I Spent My First Valentine’s Day Alone in 10 Years and It Was Liberating AF
ICYMI, Valentine’s Day was last week. And we all know that while there are lots of reasons to love Valentine’s Day when you’re single, it’s a day mostly meant for lovers to go on a romantic date and indulge. But this was the first year I’ve spent Valentine’s Day solo since I met my (now ex) husband over 10 years ago, and I was feeling major Bridget Jones vibes leading up to the 14th. I was thisclose to surrendering to the stereotype of pizza boxes and ice cream cartons while watching Lifetime movies and bemoaning my lack of a man before deciding on a whim to take myself to the Philadelphia symphony at the Kimmel Center for a single lady Valentine’s Day date. I don’t even like ice cream.
Let me preface this by saying I don’t hate being single, nor do I hate (or particularly love) Valentine’s Day. Parks and Recreation’s Ann Perkins summed up my feelings best when she said, “You know, I’m mostly fine being single, but this time of year with all the hearts and the roses, it just gets me a little down.” (P.S. I have a Parks and Rec reference for literally any story someone tells me. I know… how am I single?)
In the past year or so of being single, I’ve learned to do lots of things alone that I previously only did with someone else: I take myself to the movies, grab dinner at a nice restaurant, and sidle up to a cozy bar with a good book. But never have I taken myself on a fancy date to a symphony on a day specifically reserved for two.
The prospect became increasingly daunting day-of, and so to counteract the doubt, I pulled on my J.Crew collection lilac sequin-flower sweatpants (they’re as amazing as they sound), my Forever 21 metallic lilac moto jacket (it’s as badass as it sounds), and my cotton-candy colored pink faux fur scarf (it’s as luxe as it sounds). Basically, I piled on all my favorite things (that just happened to be V-Day colored) and walked the 15 minutes to the symphony full of determination not to feel like a total dud.
I arrived early enough to enjoy a glass of bubbly, which I did, sitting in the indoor courtyard, watching all the couples mill about, holding hands and full from their pre-symphony prix fixe. I made a point not to look at my phone while I enjoyed my over-priced Prosecco and focused instead on being a part of the experience, drinking in the drama of fur coats and red roses — not to mention the drop-dead gorgeous building.
Once it was time to take our seats, I climbed the three staircases (single lady date, single lady budget) to the nose bleeds. The usher smiled when she saw me come through the curtain and said, “I sure like the look of you, honey!” I beamed. Then she said, “So, you’re in seat 305; are you with 306 or 307?” My beam dimmed. “Oh, nope, just me,” I said in what I hoped was a casual, devil-may-care kind of way. She didn’t seem phased and led me to my plush velvet seat directly overlooking the stage.
I can only describe the actual performance as pure magic. It was mostly Gershwin — upbeat, romantic, and whimsical. The conductor was charming, funny, and warm. It was an hour and a half of total harp-induced happiness and served to make clear my previously foggy notion that you don’t have to have a plus one to experience a pure delight. I’m so glad I didn’t let my self-consciousness win — no one gave me a second look (and if they did, it was probably the purple pants). It’s emboldened me to start heading out to more events on my own, whether it’s an art opening or a wine class. Basically, I do what I want! Plus, with the lights down and the music loud, I didn’t have a chance to dwell on my singledom for even half a beat.
Did you spend Valentine’s Day alone this year? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us what kinds of awesome things you got into!
(Photos 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:
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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