Reduce Cost of College With Lifetime Learning Credits

Lifetime Learning Credit

For 2015, there are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax. They are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

TAX BENEFIT – For the tax year, you may be able to claim a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all eligible students. There is no limit on the number of years the Lifetime Learning Credit can be claimed for each student. A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit directly reduces the tax itself. The Lifetime Learning Credit is a nonrefundable credit, so if the credit is more than your tax the excess will not be refunded to you. Your allowable Lifetime Learning Credit is limited by the amount of your income and the amount of your tax.

ONLY ONE EDUCATION CREDIT ALLOWED – For each student, you can elect for any year only one of the credits. For example, if you elect to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for a child on your 2015 tax return, you cannot, for that same child, also claim the American Opportunity Credit for 2015. If you are eligible to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit and you are also eligible to claim the American Opportunity Credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both. If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to claim certain credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the American Opportunity Credit for one student and the Lifetime Learning Credit for another student in the same year.

CLAIMING THE CREDIT – Generally, you can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit if all three of the following requirements are met.

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student (a student who is enrolled in one or more courses at an eligible educational institution).
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

Table 3-1. Overview of the Lifetime Learning Credit for 2015

Maximum credit

Up to $2,000 credit per return

Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)

$128,000 if married filing jointly;

$64,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)

Refundable or nonrefundable

Nonrefundable-credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income

Number of years of postsecondary education

Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills

Number of tax years credit available

Available for an unlimited number of tax years

Type of program required

Student does not need to be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential

Number of courses

Available for one or more courses

Felony drug conviction

Felony drug convictions do not make the student ineligible

Qualified expenses

Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment)

Payments for academic periods

Payments made in 2015 for academic periods beginning in 2015 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2015

CANNOT CLAIM THE CREDIT – You cannot claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for 2015 if any of the following apply.

  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • You are listed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $64,000 or more ($128,000 or more in the case of a joint return).
  • You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2015 and the nonresident alien did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Publication 519.
  • You claim the American Opportunity Credit or a Tuition and Fees Deduction for the same student in same year.

QUALIFYING EXPENSES – The Lifetime Learning Credit is based on qualified education expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. Generally, the credit is allowed for qualified education expenses paid in same year for an academic period beginning in the same year or in the first 3 months of the following year. For example, if you paid $1,500 in December 2015 for qualified tuition for the spring 2016 semester beginning in January 2016, you may be able to use that $1,500 in figuring your 2015 credit.

Academic period. An academic period includes a semester, trimester, quarter, or other period of study (such as a summer school session) as reasonably determined by an educational institution. In the case of an educational institution that uses credit hours or clock hours and does not have academic terms, each payment period can be treated as an academic period.

Paid with borrowed funds. You can claim a Lifetime Learning Credit for qualified education expenses paid with the proceeds of a loan. You use the expenses to figure the Lifetime Learning Credit for the year in which the expenses are paid, not the year in which the loan is repaid. Treat loan disbursements sent directly to the educational institution as paid on the date the institution credits the student’s account.

Student withdraws from class (es). You can claim a Lifetime Learning Credit for qualified education expenses not refunded when a student withdraws.

For purposes of the Lifetime Learning Credit, qualified education expenses are tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment in a course at an eligible educational institution. The course must be either part of a postsecondary degree program or taken by the student to acquire or improve job skills.

Eligible educational institution. An eligible educational institution is any college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. It includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and proprietary (privately owned profit-making) postsecondary institutions. The educational institution should be able to tell you if it is an eligible educational institution. Certain educational institutions located outside the United States also participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs (such as Oxford University).

Related expenses. Student activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies, and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution for enrollment or attendance.

NO DOUBLE-DIPPING – You cannot do any of the following.

  • Deduct higher education expenses on your income tax return (as, for example, a business expense) and also claim a Lifetime Learning Credit based on those same expenses.
  • Claim a Lifetime Learning Credit in the same year that you are claiming a tuition and fees deduction for the same student.
  • Claim a Lifetime Learning Credit and an American Opportunity Credit based on the same qualified education expenses.
  • Claim a Lifetime Learning Credit based on the same expenses used to figure the tax-free portion of a distribution from a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) or Qualified Tuition Program (QTP).
  • Claim a credit based on qualified education expenses paid with tax-free educational assistance, such as a scholarship, grant, or assistance provided by an employer.

