Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Husband's Investment Ideas Seem Risky

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is completely immersed in what I call conspiracy theories. He has always been like this, only now he’s focused on some financial investments that seem awfully risky. I don’t know anything about investing -- and neither does he. We both realize we need to make more money, but now he wants to take money out of his retirement to invest in this thing. The investor sounds extreme, if not on the fringe. I don’t want to emasculate my husband, but I also do not want him to blow the only retirement we have on what seems like a whim. What can I do? -- Risky Business, Rockville, Maryland

DEAR RISKY BUSINESS: The best way for you to have some say in how your husband invests is for you to get involved. I’m not sure how the investor in question is a conspiracy theorist, but you should tell your husband you want to learn about this investment strategy with him. Read what he is reading, and do independent research to get a sense of how this idea is regarded in the industry. Speak to a financial adviser to get a professional perspective on what kinds of investments are wise for someone in your family’s financial situation.

By demonstrating sincere interest in this topic that so interests your husband, you may be able to bond with him over your plans for the future and decide to agree together on the next steps.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce | Money

Reader Wants Son to Be Nicer to Classmate

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my son’s classmates has epilepsy. She has had it for years, often having seizures at school. The kids try to be nice to her, but over the years, it has gotten tough. She is often rude and annoying to them. Now that they are teens, they are less patient than they used to be. I’m sure the students are unkind to this girl. I have witnessed them ignore her repeatedly. And my son says that she has no friends in the school.

I’m wondering if there is anything I can do to get my son and his friends to be nicer to their classmate. I know they will say she doesn’t deserve it, but her mother has told me that the girl’s illness affects her brain and sometimes leads her to behave rudely. I don’t want my son to be mean to this girl, but I also don’t want him to suffer abuse from someone even if she has an illness. How can I direct his behavior? -- Navigating Friendship, Raleigh, North Carolina

DEAR NAVIGATING FRIENDSHIP: Remind your son of the importance of treating everyone with respect. Add that having compassion for people who live with challenges is a sign of character. Even when it is tough to show kindness, it is worth it. Talk to your son about boundaries. If this student crosses physical lines, he should immediately tell her to back off. If she speaks in rude or insulting ways, he should stand up for himself and say, “Please do not speak to me like that.” When she is “annoying,” he can ask her to stop whatever she is doing. Only after repeated offenses should he totally ignore her.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety