Pay Dirt is Slate’s money advice column, where readers can submit their questions anonymously for advice. In the first letter, the reader explains that they were unable to attend their half-sister’s destination wedding due to a surgery. To make up for it, they paid for two friends of the half-sister to attend in their place. Now, their stepsister is insisting that they pay for her honeymoon as well. The reader is seeking advice on how to handle the situation.
The columnist responds by explaining that no one is obligated to pay for anyone else’s wedding or honeymoon. It’s a nice gesture to help out, but it should be seen as a gift, not a requirement. The writer suggests being direct with the stepsister and explaining that while they will be giving her a gift, they are not obligated to pay for her honeymoon. If the stepsister throws a tantrum or complains to the parents, it’s not the reader’s problem. Ultimately, the reader should take the high road and not engage any further.
In the second letter, the reader is a 20-year-old who recently moved in with their father and stepmother. The stepmother is very conservative and chooses unflattering clothes for their 14-year-old stepsister and forbids her from wearing makeup. As a result, the stepsister has been stealing and ruining the reader’s clothes, jewelry, and makeup. The stepsister argues that it’s unfair that the reader gets to wear what they want. The reader seeks advice on how to handle the situation.
The columnist acknowledges that the reader cannot physically harm their stepsister, but they also note that the stepmother’s approach is unreasonable. The writer suggests using the lock on the reader’s room and keeping their belongings secure. They also recommend saving up to move out, as the environment may not improve. The reader’s father should be involved in the conversation with the stepmother about the unreasonable expectations and blaming of the reader. Ultimately, it’s not the reader’s job to adopt the stepmother’s conservative choices or help her exert control over her daughter.
In the third letter, the reader left their job due to burnout caused by a heavy workload and lack of support from management. Despite the negative experience, some managers want to maintain a friendly relationship and invite the reader for social outings. The reader is unsure if they should compartmentalize their resentment and how to navigate the situation.
The columnist states that the reader is not expected to be friends with their former managers. They acknowledge that the managers had a role in the negative workplace environment and that the reader doesn’t owe them anything. The writer advises letting go of resentment and moving on. If the social outings won’t be enjoyable due to lingering resentment, it’s okay to decline. If the reader feels the need to maintain a relationship, they can opt for more professional-oriented meetings instead.
In conclusion, Pay Dirt provides practical and straightforward advice for readers seeking guidance on various personal finance and relationship issues. The column aims to help readers navigate challenging situations and make informed decisions.