Workers seeking pay raises must be realistic

    DEAR BRUCE: I run a small secondary school. I also run my household, pay all of my kid's bills and pay for my car's lease out of what I net from the school. I have to pay rent on the building, utility bills and the staff's salaries. In the current economic crisis, the staff keeps demanding raises, whereas I have to struggle to keep things going. How can I overcome the present crisis so that I have my piece of mind back? — N.P., via e-mail

    DEAR N.P.: Unfortuna-tely, your situation is not unique. You have an income, which is tenuous, and if you raise the tuition for your students, you may lose them. The staff insists that their expenses are higher. Unhappily, you have to sit down with your staff and tell them there are two things that are going to happen.

    You cannot afford to give any raises in the foreseeable future, so, if that's not acceptable and they want to look elsewhere, you're sorry but things are tough right now.

    If you do give them a raise, they will be leaving anyway because you will be forced to close the school. These is a reality that many employees simply don't grasp in today's workplace.

    DEAR BRUCE: I would like to know if there is a type of life insurance policy that would give my wife an income for the remainder of her life if I die first.

    The spousal coverage offered by my employer seems expensive. I am 61 and she is 58. Term insurance is possible, but is there a policy that would give her an income for her life with no residual value? — George, via e-mail

    DEAR GEORGE: You should check with several insurance agents. I am sure you can find a policy that will lump together what you are trying to accomplish. A term policy for a fixed amount could be converted to a single premium annuity, which will provide income for the rest of her life.

    Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to:

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