(√-1) (2^3) ∑ (3.14)
Happy Pi Day!
More on pi: here
I have to take a moment away from my typical posts and really shed some light on a horrible issue. The gay rights movement has been gaining momentum over the past few decades, and has been met with a deadly amount of retaliation. Now, American “Christians” are taking on a new frontier in the fight against equality: Africa.
Take a moment and watch this video recently posted by ABC News: [Click here]
I find myself asking, “who would Jesus hate?“.
All this hatred, and all this violence unto our fellow human beings, “and yet God has not said a word!” It makes me wonder…
2010 has leveled the playing field for Roth IRAs; the federal government has eliminated the income limit for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. This will benefit millions of Americans making $100,000 or more whom were previously unable to take advantage of a Roth IRA or convert their traditional IRAs into a Roth. The new law repeals previous income limits for conversions; however, income limits still apply to Roth IRA contributions.
We must always think of Uncle Sam since he, too, benefits from the taxes that will be collected on capital gains that were accrued pre-conversion.
What’s the difference?
Those whom are younger than 50 years of age can contribute up to $5,000 annually to an IRA. NB: If an individual is older than 50 years of age, they can contribute and additional $1,000 in retirement catch up, totaling $6,000 annually.
There is no mandatory age at which someone must stop contributing to a Roth, compared to 70 ½ with a traditional IRA. If an 80-year-old grandmother wants to open a Roth IRA, she can do so.
Any income earned on a Roth IRA is tax-free when a consumer withdraws after age 59 ½ as long as it has been five years since the Roth’s inception; however, all withdrawals from a traditional IRA are taxable as ordinary income.
Tax you very much!
The rules for IRA conversion taxation have changed slightly for 2010: and 2010 only! This year, anyone who converts a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA will have the option to spread out his or her tax bill, 50/50, over the 2010 and 2011 tax year. But, be aware that taxes will be on the rise next year because of the sunset provision in the tax act of 2001 – however, this may be overturned with new legislation as this year progresses. Be cognizant of your tax burden and decide accordingly.
Keep in mind; after a certain income level, the IRS prohibits traditional IRA contribution tax deductions.
For those of you that are making more than $120,000 (ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA), open a traditional IRA and max out your annual contributions, then convert to a Roth immediately. This way, you can take advantage of tax-free growth even if you are ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA.
Froth Your Roth:
Do not just put your money into a Roth and leave it to rot, take full advantage of the fact you have the ability to grow your money TAX FREE. Trade stocks/options within the account and grow it to the hilt! Many people, well, those of whom actually save, just put their money in these accounts and expect them to grow magically. Not going to happen… be smart.
Fidelity has a great calculator to see if converting is in your best interest: Here
As always, speak with your accountant before making any final decisions.
So many Americans drink it, but so few make it properly. There is a Mr. Coffee in just about every home and it makes me shake to the bone. Where there is evidence of a Mr. Coffee, awful coffee is sure to follow. There are four sins with this brewing technique:
The first sin against coffee starts in the store. Many people buy Folgers and Maxwell House both of which are rancid to the last drop. Both of these ubiquitous brands use the cheapest beans possible and are ground god only knows how long ago. Grinding coffee in a factory sets the sails for Stale Town long before you get the coffee home.
Additionally, people do not treat their beans with respect. They like to be cool, in the dark and away from moisture! The Mr. Coffees of the world think nothing of leaving a bag of coffee exposed to the elements in their pantry. Nasty.
The second sin comes with the water. Many people get their water from wells, and wells by nature have many impurities and minerals that can alter the taste of your coffee. It’s like drinking pennies.
Rule of thumb: if you do not want a mineral, taste, or odor in your water: you do not want it in your coffee. Use filtered water! You can use a carbon filter, or buy bottled, it doesn’t matter just STOP USING TAP WATER.
Every brewing technique has a different grind coarseness. Espresso has a very fine grind, and a coffee press (cafetière) has a very coarse grind. Pre-ground coffee falls in the mid-grind range, which allows for faster extraction. This is all fine and dandy, but there isn’t enough time for the coffee to properly steep. Again, nasty.
This can make the coffee bitter and flavorless. You wouldn’t pour water through a teabag, would you?
Sin four: Paper filters will be the death of a good cup of coffee, even if you followed the aforementioned steps. A paper filter pulls all the oils out of the coffee, and it adds a chemical residue and ‘papery’ taste to it. Those oils are what brings a spark to your cup; they have a rich and nutty flavor, making your cup more dynamic.
If you insist on using a Mr. Coffee, switch to a “gold cone” or another mesh filter.
Now that you know your sins: atone!
Throw out that machine and buy a coffee press. They are cheap, cleaner, and make a great cup of coffee! Next, buy a burr grinder and a scale. Do not buy a blade grinder! They create an inconsistent grind, which is bad news for good coffee. Lastly, never forget the four sins against coffee and you will be well on your way to a great cup!
Now, I can tell you all the “proper” measurements, but in reality, you need to find what works for your taste.
What they say: 250 ML of water to 8 grams of coffee.
What I do:
270 ML of water to 25 grams of coffee ground at a fairly coarse grind. I keep it on the finer side because I want it stronger and I like the ‘mud’ at the bottom of my cup.
Next, aerate with a wooden spoon (not metal), or carefully swirl the cafetière. Then, press!
Lastly, pour and enjoy!
Note the difference: the coffee is more complex, bolder, and has a helluva lot more flavor.