Dear Annie: A group of us have been friends for more than 40 years. We graduated from high school together, but while the rest of us went to college, started careers and settled down with families, "Ray" was smoking pot, partying and working paycheck to paycheck in an entry-level job. He was so wrapped up in "doing his own thing" that it never occurred to him to have a relationship.
Now we are nearing retirement age. The rest of us are able to take time to travel, pursue our interests and spend time with our families. Ray is still living hand to mouth. And every time we get together or see his Facebook page, he is griping about how hard his life is and how much he envies us.
We'd like to point him toward services that might be able to help him a little bit and show him how to make a realistic budget. The services have to be free, though, because Ray won't take "charity" from the rest of us, and if he has to pay for anything, he won't be able to afford it. There's no guarantee he'd take advantage of even a free referral, but we are tired of hearing him carrying on about the life that, after all, he chose for himself. Do you know of any free resources that could rescue someone who's always been clueless about money? — Ray's Friends
Dear Friends: It's romantic to "live for the moment," but that doesn't mean you cannot also plan for your future. You undoubtedly know that, even with outside assistance, Ray might not change his ways. It would require an entirely new mindset, and that takes effort that he seems unwilling to make. You can look into Debtors Anonymous at debtorsanonymous.org, or get information on local credit counseling through the Federal Trade Commission at consumer.ftc.gov. (Search "choosing a credit counselor.")
Dear Annie: I am responding to the letter from "W.," whose neighbor constantly complains about the noise from her townhouse, even though she's not doing anything particularly noisy.
The neighbors living in the condo below me used to phone and yell at me for practically any noise. They complained about the way I walked in my home even though I went barefoot most of the time to assuage them. They went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and expected me to shut down then, as well.
They spoke to an attorney who told them I wasn't breaking any noise ordinances, but they still called incessantly to complain and were sometimes verbally abusive. So I spoke to my own lawyer. He suggested that I ignore them, but I told him I was being harassed, bullied and verbally abused and that I was not going to put up with it. If they were that sensitive, then they should have not moved into a condo with neighbors living above them. The lawyer and I resolved it by presenting them with his business card and informing them that any future complaints were to be directed to him. If they complained directly to me, it would lead to a lawsuit for harassment. — N.C.
Dear N.C.: Threatening to sue someone is always an option in this country, although we think it should be a last resort. Too many people think it is the first step.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2015. 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.