Dear Blake,

My youngest son and his wife invited me to come live with them in Colorado. I am 68 and retired, and was struggling to survive financially (and physically) and maintain my home in Washington state. It made sense to sell it and move into their spacious house with them.

My son was laid off from his job and has been seeking employment. He received an offer from a company in Pennsylvania. I’m about to receive a large amount of cash from the sale of my home, more money than I’ve ever had at one time. My son came to me last evening and asked me to lend him all of it for a down payment on a house in Pennsylvania. He says he will pay it back once his house in Colorado sells. He figures it could take six months to pay it back.

My alarm bells are ringing, and I honestly don’t know how to respond. I believe he has my best interests at heart, but I’m hesitant to give him every penny. Am I being silly? He has never given me reason to doubt him.

Signed, Irma
From Seattle, Washington

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Dear Irma,

To me, it sounds a little suspicious. And it’s often a bad idea to trust a close relative with money, but they are usually more ruthless than the run-of-the-mill street criminals. Anyway, her are some of my ideas. Ask your son to sign a legal and binding contract that guarantees you you’ll get all of your money back. If he is the least bit reluctant, that confirms he planned on ripping you off all along. Do not eat any food that he doesn’t taste first in front of you. If you do, have one of your friends call you every 5 minutes for the next couple of hours to make sure you’re still alive, and to be prepared to call a local homicide detective. Or this idea. Have him sign over to you, all of his vital organs that are highly sought after, in case he winds up in a “freak accident”. And lastly, this suggestion. Try to make friends with some people in the Mafia. And if you son doesn’t pay you back after his house is sold, have one of your new buddies from the underworld, rough him causing a brief hospital stay in the hospital, with the threat that the next visit will cause him an extended stay in the ICU. I hope this helps.