Here are 5 things you should know.
1. Income tax in the US is progressive. This means that the incomes are grouped into brackets, and each bracket has a tax that applies ONLY TO THE MONEY IN THAT BRACKET. So, if you get a raise and go into a higher bracket, the higher rate does not apply to all your income.
With taxes almost due, and with income tax being complicated enough, it’s important to know that there’s a common misperception that going into a higher bracket might mean you make less money overall. This is NOT the case. If you go into a higher bracket with a higher tax rate, that rate applies only to the money you earn in that bracket. The money you earn in the lower bracket is still taxed at the lower bracket’s rate.
To understand this let’s use a simplified example. Let’s say there are two tax brackets and rates. Up to $50,000 in income is taxed at 10%, and anything over $50,000 is taxed at 30%. Let’s say you currently earn $50,000. As you’re in the 10% bracket, you have to pay $5,000 in taxes, so your take home, or net, pay is $45,000. (Again, greatly simplified.)
This year you get a $10,000 raise. You’re now earning $60,000, putting you in the 30% bracket. Does that mean you’re now going to pay 30% of $60,000, or $18,000 total, and have a net income of $42,000? In other words, did your raise mean you earn less this year?
No. You’ll pay 10% of the first $50,000 ($5,000) and 30% of the next $10,000 ($3,000), for a total of $8,000, leaving you with a net of $52,000.
So, even if your income has increased and put you in a higher bracket, you’re not going to have a decrease in net income. Of course, there are a lot of factors that can affect your total tax liability. If you’re ever unsure of what your tax liability is or what your obligations are, always talk to a professional. As in, a real accountant, tax attorney, or some other competent professional. A lot of “tax preparers” know barely anything, and can end up costing you more. Also, if you make less than $54,000 a year, are a senior, have a disability, or do not speak English well, you can often find volunteer (free) tax assistance from experienced tax professionals through the Federal government’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
2. If you’re ever in an unfamiliar or sketchy area, you can use Google Maps without looking at your phone.
Google has done a great job integrating vibration alerts into their Maps app. In walking mode, the vibration patter is different depending on if you need to turn right or left.
Long short short vibration = right hand turn
Short long long vibration = left hand turn
There are people out there who look for tourists or people who clearly don’t know the area and prey on them. If you’re ever in an unfamiliar area, and you don’t want to broadcast the fact that you don’t know your way around, you can use Google Maps by simply holding your phone in your hand and pay attention to the vibration patterns.
3. Raw or undercooked beans contain a toxic compound that can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. Many slow-cookers do not reach high enough temperatures to deactivate the toxin.
No one wants to deal with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain just because you didn’t cook your beans right.
You should be soaking and subsequently boiling beans for at least 10 minutes to effectively destroy the toxin (Phytohemagglutinin). Red kidney beans contain particularly high levels of this toxin. White kidney beans have about 1/3 as much, and broad beans have about 1/10th as much. Furthermore, undercooked beans actually contain more bioavailable toxin than just raw beans. 5 raw red kidney beans or 1 undercooked bean is enough to cause symptoms of poisoning.
Slow cookers don’t typically reach temperatures above 80°C / 180°F, which is necessary to deactivate the toxin. Therefore, slow-cookers (no matter how long you cook for) are not sufficient methods of cooking raw beans.
Never allow children to play with raw beans or use them as art supplies.
None of this applies to canned beans since those are cooked already.
4. The difference between Spanish, Spaniard, Latino, Hispanic, and Mestizo.
The word Spanish is an adjective used to refer to things related to the country of Spain, like its language or people. For example, “I am Spanish” or “I am a Spanish person”. If you use Spanish when referring to people or things from other Spanish-speaking places, you are using it wrong.
The word Spaniard is the noun form of Spanish, used solely to refer to Spanish people, for example, “I am a Spaniard”. It is the Spanish version of “Englishman” instead of the adjective “English” or “Serb” instead of “Serbian”. If you say “He is Spaniard” (without the “a”) for example, you are using it as an adjective and therefore wrong. The confusion tends to happen in the US because the noun and adjective for Americans are the same words.
Latinos/Latinas/Latins are people from Latin America, so every Spanish speaking country in the Americas and Brazil. Quebec and Haiti tend to be excluded despite speaking a Romance language. They don’t have to look a specific way, they can be white, black, native, mestizo (more on this later), etc. Please don’t use the word Latinx, everyone hates it and it’s stupid. The word Latino is used very often (by some people, exclusively) to refer to Americans with ancestry from Latin American countries that haven’t been assimilated.
A Chicano is an American with Mexican ancestry. They tend to speak “Spanglish”. The word Chicano might be considered offensive by some people.
Hispanics are people from a Spanish-speaking country, so most Latinos except Brazilians and also people from Spain. Equatorial Guinea is sometimes included too. Like Latinos, they also don’t have to look a specific way, they can have ancestry from any country or countries.
Mestizos are people that have both European and Native American ancestry. They are the most common “race” in most Latin American countries, because Spain and Portugal mixed their people with the natives (mestizaje) to strip them of their culture. This happened in other places with non-native American people too, like in the Philippines. They look exactly how most Americans imagine a Hispanic person, brownish (darker or lighter) with black/brown hair, and therefore it has become common there to associate said appearance with ALL Hispanics, despite the fact that whites, blacks, Asians, etc can be Hispanic people.
5. If you’re a woman and are experiencing frequent bouts of overwhelming sadness, anger, or suicidal thoughts you may want to ask your doctor about PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
Many women often assume that their severe changes in mood and/or behavior are just run-of-the-mill Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms. You should know that feeling so upset that suicidal thoughts become present, or feeling so discontented with life that you want to engage in very reckless or self-destructive behavior are both NOT normal symptoms of PMS and should not be brushed off. Of course, feeling these ways is not an inherent indication of PMDD, but it is something to at least consider talking to your doctor about.
You can read more about PMDD here: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd