Jewish World Review June 19, 2000 /16 Sivan, 5760
Take the money and run!
DEAR BRUCE: I have worked for the government for almost 30 years. I am just turning 50, so I can retire at approximately half pay. I wish to take advantage of this and go on and do something else.
My husband thinks that I am crazy. I am making over $40,000 a year, and he feels that I haven't got a prayer of making that much. He may be right, but I can most certainly earn $20,000, and that would be supplemented by my pension.
Would you please give me some ammunition to help convince my husband? I really can't think of myself working here for another 10 years. -- T.M. Topeka, Kan.
DEAR T.M.: You are absolutely right. You are working for 50 cents on the dollar if you are earning $40,000 but can receive $20,000 in the form of a pension.
Furthermore, you have a right to do something different, even if it results in a little less income. Not every judgment with regard to employment can be made solely on the basis of what you can earn. There are many professionals earning less money in their professions than they could get doing something else. But they enjoy and get satisfaction from what they are doing. Would it be reasonable to tell them to quit their jobs and do something that was unpleasant to make a few more dollars a week? I think not.
Your husband, in my opinion, is being extremely unreasonable. This is your life and your career, and you should make the decisions. In my opinion, for what it's worth, taking the 50-percent pension makes a ton of sense.
DEAR BRUCE: I pride myself in paying my family's bills on time. You can imagine my shock when I got a late notice from the two credit card companies with which we deal. I explained to the fellow on the phone that I had mailed the checks in ample time and I can't understand why they didn't get them. You can imagine my chagrin when I opened my purse the other day and found that I never did mail those bills.
They are insisting on a late charge, and I feel that since I was just careless this one time, they should waive it. What are your thoughts on the matter? -- C.D., Bangor, Maine
DEAR C.D.: From the point of view of a businessman, if this was the first time that you were late, I would waive the charges because you are a good customer. However, from the legal point of view, your contract says if you didn't pay on time, then you would be charged.
Writing the checks is not enough; you do have to mail them. But in a competitive enterprise, it would seem to me that it would be good business practice to cut you a break this one time. I would point that out to them.
DEAR BRUCE: Like a lot of folks, we are living from paycheck to paycheck. Our car insurance is due every six months, on the first of August and the first of February. The company allows you 15 days leeway for paying so that if your money is in their pocket by the 15th of the month you are OK.
As luck would have it, we paid late last month and had an accident on the 17th. Our check didn't arrive until the 18th. The accident was pretty severe. When I turned the claim in, they said that there was no coverage because the money had not been paid on time. It was only a couple of days late. Who do I have to go to make the company live up to their bargain? They have been taking my money all of these years, and now I want them to cover me. -- L.T. Chattanooga, Tenn.
DEAR L.T.: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there is absolutely no reason in the world why the company should honor your claim. You didn't meet the contract stipulations. You waited until the very last minute to send your check in, figuring that nothing would happen anyway.
Well things do happen, and I certainly do sympathize with your problem. But you didn't pay on time, and therefore there was no
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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