5 Ways to Deal With an Indefinite Long-Distance Relationship
It’s one thing if you and your boo are in different states for a summer or winter break during college or if you’re waiting it out as they finish an assignment across country, but it’s a whole other situation when there’s no expiration date on the long-distance status. As technology advances, more and more couples are meeting online and entering long-distance relationships (LDRs) with no end in sight to the separation, so knowing how to maintain a healthy relationship no matter how many miles apart you are is becoming increasingly important. Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony, shares his expert tips for how to make indefinite long distance work.
1. Schedule communication. Everyone who’s been in an LDR knows communication is key, but actually planning it out is crucial. However, the communication schedule should be loose rather than rigid, Langston explains. “There’s nothing more painful than watching someone call their partner because it is 7pm, and they talk every night at 7pm,” he says. “It’s so rote and forced.” Rather than talking all the time, which many couples mistake as necessary or healthy, Langston suggests talking every couple of days to keep the conversations interesting and enjoyable.
2. Talk about everything. No, asking them what they had for dinner is not off the table. According to Langston, long-distance couples often skip over conversations about menial things because they deem them unimportant, but those conversations are actually what can help normalize the relationship. “By talking about everything in your day, you are recreating a similar situation in which most geographically close couples would be in,” Langston states. “And you will be getting to know your partner more.”
3. Confront conflicts. Fighting from a flight’s distance away is daunting. Without the kiss-and-make-up option, LDR couples often refuse to argue altogether. Rather than shy away from a point of contention, set time aside to work through it either via a phone call or video chat. “Conflict can be good in that you get to know how your partner deals with stressful situations in their lives,” Langston says, “and you two can work on certain areas before reuniting permanently.”
4. Don’t idealize the person. When a couple is unable to create more in-person memories, they typically cling to those they already have, which can lead to what Langston refers to as idealization — or when one remembers a relationship as better than it actually is. When someone has a positively skewed perception of his or her long-distance partner, the reunion is likely to be a major letdown. “You can feel like you’re being reunited with a complete stranger rather than someone you really know and understand,” Langston says.
5. Visit each other. Langston emphasizes that face-to-face time should be a first priority, so when you have the option to see each other, take it. “Spending quality time together and interacting in person is the best way to get to know somebody and see the reality of your relationship status,” he says. Plus, in-person interaction decreases the chances of idealization. If visiting each other isn’t possible, Langston suggests Skype or FaceTime for some virtual face-to-face contact.
How do you and your long-distance partner pull it off? Let us know @BritandCo!
(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