Jewish World Review August 10, 2000 /9 Menachem-Av, 5760
Her shopping will ruin us
DEAR BRUCE: My wife is 32, lovely, talented, well-educated, a terrific mother to our five kids and a loving wife. You ask why am I writing to you? She does have one very serious flaw, and it's one that is about to drive us to divorce court. Every time she gets upset with the kids, me or life in general, she shops. She says that this is the only way that she can let off steam.
The problem is she has very expensive tastes. We are now up to our eyes in hock for clothing, perfumes and other luxuries we simply can't afford. She says she has to do this or she's liable to do something more serious. I say that if this continues we'll literally be in bankruptcy. What do you suggest? -- L.S., Portland, Ore.
DEAR L.S.: I suggest that your wife needs therapy in a hurry. This type of behavior is a sickness, no less than alcoholism or a gambling addiction. There are organizations that deal with this type of problem, but there's no question that this is a sickness just as real as pneumonia but so much more difficult to understand because there are no physical symptoms. Please have the patience and the wisdom to get your wife the type of help she must have to overcome this problem.
DEAR BRUCE: We have a nice little business that is about to fold because of government intervention. We buy things in New York City at a cheap price and then sell them on weekends in flea markets in New Jersey. We work on a small margin but do a nice business, and our overhead is not too high.
Everything was going OK until about a week ago when the state suddenly swept down on us and told us that we are in violation because we are not charging sales tax. The only advantage we have is price, and if we have to charge sales tax, there's no reason for anyone to come to us, as we are then selling at the same price as the stores. We think this is very unfair. What can we do about it? -- T.C., Jersey City, N.J.
DEAR T.C.: Welcome to the real world. From a merchant's point of view, if you don't collect sales tax, you have a 6-percent advantage over the legitimate merchant that does. That's not fair and, equally clear, it's illegal. For those items on which tax must be collected since you are doing business in that state, you are required to get a sales tax number, collect the appropriate sales tax and forward it to the authorities.
DEAR BRUCE: My step-daughter was having a problem financing a car and she asked me to co-sign, which I agreed to do. To her credit she has always sent her payments in on time and she has only a year to go before the car is paid for. I applied for a car loan in my own name, which I thought should be no problem, and was turned down. Not because of bad credit but because the amount of money that "I still owe" on her car. This made me too debt-heavy when you put my credit cards and second mortgage into the mix. So I'm being denied a loan for reasons that I have no control over. HELP! -- C.P., via e-mail
DEAR C.P.: I wish I could help. You must understand that when you co-sign a loan, you are as responsible as the maker of the loan. The point of view of the lenders is you can only take on so much debt, and even though you are not actually making any payments on this debt, you are still responsible for it. If your debt ratio is too big, they turn off the spigot. People need to realize that when you co-sign a loan, it's just as if the money is being loaned to you - except that while you have all the responsibilities, you have none of the
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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