For each student, reduce the qualified education expenses paid by or on behalf of that student under the following rules. The result is the amount of adjusted qualified education expenses for each student.

Tax-free educational assistance. For tax-free educational assistance received in 2015, reduce the qualified educational expenses for each academic period by the amount of tax-free educational assistance allocable to that academic period. Some tax-free educational assistance received after 2015 may be treated as a refund of qualified education expenses paid in 2015. This tax-free educational assistance is any tax-free educational assistance received by you or anyone else after 2015 for qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2015 (or attributable to enrollment at an eligible educational institution during 2015).

Tax-free educational assistance includes:

  • The tax-free part of scholarships and fellowship grants
  • Pell grants (Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, Grants, and Tuition Reductions)
  • Employer-provided Educational Assistance
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance
  • Any other nontaxable (tax-free) payments (other than gifts or inheritances) received as educational assistance.

Generally, any scholarship or fellowship grant is treated as tax free. However, a scholarship or fellowship grant is not treated as tax free to the extent the student includes it in gross income (if the student is required to file a tax return for the year the scholarship or fellowship grant is received) and either of the following is true.

  • The scholarship or fellowship grant (or any part of it) must be applied (by its terms) to expenses (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses.
  • The scholarship or fellowship grant (or any part of it) may be applied (by its terms) to expenses (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses.

You may be able to increase the combined value of an education credit and certain educational assistance if the student includes some or all of the educational assistance in income in the year it is received.

Refunds. A refund of qualified education expenses may reduce adjusted qualified education expenses for the tax year or require repayment (recapture) of a credit claimed in an earlier year. Some tax-free educational assistance received after 2015 may be treated as a refund.

Refunds received in 2015. For each student, figure the adjusted qualified education expenses for 2015 by adding all the qualified education expenses for 2015 and subtracting any refunds of those expenses received from the eligible educational institution during 2015.

Refunds received after 2015 but before your income tax return is filed. If anyone receives a refund after 2015 of qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2015 and the refund is paid before you file an income tax return for 2015, the amount of qualified education expenses for 2015 is reduced by the amount of the refund.

Refunds received after 2015 and after your income tax return is filed. If anyone receives a refund after 2015 of qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2015 and the refund is paid after you file an income tax return for 2015, you may need to repay some or all of the credit.

Credit recapture. If any tax-free educational assistance for the qualified education expenses paid in 2015 or any refund of your qualified education expenses paid in 2015 is received after you file your 2015 income tax return, you must recapture (repay) any excess credit. You do this by refiguring the amount of your adjusted qualified education expenses for 2015 by reducing the expenses by the amount of the refund or tax-free educational assistance. You then refigure your education credit(s) for 2015 and figure the amount by which your 2015 tax liability would have increased if you had claimed the refigured credit(s). Include that amount as an additional tax for the year the refund or tax-free assistance was received.

If you pay qualified education expenses in 2015 for an academic period that begins in the first 3 months of 2015 and you receive tax-free educational assistance, or a refund, as described above, you may choose to reduce your qualified education expenses for 2015 instead of reducing your expenses for 2015.

Amounts that do not reduce qualified education expenses. Do not reduce qualified education expenses by amounts paid with funds the student receives as:

  • Payment for services, such as wages,
  • A loan;
  • A gift;
  • An inheritance; or
  • A withdrawal from the student’s personal savings.

Do not reduce the qualified education expenses by any scholarship or fellowship grant reported as income on the student’s tax return in the following situations.

  • The use of the money is restricted, by the terms of the scholarship or fellowship grant, to costs of attendance (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses, Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, Grants, and Tuition Reductions.
  • The use of the money is not restricted.

COORDINATION WITH PELL GRANTS AND OTHER SCHOLARSHIPS – You may be able to increase your Lifetime Learning Credit when the student (you, your spouse, or your dependent) includes certain scholarships or fellowship grants in the student’s gross income. Your credit may increase only if the amount of the student’s qualified education expenses minus the total amount of scholarships and fellowship grants is less than $10,000. If this situation applies, consider including some or all of the scholarship or fellowship grant in the student’s income in order to treat the included amount as paying nonqualified expenses instead of qualified education expenses. Nonqualified expenses are expenses such as room and board that are not qualified education expenses such as tuition and related fees.

