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December 2021

Why are people spending millions on NFTs?​

In recent months, some alternative investment vehicles, such as sports trading cards and exotic cars, have sold for record-breaking prices. Now, Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, have also emerged as hot commodities, even if they leave some folks scratching their heads.

What is an NFT? Take a glance at record-breaking NFT sales and you’ll start to get an idea. Mike Winkelmann, for example, created a new piece of art every day, including on his own wedding day. Then, he bundled the first 5,000 days as a singular piece of art, titled Everyday: the First 5000 Days, and sold the digital file as an NFT, ultimately fetching $69.3 million.
Why would anyone pay so much for a digital art file? Because it’s a Non-Fungible Token, meaning there’s only one original. Ultimately, people value originals and rare items. We could create replicas of sports trading cards or even fine artworks, yet as copies, they won’t be worth all that much. NFTs extend a similar concept of the “original” to digital files, including artworks, songs, and videos.

Of course, many would-be NFT purchasers may wonder about counterfeits. NFTs typically use a blockchain, which is essentially a public ledger, to manage transactions and determine custody. Multiple copies of blockchains are created and stored, making them difficult to hack or forge but easy to verify.

Are NFTs worth the money? Ultimately, buyers determine value, and so far, many have proven willing to shell out millions for some NFTs. Some argue that NFTs offer the next step for fine art collecting. History will determine if they’re right.

10 ways to put safety at the top of your holiday list​

If you consider winter heating, overloaded electrical circuits, and flammable decorations, you’ll understand why December is prime time for home fires. Here are some old and new suggestions for a safe holiday season.

  1. Look for the fire-resistant label on artificial trees and decorations.
  2. Buy a natural tree that is really fresh. It should be very green and have needles that are hard to pull off. A twig shouldn’t break when it’s bent.
  3. For outside decorations, buy only those made specifically for outdoors. Use heavy-duty extension cords and plug them into circuits that have a ground-fault interrupter.
  4. Get a remote control to easily turn off lights before you go to sleep or when it snows or rains.
  5. Avoid cooking fires by staying in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top.
  6. Put candles in heat resistant containers and place them where they can’t burn something or get knocked down.
  7. Before lighting a fireplace or wood stove, clear the area of tree boughs, paper, and other combustibles. Never burn gift wrappings in a fireplace. They could cause a flash fire.
  8. Protect small children by keeping decorations out of their reach. Inspect toys for small parts that could cause choking and keep scissors used for wrapping gifts away from children.
  9. Be sure to lock doors and windows. Thieves think you have money and valuable gifts in your home. Put indoor and outdoor lights on a timer and leave a radio or television on when you leave the house.
  10. If cold weather makes you want to use an indoor heater of any kind, be sure it is positioned well away from curtains, trees, and decorations. Never stack things on top of space heaters.

I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter!

Cecilia Martin

Christmas activities that everyone can enjoy

Keep your holiday gathering lively and fun for all ages with these activity ideas.

Oven mitts game: Dare everyone to open at least one present while wearing oven mitts. It’s practically impossible, hilarious to watch and reminds us to slow down and enjoy the time we spend together.

Candy cane hunt: Hide candy canes around the house (or yard, if you’re brave or live somewhere warm) and challenge kids to find them all.

Snowball fights: Take the party outside for a bracing battle in the snow. If you don’t care to go outside or there isn’t any of the white stuff on the ground, buy or make a bucket of cotton wool snowballs.

Tabletop games: Board and card games are a great choice to entertain partygoers and keep conversation flowing while you munch on cookies and sip your favorite festive beverage. Focus on easy games that don’t require a ton of concentration — this is a social event, and nobody wants to spend hours learning the rules.

Christmas movie marathon: When the party slows down and the kids start yawning, throw some blankets and pillows on the floor and let them unwind with some holiday movies. Odds are strong that you’ll wind up with a pile of sleeping kids while the adults can relax, chat, and do a little bit of cleanup.

