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(The Old Fart speaks his mind and we encourage that at Macho Spouse. Â However, The Old Fart's views do not necessarily represent the views of Macho Spouse...but he sure is fun to read.)
Think the Fiscal Cliff is scary?
Wait till you do your taxes!!!
You crazy political cry-babies, you stubborn fools who call yourselves the people's choice â€“ are you really that blind?
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Having to leave behind jobs that I really enjoyed because my wife received relocation orders was never easy. I felt that my idea of a career was lost so I looked into entrepreneurship.
Inc. Military Entrepreneurs is a resource for
By John Aldrich, AVP, Military Relations at American Military University
Movember, the grass roots movement to raise awareness about men's health issues is nearly complete, and for those of you who are growing a mustache to show support for the cause, I salute you. For those who didn't participate or weren't aware of Movember, there is always next November.
Just like the mustaches of the Men of Movember, male military spouses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are stay-at-home dads, some run businesses from home, and others balance careers outside the home and taking care of the family.
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At Macho Spouse, we know the challenges civilian male military spouses face when it comes to finding gainful employment and dealing with career loss. We encourage civilian male military spouses to consider entrepreneurship as a possible way of making this lifestyle work. We're not naive, we know the difficulties that come with starting a business and successfully running it. We also know that there are great organizations offering help to civilian male military spouses who really want to start and run their own businesses. The [[EXLINK_21]] is one such organization.
Before starting a business, there are many questions to answer. A civilian male military spouse who wants to start a business has a few questions to answer that are military-specific, like:
- How can I start a business when I move so often?
- How can I start a business when I live on base?
- How will my business impact my spouse?
MSBA is a "link that rocks" because they provide answers to these military-specific questions and help civilian male military spouses get closer to their military spouse owned businesses.
Check out some of the info from MSBA:
At MSBA, we've tackled the steepest part of the military spouse owned business learning curve. We pioneered the military spouse peer-to-peer mentoring and community based solutions to overcoming the unique challenges of military spouse owned businesses.
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So, you have a job offer and the employer offers you employment as either an independent contractor or an employee. You figure that since your wife is in the military, you don't need the insurance and your paycheck will be bigger without all that withholding taken out.
Life as a 1099'er
Ready to take that 1099? Not so fast. You might be in for a big shock at the end of the year. Here is a list of some of the hits you'll take.
• All the income taxes for each taxing entity will be due every quarter after your first year in business. A total of 90 percent must be paid by April 15 of the following year or there will be a penalty.
• You will have to pay the entire Social Security tax. That amounts to 15.3 percent on your first $113,700 and 2.9 percent over that amount. Employees get half that amount paid by their employer automatically. However, as a self-employed individual, you may deduct the half that an employer would have contributed.
• Independent contractors are not covered by non-discrimination laws, wage and hour protection, unemployment insurance, or pension and benefit protections that “real” employees receive.
• If you drive or run other equipment for the business that pays you, you won't be covered by the employer's insurance policy. Guess who that leaves?
What Makes an Employee
The basic issue in deciding whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor is the business's control over the work of the person. This sounds like a simple matter, but courts constantly are deluged with arguments about this issue.
If you're told when to come to work; if you don't provide your own equipment or supplies; and if you are paid in set increments such as hours or piecework, you are an employee, period. If they train you, you are an employee. The courts have made clear that just because the employer doesn't decide to use control, doesn't mean you are then an independent contractor. The crux of the matter is whether they have the right to do so. Read the IRS publication about the issue of contractors vs employees.
Making the Right Decision
Before you make any decisions, take some time to investigate and consider which category works best for you and your family. If you are leaning toward becoming an independent contractor, make sure you're prepared to save enough to cover your tax expenses and any additional costs like liability insurance.
Consider incorporating as a LLC to protect yourself and give you additional tax protection. It's a good idea to get the help of a paralegal, lawyer and tax specialist.
If you are considering becoming self-employed, be certain to read the IRS Bulletin Understanding Employment Taxes. This is a simple document that explains what the requirements are in everyday language.
