21 Pens and Pencils to Catch All Your Brilliant Ideas
There seems to be a great divide in the world of office supplies—pens vs. pencils. We’re going to take a guess that the majority of you out there write in pen, but there are sure to be some dedicated pencil lovers in the bunch. Alternately, we’re betting that some of you use each for very specific things (pencils only for crosswords and sudoku, please!) Regardless of your writing utensil of choice, there are tons of fun, quirky options out there to make your desk more fun. Here are our 21 favorites! And don’t forget to tell us where you stand on the great divide in the comments.
1. Banderole Pencil Set ($12): We’re just going to rename these party pencils because that’s what they are.
2. Classic Black Mechanical Pencils ($15 for 12): These pencils are perfect for the classicist who always wants a sharp point and a pencil that will clip into a pocket (no protector necessary).
3. Smencils ($10): We’ll give you just one guess what Smencils are. If you guessed that they are scented pencils, you’d be right! These are sure to make an olfactory impression at your next meeting.
4. Princess Bride Pastel Pencils ($8 for 6): Each time you pull out one of these pastel pencils, you can daydream for a moment that you are Princess Buttercup, and Wesley is telling you “as you wish.”
6. Andy Warhol Philosophy Pencils ($9): Take your drawings to new heights with these inspirational pencils with mottoes from Andy Warhol.
8. Royal Golden Crown Pencils ($7): For all your regal notes, correspondence, and doodling these crown-topped pencils are just the thing.
9. Oversized Pencil ($7): Big ideas deserve a big pencil, and this jumbo writing tool will help you get them all down on paper. Now if only you can find a jumbo sharpener!
10. Wooden Hexagonal Mechanical Pencil ($6.50): We love the sleek look of this pencil. Plus, it’s wooden but mechanical—a delightful combination of traditional and modern.
11. The Number Two Pencil ($5): Yes, it’s a little crass, but it did give us a laugh.
13. Poppin Signature Pens ($12): No matter your favorite color, you can find it in these signature ballpoints. And thankfully, they come with black ink so they are still office-appropriate.
14. Seven Year Pen ($9): This pen has enough ink to last a whopping seven years. We can’t believe that it really lasts that long. We also can’t imagine committing to one pen for that long, even if it has a cute whale on it. If anyone tests it out, let us know!
15. Light Up Handy Pens ($17): These handy pens light up as you write. It’s the perfect way to share your bright ideas.
16. Catapult Pen ($6): This will make board meetings even more fun, just be sure to bring something to shoot across the room. We’d recommend candy.
17. Select 3-Color Ball Point Pen ($3): Remember those pens that let you choose red, blue, black, or green ink? This pen is like that, but you get to pick your own colors! And they have every hue imaginable from Sunkissed Yellow to Peacock Blue.
18. Bobino Slim Pen ($5): This pen will stick anywhere you need it to. Just attach the “dock” to your notebook, refrigerator, or wall calendar to always have it handy.
19. Borrow My Pen ($7.50 for 8): Designed to look like freebie pens from doctor’s offices or insurance agents, these pens actually list fake embarrassing places like “Stuffed with Love Taxidermy” to dissuade pen thieves from stealing your goods.
20. Poppin Assorted Ink Gel Pens ($9 for 6): For those of you who like to write a bit more colorfully, these bright gel pens are the perfect solution.
21. Sakura Pigma Micron Pen ($12 for 6): Want your conference call doodles to have a bit more flair? Stock your desk with these artists’ pens and you’ll be creating wall—or at least fridge-—worthy masterpieces in no time.
Where do you stand on the pen vs. pencil debate? Are you dedicated to one or the other? Tell us in the comments!
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