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Thanks a Bunch!

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If you would think of 3 or 4 people that could use our services, then don’t hesitate to call them,and give them our name and phone number. Be sure to have them mention your name when they call so we can send your $100 Bonus!

Thanks in advance for your help and we look forward to sending cash your way!

Sue and her team have been cleaning our office for the past two years and they’ve always done a great job for us. The quality of service is at a much higher level than our previous cleaning provider.

”Tom Johnson Round Rock TX

A special thanks to all these fine folks who referred us…Kathy Jackson, Dan Lundgren, and Marcy Cantrell.

Smart TVs offer savvy advertising channels for small businesses

  We’ve got apps on our phones, apps on our computers, and now, we even have apps on our televisions. And if there’s an app, there may be a business opportunity. Smart TVs may offer ways for businesses big and small to connect with customers.

     More devices are becoming “smart,” which, among other things, means they’re connected to larger networks (such as the Internet). Modern TVs are loaded with streaming apps, like Netflix or Peacock. Meanwhile, online retailers and others are offering apps too.

     Take Amazon, for example. The online retail behemoth spent $11 billion on video and music content in 2020, up from $7.8 billion the year before. To put that in context, Netflix spent $10.81 billion on content in 2020 and $9.22 billion in 2019.

     Why is Amazon spending so much on media content? Part of it is to advertise goods sold on Amazon through video and music ads. The small businesses that sell their goods through Amazon’s marketplace can pay for ads to get their products in front of customers.

     Peacock and other platforms also allow small businesses to buy ad space. Traditional TV ads are expensive and collecting data is difficult. We can estimate how many people watch a given show through surveys. However, it’s challenging to gather more specific data, like who purchased a product due to a commercial.

     With digital apps and platforms, it’s possible to measure and define customer actions. With an app, you can track when a customer clicks on an ad and buys a product. Rather than paying for commercial spots, businesses can pay for results, such as click-throughs or sales.

     As smart TVs take over the living room, instead of merely showing a customer an ad for your awesome local pizza parlor, you can get them to order delivery right from their TV.

Trivia Teaser –Land's End

  1. While the U.S. is divided into states, Switzerland uses which other administrative divisions?

      a-Cantons, b-Parishes, c-Councils, d-Wards.

  1. Keflavik Airport is the main international hub for which country? 

     a-Lapland, b-Greenland, c-Iceland, d-The Netherlands.

  1. The Sudetenland, which had a predominately German population, was incorporated into which country in 1918-19?

      a-Yugoslavia, b-Czechoslovakia, c-Poland, d-Austria.

  1. Before their international matches, New Zealand rugby players perform which traditional Maori dance?

      a-Hula, b-Takalo, c-Hokey Pokey, d-Haka.

  1. Formerly known as the Cimbrian Peninsula, the northern part of Jutland contains part of which European country?

       a-Romania, b-Denmark, c-England, d-Greece.

  1. Solidarity was the first independent trade union to exist in a Warsaw Pact country, established by shipyard workers in which city in Poland?

      a-Krakow, b-Gdansk, c-Lodz, d-Lublin.

  1. Popular with tourists, which is Thailand’s largest island? 

     a-Nassau,b-Rapa Nui, c-Palawan, d-Phuket.

  1. Finland’s passport contains flick-book animation in the corners of its pages depicting which walking animal?

    a-Turtle, b-Reindeer, c-Moose, d-Wolverine.

  1. Which dictator gave himself the title “The Last King of Scotland”?

         a-Idi Amin, b-Joseph Stalin, c-Adolf Hitler, d-Slobodan Milosevic.

  1. Which of these African countries shares the largest border with Swaziland?

       a-Angola, b-Zambia, c-South Africa, d-Kenya.


