Dear Annie: I am hoping to retire in six years. I have been investing some money through my job and have accumulated a comfortable amount. My wife had a similar fund at her job, but took the money out a few years ago. She says she doesn't know where she spent it, but I'm pretty sure it went to her daughter (from another marriage), the same place the rest of her money goes. We have our own checking accounts, because I was tired of being broke all the time.
When I retire, I would like to move to North Carolina. I know that my wife will never leave her grandchildren. I can't take money out of my retirement account without her signature and I have no idea how she managed to empty her account without my signature, but she did. Can you give me some advice before the time comes? — Soon to Retire in Florida
Dear Florida: We aren't sure what you are asking. You already know that your wife is not going to abandon her daughter and the grandchildren. So, it seems you are willing to leave her, but you are concerned that she won't release the money from your retirement account. If she gained access to either retirement account without authorization, talk to someone at your bank or to a lawyer. But ask yourself whether moving to North Carolina is more important than your marriage. And if you divorce her, would the money in your retirement account be split anyway? Is there room for compromise?
Please tell your wife what your wishes are regarding your retirement and ask for her input. Would she be willing to come to North Carolina part of the time? If so, would that be a tolerable arrangement? You seem to have a less-than-loving relationship that you can work on if you choose. A lot can happen in six years.
Dear Annie: You printed several responses to the letter from "Please Leave Animals at Home," about service animals in public places.
I work in a clinic and am well-aware that there are service dogs and other types of therapy animals out there. Service animals have their place. However, let me point out that a "service vest" can be ordered online (as can a doctor's note), and that there are many people who just want to bring their pets everywhere, regardless of whether it is healthy for others. We are told not to ask whether the animal is a service animal for fear of offending the patient and being accused of discriminating against those with disabilities.
Having an untrained animal in the clinic is not healthy or sanitary. Many of our patients come in with real medical problems, and are then subjected to a waiting room with an animal circus. The trained service animals that come into our clinic are welcome. I wish the others would be kept at home. — Train Your Animals
Dear Train: Service animals are trained and acceptable (and legal) everywhere. The problem is untrained comfort animals, still a gray area. Who gets precedence — the person claiming an emotional disability requiring a comfort animal or his neighbor in the condo with a serious traumatic aversion to dogs? Or a child with a life-threatening allergy? We don't have the answers and right now, it seems no one else does, either.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.