One day closer to the weekend. Now I know, for me, I don't think Social Security will be around when it time to claim. I'm OK with that. It's simple math that there will not be enough people working when I retire to support the system. But if you are looking at retirement in the next few years, take a look at these tips on how to maximize your SS benefits.
1. Work At Least 35 Years
Social Security benefits are calculated based on your 35 highest-earning working years. If you work fewer years, you’ll have years with zero income averaged in — which will lower your payout.
2. Ask For A Raise
If you experience a jump in salary, you’ll likely boost your future earning potential and may see an increase in your Social Security payments down the road — since as we just explained, Social Security takes into account the 35 top-earning years of your career.
3. Take A Second Job
The same logic applies: If you earn more each year, you’ll likely increase the amount you get in Social Security when you retire.
4. Wait Until Full Retirement Age To Claim Social Security
You can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but you might not want to: Your benefit will be reduced by 25% for life. To get your full payment, wait until you reach full retirement age — currently 66 for anyone born between 1943 and 1954. For those born between 1955 and 1959, the age gradually rises toward 67. For those born in 1960, it’s 67.
5. Better Yet: Wait Until Age 70
If you can afford to wait until age 70 to claim Social Security benefits, it’ll pay off. Thanks to what the Social Security Administration calls “delayed retirement credits,” benefits increase 8% each year you delay tapping into Social Security — up till age 70. So waiting until you reach 70 means about a third more income for life.
When considering this strategy, it’s particularly beneficial for the higher-earning spouse in a marriage to hold out until age 70 to increase the total benefits the couple will get throughout their lifetime. In the event the spouse with the higher benefit passes away, the surviving spouse will get the higher payment.
If you took benefits early and regret the move, it might not be too late to fix it. You may be able to repay all the benefits you got so far and restart them at a higher level based on your age. But this policy isn’t as flexible as it used to be: For more details, check out this page on the SSA site.
6. Use Online Tools
If you’re unsure about the best time to claim benefits based on your individual budget, health, life expectancy or other factors, use online resources to help you decide. A good place to start is SocialSecurity.gov/MyStatement, where you’ll get your personalized statement. This estimates what your benefits will be at age 62, at full retirement age or at age 70.
Once you get estimates for you and, if applicable, your spouse, there are other online tools that compare your benefits under various scenarios to help you determine the best claiming strategy. Consider AARP’s Social Security Benefits Calculator or Analyze Now’s Strategic Social Security Planner.
7. Claim Spousal Benefits
If you’re married, you have a choice: You can either take the benefit based on your work history, or half your spouse’s benefit. So if your spouse earned a lot more than you did and has a higher benefit as a result, compare and see which will pay the most. You can also claim Social Security benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work record if you were married for at least 10 years. Doing so doesn’t reduce their check or otherwise affect them. In fact, they’ll never know you applied.
8. Taking Early Retirement? Beware Of Outside Income
If you start taking benefits before reaching your full retirement age, employment elsewhere can reduce your Social Security checks. For example, say you started taking Social Security in 2012 at age 62 and your full retirement age is 66. For 2012, your benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earned in gross wages or net self-employment income above $14,640.
If 2012 was the year you reached full retirement age, you could have earned up to $38,880 before the month you turned 66. More than that and your benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earned.
After you reach full retirement age, you get your full benefit no matter how much you earn.
9. Claim Twice
A dual-income retired couple may be able to claim spousal benefits, then later switch to payments based on their own work record. This could make sense if waiting until a later age would result in higher benefits.
For example, say the husband is 66 and the wife is 62. If the husband files for benefits, the wife could opt for half her husband’s benefit, while still earning money and letting her benefit grow. When she turns 70, she could drop the spousal benefit and file for benefits based on her own work record.
There are lots of strategies such as this to maximize Social Security. As you approach retirement age, be sure to do lots of reading. This article from Kiplinger is a good example.
10. Benefits For Your Kids
When you start collecting Social Security benefits, unmarried dependent children under age 18 may qualify to get benefits worth up to half of your full retirement benefit amount. This can include a biological child, adopted child, stepchild or dependent grandchild. They may also get benefits if they’re 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12) or 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
11. Plan ahead for taxes
If the sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and half your 2012 Social Security benefits exceeds $34,000 ($44,000 for couples), up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. You can minimize this expense by using certain tax-saving moves such as investing in annuities that allow you to earn interest that isn’t taxed until you withdraw it.
