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DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t want to live with my boyfriend yet. We’ve been together for a year, and he’s been asking me over and over again when we can start looking at places together. I’ve never had the chance to live on my own, and I’m very excited about being able to do it in the near future. I don’t want to live with anyone. He feels that if we don’t live together, we aren’t progressing in our relationship. What should I do? — Ready To Live Alone
DEAR READY TO LIVE ALONE: Here’s where my old-school self steps in. You should not feel pressured by your boyfriend to live together. It is smart for you to live by yourself, establish your own life and get to know who you are as an independent person — independent of your parents and your boyfriend. That doesn’t mean that you choose to look outside your relationship — not at all. It means that you fully embody yourself as a young, independent person.
This can be hard for a partner to accept, especially if he is eager to take your relationship to a deeper level. But living together is not the same as getting married. Have you had that conversation? Even then, I recommend waiting and establishing yourself independently first. What you two can do now is talk about the long term. What do you want for your future? What do you imagine your future to be with each other? What goals can you set that will get you there? This is important for both of you, but especially for him right now so that he doesn’t feel you are abandoning him.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 30 years old, and I’ve never successfully saved any money long-term. I’ve tried time and time again to keep money in my savings account, but I always end up using it for unforeseen expenses. I don’t make a lot of money to start with, but I have friends who have somehow saved a lot of money. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. How can I successfully build my savings account? — No Savings
DEAR NO SAVINGS: The good news is that you are realizing this when you are only 30. Sadly, I have talked to many people who are at retirement age who are crying the same song and are worried sick because they see that they may never be able to retire. You have plenty of time to get your finances in order if you start now.
One of the simplest things you can do is to have money deposited from your paycheck into an account before you even get it. Instead of putting it in an easily accessible savings account, choose a different financial instrument like a Roth IRA. Talk to a financial adviser at your bank or credit union and get advice on the best ways to start saving today. For more ideas on savings, go to: americasaves.org/resource-center/insights/54-ways-to-save-money.