Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Boyfriend Won't Make Much Money in New Job

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend (of six years) and I have been living together for three years. He is great, and I love living with him. He works at a suit store as the manager, and he enjoys what he does. However, recently he has been talking to one of his buddies about joining his startup tech company. When my boyfriend talks about this company, you can see his face light up with excitement, and I can tell this is the type of thing he is interested in.

I want to be there for him if he decides to join this startup, but at the same time, there is a voice in the back of my head saying, “I’m going to have to work double.” Our income used to be about equal and we split everything, but if he joins this tech startup, his income will be significantly lower.

Should my boyfriend and I be discussing this type of thing before he accepts the offer, or will it seem like I am discouraging him from following his dream? -- Half-Income Couple, New Orleans

DEAR HALF-INCOME COUPLE: The two of you should sit down and map out a strategy. Life always presents risks and options. You must figure out together if this option is worth the risk. Figure out how much money your boyfriend and you have saved and if you have enough to serve as a cushion while he is working to build the new business. Research the particular field that this company is in to learn how viable other companies like it have been.

Evaluate your own job, and determine whether you could upgrade based on time spent there or if you were to entertain a move to another company. Exhaust all possibilities in your discussion and research so that ultimately you make an informed decision that you both stand by.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Work & School | Money

Recent Grad Must Chose Between Job and Living at Home

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 24-year-old guy who graduated college a couple of years ago. I have a job in Philadelphia, but I am still living with my parents at home. I am so tired of commuting an hour by train every day into work. I need to decide whether I want to continue to commute to a job and company I love working for, or look for a job closer to home. If I choose to get a job outside of Philly, it might not be a better job, but it will save me the commute time and money. I’m not sure which option is better -- paying money to commute every day to a great job, or going through the process of finding another job that might not be so great, but will shorten my daily commute. -- Commuter Boy, Philadelphia

DEAR COMMUTER BOY: I have to ask you the obvious question: Why can’t you find another place to live? You are a grown man. You can look for housing with a roommate to keep the costs down. It shouldn’t be hard to find housing closer to your job. You can still visit your parents, but you do not have to live with them.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Work & School | Money