12. Do your due diligence
Always read your Social Security statements (either received as paper statements in the mail or online at SocialSecurity.gov/MyStatement) to be sure everything has been reported correctly. Although inaccuracies are uncommon, some scenarios lend themselves to a greater chance of error — such as a name change your employer failed to update on company records.
13. Clear your debts
Your Social Security benefits are protected from most debt collections, but they can be taken to collect unpaid federal taxes, federal student loan balances and child support or alimony. Clearing these debts will leave your Social Security benefits untouched.
Sunday is the big game day and all you want to do is blend into the couch with a bag of chips and a cold beer and watch the game with you and your friends. But what about the kids who you know won’t want to watch this NFL showdown? Not to worry, the kids will have plenty of fun games of their own to play with some of these activity thought starters.
Designate a room in your house and fill it with tons of game options. From video games (think: Madden NFL) to pin the football on the field goal, the kids will be entertained for hours so you can be focused on how many touchdowns your team is scoring and take in all of the commercials without interruption.
Tweens: Set up the Xbox, the Wii, Nintendo or all of the above. Once the consoles are turned on, you won't hear from your child again for hours!
Little kids: Play football bingo. There are tons of free printables available online or you can make your own. Get the kids in on the action and let them help design the cards and think up the prizes. You can even make the bingo chips edible.
Toddlers: Play pin the football on the field goal. Make your own game using painter's tape and construction paper. Blindfold your child, spin her around and let her try to pin the football between the goal posts. Any football that makes it between the uprights earned a prize.
Call on your little performers to put on their own halftime show for you. Beyonce is the star of this year's Super Bowl halftime show, so challenge your children to come up with an act that is centered around her music. This activity is sure to keep them occupied during the first half of the game as they practice their performance and also during the second half when they prepare for their encore! Get your video camera ready as your children's rendition of "All The Single Ladies" is sure to be even more entertaining than Beyonce's!
Tweens: Your tween can be the manager, the choreographer, the lead singer or all of the above. From lip syncing to actual singing, you're sure to be entertained by any performance your children think up.
Little kids and toddlers: The little kids and toddlers can be your tween's back-up dancers, singers or musicians. They can also help design the set and decide on the costumes.
From easy to hard, think up a wide range of trivia questions so children of all ages can play. You can either focus the ideas around this year's Super Bowl, which will make it more of a guessing game (Who will win? How many points will the Super Bowl championship team win by? Which team will score first?) Or you can ask about past Super Bowls or football in general. Ideas for questions you can ask:
What is the number of this year's Super Bowl?
What are each team's colors?
Who are the quarterbacks for each team?
Who is performing during the halftime show?
How many points do you receive for a touchdown?
What is a two-point conversion?
How many yards is the length of the football field?
What is an interception?
True or false: (Insert name of your home team) has won a previous Super Bowl.
It's a given that we all liked to be liked right? We feel more comfortable, part of the team and it doesn't add to the stress levels of work. Sadly, we may be doing some things that are making our co-workers dislike us! Here are 5 ways that could be making you enemy number one at work.
#5. It's Not What You Said, It's What You Didn't Say
For those of us who aren't great with people, we figure that silence is always the safest bet. If you're an introvert, you spend so much of your time wishing that other people would just shut the hell up that you figure you're doing everyone a favor. So, you run into a co-worker at the mall and think it's better to pass by in silence than do an awkward stop-and-chat that you'd probably screw up anyway.
This is literally the most frequent social mistake you could make. You didn't respond to the party invitation. You didn't reply to their funny text with a smiley. You didn't wish them a happy birthday. Now they're bitter and you're confused because, well, who would ever assume that silence is an insult?
So make sure to interact with your co-workers Follow through with being social both on the clock and if you run into each other off the clock.
