What fresh shenanigans and money dilemmas enthralled readers in 2022?
Another year of broken promises, dodgy dealings and moving letters about how to get back on one’s feet after divorce, unemployment and even a 15-year abusive relationship.
The most widely-read Moneyist of 2022, however, was actually one of the shortest letters from someone called ‘Surprised Sister.” The answer, as is often the case, was not so simple, nor so short.
Here is the No. 1 Moneyist column of the year: ‘We are surprised and bewildered’: My brother passed away and left his house, cash and possessions to charity. Can his siblings contest his will?
My response: There are times to contest a will: a parent who was being controlled by a new friend or greedy child, and/or someone who was forced to change their will when they were not of sound mind.
But her own legal advice notwithstanding, I suggested she should accept your brother’s wishes. Feeling aggrieved that she did not inherit his estate is not enough to break his will.
Separate the emotions from the finance, and the answer often reveals itself. But there were others that ran the gamut from romance to stocks. They other most-read columns are an eclectic bunch:
Here are the 5 runner-ups:
- I had a date with a great guy. I didn’t drink, but his wine added $36 to our bill. We split the check evenly. Should I have spoken up?
It would be nice to offer to take the booze off the check, you were a non-drinker, would you speak up at one drink or two or three, if your date split the entire bill 50/50?
The financial intricacies of dating are like an onion that can be peeled ad infinitum. We’ve had plenty to chew over. Paying for one of your date’s drinks is OK, paying for two is pushing it.
- My father offered his 3 kids equal monetary gifts. My siblings took cash. I took stock. It’s soared in value — now they’re crying foul
“The Other Brother” wrote that his father offered three children a choice: stocks or cash. The other two siblings took the cash. He took the cash. The stock soared. Dems are the breaks.
Her siblings could have chosen stocks over cash, but they wanted immediate gratification. That was their decision, and they are going to have to take ownership of their choice and live with it.
- I’m an unmarried stay-at-home mother in a 20-year relationship, but my boyfriend won’t put my name on the deed of our house. Am I unreasonable?
They have been in a 20-year relationship and have a 10-year-old child. “Not on the Deed” said she and her partner have had several tense “discussions” about adding me to the deed.
I told her that her contribution to your partnership is valuable, her sense of worth is valuable, and her role as a homemaker and a mother is also valuable. Yes, he should add her.
- My friend got us free theater tickets. When I got home, she texted me, ‘Can you get our next meal or activity?’ Am I obliged to treat her?
Even amidst the fights over inheritances, some breaches of social and financial etiquette seem so bizarre some people might think, ‘That behavior is too outrageous to be believable.”
The letter writer received free theater tickets, they split the bill 50/50 even though her friend had a cocktail, and she paid $10 for parking. Is he obliged to take her out again? No-can-do.
- My date chose an exclusive L.A. restaurant. After dinner, he accepted my credit card — and we split a $600 bill. Shouldn’t he have paid?
Another dating story, this time where the guy chose a fancy restaurant and, as the date wore on, things took a turn for the worst, at least in the letter writer’s eyes: She was asked to split the bill.
What if they didn’t get along? What if he was an abortion-rights supporter and she was anti-abortion? What if he was a Republican and she was a Democrat? Or vice-versa? Always be prepared to pay.
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More from Quentin Fottrell:
‘I’m left with a $100 Bûche de Noël for 10 people — and no place to go’: My friends canceled Christmas dinner. Should I end the 30-year friendship?
I met my wife in 2019 and we married in 2020. I put her name on the deed of my $998,000 California home. Now I want a divorce. What can I do?
I want to meet someone rich. Is that so wrong?’ I’m 46, earn $210,000, and own a $700,000 home. I’m tired of dating ‘losers.’