Potent Portables: 8 Crazy-Looking Speakers You Can Tote Around
Just like any other mobile-minded millennial, we like to take our music on the go. And even though there are plenty of cool and colorful headphones around, we almost always prefer listening to our music unplugged. Remember, we grew up when MTV actually played music on TV, so we’re most comfortable with it blaring all around us instead of being funneled into our ears. For that reason, we turn to portable speakers. While some of them are totally wireless, and others amplify your tunes straight outta your smartphone, these eight all look insanely unique, making it almost impossible for us to ever want to put them down.
1. Music Balloon Speaker ($45): This bulbous, palm-sized speaker is made from a soft, Nerf-like material that amplifies the tunes on your iPod or any other device that has a 35mm jack. We can’t stop giggling over its balloon-inspired shape.
2. Native Union Monocle Portable Speaker ($50): This hand-held portable speaker is a more compact alternative to lifting a bulky boom box on your shoulder to rock out… if anyone ever pulls that move anymore. When you’re not holding it up to your dome, it sits gently on its back or side as it pumps out the jams from your device.
3. Rock-It 3.0 ($22): Meet Rock-It, a magical capsule that turns anything—literally anything—into a speaker. Seriously, grab whatever you have handy—a cardboard box, even your office desk, stick a Rock-It on it, and it is now a speaker! Crazy! The sound quality isn’t superb, but we think this one is a bit more about the spectacle.
4. CERA 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker ($70): CERA 3.0 lets you stream music from up to 33 feet away from its touchscreen-controlled pod, which may look small, but boasts big sound. Looking to bring the noise to even more epic levels? This Bluetooth speaker comes with a daisy chain cable that lets you string multiple speakers together for simultaneous play.
5. Diamond Ring MP3 Speaker ($20): A ring-shaped MP3 player? We’ll say I do to that! Though you actually can’t wear it around your finger Ring Pop style, it does bling out your smartphone—just plug it into the earphone jack.
6. Rocki Play ($49): Rocki is one of the latest successfully funded Kickstarter projects that we’re swooning over. Just plug this pretty, soap-sized geo device into your existing sound system and just like that, Rocki turns your equipment into smart speakers that let you stream music over a wifi connection from any smartphone. So yes, it’s a portable wifi receiver, not a speaker, but since you can control what you hear from your iPhone, we’re calling it close enough.
7. Splash-Proof Speaker by Muji ($75): If you ever splish splash a little too much in the bath right next to where your iPhone is turing tub time into an underwater rave, then you need to check out this phone case-speaker hybrid. Not only does it amplify your tunes while protecting your smartphone from rogue waves, the panel recognizes wet hands, so you can control your tunes without a towel nearby. Besides, in our design-loving eyes, Muji can do no wrong.
8. Pump Soundchuck Portable Speaker ($129): You guys, these speaker shapes just keep getting better, ‘cause check out this pair: they look like nunchucks. Made of durable silicone, these weather-resistant Bluetooth speakers are compact and lightweight, making them your go to for on the go dance parties or warding off evil villains.
Do you tote around a portable speaker? What are the must-have brands? Know of any crazy shaped ones we missed? Tell us in the comments below.
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