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Weekly Reader 2.1.12

Adult Child Deduction?

Tax time is upon us and as you go to check that “dependent” box, you may feel tempted to include the boomerang young adult who you’ve been supporting over the past year.  The amount is considerable as each dependent reduces your taxable income by $3,700. Is that allowable? Like with many tax questions, the answers is “It depends.”

In a USA Today article about claiming adult children as dependents, columnist Sandra Block outlines some of the variables: relationship, age, residence, support level.  She gives an example of when a deduction is allowable, according to a tax professional.

Suppose your daughter graduated from college in May, found a job in September and earned $20,000. As long as the amount you spent on her support exceeded $20,000, you can claim her as a dependent…However, if you claim your child as a dependent, she can’t claim a personal exemption on her own tax return.

However, to stay out of jail, best to check with your own tax preparer!

Thank Gen Y for a New World of Food

My children went to a “participatory” nursery school which basically meant that parents were unpaid classroom helpers. It really wasn’t that burdensome and the day mom came to help out, your child got to bring in a special snack.  However, sometime working around all the food allergies took creativity.  Those food allergies, which didn’t seem to get much attention before our generation of children, have lead to a vast change in the way we eat.  Gen Y is credited with overhauling the grocery store, according to an article at Policymic.com.

Where once there were just apples and oranges, beef and chicken, foods are now distinguished as being locally produced/organic/kosher/halal/gluten-free/fair trade and my favorite “exotic foods,” to cater to an ever diversifying market. It reflects a generation who considers food purchase and consumption as a vote to revolutionize a system, creating niches which seemingly have not existed before.

So we can thank our kid’s penchant for healthy/ethnic/allergy-free foods for all the Greek yogurt and other foods we now consume!

Generation Touch?

Speaking of changes, a 30-something friend recently lamented how fast technology keeps changing with seemingly dozens of new apps everyday. If she feels like it’s hard to keep, I told her, think about my generation of baby boomers. For us, the biggest technological invention of our teens was electric rollers, no curlers to sleep on!

If you really want to feel technologically dated though, observe the very youngest generation and watch a two-year-old turn on the DVD player or swipe an iPad ap.  A News.com articles dubs them “Generation Touch,” as they “have no comprehension of a screen that isn’t operated by touch.”

What does the future hold for them—and us—as we watch them from our rocking chairs? Supposedly they:

  • Will abandon the desktop computer
  • Work and study will be done via smart phones and tablets
  • Expect to interact with every surface
  • Will drive demand for increasingly body-centric technology based on touch, gestures and voice
  • Will make the term “couch potato” obsolete with their mobile lifestyle
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