Try It Then Buy It

Try it before you buy it at Sephora!  The nations number one speciality beauty retailer has added all kinds of new touches to their in-store shopping experience.  For example, see yourself in all kinds of lashes, experiment with a range of perfumes, or let a stylist apply foundation from their large collection.  In a selfie obsessed and friend critiquing world, this allows the customer to get a feel for the cosmetics before they make a purchase. It also inspires shoppers to spend lots more time in the store. Sephora is finding that the longer they stay, the more they buy.

How Sephora Is Thriving Amid a Retail Crisis

Instagram For The Win

As social media use continues to escalate around the world, you might be surprised to learn who is leading the pack.  Even with over two billion users, Facebook isn’t growing at the rapid rate of Instagram, who last year gained 100 million users in six-months.   Farhad Manjoo for the New York Times dives deeper into the intricacies of our love for (and frustrations with) social media in his article, Why Instagram Is Becoming Facebook’s Next Facebook. 

Last Minute Tax Prep?

Did you wait until the last minute to prepare your taxes this year?  You do have an extra three days, the deadline is April 18th.  Have questions?  Need to know about forms and deductions?  Try this article from the New York Times and if that doesn’t get you where you need to be,
give me a call!

Our Best Guidance for Filing Your Tax Return

Employee Manipulation?

After a string of issues involving both customer and driver dissatisfaction, Uber has vowed to make new investments into the driver experience.  But even as they talk about changes, the company is still engaged in a massive behavioral experiment in order to entice drivers to work more and longer hours, at times in less lucrative areas.

Noam Schreiber for the New York Times thinks that, “By mastering their workers’ mental circuitry, Uber and the like may be taking the economy back toward a pre-New Deal era when businesses had enormous power over workers and few checks on their ability to exploit it.”   Read more here: How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons

Home Office Deductions

As we enter tax season, it’s time to examine a variety of deductions you may be eligible to take.  Home office deductions are a simple way to recoup money when using your home as an office space.   Those who are self-employed or part of an LLC have one form to complete this process, but S-Corp brings a new challenge.  Thank you to wilsonrogers.net for this detailed description of how to legally claim this important deduction.

S-Corp Home Office Deduction

Save A Penny, Watch It Grow

Did you know that saving $667.95 in a year is as easy as putting your spare change into a jar each night?  With this simple formula and free printable provided by Smart School House, you could be on your way to a great weekend trip or some extra Christmas cheer.  It also makes a good savings activity for children.  Try it and let us know how it goes for you!

PENNY CHALLENGE

Tips For Personal Finances When the Fed Hikes Rates

With the recent rise of the benchmark federal funds rate, Karla Bowsher for Money Talks News suggests three simple steps individuals can take to reduce the impact on their finances.

  1.  Look for a better credit card rate.
  2. Lock in a mortgage rate.
  3. Compare rates on savings (plans and funds).

This is the third hike in recent months following an eight year period where the rates were held in a range of zero to 0.25.  For more information on how to best utilize these tips, read the full article here, The Fed Hikes Rates Again: 3 Steps You Should Take Now.

Time to Un-Plug?

Empathy, intimacy, learning to read body language and understanding how to talk face-to-face are crucial parts of being human, but now that we spend hours in front of our tiny glowing smartphone screens, scientists fear we are losing our ability to communicate.  According to MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle, these hours devoted to Facebook, games and texts are hurting our capacity to be present with other humans.

When was the last time you chose a walk with a friend over a text or PM chat?

What are we teaching all the children who are playing on phones instead of interacting with those around them?

How Smartphones Are Killing Conversation

Money Matters

Think about the last time you shook your head or rolled your eyes at another’s financial decisions.

Ever felt like your parents spent too much on one of your siblings?

Money has a special way of bringing out our sense of fairness and our frustrations.

Michelle Singletary for The Washington Post points out that we have two choices when dealing with our feelings about others money decisions, and both require acceptance.  Family and money: A lesson in accepting what you cannot change

Childhood Trauma = Chronic Illness?

Studies have shown that childhood trauma may lead to chronic illness in adulthood.  Even with this information available, most medical schools elect not to incorporate these findings into their curriculum.

“But shouldn’t physicians consider the whole patient–body and mind…” Donna Jackson Nakazawa asks in her article, Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness–so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?

Nakazawa lost her father at age twelve and began experiencing health issues at fourteen. These increased and followed her throughout adulthood.  Finally, at 51, a physician mentioned various studies that suggested childhood trauma could lead to cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disease later in life.  Two-thirds of Americans report some form of childhood trauma.  Could we be overlooking a huge factor in adult illness, one that is treatable or even preventable earlier in life?