5 Tips to Stay Cool When Teaching Your Teen How to Drive

Your teen is turning 16 soon. Many parents dread this period. Not just because teenagers at that age can be difficult to deal with but also because they’re legally eligible to take a driving test and obtain a license.

Having your teen behind the wheel of a car can be the stuff of nightmares for many parents. This is understandable since the National Center for Health Statistics lists motor-vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death among people in their teens.

If you’re lucky, your teen may decide to delay getting their driving license and wait for a time they are more mature. According to the AAA Foundation, only 54 percent of teens that participated in the survey said they had a driving license by the time they were 18 years old. These findings show that teens are waiting longer to get their license.

While this may seem like good news, young drivers are still considered reckless. It should come as no surprise that insurance premiums rise when parents add their teens to the policy. You may score a better rate by changing your insurance provider even after you have included your teen on your policy.

If you want your teen to observe the law and be a more responsible driver, it’s a good idea to instill these principles yourself. There’s no better way to do this than to teach your teen how to drive.

The following are some tips to help you remain calm and cool during those trying trips:

  1. Practice in a safe place

The first step to ensuring that your teen learns how to drive properly is to identify a safe place where they can practice. This space should be free of traffic and other obstacles. A long empty stretch of road or an empty parking lot are great places to start.

  1. Agree on some ground rules

Agree on some basic rules before you begin the driving lessons. These rules may include establishing roles and ensuring that distractions such as smartphones are turned off while driving. Rules offer guidelines for lessons.

  1. Get the basics down

Begin with the basics necessary for driving a vehicle before you hit the open road. Make sure your teen understands just how important it is to learn these basics before you hit the highway. Learning the basics will not only help them to gain more confidence and become safer drivers, but it will also help to develop more confidence in your teen. Once these basics are mastered, it will be much easier on both of you when you hit the open road.

  1. Learn to ignore slip ups

It can be hard to ignore slip ups but doing so is essential to their development. Think about when you were first learning how to drive. You probably made just as many mistakes or even more. Expect your teen to make mistakes and be prepared to accept them. The whole idea of learning how to drive is to gain confidence behind the wheel and avoid slip ups on the road, where it counts most.

  1. Give them a little free reign

The best way to build your teen’s confidence is to be confident in their abilities. This often means giving them a little more freedom and allowing them to tackle bigger challenges. Allow them to drive on the highway once in a while (only after they have their learner’s permit and a licensed adult in the passenger seat). This will go a long way in helping your teen improve their skills quickly.

Don’t panic when faced with the prospect of teaching your teen to drive. Take it as an opportunity to instill good driving habits in them.

How Your Company Can Make Smart Decisions For Online Operations

By now, every business owner and entrepreneur knows that having a great online presence is essential for overall success. However, making the decisions necessary to building your online presence can be quite stressful. From choosing web hosting and design packages to devising online marketing strategies, becoming a brand with a powerful online presence can seem overwhelming.

It’s possible for your company to navigate their online sales and marketing without hitting any roadblocks, however. Here are some smart tips on how your company can make smart decisions for online operations.

Do Your Homework

This sounds like it should be obvious for just about any business decision, but you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs rush into things without really stopping to consider their other options. Whether it’s your web hosting plan or a prospective marketing firm that claims it will be able to take your business to the next level, it’s essential that you make decisions slowly and with a lot of consideration. When it comes to your business, never rush into things. Even if a company is touting a “limited time offer,” always really consider things before signing any contracts.

Compare Services

There are many companies out there devoted to helping companies to expand and improve their presence on the internet. They all have their own pros and cons. For this reason, it’s essential that you take the time to compare services. Look for companies that have a track record of success with brans similar to yours, as what’s ideal for one brand might not be so ideal for another.

Know The Value Of Design

These days customers tend to make a lot of split second decisions. With the plethora of goods and services available online, customers are more inclined to be swayed by first impressions. This is why great design is so important. Customers will often make buying decisions based on the emotions that the design of a website or logo evokes within them. For this reason, it’s crucial that your design is something that you’ve put a lot of work and thought into, rather than something you assemble haphazardly to get it over with.

Create A Budget

It can be easy to overspend when you’re launching your online brand. For this reason, you should lay out a budget before you begin looking at different services and hosting providers. By knowing how much you’re willing to spend in each area from the beginning, you’re less likely to go over budget.

