DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for seven years. He provides financially for our family, while I work part-time. My husband is an “open book” when it comes to discussing our personal finances with others, while I am extremely private about this type of information.
Recently, our neighbors stopped by, and he told them what we paid for some work we had done on our house, which they did not ask to know. I was appalled that he did it, and asked him after they were gone not to tell people such private information. I’m very uncomfortable discussing our salaries with others, while he thinks it’s something for all to know.
We’re a middle-class family, and I’m by no means embarrassed by our finances, but I think it’s preferable to abstain from discussing these matters with others. He thinks it’s rude not to tell people what we pay for things and how much we make and save. Is it common practice to discuss personal finances with others? — PRIVATE LADY IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR PRIVATE LADY: Rude?! Nowhere is it written that people “have” to discuss their finances with anyone other than one’s spouse, immediate family or CPA. Keeping quiet about financial matters is not a breach of etiquette; it’s good judgment. What your husband is doing could be perceived as bragging, which creates resentment and jealousy rather than impresses others, and anyone who reads my column knows it can drive people away.
DEAR ABBY: I was homeschooled K-12. I now have multiple master’s degrees and work for a public school. I returned to my hometown and, with hard work and dedication, have moved up the career ladder in my district. While I love my job, I also value and respect the fact that my mom chose to homeschool me. I can’t change my childhood, so I embrace all of those who are part of a village to raise and educate children.
My challenge comes when I am asked what year I graduated, or other questions about my schooling. (They assume that since this is my hometown, I attended school in the same district in which I work.) If I reply with, “I was homeschooled,” I get shocked silence, and feel I must somehow justify my mom’s choice to homeschool me (something over which I had no control).
This isn’t just from colleagues, but also parents and staff. In addition, our district likes to feature alumni who work at the district and who chose to return to their hometown to give back. Well, I meet one of those criteria, but I cringe when they mistakenly announce my name as an alumna in a public forum, not knowing how to handle it. Please advise. — EDUCATION LOVER IN ARIZONA
DEAR EDUCATION LOVER: I think it is time for you to stop being self-conscious about the kind of education your mother gave you, which equipped you to attain not one, but multiple graduate degrees. Rather than “cringe” and hide the fact that you are not an alumna from the district, discuss this with the administrators, so the error can be corrected.
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.
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