This post was sponsored by the School of Firearms Technology from the Sonoran Desert Institute.
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It's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”
The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)
In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business! And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts. I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.
While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!
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Hello male military spouse community! â€¨â€¨My name is Jamison Stone and I am the spouse of Staff Sergeant Rebecca Bainbridge of the United States Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Maryland. Because of her assignment, my wife, and the rest of her company, are on tour and away from their families for over 100 days out of the year.â€¨â€¨
As you very well know, Military service is hard on families. While I speak more about this topic on my blog, the ongoing struggle is very taxing to both the heart and the mind. Most difficult for me is the sadness and depression of separation during my partner's deployment and training.â€¨â€¨
Sadly, many Military Families have it far worse off than we do, particularly those with service members actually in harm's way, and especially of course those who make the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. All these women and men who proudly wear the cloth of our nation, and their families, are true heroes.â€¨â€¨
Female Mil Spouses are very lucky to have a wide network of other military wives to lean on during these difficult times. Sadly, we men, are not as fortunate. Personally, I find it extremely challenging as an Army husband to find a real sense of community. This is particularly emphasized when my wife is away on training or tour.
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The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) - the pre-eminent networking, mentoring and professional development organization committed to the education, empowerment and advancement of military spouses.
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Is it possible to buy a home with no money down? If you or your spouse qualifies for a VA home loan, the answer is yes. VA home loans are a special benefit available to current and ex-members of the U.S. military only and they can save homebuyers a lot of money. Veterans and active members of the U.S. military are eligible for some of the lowest interest rates on the market but that's not the only way VA Loans save buyers money. VA Loans are also "No Money Down" home loans.
Understanding "No Money Down"
"No money down" means homebuyers don't have to provide a down payment to obtain a VA Loan. Traditional mortgages or home loans require as much as 5% to 20% of the purchase price as a down payment on a home. On a $200,000 home that is between $10,000 and $20,000 that must be provided at the closing. Saving up that much money for a down payment is a huge stumbling block for many would-be buyers. They may have the credit and income qualifications needed to obtain a home loan, but just can't come up with the down payment. Too often they end up not buying their own home or they miss out on the home they really want.
The VA Loan program changes that and makes homeownership more accessible by waiving the down payment requirement. VA Loan mortgage lenders are willing to forego this requirement because VA Loans are backed by the U.S. Government. This minimizes the risk to lenders if a buyer defaults, which is one of the primary reasons down payments are typically required.
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You have captured your small business idea, now what do you do? If you are like me, once the idea is seeded in your mind, you begin to brainstorm the best way forward. But what is the best way forward. Depending on your own personal experiences, getting your mind caged to help your idea might be one of the most challenging things you do.
I think one of most amazing aspects of starting a business is the pure creation of the endeavor. I think the concept of turning your thought, a series of synapses that fired in your brain, into an existing and tactile entity is one of the best attributes to being human. I personally think this pure creation provides is what provides deep satisfaction and feeds the soul of man and woman. Despite the feelings that great ideas provoke, it is still hard to see the path forward if you don't know how to proceed. This is where the business plan fits in nicely.
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In Part 1 of Nurturing the Money Tree we chatted about creating income by working for someone else. But if you are like me, maybe working for someone else isn't for you, and many military spouses actually choose to own their own businesses. I know I did.
This option gives them the flexibility and control that they are looking for while building something for their future at the same time. Being a business owner has some great advantages, but if you don't know what you are getting into and you don't have a plan of action it can quickly take over your life or worse leave you in a financial pickle.
Which is More Risky, Entrepreneurship or Trying to find Defense-Related Employment After Separation?
Earlier this year I attended my Transition Assistance Program (TAP) class ahead of my planned 1 August 2014 retirement. After completing the week of training with 25 other military members (both officers and enlisted), I was left with some thoughts about the program and life after the military.
