Dear Amy: My elderly parent passed away earlier this year, and I inherited a nice nest egg. Most of the funds were designated to my husband's and my retirement accounts and to our child's college fund, but I set aside some funds to purchase a luxury item for myself that I had been wanting for 25 years.
I anticipate the item will be used daily and will last me for the rest of my life.
I am, and always have been, the primary earner in our household. My salary is significantly more than my husband's, and almost all our money is pooled (my entire paycheck goes to our shared accounts). My husband has a separate business account but does not share the details of that account with me. Although he would never dictate how I use the inheritance, he clearly disapproves of my spending money on what he thinks is a completely nonessential item. This is making me feel incredibly guilty.
I am quite frugal. We live well within our means and the cost of the inheritance item is less than 3% of my inheritance.
Amy, is it reasonable for me to spend this money on myself? Is this a purchase I should defer or return, to be sensitive to my husband's opinions?
Amy says: This is your money. You inherited it. It is kind, generous, and practical for you to use this money for the greater good and benefit of your entire family, but it is yours.
Yes, it is reasonable for you to spend 3% of this inherited money on a gift to yourself. You should assume that this item — whatever it is — will be left to your child when you are gone, thus creating a legacy.
Your husband disapproves. So what? You quite obviously disapprove of his choice to squirrel away his money into a separate and private account, but he doesn't seem to feel overly guilty about that.
One note of caution: You seem to have locked yourself into something of a guilt trap. If you can't free yourself from this feeling, you will never enjoy your inheritance.
This may sound trite, but all of the members of my household HATE to vacuum with the heat of a thousand suns. Our otherwise tidy house would look like the Sahara if we followed our instincts.
We got one of those robot vacuums and problem solved!
Amy says: Great suggestion. If this spells the beginning of the robot revolution, then I say: Bring it on!
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