Creating a home for your company on the internet can be a challenge, but it’s integral for your company’s success. Customers are attracted to companies with stellar online presences, so make sure that your brand is up to par.

Giving Stuff to Charity

If I’m going to live in a van I need to get rid of some stuff.  Even though I live in a studio apartment and don’t buy very much I still have too much stuff.  I need to go through it all and see what I need to keep and what can be sold or given away.  I don’t think there is much worth selling but I’ll probably give away a lot of stuff on Craigslist of Freecycle.  It is kind of amazing that even though I try to only buy stuff when it is really necessary I’ve still managed to accumulate a lot of stuff.  Not near as much stuff as most people who fill their garages with all their extra stuff but still a lot.  It makes me wonder how much money is spent each year on stuff that is barely or never used and then just goes into storage.

The late George Carlin had a lot to say about stuff.

There is also a good chance that I will give some of my stuff to charity. After all, if I don’t need these items, maybe I can give them to someone less fortunate who can use them. Old clothing and furniture can come in particularly handy for those in need, as they might not have the resources to purchase these items for themselves.

Another thing that I am considering doing is making a sponsored boat donation. Through this program, you can donate your boat for a good cause. I currently have one in storage and I’m looking to receive some sizable tax credits for my troubles. The boat will be sold at auction with the proceeds going to a children’s charity. I am trying to downsize as much as possible to save money, and quite frankly, paying to store this boat is eating up some valuable resources every month.

In the end, this boat donation program really is the best of both worlds, since I don’t want to have my old boat in storage any longer and would love the opportunity to help those who are less fortunate. The tax benefit is like the icing on the cake, as we all could use some deductions when the taxman comes calling.

5 Money-Saving Tax Tips

Warren Buffet once said, “It is the government’s job to get as deep as it can into my pockets. It’s my job to keep them out!”

Buffet, of course, was referring to paying taxes, and it is true. It is your duty as a wise money manager to take every step you can within legal boundaries to minimize your taxable income, and thereby minimize the amount of money you pay to Uncle Sam each year.

Education Credits and Deductions

University is expensive. The average college education, including food and room & board, typically runs over $60,000 for a 4 year degree. Fortunately, current IRS tax code makes it possible to deduct a portion of these expenses each year. Whether you are paying for a child’s education, or paying off college loans, one of these credits may apply:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction

Child Care Credit

The majority of American families pay for some form of child care throughout the year, and it is not cheap. Even cheap daycare rates can costs parents thousands of dollars per year. Under the Child Care Tax Credit, parents are eligible to deduct 20 to 35 percent of qualifying expenses up to $3,000 for one qualifying child, and up to $6,000 for two or more qualifying children.

Gift Money

The government actually taxes you when you give money to friends and family on any amount over $10,000, but that minimum has now been raised to $13,000. This means you can offload some of your assets to children, parents, etc. at a rate of $13k per person, without paying any gift tax at all. This can increase your tax debt relief.

IRA Contribution
One tax shelter is an IRA. When you contribute to an IRA account, that money is subtracted from your taxable income, which results in lower tax payments to the government. Many people do not know, however, that one may actually contribute up to $5,000, depending on your modified gross income, before April 15, 2012, and the contribution will count for tax year 2011. This is a great way to save money last minute.

Mortgage Bill
Here is a little known trick. If you pay your January mortgage before December 31st of the current year each year, you may be able to deduct the interest for your January payment on your 2011 return. Now may be a little too late to do that this year, but keep it in mind for next year.

Green Expenses
If you make improvements to your home, which are environmentally friendly, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 30 percent of what you paid. Furthermore, it is not only home improvements that may earn you a tax credit. Electric automobiles and some hybrids also qualify for tax credits.
File on Time
This may sound like common sense, but scores of people miss the April 15th tax deadline each year, and this costs money, increasing the financial burden on tax payers. The first step to saving money on your taxes is to make sure you pay on time and in full so that you do not get hit with late penalties and interest.

Consult a Professional
Knowing exactly all the deductions you may qualify for is nearly impossible. Therefore, it may be worth it to hire a CPA, or use a high quality tax software program, such as Turbo Tax, which can provide a number of additional possible tax breaks based on your personal information and financial situation.