Got issues? Well I have answers. My advice philosophy is simple:
Getting to our best self is easy if you take it one choice at a time.
Send me your burning questions about life & love – or a celeb’s – and I’ll give tips on how to do better – and be better. This week I take on saving versus paying off debt, platonic friendships with your ex and how to handle bridal party duties when you’re expecting.
QUESTION – I’m a 30 something professional that is new to the workforce. For the first time in my life I am able to save 10% of my income and still pay my bills. I do, however, have some debt. I have about $7000 in student loans and $3000 of credit card debt. I also own a home, but my mortgage payment is very manageable. I have heard that if you are in debt you should not save. Instead you should pay your debt and save later. I can handle all of my monthly payments, but I would like to know if I should stop saving and send in extra payments to decrease interest accrued over time and settle my debt.
- Save or Settle Up in DC
Dear Save or Settle Up:
Ask yourself this: If I lose my job tomorrow – or next year – how will I manage until my next opportunity? If saving 10% of your income gives you enough cushion to live comfortably for a few months then your plan works—if not you need an emergency fund before you eradicate your debt.This account should have six to eight months of living expenses, so for example if you bring home $3,000 per month and spend it all you need at least $18,000 saved. This is especially important due to the uncertainty of today’s job market. In your case it makes little sense to have zero debt but inadequate savings because you’ll end up using credit for emergencies. For many creating an emergency fund seems about as realistic as levitating, but so was having a president named Barack Obama back in 2007. All things are possible. Create a feasible monthly savings plan, have a little faith, a lot of discipline and you’ll be there before you know. If you have the uncontrollable urge to put extra payments on your debt then double up on your credit card payments because that interest rate is likely higher than your student loans. If getting out of debt is really important to you then here’s a fair compromise: save three months of your emergency fund, then focus on your debt, then work on saving the rest of your fund. That way all bases are covered.
QUESTION – I recently discovered that I’m pregnant with twins. Shortly after, my best friend got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor, which I ecstatically accepted. Now she is planning on getting married in November and I am due in September. I’ve had an extremely rough pregnancy and I’m fearful that I will not be able to fulfill my duties because either I’ll be pregnant and too sick/tired to plan events or because I will have newborn twins and they’ll take priority over every other thing going on in my life. So my question is, is it okay for me to let the rest of the bridesmaids pick up my slack (because being a part of her wedding is very important to me) or should I tell her that I don’t think I will be able to handle all of the responsibilities and relinquish the title?
–Undecided, Sheboygan, WI
Whew, I’m tired just reading about all that you have going on, but since best gal pals only get married once – hopefully – you shouldn’t miss the honor. Have a one-on-one chat with your friend about your concerns. Let her know that with so many “unknowns” you’re unable to handle the duties solo. Instead of bowing out I suggest that you allow her to select one other bridesmaid to be your co-maid of honor. The three of you should sit down and discuss all of the bride’s expectations for her experience, then you and the co-maid of honor can make long-term plans now, with contingencies on how things will proceed in your absence. Since you’re not sure what level of physical or mental participation you’ll be able to give after the summer it is important that you meticulously list details, such as what games she’ll want played at her bridal shower or where the bride’s embarrassing grade school pictures are, now so each event will have the personalized touch that only a bff can give.
QUESTION – Many years back I met a guy and we had an ongoing sexual relationship (we were never boyfriend/girlfriend) but now I consider that guy to be just a good friend. Our relationship has been strictly platonic for a couple of years and it has grown into a very valuable friendship. My current boyfriend has problems with that friendship and has been very vocal about it. Now, my question is…is it inappropriate/disrespectful to remain friends with this guy despite the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t like it? Also, how would I sever ties with a good friend that I’ve had for such a long time without hurting his feelings, and is that even necessary?
– Confused in Detroit
Most guys believe that platonic friends are using the inside track to get inside your pants. This is a lose/lose situation for you, since your boyfriend is unlikely to stomach having threesomes—I’m referring to dinners—to get to know your male bff. So the real question is this: Are you going to marry this boyfriend? Which means does HE plan on proposing, not just you planning on accepting. If yes, you have to give up your pal. If you hide it he’s going to think you’re cheating, which will lead to more drama. I suggest you really think about which relationship adds more value, where you see each relationship going and most importantly, whether there are any clues that your platonic friend is secretly shuffling through your panty drawer when you’re not looking. Your partner may see something that you’re overlooking. If you decide to ditch your male friend don’t sugar coat it. Let him know that you’re seriously pursuing a relationship and you need to put your focus into cultivating the friendship and trust between you and your partner.