#4. You Accidentally Asserted Power Over Them
So you applied for a mortgage and got a super low interest rate and minimal closing costs. That's something worth talking about right? Or you just flew back from a weekend in Paris and the maid forgot to take your Mac Duggal dress or Dolce & Gabbana jacket to the cleaners.Perfectly innocent conversations that can instantly backfire as bragging. Look, you know you have it good and you've worked hard and sacrificed for what you have but tone it down. If you look at celebrities that are admired the most you can see they belittle themselves. For example, Tina Fey pretends to be ugly and Jennifer Lawrence makes constant jokes about how gross and ugly she is, even though they pose for yet another magazine cover just minutes after making such statements.
#3. They Think You Owe Them
Have you ever broken up with somebody and had them bafflingly claim, "I can't believe you would just leave me like that! After everything I've done for you!" Or did you once refuse to do a favor for somebody for what seemed like a good reason (say, you couldn't help them move because you had work that day), only to see them get really, really irritated? Almost to the point that they're acting like you were paid for the work in advance and then didn't follow through? Like they thought you owed it to them?
There's a really good chance that the last person who got annoyed with you for seemingly no reason at all did it because you failed to pay a debt you didn't even know you owed. There's this weird thing where in most relationships, and maybe in every relationship at one point or another, both parties think the other side is in debt to them. Your workplace is probably like this as well -- everybody in your department thinks they heroically keep the place afloat with their tireless labor, while the boss thinks you're a bunch of slackers for whom the company generously puts food on the table. You're shocked and insulted when the company heartlessly announces layoffs and the boss is shocked and insulted when any of you quit without notice.
#2. You Wasted Their Time
All you did was email your boss with a simple question or idle thought, and they jumped down your throat! Then, later that night, you popped into your buddy's house unannounced, and like one minute later he's all acting annoyed, opening the door and saying, "Well, good to see you!" like he's ushering you out! Or maybe you're on the other end of the situation in the first entry -- you messaged an acquaintance with a "happy birthday" and you got cold, dead silence in return. How rude!
If you've been paying attention up to this point, you're already trying to figure out how this ties in to the power thing. Well, in the first example, the boss was way too busy at the time to put up with your issue. In the second, your friend clearly was too busy to entertain you for a three hour visit. In the third, the dude got too many birthday wishes to reply to them all. But in each case, due to the complicated power dynamics at play, they weren't allowed to openly say so. So don't take it personal. The person who is being terse with you, or who is clearly screening your calls, is often in an impossible situation. They're coming off as flaunting their power to screen you, while from their point of view, they have no power at all -- they spend all of their time seeing to the needs of the crowd. So, the most good-hearted of busy people just try to deal with your thing, quickly answering your question while silently gritting their teeth and thinking, "It would have taken him five seconds to Google this instead of emailing me."
If that sounds like they're making you pay for someone else's behavior, well, they are. That's the way it works -- prior offenses count, even when it was someone else who committed them. The cashier at the store got annoyed when you for pointing out their name rhymes with rock because they've that joke six times a day. Remember: You are nothing more than one link in somebody else's chain of human interactions. A chain that occasionally rubs them raw.
#1. You Assumed That Because You Were OK With a Situation, Everybody Was
This is the one that is by far the most likely to sneak up on you. Also, it exists at all levels -- between roommates, friends, spouses, ethnic groups, nations. In the office, this usually turns up as some pointless new rule that seems to come out of the blue like a memo says from now on nobody can adjust the thermostat without asking a supervisor. Another announces that the Christmas party is now the "winter holiday" party. In a relationship, it's the partner suddenly deciding after several years that they no longer want Friday to be meatloaf night.
You get the idea -- everything was going along absolutely perfectly fine, the system was running as intended, and suddenly they're making these arbitrary demands. You then hear yourself saying things like: "Why do they have to rock the boat just when things were going good?" "Why complain now, when we've always done it this way?" "I don't have a problem, you're the one who's screaming!" For example, you like to stay in on weekends, your girlfriend/boyfriend likes to go out. After a year or so, they give up and stop trying to get you off the sofa every Saturday. You interpret this as the relationship settling in just how you like it; meanwhile, they're so miserable that they're rehearsing their breakup speech. "But, but ... everything was going great!"
Sure it was. For you. You didn't perceive yourself as being in a position of power because that is the main advantage of power -- that you don't have to think about it. You don't think about money when you're eating at a restaurant. But you sure think about it when you're too poor to eat. And out of all of the pitfalls on this list, this is by far the worst, because it means that you can absolutely make other people hate you without lifting a finger. And you can do it without even knowing it. Which means that, unfortunately, avoiding it requires constant vigilance.
