These 7 Reads Are Like Taking an Exotic Vacation Without Leaving Your Bed
It happens to the best of us — Bali dreams with a Myrtle Beach budget. While the ideal vacation length is eight days, sometimes all our PTO is spent on co-workers’ weddings, sister’s graduations and friends’ destination bachelorette parties. So, sadly, some of us won’t make it to the top travel destinations of the year IRL, but thanks to these seven new books set in exotic locations, you can go on an adventure no matter where you are. Buckle up.
1. All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank ($27): As a southern husband and his New York socialite wife prepare to move from the big city to South Carolina, where he’s originally from, even the promise of southern charm and a slower pace of life doesn’t make things easy. Their first summer back is full of new discoveries, leaps of faith and strengthened connections. Frank’s writing is vivid, thoughtful and memorable, so you’ll feel like you’re a part of the dynamic cast of characters yourself.
2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi ($27): Homegoing follows the journeys of two sisters born in 18th-century Ghana. The first sister is married to an Englishman and lives in a castle on the Gold Coast. The second sister, in drastic contrast, is sold into slavery and shipped off to America. The book follows each sister’s life as she grows up. What becomes of each of them is surprising, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring. You may want tissues nearby for this one.
3. The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone ($11): Maddie O’Neill’s grandmother has quite the unconventional bucket list. The terminally ill matriarch has decided to take her entire family on a “death with dignity” cruise around the world. Seventeen-year-old Maddie gets thrust into a summer filled with adventure, love, excitement, loss and heartbreak that will shape her entire future.
4. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel ($27): From the author of the award-winning book Life of Pi comes an epic ghost story-meets-contemporary fable set in 1904 Lisbon, Portugal. There, Tomás finds an old journal with clues in it to an ancient artifact that, if found, could rewrite history. It’s an adventure tale told from three separate perspectives, over the course of three decades, and spans the entire country of Portugal. Critics are already praising The High Mountains of Portugal for being just as ambitious and rich as Life of Pi, so this is definitely a must-read.
5. Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov ($26): A young American student returns to Bulgaria, his birthplace, to track down his grandfather — a man who cut off all communication with his family three years prior. The student’s travels take him to the border of Turkey and Bulgaria, high in the Strandja Mountains. It’s there he reunites with his grandfather and learns about the secret past of his family.
6. The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun and André Naffis-Sahely ($26): Set in vibrant Morocco, this is essentially a he said/she said story — already sounds awesome, right? The first half of the book is told from the husband’s point of view, a man who is convinced he suffered a stroke at the height of his art career, because of his failing marriage. Next comes his wife’s version of the story, which, as you can imagine, is MUCH different than her husband’s. The unraveling love story is interwoven with themes of women’s rights, creative freedom and secrecy — an intellectual beach read, for sure.
7. Barkskins by Annie Proulx ($32): Barkskins begins in the 17th century with two poor French brothers becoming wood cutters (or barkskins) for a feudal lord in exchange for land. Their stories fork dramatically from there. A truly epic story that Proulx pulls off beautifully, the rest of the novel spans 300 years and follows their descendants through North America, China and New Zealand. It’s a family saga, for sure, but it also reads as an environmental fable.
Which one of our adventurous summer reading picks sounds good to you? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
(Photo via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com