Well, if you have read "Michelle's Corner" today, then you know of my triumph in the garden and my tragedy with the poison ivy. This is the second time I have gotten it within a year and I am just really susceptible to it. So today's recommendation is all about poison ivy and how to avoid it or at least detect it! Poison ivy is tricky to identify and changes based on conditions and can look like other harmless plants. Near the ocean it develops a waxy cover, it is some times saw toothed and leaves can vary in both size and color. It can grow as a climber, a shrub or a ground cover and sometimes has berries in the fall. And not only are the leaves poisonous, so are the roots, stems and berries. Wherever there is a presence of urushiol oil, you can expect a breakout. But how can you detect it for sure, without carrying a poster along with you? Try using SeeLeaf Detection wipes on any plant that you suspect may be a culprit. It turns a bight pink or purple of it detects the oil. There is a very helpful video that shows you the best methods to test plants using the wipes. These wipes are great for anyone who plays a sport like golf and baseball and the ball goes into the woods. Wipe it down before you do anything because it may have been in contact with poison ivy. Same thing with dogs. Although they are impervious to it, it can get on their fur and be transfered to you. So these wipes are very good to use on them as well! You get 10wipes for $18.50 (which includes shipping and handling). To learn more about this product or to purchase click here.
Often when recommending a strategy for a client, we are liquidating assets or selling stock or property. At the outset, we discuss with the client the capital gains and income tax implications of such a transaction. Often times, a client will ask, “What is capital gain?” Below is a brief explanation of what you need to know about the tax on capital gain.
What is capital gain?
Capital gain is the difference between the "basis" in property (e.g. real estate or stocks) and its selling price. The basis is usually the purchase price of property. So, for example, if you purchased a house for $200,000 and later sold it for $300,000, you would have $100,000 of gain ($300,000 - $200,000 = $100,000). However, the basis can be adjusted if you spend money on capital improvements. For instance, in the same example, if after buying your house you spent $25,000 updating the kitchen, the basis would now be $225,000 and the gain on its sale for $300,000 would be $75,000 ($300,000 - ($200,000 + $25,000) = $75,000). In order to prove these capital improvements in the event of an audit, it is important that you keep good.
How much is the tax on the gain?
The answer to this question depends, but typically, an individual will assume 15% for federal unless you have either very low or very high income, and just over 5% for Massachusetts, so a total of about 20% in most instances. In other words, the tax on $75,000 of gain, from the example above, would be about $15,000.
Below are three exceptions:
If your taxable income, including the capital gains, is less than $37,650 for a single person and $75,300 for a married couple (in 2016), there's no federal tax on capital gain. But beware that the capital gains will be included in the calculation and could put you over the threshold.
If you owned the property for less than a year, you would be subject to short-term capital gains tax rates, which are essentially the same rates as for income tax.
If your income is more than $415,050 for a single person and $466,950 for a married couple (in 2016), the federal capital gains tax rate is 20%, bringing the combined federal and Massachusetts rate up to just over 25%.
Add the veal, beef, bread crumbs, parsley, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.
Form the mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil.
Add pepper to taste. Add the escarole to the broth, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the meatballs and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve in soup bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan
If you want a heartier soup, you can add small pasta (orzo, mini stars, pastina) and cook about 7 minutes longer. Sometimes I also add an egg to the broth. Just lightly beat an egg with some Parmesan cheese and a dash of salt. Slowly whisk the into the hot pot of soup and cook for about 3 mins.
Summer vacation is just a four short weeks away for the kids! While I love that they have no schedules for the first week, all too soon boredom creeps in. They also become "beached" out and the cost of other activities become expensive day after day. Thanks to the Highland Street Foundation, every Friday from June 24th until August 26th, Massachusetts residents and tourists get to visit designated cultural attractions across Massachusetts for FREE! No registration, no tickets, no kidding! Just visit and enjoy! From museums to zoos and everything in between. There are a total of 60 museums and cultural events for you and your children or grandchildren to enjoy!! That ends up being six venues that are free across the Bay State. So if you want to go to the local New Bedford Whaling Museum on 07/22 you can, but you can also go to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston instead! For more detailed information on upcoming events, please visit them on web at www.highlandstreet.org.
So spring is here and summer is just around the corner! While it may be to late to become "bathing suit ready" in a month it is never to late to develop healthy habits. And by healthy habits, I don't mean just diet. I mean exercise! (I think I just heard an audible groan as you read that last line!) But exercise doesn't mean doing hundreds of sit ups or planking, just get up an do something. You would be surprised just how many steps you take or don't take if you have a sedentary lifestyle. All Fitbit count your steps for you. To really burn off calories you should walk at least 10,000 steps a day, which is 5 miles! My Fitbit ChargeHR allows me to see how many steps I have taken, what my heart rate is and how many calories I have burned. It also monitors my sleep! I also have it synched up to my computer and cell phone. Lastly, it is also a satellite accurate watch! Some Fitbits do more and some do less. If you are a swimmer, there is also a Fitbit that is waterproof and can measure strokes and laps. So no more excuses! It just takes a little "bit" to get "fit"!