It's exhausting, I know. But hey, at least you'll have fewer people screaming at you.
A very special THANK YOU to David Wong of Cracked.com for this insight that may help you become the person you always wanted to be!
Well Sunday is the final day of football for the season as Baltimore and San Francisco play in the Big Game. Even if you are not a fan of football you must admit the championship game is an American tradition, just like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. It's something only an American can understand, appreciate and bonds us all together; even when you are stationed overseas.
Pizzas 4 Patriots will once again send 21,000 Chicago-style Deep Dish pizzas to our troops stationed in Camp Bastion, Bagram Airbase and Kandahar; all in Afghanistan,as well as Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and various Forward Operating Bases in both countries.
"Since 2008, we have had the pleasure of providing our brave U.S. servicemen and women overseas with the most delicious, authentic 'slices of home', letting them know we care and we are thinking of them," said Ret. Master Sergeant Mark Evans, founder of Pizzas 4 Patriots. "While our soldiers' presence in the Middle East continues to become smaller, they still need to know that we appreciate the sacrifices they make for us, our families and our country."
Every puppy and kitten comes from a shelter or rescue organization in the United States. A total of 63 puppies, 21 kittens and 9 hedgehogs, who are the cheerleaders this year dressed in tutus! "Animal Planet works in conjunction with Petfinder during the selection process for the puppies," an Animal Planet spokesman explains. "Petfinder reaches out to shelters and rescue organizations to see if they have puppies that meet the age and size requirements and if so, asks if they would be interested in having those animals be part of Puppy Bowl."
What happens to the pups after the Bowl? "In years past, all of the puppies and kittens have been adopted to loving families. As of now, only one puppy from this year's lineup is still up for adoption.
The hedgehogs were provided by loving families who originally adopted them," the spokesman says.
How do they get the puppies to behave so cutely on camera? Well the Puppy Bowl is actually filmed in November and any footage of pups acting less than fascinating is edited out before the show airs. So the show may be, technically, "fixed." Not that there's anything wrong with that, because: puppies, kittens and hedgehogs!
Puppy Bowl IX begins Sunday at 3pm on Animal Planet.
A while ago I switched my habits of grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar in the middle of the afternoon to energy bars. Instead of that instant rush that sugar provided, energy bars give me more of a gradual increase and (most important) keeps my hunger at bay for a much longer period.
But have you seen the price of these bars? Not cheap in any manner. Not to mention you have to read the labels very closely as many are loaded with sugar and calories. You'd be amazed of now much garbage are in some energy bars.
It's pretty easy to re-create some of your favorite bars at home, using nothing more than a food processor. Tasty enough to challenge the likes of Clif and Larabars, these energy bar recipes can be whipped up in practically no time for a fraction of the price. Here are some DIY Energy bar recipes that are simple to make and easy on your wallet.
Raw Lemon-Coconut Bars
These tasty bars are similar to Lärabars, but contain no added sweetener and are gluten free.
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond meal OR 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups pitted dates OR 1 1/4 cups chopped dates or raisins
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
Zest of 1 organic lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
If using chopped dates, cover them with warm water, let them soak for about 5 minutes, and drain. If using sliced or slivered almonds, put them in your food processor and whir them into meal.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of almond meal evenly over the bottom of an 8-inch-square baking pan.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and whir until well mixed.
Press into prepared pan.
Chill for a couple of hours until firm, then cut into 12 squares, and wrap each in wax paper or store in an airtight container.
These will keep at room temperature for a month and makes 12 bars.
Don't like lemon? You can substitute any nut, seed, or dried fruit in this recipe and change the seasonings to reproduce just about any bar out there. Here are a few tasty alternatives.
Cherry Pie Bars: Substitute 1 cup of dried cherries or cranberries for the coconut.
Apple Pie Bars: Substitute 1 cup of diced, dried apples for the coconut, omit the lemon zest and juice, and add 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon.
Chocolate-Cashew Cookie Bars: Use 2 cups of cashews instead of the almonds and coconut, omit the lemon zest and juice, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add ¼ cup of mini semisweet chocolate chips once everything else is well blended.
