Dear Annie: I have been dating a wonderful man for about four years. "Sam" treats me with respect and is very caring, but he never pays his bills on time. He has a great job, but several times in the past I have had to bail him out. He will pay a portion of his bills and leave the rest to be added on to the next monthly statement. Once, he didn't have enough money to pay his rent, so I assisted. He always pays me back, but that is not the point.

Sam's mother was evicted from her apartment because she didn't pay her rent. She now lives with him. She has a good job but spends all her spare time at a casino. No one is willing to say she has a gambling problem, and this might be why she is homeless.

I cannot consider a future with Sam unless he can handle his money better. I don't want to be a fall-back person for someone who is financially irresponsible. What do you say? — Wondering in the World

Dear Wondering: Sam apparently learned his fiscal habits from his mother. It's possible he can be taught to be more responsible, but he must understand it's a problem that requires work. He can find a financial counselor through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling ( or 1-800-388-2227) to help him set up a budget and see if he can live within his means. Give him the chance to improve the situation before you make any decisions about your future.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.