DR. WALLACE: My mom and dad are going to get another stimulus check from our government soon, and this time they have said that all of us kids can split the money up to buy some things we would each like. My dad said the idea is to spend the money in a way that will help our national economy. He mentioned that we should think about spending some of our money at a local small business so that we would be helping the small business owners at the same time.
Does that mean I can spend the money however I want, wherever I want? I'm under 18, so I don't have much experience with these types of matters.
Do I have to keep the receipts for what I buy and mail those receipts back to the government? I'm too young to file a tax return by myself, so I'm wondering if there is some special way I need to handle all the paperwork associated with this stimulus money. And is there a limit on the things I can and can't buy with this money? I plan to use it at a local store or two for clothes and maybe shoes. My older brother wants to buy cigarettes and fast food with some of his money, and I feel that the government won't let him spend the money on smokes or on other things like alcohol. He's 19 and thinks he's tough since he always smokes a lot and sneaks some beer that our older cousin sometimes buys for him at the local mini-mart.
Anyhow, I want to play by the rules so that I help a small business or two and keep the government happy at the same time. I promise not to smoke or drink up my stimulus money. — Love the Stimulus, via email
LOVE THE STIMULUS: First of all, it's very nice that your parents are willing to divide the stimulus checks up among you and your siblings. They obviously trust you to make good decisions with these funds.
I give you credit for being a very thoughtful and sincere teenager! You obviously have put a lot of thought into this and you definitely want to play by the rules. The good news for you is that there is no follow-up required by you or your family. You do not have to save receipts and mail them into the government. You can spend the funds in any way you would like, with the idea being, just as you said, to help support our national economy.
YOUNG WOMEN ARE SAFER DRIVERS
TEENS: While female teen drivers often wait a bit longer to take and pass their first driver's test, once they do, they are far more responsible and drive much more safely than their male teen counterparts do.
Corroborating evidence also proves that as young adults, women are safe drivers; studies show that women display great maturity in accomplishing everything from tasks such as parallel parking to being safe and responsible drivers even on crowded streets.
Comparing female and male drivers reveals that male drivers of cars and vans were involved in twice as many fatal accidents, percentage-wise.
Overall, women tend to be better drivers than men — much better, judging by the statistics that demonstrate this trend year after year. One potential reason for this is that women tend to plan ahead more often, and they tend to take many fewer risks on the roadways.
So, congratulations go to our young female drivers all across America. Keep up the good work, and boys, do your best to close this gap by driving safely and defensively at all times.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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