Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - JEANNE FLEM­ING AND LEONARD SCHWARZ Please email your ques­tions about money, ethics and re­la­tion­ships to Ques­tions@MoneyMan­


LEONARD: My wife and I en­joy sup­port­ing many of the arts or­ga­ni­za­tions in our com­mu­nity, and ev­ery year we un­der­write a ma­jor project for one of them. Since we’d like our son-in-law to share our en­thu­si­asm for the arts, this year we asked him to choose which project, among a half-dozen can­di­dates, we’d un­der­write. To our sur­prise, “Wil­liam” said he’d pre­fer that the money go to our grand­chil­dren — that fos­ter­ing his chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment is a lot more im­por­tant to him than giv­ing money to the arts. What do you think we should do? By the way, my son-in-law and our daugh­ter have good ca­reers and live very nicely, and we’re gen­er­ous with their chil­dren al­ready.

— D.E. DEAR D.E.: Sounds like your en­thu­si­asm for the arts is not con­ta­gious.

Look, there are peo­ple who can’t stand to see money be­ing given to peo­ple or or­ga­ni­za­tions out­side the fam­ily — for them, only blood mat­ters — and per­haps your sonin-law falls into this cat­e­gory. Or maybe he’s just greedy. Ei­ther way, you should ex­plain to Wil­liam (nicely, of course) that that’s not how you roll — that sup­port­ing th­ese or­ga­ni­za­tions is im­por­tant to you, and that do­ing so is not com­ing at the ex­pense of his and your daugh­ter’s chil­dren.

P.S. In case you’ve been won­der­ing what Wil­liam would like for his next birth­day, here’s a sug­ges­tion: A check made out to his fa­vorite char­ity — him­self.


LEONARD: My sis­ter and I own a rental prop­erty. Hav­ing de­cided to sell it, we re­cently put the place on the mar­ket, list­ing it for what com­pa­ra­ble houses in the neigh­bor­hood have been sell­ing for. Now, af­ter three months, we’ve re­ceived an of­fer, but it’s for $15,000 less than what we’re ask­ing. I think this is the best, and maybe the only, of­fer we’re go­ing to get, and I want to ac­cept it. But my sis­ter’s con­vinced that we can get at least $10,000 more, and she’s de­ter­mined to hold out un­til we do. How do we re­solve this?

— A.W. DEAR A.W.: Easy. It’s al­ways the older sib­ling’s call.

Just kid­ding. What you should do is tell your sis­ter that you’re will­ing to wait for the bet­ter of­fer she’s sure is com­ing as long as she guar­an­tees you that, what­ever the house sells for, your share will be no less than half the amount of the cur­rent of­fer, plus what­ever you have to spend on the house be­tween now and when it fi­nally sells (i.e., taxes, in­surance, etc.). To be fair, though, your deal also should state that, should the house sell for more than the cur­rent of­fer, your share is half of the cur­rent of­fer and no more. In other words, pro­pose a deal in which your sis­ter gets any gain over the cur­rent of­fer in ex­change for guar­an­tee­ing that you will lose noth­ing by wait­ing.

One more thing: To en­sure that you and your sis­ter con­tinue to en­joy a cor­dial re­la­tion­ship, put your agree­ment in writ­ing.

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette/RON WOLFE

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