Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Client Debates Leaving Older Accountant

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have worked with the same accountant for more than 20 years. He is a good man who has always helped me with the finances. In recent years, I have noticed that he is slowing down a lot. He is an older guy. I wonder if I should be looking for someone to fill his shoes. I worry that without this support, I will be in trouble. I don’t want to upset him, though. Should I talk to him about it? I’m not quite sure what to do. -- Time To Move On

DEAR TIME TO MOVE ON: Does your accountant have any support in his office? Check in with him and ask him what he plans to do with his clients when he retires. Hopefully he has a succession plan in mind. It’s OK to ask him about it.

For now, since you know that he is moving more slowly, you should get your taxes to him as early as possible so that he is not backlogged when he is working on yours. If he has recommendations for who will take over in the future, that’s great. If not, you should ask your friends for referrals. Tell them what you like about your accountant, and ask if they know anyone with similar skills and demeanor.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband went into my son’s bedroom to vacuum, and as he was moving things around, he found a box filled with vape pens. This is the second time we have discovered him with these pens in his possession.

The last time we caught him, we confronted him about how dangerous it is to use these things. Several people have died from using them. We know teenagers try things, but this is a health hazard. My husband suggested that we not mention that he found them, because it might just make him hide his contraband more carefully in the future. I get that, but I think we need to address this. I don’t know what I would do if my son got sick -- or worse -- and we didn’t say anything. What do you think? -- No More Vaping

DEAR NO MORE VAPING: Your husband has a point. Perhaps you shouldn’t give away the fact that the pens were discovered. You can still talk to your son about the perils of vaping. Since you know that he did it in the past, revisit the topic with him. Ask him if he still vapes. Remind him of the consequences of doing this. Tell him you know he is a teen and will try things, but this one really is not worth it. Reinforce how you feel about other substances so that he is clear about your perspective.

If you can get your son to talk to you about what he has tried, that would be fantastic. Some teens talk to their parents. It might help if you share a few things that you tried as a teen and what impact they had on you. If you go that route, you have to be honest. Just make sure you have processed whatever lesson you learned so that you can tell a full story that will reinforce positive behavior for your son.

(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.)