Tax changes offer big benefits for families

 Tax season is still some weeks away, but with a large number of changes coming into effect this year, it’s smart to plan ahead. Various COVID-19 stimulus bills introduced a number of updates to different tax provisions, while higher-than-typical inflation has tweaked many thresholds. 2021 tax changes may affect individuals and organizations too.

     The American Rescue Plan featured a large one-year expansion of the child tax credit, increasing the credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children 5 years or younger, and to $3,000 for other kids. However, the extra amount is reduced for single filers earning more than $75,000 and joint filers earning more than $150,000. The 2021 credit is fully refundable and there’s no $2,500 earned income requirement this year either.

     The American Rescue Plan also temporarily expanded the child and dependent care tax credit, which helps defray the costs of childcare for children under 13 or dependent adults. Last year, families could claim $3,000 in expenses and a maximum of $6,000 per year. For 2021, claimable expenses per dependent jumps to $8,000 with a maximum of $16,000. Families can receive up to 50 percent of these expenses as a refundable credit. Credits phase out for individuals and families earning more than $125,000.

     Inflation substantially boosted the annual Social Security wage base. In 2020, Social Security taxes, including the employer’s 6.2 percent contribution, had to be paid on all income below $137,700. In 2021, this base jumps to $142,800.


Ditch the watch to enjoy run

New research suggests that when runners leave their watches and fitness trackers at home, they might enjoy their workouts more, according to CNN. Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway studying the psychology of fitness tracking apps found that some users became obsessed with analyzing their data to compare with others. For these users, workouts became stressful. Instead of runner’s high after a long run, users simply felt bad when they saw how they stacked up against other runners. There’s a simple solution, though: Leave the smart watch at home.

Staff Members Making the News

  Shelly and her team have been cleaning medical offices for the past five years and they’ve always done a great job for us. The team was recently awarded Domain’s highest achievement award for Service Excellence. Congratulations team! Keep up the good work!

     All team members of Domain Cleaning have completed the Annual Safety Training Certification. We’re very impressed with the scores and are confident about our staff’s performance.

So shines a good deed in a weary world. ~Willie Wonka

De-clutter for Christmas; cut stress

     Your bedroom closet is already full. Your fridge and cabinets don’t have a lot of room to spare, and neither do your storage closets. And it isn’t even Christmas yet — once the gifts, decorations, extra food, new holiday outfits and all the other assorted stuff comes inside, you’ll be overwhelmed, just like you are every year.

     If this sounds like you, consider giving yourself an early gift: A pre-Christmas de-clutter, to help you prioritize the items you value, make space for new things and cut back on stress so you can enjoy the things that really matter. 

     * Check your stash of Christmas decorations. Separate the things you haven’t used in a few years and donate them to a thrift shop for other families to enjoy. 

     * Walk through the public areas of your house — living room, dining room, foyer, hallways — and pick out any decor items or small furniture that you don’t love anymore. If you’d rather see an empty space, chuck it. 

     * Declutter your furniture. Do you really need those worn-out throw pillows with all the coffee stains? 

     * Work with your kids to sort through old toys and get rid of the ones they don’t play with anymore. If they need a little motivation, explain that it’s so they have plenty of room for this year’s gifts. 

     * Hit the kitchen and be absolutely ruthless. Toss expired foods, old water bottles or cheap plastic cups, cookware that you never use or that box of old dishes that you don’t have room for. 

     * Set priorities carefully for the rooms you’ll spend the most time in and to accommodate the activities you’ve planned. The most important thing about the holidays is sharing them with the people we care about, so if you don’t have the time or energy to hit every room, don’t kick yourself. Do what you can, congratulate yourself for a job well done and enjoy the things that truly matter.

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Take the Trivia Challenge and Win a $25 Gift Card to Applebee’s!

The first <##> people who call our office with the correct answer will be entered into the drawing!

The child and dependent care tax credit is how much for 2021?

a. $3000  b. 3600   c. $6000    d. $8000

HINT: The answer is hidden somewhere in this newsletter