Dear Annie: The well is dry
Dear Annie: A number of years ago, my parents trusted their money and retirement income to a financial adviser who was also a personal friend. When my father passed away seven years ago, my mother became his beneficiary, with me being second in line.
My mother had a huge memorial celebration for my father, which cost a few thousand dollars and was attended by 100 people. Some time after that, I moved in with my mother, and we combined our Social Security income to be able to stay in her home.
My mother recently passed away unexpectedly, and while settling her affairs, I was informed that her investments have been terminated. It seems that the financial adviser set up the original investments to be surrendered back to the entities that were originally set up by my father. So funds I thought would continue do not.
What do I say to the friends and neighbors who are expecting a lavish party to celebrate my mother’s life? My mother did not wish for me to duplicate what she did for my father. But these folks keep asking me when the big party is going to be. I don’t have funds for that, nor was it something my mother wished. Is there a way to respond without getting into specifically why I can’t afford it? – Can Just Afford the Toast
Dear Toast: The toast – a heartfelt speech in memory of your loving mother – is far more important than any lavish banquet or big party. If you’d like to have some response for when people ask when the “big party” is, you can simply tell them it’s not what your mother wanted. But you are not obligated to explain yourself to anyone.
I also would suggest talking to a lawyer or another financial adviser about what happened with your parents’ investments. It never hurts to get a second opinion.
Dear Annie: What advice do you have for retaining my credit? I was married for 17 years, and everything was in his name first. He became ill with cancer, and I was the primary breadwinner, paying our home off two years early and our truck loan six months early. He passed 10 years ago. I found out a few years back that I have no credit.
I have worked my butt off paying my bills, especially medical bills, to get my credit up. A year ago, I went online and checked my credit score. It showed in the 700 range, which made me feel pleased with myself. But I just received two rejection letters for credit cards, one from Capital One and the other from Cato. Both say it is because I have no credit! Do I just start all over at the age of 51 and apply for first-time credit? I am at a loss and don’t know what to do. Family members have suggested I apply for a credit card with a small limit to get started, but I feel I wouldn’t be accepted. Help! – Uncredited
Dear Uncredited: Your best and safest bet is to get hooked up with a good financial adviser. Find a fee-only adviser by going to http://www.napfa.org. He or she can then assess your situation and present all your available options.
Aside from that, look into joining a credit union. Credit unions are great for those establishing credit for the first time. You won’t get amazing credit overnight, but no one does. It will come with time, as you’re clearly a responsible person.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Married to a Louisville Hummer,” whose wife won’t stop humming and is driving him nuts. Well, I bet I know why she’s humming.
A few years ago, I dated a man who would say to me, “Elizabeth, you are humming.” While reading your column, I realized that this person was the only person I ever hummed around. I believe the reason was he made me tense because of his demeanor.
This uptight man had the need to brush his teeth five times each day, comb his hair each time he got into a car and comb it again as he exited. His perfectionism in all matters must have had an effect on me that caused me to hum quietly rather than hit him over the head with his toothbrush. – Hmmph