DEAR ABBY: I recently received a modest inheritance. My husband and I are about 10 years from retiring. The money is just enough to put away for a secure retirement, not enough for a lavish lifestyle.
The problem is my mother-in-law, "Vera." She is 70, healthy and active. She manages very well in her paid-for home. Vera has now begun looking at assisted-living communities that, for a hefty monthly rent, provide chef-prepared meals in a dining room, activities and transportation. She's assuming that my husband and I will pay this rent, since we are now "wealthy" in her estimation.
Abby, if we take on this responsibility, the money will be spent by the time we retire, and Vera will still need to pay her rent. I never discussed this inheritance with my mother-in-law. It came from my side of the family and is really not her business. We didn't brag or start making showy purchases.
My husband feels as I do about putting it aside for retirement, but we're both stumped about how to handle his mom. Have you any suggestions? -- "THE HEIRESS" IN UPSTATE N.Y.
DEAR "HEIRESS": Before your mother-in-law's fantasy about dwelling on easy street becomes any more grandiose, you and her son must schedule a reality session with her. If she's planning on upgrading her lifestyle from what it is now, she should first consult her CPA or financial planner to make sure her assets will cover the cost. It may be a rude awakening for the lady, but better now than later.