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Advice Roulette

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

telephone graffiti (ti.mo/flickr)

Another installment of our occasional feature - radio advice roulette! Listeners, ask your fellow listeners for advice live on the radio. Here's how it works: If you need advice on anything, anything at all, call 212-433-9692 and we'll pair you with a fellow WNYC listener. The catch? Before you get to ask for advice from someone, you have to give advice to another caller.

Some of the topics we covered today -- add your advice in the comments!

  • Signing up for the best plan under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Asking for the ring back after an engagement falls through.
  • Places to escape to once the whether is warm - in NYC and day-trips.
  • Whether a singer should pause her career to go get certified, or just keep working.

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Comments [40]

Phillip from NY

About the ring. You are entitled to the ring being returned. An engagement ring is a gift given in contemplation of marriage. If the engagement is broken off, the gift in not completed. It is legally your ring. Good luck.

Mar. 19 2014 01:43 PM
Diane Had Teens from Brooklyn

Regarding the cell phone for a 12 year old.
Your adviser's suggestion to get her a plan that does not include data (no internet access) is perfect. She can still call, text, and take pictures and text them. You may have to pay a surcharge if she texts a lot, but not as much as you would with a data plan, although, for us the cost wasn't the major factor. She may give a million reasons why she needs to be able to access the internet while out and about, but there isn't one that makes the distraction, time wasting, and risk, worth it.
I also love his suggestion about time limits. The phone in the basket during whatever times you decide is great, whether it's during homework, family time (at least if people are eating together), and then a night time end time.
The other consideration is her school's rules about cell phones. That's a sticky one, if they don't allow, because after school is a crucial time to be in touch.
The upside: its fun texting with your kids, and they're more likely to keep you informed with a quick text. My kids are now all in their 20's and they still send quick info, some hilarious texts, and photos.

Mar. 19 2014 12:59 PM
ReeRee from Hastings

For the singer looking to get her teacher certification:

Ask other music teachers first. At this moment a teaching certificate in art or Music, not a breeze nor necessarily cheep to pursue, is not a great fall back position or plan "B"
NYC public schools really are not hiring full time art teachers and to get a job you may feel like your original vocation of singer was easier! I have met music teachers who are navigating a field of ever shrinking hours and opportunities.

After getting my K-12 state certification in Art, I have seriously wondered whether it would have been better to focus my career efforts on working as a non-certified teaching artist at a museum or built up a private practice giving lessons after school (Both which I had done, but felt I would up my game and get certified and I enjoyed working with underserved kids)

A true fall back would be ESL or special ed certification. Both services are mandated so there will always be jobs. Or you could build a private practice as it looks like NY will always be full of rich kids willing to pay for lessons.

That being said, I learned a lot getting certified and I don't regret it. But don't believe the President or Governor when they say the arts are important (or class size and hiring more teachers!) Verdict is still out on our new Mayor.

Mar. 19 2014 12:25 PM
Al from Eastchester

Pull off your pants and roll in your mistakes, forget the ring, I'd rather be lucky than good any day! Consider yourself lucky.

Mar. 19 2014 12:19 PM
Catherine Clare from Brooklyn NY

Your Ex Fiance should know that it is her responsibility to return the ring simply because it is the right thing to do. The ring symbolizes Love, Commitment, and Eternity; Not a fashion statement. The fact that she has not returned it already says a lot about her personality.

Mar. 19 2014 12:15 PM
Max from Northern NJ

Rhona, I think Disney also offers parent-controlled phones for kids.

Knowing it is the controlled phone or nothing, our tween has been very happy with the arrangement.

Mar. 19 2014 12:15 PM
Marilyn from Westchester

Regarding healthcare - our library has a 'navigator' to help patrons choose the right plan. See if your library has one or can refer you. As for the ring question, an engagement is a commitment. If the recipient breaks it off, she (or he) should return the ring. If the giver breaks it off, I think the recipient is entitled to keep it. Looking for a great summer getaway? Can't beat the Adirondacks, especially Lake Placid. Great hiking, water sports, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs. You'll love it.

Mar. 19 2014 12:15 PM

I agree with most of the below! An engagement ring is no ordinary gift. She should have given it back without you asking but I get that it can be awkward and maybe she's waiting until she feels she can speak with you. Either way, you should certainly get it back.

