Forget Apple Watch for a Sec, ZenWatch Is Even Prettier
Sure, it still might be a novelty to see a smartwatch in real life (for now), but they’re not exactly the newest gadgets in the tech game anymore. Between the Pebble, the Martian Passport and the Cogito Pop, there are a whole lot of options if you’re looking to digitalize your arm candy. But there’s still one major downside – most of them look very, well… techy. We’re in love with Apple Watch, natch, but that’s not a tangible #want until next year. If you’re on the hunt for a smartwatch for the fall that looks more like a watch and less like some kind of alien gadget, we’ve got just the thing.
It’s called the ZenWatch. The newest smartwatch to hit the market was introduced by Asus, a leading Taiwanese information technology company. This watch is definitely smart, but it’s also coming at us with a visually pleasing aesthetic we don’t always get to see in this budding industry.
The timepiece features a curved 2.5D design on the front and a stainless cover on the back. In place of the metal or plastic links often used on smartwatches, you’ll find a tan leather strap with a clean stitching detail. At first glance, it’d be easy to pass the ZenWatch as a standard luxury watch.
Alright, we’ve established that it looks great. Like really great. Now let’s talk about what it can do. First things first, you should know that this puppy will only work with an Android phone. Sorry, iPhone users. It runs on Android Wear, a Google-backed platform that seamlessly translates some of the most popular smartphone features onto your wrist. You can check the weather, read texts, manage your schedule, create to-do lists and a whole lot more.
The ZenWatch has a couple of features you won’t find on any other Android Wear device. One key addition is the “wellness manager,” which measures your relaxation levels using something Asus calls the “bio sensor.” Taking the health factor up another notch, it can measure steps taken, calories burned, heart rate and exercise intensity. And as much as we’re into the health aspect, one of our favorite features is its ability to find your phone by using your watch to call it out from underneath your couch cushions.
So what’s this pretty thing going to set you back? About $258, which if you think about all the features you’re getting, is not too shabby. Half the plain Jane watches you’ll find at the department store will cost you about that. If the price still seems high, we’ve got good news. The release date is rumored to be sometime in October, so you have a little time to start saving.
When it comes to functionally, is this the best smartwatch on the market? Maybe not. But if you’re looking for a luxury style watch that happens to have some brains, then the ZenWatch should certainly be considered as a serious contender.
What do you think about this new smartwatch? Does it look better than the rest?
(h/t + photos via The Verge)
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