Honey, I Shrunk Your Sweater!

 

Dear Mary: Thank you for your many helpful articles. In a past column you wrote about how to un-shrink a wool sweater. All I can remember is that it involved baby shampoo. Could you print the instructions again? Thanks! Linda L., IL

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Sure, here it is: Mix a solution of one gallon lukewarm water and two tablespoons baby shampoo. Soak the garment for about 10 minutes. Now the important part: Don’t rinse! Simply blot out all the excess water with a dry towel and very gently lay it flat on a fresh towel. Reshape slowly and carefully stretch it back to its original size. Dry out of direct sunlight or heat. This tip comes from the Wool Bureau who verifies this technique will work provided the fibers have not become permanently damaged.

Dear Mary: Will I get my husband’s pension, 401(k) and IRA if he dies? Riley G., email

Dear Riley: Yes, provided your husband named you as the sole beneficiary of those plans. Most plans have a stipulation that if the beneficiary is anyone other than the spouse, the husband or wife must consent in writing.

Upon your husband’s death, the rules that applied to him for getting his pension, 401(k) and IRA will now apply to his beneficiary.

For example, if your husband dies before the minimum withdrawal date (age 59 1/2), you will have to wait until that date to withdraw funds without a penalty, regardless of your age.

Every plan has an administrator who will be able to answer all of your questions. Call his HR department at work to find out how to contact the administrator.

Dear Mary: I am a 70-year-old single male with a decent income who faced the stark reality of bankruptcy. I have spent my entire life doing everything wrong when it comes to finances. While rearing my family we lived well, but a lot of it on stupid debt. I have never saved, seldom invested wisely, gave consistently―though at times very unwisely. My poor awareness of the proper way to handle money left an old man groping for a way out. With a debt load of over $36,000 on a fixed income, I entered a CCCS debt management program. Shortly after, I saw an advertisement for your book, Debt Proof Living. I bought it and have read and re-read it. I wish that I could have been exposed to this wisdom as a young man.

To know that “money is not to spend, but to manage” has changed my life. If God allows me to live long enough I will be debt-free in 44 months. I can’t begin to express to you my gratitude. Thank you for giving me hope and God bless. Billy B., Florida

Dear Billy: You have no idea how much you have encouraged me. You affirm what I so strongly believe, that there’s always hope and a way out. I think you’ll be debt-free sooner than you think.

My only concern is what I will do with all the letters I get from 70-year-old single females who want your address.

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  • taminenator

    That is so funny. I bet I know some 70 year old single females that would appreciate the wisdom this gentleman shows in finally realizing the error of his ways…

  • Maggie

    Love your sense of humor Mary! Keep up the great work and delightful attitude! SOOOO refreshing!

  • Betty

    Good luck Billy, you are proof that we can be taught new tricks at any age if we are willing to learn!!

  • debra

    Best of Luck to you Billy! I too am on Mary’s program! And all I can say is God Bless Mary!

  • Nathalie Mayes Propes

    Dear Mary, I see that you have adopted the more informal, fairly recent usage of the past tense of “shrink” rather than use the traditional “shrank.” While I acknowledge the prevalence in common usage of the past participle in the past tense meaning, I still shiver when I see it. I attribute the popularization of this usage to the movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,”

    However, since I have shrunk many sweaters, I hope to benefit from your tip and take care of the most recent problem, when I shrank my favorite cardigan. (In today’s world, I’m never confident that my attempts at satire and humor are discernible to the general reader, so am pointing out that this is, indeed, supposed to be humor.)