TAP class, whose name is now Transition GPS due the passage of the 2011 Vow to Hire Heroes Act, was heavily geared towards providing military members the tools to become Government Service (GS) employees or defense industry professionals. I certainly understand why. After all, everyone in the class served in the military their entire career, some spanning over 30 years. It makes sense that most would want to capitalize on the skills they acquired during their many years of service.
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Pearl Harbor was bombed December 07 1941
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is Annually on December 7 Commemorates Attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii during World War II.
This is the first video in a two-part series featuring Air Force spouse William McEvoy. William and his wife have been married for over three years, but have been a serious couple for about nine. Get to know William and learn what created his depression as he speaks openly about a difficult career arc and a strong desire to be a contributing partner within his marriage. Male military spouses and stay-at-home-dads of all ages and experiences may relate to William's story.
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Macho Spouse and Chris Pape are mentioned in Alice Swan's article, Tuning in to the Military Spouse Network, in which Alice covers lessons she learned at the 2013 Military.com Spouse Summit (April 11-12, 2013). Here is what Alice wrote:
Build a service out of your unique experience and skill: A great example is Chris Pape, male military spouse and founder of Macho Spouse (http://malemilspouse.com/). Chris was kind enough to talk with me about how he started Macho Spouse. Living in Columbia, SC, while his spouse is working on an ROTC assignment, Chris said he began to feel pretty isolated. He thought he was the only guy spouse out there looking for information and help. About two years ago, Chris began researching male military spouses on the web but found only two articles about guys manning the home fronts. One of the stories was written by Amy Bushatz who you may remember from my Spouse Summit blog: http://www.dcmilitaryfamlife.com/profiles/blogs/you-are-not-alone.
Chris emailed Amy, who helped introduce him to Wayne Perry, founder of Manning the Home front (http://www.dcmilitaryfamlife.com/profiles/blogs/the-outlook-for-mil...) – it was the Military Spouse network in action. A video producer for 15 years, Chris had been working in Arkansas for the Department of Education, creating instructional videos before the PCS to Columbia. “I didn't see any information sites out there for guys to help share lessons learned or how to find jobs,” Chris told me, “so I decided to use the skills I'd developed making the educational videos to create learning videos for male military spouses.” Chris's fledgling video series has grown into a full service site for male military spouses to connect, get information on employment, money tips or gain insights through the Male Spouse 101 tutorial.
Facing another PCS soon with his Air Force spouse to San Antonio, Chris is excited about the opportunities the move presents. “I'm building a business I can take with me,” he explained. And while Macho Spouse is his future, Chris feels it can also lead to other opportunities in the present. Chris is confident that the work he's done creating Macho Spouse will lead to video and film production work in Texas.
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For those of you in or near Colorado Springs, Colorado, Military Spouse Connections is looking for a military spouse entrepreneur for their upcoming event.
From Military Spouse Connections:
Attention military spouses in the Colorado Springs area. We love entrepreneurs and are looking for a military spouse entrepreneur to come speak at our event in Colorado Springs on 23 May. If you are a military spouse who has a start-up business that would like to share their business with us and others contact us! You will be able to speak as well as have a table at the event.
If interested send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till Next Time…Let's Stay Inspired
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WHAT: Hiring Our Heroes – Camp Pendleton
WHEN: Tuesday, May 7, 2013; 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Pacific Views Events Center, 202850 San Jacinto Rd., Camp Pendleton, CA 92055
RSVP: Interested job seekers should register for free at hoh.greatjob.net. Walk-in job seekers are allowed.
Tomorrow's “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair at Camp Pendleton isn't for the one in uniform.
This time, military spouses are the focus of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.
The Military Spouse Business Association (MSBA) is a terrific resource for military spouse entrepreneurs. We list them as a “Spouse Oranization That Rocks!” because we believe in their mission, and have personally used their services with great success. If you have a business of your own, or are considering starting one, we recommend watching this video and then registering with the MSBA. (Run Time: 4:22)
Interview With: Rikki Winters, MSBA Operations Director
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