Dear Annie: Her son is in debt

Dear Anne: My 19 year old son has been floating through life since he graduated from high school. He decided at the beginning of May that he was not going to go back to university, so my husband, his stepfather, who has been a part of his life since he was 4 years old, and I decided that He either had to move out by July 1 or have a full-time job with a goal he’s working towards and we all agree on.

Enter my sister. Last weekend, she co-signed a $23,000 loan for a 2016 truck that has done more than 100,000 miles. She also allowed him to move into her house. She didn’t say any of that with us. He works part-time in a hardware store and earns between $250 and $300 a week. His truck payment is $440 per month; insurance is about $170; and gas costs at least $100 a week. This way of life is not financially viable.

We think it basically allowed him to shirk his responsibilities. And we’re very angry that she allowed – because she co-signed the loan – to run into a mountain of debt that he can’t afford.

Am I wrong to be mad at her? I know he’s an adult and can make his own decisions, but I feel like she should have had a chat with me before doing any of this. Literally we found out about his offer at 9pm the night before they did. He just drove the truck home and packed up to leave. – Seriously upset with my sister

Dear Serious: You have every right to be frustrated with your sister’s empowering behavior. Here you’re trying to teach your son the value of a dollar and hard work, and she comes along and co-signs a big loan for him so he thinks he can have some free money. So, yes, you should have a conversation with your sister and explain the life lessons you are trying to teach your son. However, remember that if he can’t make the payments on the truck, she’ll have to find the money.

Although he is of legal age, he is still your son and you have the right to give him good advice on how to live his life, starting with explaining to him that hard-earned financial independence is a sign of adulthood.

Dear Anne: In response to the woman whose stepmother hinted that she would be moving in with her son and stepdaughter, I thought of another way for the stepdaughter to address her stepmother’s possible loneliness . The wife might consider finding out about seniors’ residences in her area.

It would of course be helpful if she knew someone who had resided in one of the local seniors’ residences and had a favorable impression of her living situation.

Most of these residences allow people to visit for lunch and tour the facilities. Sometimes a resident helps out with a visitor’s lunch. Of course, the wife may need to approach this gradually and ensure that the seniors’ residence has a good reputation. The mother-in-law could use the proceeds from the sale of her house to finance her accommodation at the seniors’ residence.

The son and the wife could assure the mother-in-law that they understand that she might feel alone, but at the moment moving in with them is not an option. However, they would still see each other often if she was at a local seniors’ residence.

If the mother-in-law accepts pets, having a pet also helps fight loneliness. — Senior Counsel

Dear Senior Counsel: Thank you for your wonderful suggestion.

“How can I forgive my cheating partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – featuring her favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available in paperback and e-book form. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected].


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John A. Bogar