John D. Spooner is an investment adviser, author and novelist. His most recent book is No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Lessons for Young Adults. Here, he responds to queries from advice seekers of all ages. Send your conundrums to email@example.com.
I love my husband; we have been married for 12 years, but there is one pet peeve about him that I can’t shake anymore. Every time the radio comes on, he sings along with every part of the music, including the instruments. I used to find this habit funny, even charming, in our younger years, but now it just seems childish. I don’t want to be a spouse who is nitpicking even the smallest things, but I think I am in the right. How do I approach this situation?
We all grow at different rates in relationships; it’s normal and natural. It’s also normal to find certain things endearing in courtship: Boys will be boys. But women are the real adults, and after a while, the cute-boy stuff can get a little old. We guys may think our routines are still cute and will stay cute forever, not understanding why you don’t love it the way you use to. Of course, this growing at different rates can cut both ways. Perhaps he is beginning to tire of something you do that used to make him smile.
The best solution is to have you both laugh at it. Laughter with a little honesty can defuse a lot of things. If that doesn’t work, take a yellow legal pad and draw a line down the middle of a page. On the left side, note everything you love about your husband. On the right, list everything you would change. If the good outweighs the bad, tell him to lose the singing… in a loving way. If the bad comes out on top, or if it’s 50-50, my crystal ball says that your marital ship is listing to port, or starboard.
Ahhh… the key phrase here is “peace of mind.” I don’t know the details of your husband’s estate, but if you find a way to give this money to the granddaughter, in my opinion, your peace of mind will be shattered.
We all get what I call the “Oh my Gods” at 3:30 in the morning, when we’re beset by our deepest fears and obsessions. Right now, these night sweats do not have you worrying about money. But if you grant the granddaughter’s wish, here are some of the thoughts that will ruin your sleep: What about demands from the other grandchildren? What about their parents putting other pressures on you? What if the $150,000 is blown and the entrepreneur comes back for more?’ (Which will happen.) I could go on and on, none of it good news.
There are too many moving parts to this situation. You can always enlist your trustee to be “Doctor No” and play the bad guy. It’s part of a good trustee’s job. Preserve your sanity and gently suggest that the granddaughter try crowdfunding.
My company is being taken over by another, bigger company. I have a good job, but I don’t run my department, so I hope I’m under the radar and my job will not be in danger. Management tells us all, “Nothing will change.” That made us all feel better. But should I be worried?
In almost every merger I’ve ever seen, management says, “Nothing will change,” as the two CEOs shake hands and smile. What they should say is “Everything will change.” Because it will. It will be a honeymoon at first, when everyone pretends to love each other. Then, I hate to tell you, the cuts will begin.
Above all, you should not panic, and you should show no weakness. But you should, starting now, work on your resume, just in case. Make sure you put something on your resume that jumps out at the viewer—serious bird watching, still playing rugby, something that separates you from the crowd. Most important, when you have the attention of a potential new employer, concentrate not on past performance, but on how you can add value to an organization now. They don’t care much about the past. They want to know “What can you do for me tomorrow?”
Every time I come home from college, the same people keep asking me about my future. “What’s your major?” and “What do you want to do after you graduate?” seem to be the only questions on anyone’s mind. The worst part is, I am certain these acquaintances do not care about my answers; they just want a chance to insert advice, which makes me incredibly frustrated. How do I give these people the answers they’re looking for with minimal engagement on my part? Better yet, how can I express my frustration without being offensive?
Have you ever seen the movie The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman? His character was just out of college and bothered by the same questions. One of his parents’ friends gave him memorable one-word advice: “Plastics.”
People are well-meaning. Many of them want to help. But they have no idea who you are.
Here’s what to say to people who are curious about you: “Honestly, every day is an adventure. For the moment, I’m exploring so many things—and I’m going to keep them, for now, my private wish list. But I will let you know when I narrow down the choices. Thanks, though; I appreciate it.”
Always be something of a mystery to others. It keeps them guessing, and you get to maintain your privacy