Mar. 19 2014 12:12 PM
Kerith from Brooklyn Heights

On the cell phone - I have recently had experience with this.
a) Assuming yours is a city kid, smart phones, especially iPhones are dangerous because if a kid takes it out on the street (or an adult) they become a target for a robbery. So the child needs to understand this and not take it out or walk around with it and be distracted by it while walking on the streets of the city.
b) a stupid phone is so un-user friendly. I recently had to borrow my daughter's old-fashioned phone when my iphone battery died and just sending a text was so difficult I decided to give her my old iphone and get myself a new one.
c) My daughter lost the old iphone the second day she took it to school. But know that replacing a lost phone is very expensive even if you buy a dumb phone. They may be "free" but when the kid loses it and you are under contract you are on the hook for possibly hundreds of dollars.
d) if you have control over your kids and they follow rules I wouldn't worry too much about the phone, they'll follow those rules with the phone too. If the kid is a rule breaker then by all means, put all the limits on it that you can.

Mar. 19 2014 12:10 PM
Max from Northern NJ

Rhona, I think Disney also offers parent-controlled phones.

Mar. 19 2014 12:10 PM
Fariha from NY

To the gentleman who broke up the engagement, he should definitely and politely ask for the ring back. Regardless of whether the break up was mutual or not, he chose that ring for someone special and unfortunately that ex-fiance was not the one. Get the ring back, if it reminds you of your time with your ex-fiance then I would strongly advice to sell that ring and save that money for next time:)

Mar. 19 2014 12:10 PM
Naomi from Brooklyn

Two thoughts: (1)For the friend of the couple incl. "obviously gay guy": your gaydar isn't perfect - signaling can vary from generation to generation, with cultural backgrounds, etc. You're also assuming all sexuality is either/or. Bottom line: you have no idea what's going on with that couple. Seems to me a true friend is there for both of them if they need to talk and process whatever they might be going through, but no, no pulling people aside - that would be presumptuous, condescending, and most likely, off-base. (2)For the guy looking into getting health insurance: I found the whole thing overwhelming and actually got some bad advice back in December when I first started looking into this, inspiring all sorts of agita. In the end I went to a group presentation by an official "navigator" and then followed up with a free one-on-one appt. with a different navigator (you can find your nearest navigator on-line. It remains to be seen how it will all play out, but with the help of someone who knows this system as well as anyone at this point I was better able to weigh my options, prioritize my concerns, and choose a plan that (I think) will work for me. Hot tip: as the navigator explained to me, silver plans are a little bit more per month than bronze, but if those happen to be the two levels you're considering, go with the silver - you get a LOT more for your money.

Mar. 19 2014 12:09 PM
Rita from Brian Lehrer

To Mike re. engagement ring, Judge Judy says she should return the ring because contract was not fulfilled. I agree too.

Mar. 19 2014 12:08 PM
Max from Northern NJ

Rhona(?),

We got our tween a phone through Kajeet (kajeet.com). Parents have a password-protected control panel that allows time, number, data, and GPS control of the phone, anytime, anywhere.

For a bit extra, you can also keep a month-long record (using GPS) of everywhere the phone has been. We were able to gradually increase privileges knowing that, with the click of a button, the phone could be completely disabled, except for calls to and from us, of course.

Disclaimer: Our only connection with Kajeet or Sprint (the provider they use) has been as a customer.

Mar. 19 2014 12:06 PM
Shar

If the engagement ring was a family ring I could see asking for it back. If it wasn't you might just have to let it go. Depending on how the relationship ended you might have a hard time getting it back anyway. Personally I think she should have just given it back herself but if she hasn't she might not be willing to give it up.

Mar. 19 2014 12:05 PM
JosephBell from Downtown

For the advisor who said that she switched from the "Empire Plan"(not to be confused with Empire Blue Cross) to a ACA exchange policy:

Be very careful, the "Empire Plan" is a large employer group plan covering NY state and NY state affiliated employees. Generally speaking it offers advantages over any individual policy available at reasonable cost. The ACA really has very little impact on persons covered under large employer group plans. Most people on a large employer group plan should stick to what they have.

I say this as a licensed Health Insurance Agent who believes in the goals of the ACA.

