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Step up and help with household expenses

DEAR AMY: I graduated from college in May and moved back home. My dad hasn't been working, and my older sister -- who lived at home rent-free for three years -- has started to pay for our home phone bill. My sister recently moved out of our house, and I finally found a good job. Now she realizes she can't handle the responsibility for the phone bill and has asked to split it with me. Frankly, I feel it is unfair for her to put this on me. She lived at home for three years without contributing; I think it is unfair that I'm expected to help out right away. Without paying rent for three years, she should have saved a ton of money. She started working part time after college and worked her way up to her current full-time salary. I make almost the same amount as she makes, but still I feel my parents are effectively punishing me for getting a good job. If anything, I should be helping my mom pay for other bills rather than splitting this phone bill with my sister. Amy, what do you suggest that we should do?

-- Disgruntled Younger Sister

DEAR DISGRUNTLED: With one parent out of work, your folks were/are supplying both of their employed daughters with free housing and (according to you) expecting little in return.

You frame this as a "fair-is-fair" argument, but essentially you are trying to find a way to do as little as your sister has done to contribute to the household.

Equating yourself with a negative example is like announcing to your boss, "I demand the right to be as unproductive as the most unproductive employee here."

Life is not fair. You have no right to be disgruntled. You are incredibly lucky to have such generous parents.

If you don't want to be financially entangled with your sister (a good idea), then you should both write monthly checks to your mother, who can decide how to spend it.

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