DEAR ABBY: I met a guy over the phone when he called my number by mistake. After a brief conversation, not particularly polite on my part, the call ended. Forty-five minutes later he called me back, saying he couldn’t stop thinking about me. I thought, “Who is this goofball?”
Over time, my phone has been “pinging” with messages from him. He has sent his life story, photos and address. He even gave me his Social Security number and told me to run a check on him to see for myself that he’s legitimate. We have been talking for eight months and are making plans to meet. He lives in another state, but he has a sister in mine.
Should I meet him in his hometown or let him come to me? I don’t believe this is a game-playing situation. I am 55 years young; he’s 64. We converse on FaceTime daily and at night we have Bible studies together via the Internet. He makes me happy. What is your opinion, and what should I do? — SWEPT AWAY IN GEORGIA
DEAR SWEPT AWAY: Your romance seems almost like a Hallmark Channel love story — two strangers who connect because of a wrong number. However, have him visit you first, meet your family, friends and minister. THEN visit him in his hometown and meet HIS friends, children (if he has any), minister, etc.
Don’t do this just once — give yourself enough time to get beyond the endorphin rush. He may turn out to be Prince Charming, but a woman can never be too careful, and you need to proceed with your eyes wide open. If this becomes a successful relationship, it will be a wonderful “how did you meet?” story.
DEAR ABBY: My parents just informed me that they have not been practical about their finances. I suspected it based on the ratio of their salaries to their purchases, but it was confirmed during a conversation in which they said they have saved nothing for retirement. More disappointing, they both had advantages that would have set them financially for life had they been smart with their money.
On the other hand, I save religiously, and I’m on my way to building the retirement I want for me and my wife. I feel bad for my parents, but I can’t help worrying that everything I am working for is being threatened by their poor choices and unwillingness to change how they deal with money.
When I expressed concern that I would have to support them financially at some point because of this, I was made to feel selfish because of all the sacrifices they made for me over the years. Who is wrong here? — “BAD SON” IN BALTIMORE
DEAR SON: Your parents are, for having blown the money they should have been saving and for trying to guilt you into supporting them. (By the way, they’re not alone. MANY Americans in their 50s and 60s have only now awakened to the fact that they won’t have enough — or any — money to supplement their Social Security.)
The sacrifices parents make are supposed to be done out of love, not to indenture their children. If there is still time for them to sock away some savings for when they will no longer be working, I suggest they start now. (Suze Orman says that whether you’re in your 30s, 40s or 50s, it’s never too late to start saving for your financial future.) As a GOOD son, ask if they would like your help in investing it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.