PB & J Bars: Use peanuts (or shelled sunflower seeds) instead of almonds, substitute 1 cup of dried cherries or cranberries for the coconut, and omit the lemon zest and juice.
Mostly Raw Oatmeal Energy Bars
The only cooking involved is heating the wet ingredients to make them smoother and easier to blend with the dry ingredients. The end result is similar to Clif Bars.
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup total dried fruit (coarsely chopped), chopped nuts, and/or semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup natural nut or seed butter (peanut, sunflower, cashew, almond, tahini)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put the nut or seed butter and the syrup in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring until the mixture is hot and well blended; then add the vanilla.
Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir until well mixed (you may need to use your hand).
Pack firmly into a greased 9-x-9-inch baking pan.
Chill for a couple of hours until firm, then cut into 12 squares, and wrap each bar in wax paper.
Stored in an airtight container, these will keep at room temperature for a month.
Makes 12 bars
ChocoBean Power Bars
The cooked beans in this recipe add lots of protein and fiber without overpowering the banana and chocolate flavors. If you buy canned beans, there is no cooking involved.
1 1/2 cups cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (one 15-ounce can)
3/4 cup dried banana slices
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup (packed) raisins or dried cranberries
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup oatmeal whirred in the blender until very fine
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (optional) 2 tablespoons almond mealfine
Whir the beans, banana, cocoa powder, raisins, vanilla, and syrup in a food processor until very smooth.
Add the oatmeal and flaxseed (and chocolate chips if using).
Pulse until mixture is well blended and forms a dough.
Sprinkle almond meal over the bottom of a 9-x-9-inch cake pan.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.
Chill for a couple hours until firm then cut into 12 squares.
Wrap each in wax paper and refrigerate in a closed container for up to four days, or freeze for up to a month.
Makes 12 bars
Add 2 tablespoons of dry instant coffee for chocolate-mocha bars, or add ½ teaspoon ground hot pepper to give bars a Mexican kick. These are also tasty with pureed overripe banana (or pumpkin puree, prune puree, or even apple butter) instead of the dry bananas; you just need to replace the brown rice syrup with a dry sweetener, such as raw sugar or powdered stevia, to add sweetness while keeping the dough dry enough to form into bars.
Think Outside the Bar
While bars suit the packaging needs of commercial manufacturers, there's no reason you have to get your energy boosts in slabs. Make "energy balls" from any of these recipes by sprinkling almond or other nut meal (or even shredded coconut or unsweetened cocoa powder) on a plate, dropping spoonfuls of dough onto it, and rolling them around with your fingers to shape and coat them. Balls one-inch or smaller are perfect for popping into your mouth whole and make a great substitute for candy if the kids (and that includes your inner one) clamor for it.
Special thanks to Rodale News for these energy bar recipe finds!
You must give JC Penney's CEO Ron Johnson some credit for trying something new to revive an ailing brand. It was a little over a year ago that it was announced JC Penney would do away with coupons and sales. It didn't ring well with customers (or in cash register sales) so the company has announced it’ll be marking all of its merchandise down by at least 40%. After the initial markdown, JCPenney will be rolling out a three-tiered approach to its pricing of items starting Feb. 1, to replace the hundreds of sales they used to have every year. There will be the “Every Day” low prices daily, the “Monthly Value” discounts and “Best Price” clearance deals twice a month on the first and third Fridays of each month, when many shoppers get paid.
Do you think this move will work and get you to shop? Or is JC Penney on it's way of becoming the next Woolworth's and Montgomery-Wards? Time will tell.
In other big brand news, you've seen the story and picture of a Subway customer measuring their footlong sandwich only to find it was an inch short. The story went viral as several Subway customers also found their sandwiches short. Subway is now telling the world that honest, guys, we never meant to make a sandwich 11 or 11.5 inches. In a statement released addressing the controversial less-than-one-foot Footlongs, Subway said it’s very sorry and this won’t happen again. Quote: “We regret any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers. We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide.”
Kudos to Subway for owning up to the shortcomings without spinning the story around like a top. But to be honest, I will measure my next footlong just to make sure! :)
Calling in sick to work? Let's be honest, there's a good chance you really aren't sick. According to a 2012 study by business retailer Staples, about 80% of workers show up at the office even if they are sick. Additionally, 66% say they go to work even though they have an illness that’s contagious.
