Dear Blake,

How can I help my financially drowning, 57-year-old daughter without being pulled under myself? I live comfortably now, but that could change in an instant with a stroke or a fall and the need for assisted living.

My daughter had been employed throughout her adult life but was recently part of a group layoff. She has failed to find another job in her field, and her benefits have run out. I don’t blame her for the job loss, but I do think she could have been earning some money by working part-time. She didn’t do that until the benefit well had run dry.

I “loaned” her some money but have made it clear that it will be short-lived. She hasn’t asked for my opinion but, boy, do I ever want to give it. She would have had a nice financial cushion had she not blown a $300K inheritance some years back.

I feel guilty going out to lunch with friends or buying something unnecessary for the house when she’s close to being homeless. My house is large enough for my daughter to live here, but she has I-don’t-know-how-many dogs (she hides the number). Am I awful for living my life (well) while she flounders? Is there help for her?

Signed, Audrey
From Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Dear Audrey,

When I first started reading your letter, I was going to suggest that you help your daughter out. But after I read that she squandered 300k, I don’t think you should give that financially reckless loser another penny. Here are some of my other ideas. The next time you go to lunch with your friends, take her along, and then refuse to pay for her meal unless she asks the servers if they are hiring dishwashers. Or, tell her she needs to make friends that may have some job connections, and encourage her to socialize for that reason while dropping her off at the nearest homeless shelter. Or this idea. If she has a bunch of canines, encourage her to move to Alaska, because during the winter time, there are often shortages of dogsled teams. And finally, if you’re long for a long-term solution, try this idea. Frame her for a serious crime that will send her to prison. She’ll make very little money on the job she is assigned while incarcerated, but fortunately the meals and rent are free. I hope this helps.