DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Rita," and I have been together almost two years, and living together for about a year. We have decided to marry, but have not yet set a date.
Recently our marriage plans have run aground because I told her that I had made changes in my estate planning. I assigned Rita as my 100 percent beneficiary for my savings/retirement benefits. She will also get 75 percent of my state retirement benefits; my sister will get the other 25 percent. In addition, I also had my $100,000 life insurance policy increased to $300,000. I allocated one-third of that for her, the rest to my parents. (Until recently, she had not been assigned a percentage of anything.)
Rita is very upset that I did not make her my sole beneficiary. She says that "traditionally," a spouse leaves everything to the other spouse. She says that by assigning her less than 100 percent, I have not made her the No. 1 priority in my life. Based on your knowledge and experience, is her request reasonable, or am I headed for disaster? -- GETTING WORRIED IN RANCHO MURRIETA, CALIF.
DEAR GETTING WORRIED: Let me put it this way. You should not be faulted for wanting to make sure that your parents and your sister are taken care of if anything should happen to you. It appears your girlfriend has a calculator where her heart ought to be. If I were you, I'd run for the hills.
DEAR ABBY: A close friend of mine -- my college roommate -- is being married in three months. Because we are close, he asked me to be one of his groomsmen.
The problem is, I do not approve of the woman he is marrying. She's controlling, talks down to him, and degrades him in front of family and friends. I think she is just plain cold-hearted. She is the same way with friends and family. He makes excuses for her behavior, so I know he sees it as well.
Should I still stand up in his wedding, even though I don't think they should be married? If I don't, it is sure to put extreme stress on our friendship. I have tried to talk to him, but he doesn't seem to hear me. Help! -- RED FLAGS IN OHIO
DEAR RED FLAGS: It takes character to take a stand and do what is right. Being a member of the wedding party implies that you endorse the marriage. Because you cannot do that, you need to level with your friend, and explain that because you care so much for him and his future, you cannot be in his wedding. Do it soon, so you can be replaced without a hassle.
DEAR ABBY: When taking advantage of a restaurant's offer of "buy one meal, get one free," what is the proper way to calculate the tip? Should a percentage be calculated on the price of the first meal only, for which the diners are actually billed, or for the value of the two meals combined? Also, what is the current tip percentage for adequate service? (A free dinner is riding on your answer!) -- STUCK FOR THE TIP
DEAR STUCK: The current tip percentage for "adequate" service in a restaurant is 15 percent. And, when taking advantage of the "buy one, get one free" offer, you should calculate the tip as though you had actually paid for the two meals. (It's called not stiffing the server.)
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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