I can understand why. For me and the behind-the-scene duties I'm tasked with would fall behind and once you fall behind it's a big job (usually involving after hours and weekends) to catch back up.
However your co-workers will not take it kindly if you end up causing them to become sick too. So what to do? Experts weigh in with some advice.
Peter Handel, chief executive at Dale Carnegie Training, a New York City-based international business services outfit, says to be realistic. An employee should call in sick when their illness is still contagious and their productivity will decline significantly due to their illness. “If an employee knows the quality of their work will be negatively affected due to their illness, it is best for all parties involved to call in sick,” Handel says.
Cut yourself some slack. Staffers often feel like they're so vital the office can’t survive without them. That’s a mistake. “We encourage employees to take care of themselves when needed in order to ensure they continually perform their best,” he says. Rouse yourself on a “temporary” basis. Client meetings and high-profile calls scheduled far in advance are often legitimate reasons for employees to try to get into the office even if they are feeling under the weather. If it’s impossible to reschedule, employees can offer to call in from home to not miss an important meeting.
Get ahead of the problem. Employees should make the decision to call in sick as early as possible — even the night before if possible, Handel advises.
First, notify your immediate supervisors and managers via email and phone. This ensures the message is received in a timely fashion.
Be in contact with the people you work with and communicate your list of urgent to-dos to them. “If there is anything that needs immediate attention while you are out, your proactive communication will allow for speedy delegation and completion,” Handel says.
Remember that it is the responsibility of the sick employee to ensure that all daily responsibilities and tasks are completed. “It is not the manager’s responsibility to delegate tasks, nor is it a colleague’s responsibility to figure it out in a sick employee’s absence,” he adds.
Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching things such as elevator buttons, printer buttons, refrigerator handles, telephones and widely used computers.
Wipe down your desk space with anti-bacterial wipes.
Get plenty of sleep during the winter months. Being well-rested is a great defense to avoiding getting sick.
Use hand sanitizer, or if you are really concerned, get a flu shot and make sure you consult your doctor.
Happy Monday! Besides the haze of tree pollen in the air, love is also circulating with the arrival of Valentine's day. But if you want something more than the traditional box of chocolates and dozen roses for your sweetie, take a look at these 5 do it yourself Valentine's crafts. Click each link for pictures and directions. Enjoy!
DIY wine cork heart: I hope you've been saving your wine corks for DIY projects! This project is an artistic rendering of a heart shape, done in painted wine corks and framed. It was thought up and posted by Kristen, from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, who exercises her handyman skills near San Diego, and blogs about her projects.
Peppermint Valentine hearts: You know that bag of red and white peppermint hard candies that is sitting in your desk drawer getting stale? Now's the time to turn it into something cute. This project involves melting peppermint candies in heart-shaped molds.
Painted Valentine rocks: This project rocks! (I couldn't resist.) You know how your kid insisted on bringing home a bag of rocks from the beach last summer, which he has never once opened to play with? If you stamp them with letter stamps dipped in craft paint, they will look like something expensive and romantic, except they are only rocks.
Upcycled X-mas decor Valentine's wreath: You're about to be transported to glue gun heaven. Whatever decorations you have hanging around from Christmas can be artistically glued to a heart-shaped wreath. Are you feeling the love yet?
DIY metalwork Valentine: This involves all kinds of cutting metal and a lot of epoxy. It's time to get ready for some heavy metal love.
While Congress and the President publicly battled over the fiscal cliff, their delay in finding a compromise means your tax return (and potential refund) most likely will be delayed too. The result of the tax law changes for 2012 from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, passed by Congress at the beginning of January 2013.. Now the IRS is scrambling to modify deductions, exemptions and formulas on its forms. Considering the tax code has significantly more pages than the Bible, its going to take some time and that pushes everything else behind.
So will your tax return be delayed? The IRS will not be able to start processing returns that include depreciation deductions, passive activity losses, residential energy credits and general business credits until late February or early March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This includes taxpayers whose Form 1040 includes a Schedule C for self-employment income and Schedule E for rental income and income from “pass-through” business entities.