Personal Finance Daily: What can I do now that I’ve had my COVID-19 vaccine and my mom put me on her house’s deed and my brother wants half

Happy Tuesday MarketWatchers. Don’t miss these top stories:

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I got my COVID-19 vaccination. Now what? Can I get on a plane, or visit my family? Do I still need to wear my mask?

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President Joe Biden has outlined a goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days, which some analysts describe as ambitious.

‘I’m tired of being the only one with moral values’: My mother put me on the deed of her home. Now my brother wants half

Before our mother passed away, she claimed the deed of the home to me, and she also added me on to all of her bank accounts. My brother was there and he said nothing.

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My sister is a single mother and thinks ‘squatter rights’ is the way to secure housing in the pandemic. What can I do?

‘She has been better with her money the last three months, but she has been very irresponsible in her spending the last few years — paying for breast implants, for example.’

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Key Words: Dr. Fauci: Double masking is ‘common sense’ to prevent COVID-19 transmission

‘It just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.’

— Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on double masking

Dr. Anthony Fauci says two masks are better than one.

“It just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Today Show this week. “That’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not issued official guidance on double masking. It did not advocate wearing face coverings until April 3 last year to help prevent the wearer from spreading coronavirus, but since then health professionals say it also helps the wearer.

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As of Tuesday, 99.9 million people worldwide had contracted COVID-19 and more than 2.1 million people had died. The U.S. had 25.3 million cases and 421,890 fatalities, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci recently said that more people will be able to get vaccines by April to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Everyone will be able to get a vaccine. So I think by the end of the summer, if we get 70% to 85% of the population vaccinated and get a good herd immunity.”

U.S. President Joe Biden last week signed a mask mandate for all federal workers and anyone on federal property. They should, the mandate said, “all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.”

Biden said, “We want to get it to 1 million vaccinations per day. The idea about having everyone for at least 100 days — at least — wear a mask. Everyone uniformly, so we don’t have disparities where some people are adhering to public-health measures, and others are not.”

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BioNTech and Pfizer said an in vitro study found that their COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes the two new highly infectious variants that have emerged in the U.K. and South Africa. The results were published on the preprint service bioRxiv and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

A vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca AZN, +0.59%  and the University of Oxford is safe and effective and showed an average efficacy of 70% in a pooled analysis of interim data, according to a recently published peer-reviewed study.

The Moneyist: My sister is a single mother and thinks ‘squatter’s rights’ is the way to secure housing in the pandemic. What can I do?

Dear Moneyist,

I am a 30-year-old woman who has built a stable and happy life for myself, after growing up in a family that was often unstable emotionally and financially. I love my family, but as I become more successful, my family needs more and more of my support.

My sister and her son moved into my father’s one-bedroom apartment in July (which is going against the lease). I was very against this living situation due to it being way too small for two adults and a rambunctious child.

My sister said she had no other options because her credit is terrible, she has little savings, and she was brought to court around an eviction (that was dismissed but she says it still hinders her). She has now been laid off for not having child care, and is collecting unemployment. My father was struggling to pay for his apartment on his own, as well.

Their relationship has now deteriorated to a level where I do not think they will be able to continue living together. My aunt is the co-signer for my father’s apartment, and says she can let my father stay in her spare bedroom if he works with her to fix his finances. My aunt has been trying to help me, as she knows I am overwhelmed mediating their arguments and finances.

The Moneyist:I want to propose to my girlfriend — but how do I divide my estate between her and my daughter from a previous marriage?

I told my sister we will need to find another place for her to live after April, and that I would cosign if she sat down with me to go over her finances. She cried and said it would be impossible to find a place being unemployed, and that no one cares about her ending up homeless.

She said she will refuse to leave the apartment if management doesn’t let her take over the lease. She believes that since she is a single mother with a child, they will not be able to evict her. I have tried to explain there could be very negative consequences on her tenant record and my aunt as a co-signer (since my sister is in the apartment illegitimately to begin with), but she says everything will be fine.

I do not want to hold my sister’s past mistakes against her, and COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on single mothers. She has been better with her money the last three months, but she has been very irresponsible in her spending the last few years (paying for breast implants, for example). She cannot stay with me, because I am serving as a head of house in one of my alma mater’s dorms, which grants me and my partner a free apartment.

How should I proceed with my sister, in regards to her “squatters rights” argument and me co-signing in the future for her? Am I being too supportive, or not supportive enough? For me, it is not about the money so much, I am glad to support my family as I make more than they do.

I feel guilty even having my own financial goals (paying down student debt, down payment for a home, travel), when they are struggling in this way. I am becoming more and more dispirited as I feel immense empathy for their legitimate struggles, frustrated by their lack of agency, and guilty for the stable life I have built for myself.


Sister Struggles

Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

Dear Sister,

I will answer your letter in two parts.

Firstly, your sister. The hard, bitter truth is you can only help people who want to be helped. Your sister appears to want what she wants when she wants it. She wants to be accommodated by you, her father, and her landlord. The world owes her a favor, and she is going to call in that favor again and again. For her to exclaim that no one cares if she ends up homeless when you are actually trying to help put a roof over her head suggests that she is using the same manipulations that may or may not have worked in the past.

If she walks close enough to the edge, one of her family members will pull her back and bail her out. Perhaps it’s a test of your love for her, or maybe it’s because she has and will continue to put herself first. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on single mothers, but I don’t think your sister can blame the pandemic for her current plight. It sounds as if she has been making questionable decisions before the pandemic and, unless she has some kind of white-light moment, she will continue to make them afterwards.

If you are putting your credit rating and money on the line, she should meet you more than half way. As it is, she seems unwilling to play by the rules, and see how her actions impact those around her: people who care about her, and the landlord of this property, who is likely to be struggling too. Nothing appears to be her fault. Even the reason she lost her job does not lie at her doorstep. In order to change, people have to take accountability for their own actions, and they have to be willing to change. Based on your letter, your sister shows no signs of either.

The Moneyist:We were friendly with our neighbors for decades, until recently. One day, they introduced us to their financial adviser…

Now, to you. The guiltier you feel for the life that you have earned for yourself, the more those around you will be able to turn their problems into your problems. Given your father and sister’s unsuccessful and dysfunctional cohabiting arrangement, your family system may be based on a series of co-dependent relationships, where chaotic personalities and family discord are a familiar space. Sometimes, we are attracted to situations that feel familiar to us. Although it may feel wrong and uncomfortable, we have been conditioned to return there again and again.

You are not responsible for your sister. She is responsible for herself. It may be hard to watch her make bad life decisions, especially when she has a child, but you have worked hard for the life that you have, and you have every right to enjoy it. You are not beholden to your family for a lifetime of debt that will be paid time and again with your peace of mind and happiness. Whatever your sister’s problems are related to borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, or substance abuse, and/or a sense that she is always done wrong, that’s her gig.

Your father moved out. There is no reason you should be left holding your sister and her baby. Try this: You didn’t create her problems, you are not responsible for them, and you can’t cure them. (I am not the first person to say that. It is a popular mantra for people who are trying to disconnect from co-dependent relationships.) Your father is your father, but he is also just another human being in the world doing the best he can with the life skills that were given to him. The same is true for your sister. You have a right to live your life, free from her drama.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook FB, +1.28%  group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas.

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch.