess or another, or to buy them luxury items. I have helped them out of tight spots in the past, but they have always squandered their money and have never saved a dime for the future.
I go to bed each night sick to my stomach because of the guilt trips they put me through when I refuse their requests for money. They expect me to pay for everything.
Abby, am I being selfish? -- S.F. IN COLORADO
DEAR S.F.: No, you are being prudent. Instead of giving them money, encourage your relatives to enroll in credit counseling or money-management courses offered at many colleges. Remember the adage: "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll eat for life." Continually bailing out family members is doing them no favor. Take care of your own needs and let them take care of theirs.