I’m a senior in high school and I have a part-time job. One of my friends always seems to be down on his luck and never seems to be able to pay for anything when we go out on social gatherings together or in a larger group.
He always seems to be scheming new ideas to try to make money, but none of them have ever worked for any length of time. I tell him to get a part-time job like the one I have, but he never seems interested in getting a consistent paycheck. He always thinks he can find a shortcut to easy money.
Lately, he has been very excited about the Powerball lottery. He told a group of our friends and me that he has figured out a system for picking the correct numbers in the future. Apparently, he has studied all of the previous winning numbers and he feels there is some recognizable pattern in terms of which numbers appear the most often.
He says if we play these special numbers in various combinations that it won’t be too long until we all hit some big winning lotto tickets together. He wants everybody to put $10 in and he will put in his “sweat equity” of figuring out the numbers as his stake. He then proposes that we all share the winnings equally.
Could he really be onto something here with his “system”? If he is, I definitely don’t want to miss out, but if he’s just blowing hot air at us, then I think we should all just save our money.
— One of His Friends, via email
Dear One of His Friends: There is absolutely no “system” for winning the lottery! By its very nature and intent, the lottery is set up intentionally to be random and unpredictable.
Your friend sees himself as a clever hustler who is aiming to get all of you to put up the money so that he can pick a few numbers and get a free ride on the tickets just in case one might ever pay off.
His history should be the red flag that indicates to you that he is off on another one of his tangents, this time associated with the lottery. A friend who constantly schemes instead of doing an honest shift of work to earn money is best avoided when it comes to matters of finance. Instead, encourage him to be responsible financially. And getting him to pay his fair share at group outings would be a wise start on your part.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m a high school student and I work part time at a restaurant. Recently, one of my co-workers quit suddenly. Now my manager is making me work more hours because she’s gone. Can he legally do this? I have family, school and homework responsibilities besides this job.
I only asked for 12 hours of work per week, but now they seem to be trying to force me to double that commitment. Is this right? I don’t like confrontation, but I don’t want to lose this job either. What can I do about this?
— Part-time Employee, via email
Dear Part-time Employee: No, you can’t be forced! You agreed to 12 hours per week, and you have kept your agreement with your company. The fact that one of your co-workers quit the job should not impact you. It is their responsibility to manage their staffing needs accordingly.
One thing you could do that may help ease the pressure a bit is to tell your manager that you can remain committed to your 12 hours per week and that you will notify them if you can add any future hours occasionally, here and there. But be firm in explaining that you can’t simply double your weekly hours on a regular basis right now given the structure and priorities in your life. They would be wise to keep you happy, as they would be missing even more hours if you left as well.