A Real Couple’s Guide to Honeymooning in Cozumel, Mexico
So, you’ve booked the venue, picked the dreamiest dress and selected the perfect signature cocktail for your big day. Next? The honeymoon planning! Just because you want to have your *dream* honeymoon on a budget, there’s no reason why you and your partner-in-crime can’t go ahead and start gathering inspiration for your perfect warm-weather getaway. After all, this is your very first trip together as a married couple, and you’ll need a little R&R from wedding planning. If all you can think about is pretty beaches, major relaxation and some seriously delicious coconut cocktails, then you’ll want to take note. We talked with Meridith and Will Whitaker, a real-life couple who spilled all the deets with us on how to have the best tropical honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico.
Where to Stay
“We’re not sure that there was a particular reason for Mexico, but we heard about cheapcaribbean.com from a friend who used it for their honeymoon and we just browsed the website. We ended up choosing an all-inclusive Iberostar Resort in Cozumel, Mexico.”
What to Do
“During our honeymoon, we went on a boat ride and went snorkeling, swam with a dolphin, relaxed at the resort, rode a moped around the city and explored the local culture. I absolutely loved playing with the dolphin — it was my dream come true! She did all kinds of tricks with us, including pushing us across the water, high fives, etc. We had the last time slot of the day and ended up being the only two people in the water with the dolphin and the trainer. I still remember that the dolphin’s name was Rachel and that we paid $30 for one picture of me with her! We laughed about how outrageous that was at the time, but it really was worth it. Our other favorites were swimming in the crystal clear water at the beach and just exploring the city outside of the resort.”
Things to Eat and Drink
“We ate at the resort a lot, as all meals were included in the cost of our trip, but our most memorable meal was at a local festival we found while riding the moped around the city! We both really loved this Mexican corn on the cob slathered in lime mayonnaise and covered in some kind of cheese. We tried to recreate it when we got home and came pretty close, but we’ve never had anything exactly like it since!
We also drank some kind of mixed drink straight from a coconut. They chopped off the top of the coconut and mixed the drink inside with the coconut juice. So delicious, and we felt like we were getting the real Mexico experience.”
Travel Tips and Tricks
1. You don’t need much. “I don’t remember what essentials we took with us except for bathing suits and sunscreen, but what else do you really need?”
2. Explore the culture. “We happened to be there on Cinco de Mayo and stumbled upon a real Mexican festival on our explorations! We loved watching the dances and listening to the music.”
3. Just relax. “Go somewhere you can relax! Originally we wanted to do something unique and go to San Francisco on our honeymoon — I had never been to California at the time — and explore the city. I am so glad we decided to do the stereotypical tropical resort honeymoon, though. It was so nice having so much unscheduled time to explore, and it really does make for a relaxing vacation when all of your expenses are paid upfront. The honeymoon is your chance to RELAX after all of the wedding craziness, so my advice is to go somewhere where you can do that.”
(Photos via Iberostar Cozumel)
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:
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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.
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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