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Dear Abby: Keeping wealth quiet causes millionaire’s anxiety

Dear Abby: I’m a 29-year-old self-made millionaire who has spent the last decade saving and investing my middle-class income. I grew up dirt poor, so at 18 I left home with $5, went straight to work and never looked back.

Recently, I’ve realized that I struggle to make friends for fear they’ll find out about my financial situation. Those who know only want to talk about money or treat me differently. Most of my peers are broke and it makes me feel guilty. Those with high incomes blow their money on fancy dinners and luxury vehicles. I’m just a working-class woman who likes driving my 10-year-old car, and I don’t feel like I fit in with anyone. In fact, I’m developing an anxiety.

A few months ago I went to the bank to deposit a large sum of money and was mortified to see that the bank teller was a friend of the family. I have gone to the extreme of lying about owning homes and going on vacations, and it’s making me crazy. I even have issues with letting my young daughter’s friends come over for playdates, for fear that the other moms will think our house is “too nice.” Do I need counseling or is this just a turning point in my life that I need to grasp?

– Money Worries

Dear Money Worries: If someone has to have money worries, yours are the nicest kind to have. It would be interesting to know how many successful people share your feelings, because I suspect that you are far from alone in experiencing them. (A psychiatrist once told me that many of her successful patients feel like frauds despite their considerable accomplishments.) A licensed mental health professional can help you to get past these feelings before they cause your daughter to be isolated, and I think the money would be well spent.

P.S. If you feel your banking transactions are not being kept confidential, either change financial institutions or arrange for private banking, which is available for high-net-worth individuals.

Wayward grandchild

Dear Abby: I am raising two of my grandchildren because their parents can’t take care of them. The kids are still learning acceptable behavior because they were never taught.

I’ll give you an example of something that happens often: I was paying for an item at a store and my granddaughter sneaked behind the counter and reached into the display case. Cupcakes were involved. The saleslady asked her to stop. I immediately got ahold of my wayward offender, glued her to my side until I was finished and then made her apologize.

The problem was, the saleslady immediately said, “Oh, it’s OK.” I then had to ask the saleslady to please NOT tell my granddaughter that it was OK, but instead to accept my granddaughter’s apology, because my granddaughter really would think it WAS OK. Your thoughts?

– Raising Grandkids

Dear Raising: I think the salesperson was simply being polite and professional, and that those children are lucky to have such a caring grandmother watching out for them.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.