Why I’m Ditching My Smartphone With the Kids Around

Last week I took my 4-year-old granddaughter to the dress rehearsal for her dance recital. Instead of  enjoying the show, I pulled out my iPhone to record the performance and focused on the screen. But I recorded in slow-mo by mistake; no video! I missed her dancing both real time and digitally. A few days later, heading down 42nd Street in New York, I happened upon hundreds of people with smartphones stretched overhead trying to capture a rare occurrence known …

The Long Goodbye: Your Kid’s Cellphone Bill

Cheering their new grads at college commencements this month, parents will likely give another hurrah: No more tuition! But there’s another cost that might well linger on for parents of high school and college grads: the cellphone bill. A Wall Street Journal survey last year found that about 40 percent of parents of 18- to 35-year-old children still pay for their cellphone service, and 29 percent continue to do so even after their kids have moved out and pay their …

How to Survive a Workplace Culture Clash With Millennials

A friend who supervises interns recently complained about a young man she gave an assignment to one morning. When she passed his desk a few hours later, he was surfing the Web. His explanation: assignment complete so he was taking a break. Argh! A culture clash is erupting as millennials stampede into the workplace, arriving saddled with a negative reputation. But if boomers want to coexist with twentysomethings, then they – the older generation – need an attitude adjustment, says …

Tightening the Family Ties

Sometimes I feel like an in-house publicist for my three adult children: a text to the middle son asking him to give his sister a call; an email to the oldest telling him about his brother’s time on a half-marathon; a phone call to the youngest suggesting she check in with her brothers. Why persist in trying to tighten the sibling bonds? Because adult children are often at different stages – and locations – in their lives so it takes …

Social Security Halts Tax-Refund Grab to Recover Old Debts

Update: The Social Security Administration says it will immediately stop collecting old debts by grabbing taxpayers’ refunds. In a statement, Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of the agency, says: “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department. “If any Social Security …

Why Your Children Should Help Pay for College

Spring means college admissions, and we still recall the agonizing wait for the mail carrier. A thin envelope brought bad news, a thick envelope acceptance. Today, though, the “envelope” arrives via email – and that’s not all that’s changed. These days, the sticker price for private colleges starts at about $40,000 a year, going much higher for a prestigious institution; in-state schools run about half that. Nearly as soon as the anxiety on the admissions front dissipates, it’s replaced by …