Scholarships and fellowship grants that the student includes in income do not reduce the student’s qualified education expenses available to figure your Lifetime Learning Credit. Thus, including enough scholarship or fellowship grant in the student’s income to report up to $10,000 in qualified education expenses for your Lifetime Learning Credit may increase the credit by enough to increase your tax refund or reduce the amount of tax you owe even considering any increased tax liability from the additional income. However, the increase in tax liability as well as the loss of other tax credits may be greater than the additional Lifetime Learning Credit and may cause your tax refund to decrease or the amount of tax you owe to increase. Your specific circumstances will determine what amount, if any, of scholarship or fellowship grant to include in income to maximize your tax refund or minimize the amount of tax you owe. The scholarship or fellowship grant must be one that may (by its terms) be used for nonqualified expenses.

Finally, the amount of the scholarship or fellowship grant that is applied to nonqualified expenses cannot exceed the amount of the student’s actual nonqualified expenses that are paid in the tax year. This amount may differ from the student’s living expenses estimated by the student’s school in figuring the official cost of attendance under student aid rules. The fact that the educational institution applies the scholarship or fellowship grant to qualified education expenses, such as tuition and related fees, does not prevent the student from choosing to apply certain scholarships or fellowship grants to the student’s actual nonqualified expenses. By making this choice (that is, by including the part of the scholarship or fellowship grant applied to the student’s nonqualified expenses in income), the student may increase taxable income and may be required to file a tax return. But, this allows payments made in cash, by check, by credit or debit card, or with borrowed funds such as a student loan to be applied to qualified education expenses.

Something to consider is whether you will benefit from applying a scholarship or fellowship grant to nonqualified expenses will depend on the amount of the student’s qualified education expenses, the amount of the scholarship or fellowship grant, and whether the scholarship or fellowship grant may (by its terms) be used for nonqualified expenses. Any benefit will also depend on the student’s federal and state marginal tax rates as well as any federal and state tax credits the student claims. Before deciding, look at the total amount of your federal and state tax refunds or taxes owed and, if the student is your dependent, the student’s tax refunds or taxes owed. For example, if you are the student and you also claim the earned income credit, choosing to apply a scholarship or fellowship grant to nonqualified expenses by including the amount in your income may not benefit you if the decrease to your earned income credit as a result of including the scholarship or fellowship grant in income is more than the increase to your Lifetime Learning Credit as a result of including this amount in income.

NON-QUALIFYING EXPENSESQualified education expenses do not include amounts paid for:

  • Insurance;
  • Medical expenses (including student health fees);
  • Room and board;
  • Transportation; or
  • Similar personal, living, or family expenses.

This is true even if the amount must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.

Sports, games, hobbies, and noncredit courses. Qualified education expenses generally do not include expenses that relate to any course of instruction or other education that involves sports, games or hobbies, or any noncredit course. However, if the course of instruction or other education is part of the student’s degree program or is taken by the student to acquire or improve job skills, these expenses can qualify.

Comprehensive or bundled fees. Some eligible educational institutions combine all of their fees for an academic period into one amount. If you do not receive or do not have access to an allocation showing how much you paid for qualified education expenses and how much you paid for personal expenses, such as those listed above, contact the institution. The institution is required to make this allocation and provide you with the amount you paid (or were billed) for qualified education expenses on Form 1098-T. To help you figure your Lifetime Learning Credit, the student should receive Form 1098-T. Generally, an eligible educational institution (such as a college or university) must send Form 1098-T (or acceptable substitute) to each enrolled student by January 31, 2015. An institution may choose to report either payments received (box 1), or amounts billed (box 2), for qualified education expenses. However, the amounts on Form 1098-T, boxes 1 and 2, might be different from what you paid. When figuring the credit, use only the amounts you paid or are deemed to have paid in 2015 for qualified education expenses.

In addition, Form 1098-T should give other information for that institution, such as adjustments made for prior years, the amount of scholarships or grants, reimbursements or refunds, and whether the student was enrolled at least half-time or was a graduate student. The eligible educational institution may ask for a completed Form W-9S, or similar statement to obtain the student’s name, address, and taxpayer identification number.