Mar. 19 2014 12:05 PM
Naomi from Brooklyn

Two thoughts:

-- For the friend of the couple incl. "obviously gay guy": your gaydar isn't perfect - signaling can vary from generation to generation, with cultural backgrounds, etc. You're also assuming all sexuality is either/or. Bottom line: you have no idea what's going on with that couple. Seems to me a true friend is there for both of them if they need to talk and process whatever they might be going through, but no, no pulling people aside - that would be presumptuous, condescending, and most likely, off-base.

-- For the guy looking into getting health insurance: I found the whole thing overwhelming and actually got some bad advice back in December when I first started looking into this, inspiring all sorts of agita. In the end I went to a group presentation by an official "navigator" and then followed up with a free one-on-one appt. with a different navigator (you can find your nearest navigator on-line. It remains to be seen how it will all play out, but with the help of someone who knows this system as well as anyone at this point I was better able to weigh my options, prioritize my concerns, and choose a plan that (I think) will work for me. Hot tip: as the navigator explained to me, silver plans are a little bit more per month than bronze, but if those happen to be the two levels you're considering, go with the silver - you get a LOT more for your money.

Mar. 19 2014 12:04 PM
Kate from Hamilton Heights

ENGAGEMENT RING: I think the traditional idea is that it is a gift, and the man takes the risk. However, I don't think that that traditional idea is as valid these days. I also think that because men and women have much closer-to-equal earning power these days, there is no economic reason for a man to be sacrificing so much more financially than the woman. I think you should ask her for the ring back in the nicest way you can, giving extreme consideration to her (because if she's angry, she won't want to do it). Maybe you could think about something you could do for her that she would want -- not so much as a tit for tat, but as an expression to her that you know she had the power to say no to your request. If she refuses to give it back, then consider that the price of the ring was worth not living your life with a person like that!

Mar. 19 2014 12:04 PM
david from NJ

About the engagement ring ask for it back there is no other way the sooner the better.

Mar. 19 2014 12:03 PM
Kate from Hamilton Heights

ENGAGEMENT RING: I think the traditional idea is that it is a gift, and the man takes the risk. However, I don't think that that traditional idea is as valid these days. I also think that because men and women have much closer-to-equal earning power these days, there is no economic reason for a man to be sacrificing so much more financially than the woman. I think you should ask her for the ring back in the nicest way you can, giving extreme consideration to her (because if she's angry, she won't want to do it). Maybe you could think about something you could do for her that she would want -- not so much as a tit for tat, but as an expression to her that you know she had the power to say no to your request. If she refuses to give it back, then consider that the price of the ring was worth not living your life with a person like that!

Mar. 19 2014 12:03 PM
Max from 230 Bogart St.

Two thoughts: 1. For the man who has recently broken up with his fiance: the conclusion in our studio is that if the man breaks up with the woman she keeps the ring, if she breaks up with him he can ask for it back. This is apparently Tradition...tradition! 2. For the man who was curious about talking to his co-workers regarding their marriage since he thinks the man may be gay. First, it might be a companionate marriage, and you might not know all the details of what they're looking for in their relationship. BUT, if you feel that the girl is really naive and may not be aware of what she's getting herself into, I'd say something. I was in the exact same situation with a close friend a few years ago (who is still happily married to the guy in question, by the way!) and I wrote her a letter. In the letter I said that when we (meaning our circle of friends) first met her guy we thought he might be gay, but we can see that he makes her really happy and that the most important thing to us was that she was happy. I also said that if she ever needed to talk or if he ever made her unhappy we would always have her back, no matter what. I have to note that we're really not as close any more, and it was definitely a blow to our friendship - but if I had been in her position I would want to hear some authenticity from the people that care about me. That's what we think here at Happenstance Jewelry studio! Come visit some day Brian Lehrer Show listeners - www.happenstancejewelrystudio.com

Mar. 19 2014 12:02 PM
Art from Mountainside NJ

Regarding Adam and the engagement ring; the ring should be returned if his fiancé broke the engagement. If he broke the engagement the ring should be the price.

Mar. 19 2014 12:02 PM
Sherry from Manhattan

Engagement rings are more complicated than you think. Traditionally the woman should return the ring if the engagement is broken. It's part of an unfulfilled contract. However--in New York State, if the ring was given on a holiday like Valentine's Day or Christmas, it's considered an unconditional gift--and the woman gets to keep it. But in any case if I were you, I would ask nicely for the ring.

Mar. 19 2014 12:02 PM
pm from nyc

If the woman has not returned the ring herself, at least you know you made the right decision in not marrying her.

Mar. 19 2014 12:01 PM
Mike from Upper West Side

Absolutely ask for the ring back if she broke it off. If you broke it off, it depends on why.

Mar. 19 2014 12:00 PM
Julie Fristensky from Mountainside, NJ

Re: engagement ring
If she initiated the break-up, you should be able to ask for the ring, and she should return it.
If you initiated the break-up; or behaved in a way which caused the break-up; you should not ask for the ring.
If mutual break-up with no hard feelings and no cause for anger, you should be able to ask for the ring and she should return it.

Mar. 19 2014 12:00 PM
Lauren from Bed-Stuy

@ Recently Unengaged: Leave the ring. You gave it in good faith. Honor the affection and love and respect that inspired the proposal by transforming what was a symbol into a gift. Let it be the first act of turning the corner to the next adventure.

Mar. 19 2014 12:00 PM

Judge Judy says you always get the ring back.
And why would she want to keep it. Tacky!!

Mar. 19 2014 12:00 PM
Matt from New York, NY

To the guy with the engagement ring: definitely ask for it back. It was a "gift given in consideration of marriage," meaning that it doesn't become hers until she goes through with the wedding. You spent a lot of money on that, I'm sure, and need to get your "investment" back!

Mar. 19 2014 11:59 AM
Steve from Upper West Side - Manhattan

Broken engagement? Ask for the ring back? A mine-field. Much wiser to do what Solomon might have suggested -- since both parties will likely feel wronged and hurt, and since she probably won't wear the ring, ask her for the ring back in order to sell the ring and split the proceeds... It takes two to tango....

Mar. 19 2014 11:59 AM
Barb

On the 12-year-old getting her first mobile phone: Several security software vendors have parental control software that you can put on a smartphone -- Android or iPhone -- to limit what a child can access using that phone. Do a Google search on "parental controls Android" or "parental controls iPhone" and you should find something to use.

Mar. 19 2014 11:59 AM
Busayo

Agree with Yente, this is non of your business Fritz, I really wouldn't say anything.

Adam- I do think you should ask for the ring back. The engagement ring is not just a gift, it has a purpose and since you are not getting married I do think you should ask for it back. However, there is a lot of case law on this, she might not have to give it back. So I would also say look into what new york state law says about this.

Mar. 19 2014 11:59 AM

Things to do this Spring/Summer... without a car from NYC.

https://vimeo.com/album/2369730/video/45448560

Mar. 19 2014 11:59 AM
Billy from Brooklyn

About the engagement ring. The matter of etiquette is at one's discretion. New York state is one of the states in the USA that has a law which requires the engagement ring to be returned to its giver.

Mar. 19 2014 11:58 AM
Jason from Brooklyn

Im a woman, Im married. I think that if the engagement period did not work out, you should be able to ask for the ring back. Especially if it belonged to a family member prior. Not the same in case of divorce however.

Mar. 19 2014 11:58 AM
Ada from Queens

The engagement ring is a conditional gift - if you are not getting married, it should be returned. It can be a very awkward discussion but its's the right thing to do. And if she doesn't, the law is on your side. Although no one likes thinking going down that route... best of luck!

Mar. 19 2014 11:57 AM
Kelly Woodard Parker

Regarding the engagement ring... who broke the engagement? Should that play into the equation?

I had this happen to me and he asked for it back. He broke the engagement and I do not think he should have asked for it back. But maybe i'm just bitter! :)

Mar. 19 2014 11:57 AM
Jf from Reality

Obamacare is not socialized medicine it is forced extortion, pol tax for being alive, organized crime. Medical gouging is from insurance companies

Mar. 19 2014 11:57 AM
Serge from Upstate Manhattan

YES - Get that ring back. She should have given it back herself! That's tacky on her part.

Mar. 19 2014 11:57 AM
Yente from Westchester

Hey, couple's therapist: NO. Bad advice. BUD OUT. Did anyone ask the caller, Fritz, for his advice?

Mar. 19 2014 11:50 AM

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