CLAIMING DEPENDENT’S EXPENSES – If there are qualified education expenses for your dependent during a tax year, either you or your dependent, but not both, can claim a Lifetime Learning Credit for your dependent’s expenses for that year. For you to claim a Lifetime Learning Credit for your dependent’s expenses, you must also claim an exemption for your dependent. You do this by listing your dependent’s name and other required information on Form 1040 (or Form 1040A), line 6c.

Expenses paid by dependent. If you claim an exemption on your tax return for an eligible student who is your dependent, treat any expenses paid (or deemed paid) by your dependent as if you had paid them. Include these expenses when figuring the amount of your Lifetime Learning Credit. Qualified education expenses paid directly to an eligible educational institution for your dependent under a court-approved divorce decree are treated as paid by your dependent.

Expenses paid by you. If you claim an exemption for a dependent who is an eligible student, only you can include any expenses you paid when figuring the amount of the Lifetime Learning Credit. If neither you nor anyone else claims an exemption for the dependent, only the dependent can include any expenses you paid when figuring the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Expenses paid by others. Someone other than you, your spouse, or your dependent (such as a relative or former spouse) may make a payment directly to an eligible educational institution to pay for an eligible student’s qualified education expenses. In this case, the student is treated as receiving the payment from the other person and, in turn, paying the institution. If you claim an exemption on your tax return for the student, you are considered to have paid the expenses.

Tuition reduction. When an eligible educational institution provides a reduction in tuition to an employee of the institution (or spouse or dependent child of an employee), the amount of the reduction may or may not be taxable. If it is taxable, the employee is treated as receiving a payment of that amount and, in turn, paying it to the educational institution on behalf of the student.

FIGURING THE CREDIT – The amount of the Lifetime Learning Credit is 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for all eligible students. The maximum amount of Lifetime Learning Credit you can claim for 2015 is $2,000 (20% × $10,000). However, that amount may be reduced based on your MAGI.

The amount of your Lifetime Learning Credit is phased out (gradually reduced) if your MAGI is between $54,000 and $64,000 ($108,000 and $128,000 if you file a joint return). You cannot claim a Lifetime Learning Credit if your MAGI is $64,000 or more ($128,000 or more if you file a joint return).

Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). For most taxpayers, MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) as figured on their federal income tax return.

MAGI when using Form 1040A. If you file Form 1040A, your MAGI is the AGI on line 22 of that form.

MAGI when using Form 1040. If you file Form 1040, your MAGI is the AGI on line 38 of that form, modified by adding back any:

1. Foreign earned income exclusion,

2. Foreign housing exclusion,

3. Foreign housing deduction,

4. Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of American Samoa, and

5. Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of Puerto Rico.

Phase Out. If your MAGI is within the range of incomes where the credit must be reduced, you will figure your reduced credit using lines 10-18 of Form 8863.

You figure the tentative Lifetime Learning Credit (20% of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for all eligible students). The result is a $1,320 (20% x $6,600 eligible expenses) tentative credit.

Because your MAGI is within the range of incomes where the credit must be reduced, you must multiply your tentative credit ($1,320) by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is $128,000 (the upper limit for those filing a joint return) minus your MAGI. The denominator is $20,000, the range of incomes for the phase out ($108,000 to $128,000). The result is the amount of your phased out (reduced) Lifetime Learning Credit ($1,056).

$1,320 x ($128,000 – $112,000)/$20,000 = $1.056

Claiming the Credit You claim the Lifetime Learning Credit by completing Form 8863 and submitting it with your Form 1040 or 1040A. Enter the credit on Form 1040, line 50, or Form 1040A, line 33.

Tasting Rooms Are About Building A Rapport With The Visitor Then Sales Will Follow

The old refrain in-effect says that people are all different and that is what keeps things interesting and makes the world go around. Or maybe said another way, differences in individual tastes is what makes the wine world go around. Competing wineries all produce wine from basically the same varietals, bearing in mind that there may be differences due to terroir, blending techniques, time in barrels and yeast used, just to name a few. In spite of all the idiosyncrasies in wine making, people do buy wine based upon an experience they had when being introduced to a wine. That is why people save corks, write tasting notes to themselves and relate stories about the wine to friends.

Winery owners I have talked with over the years have said that they try to keep a consistent profile of their various wines, from vintage to vintage, because their customers like specific wines. But, they still need to introduce new converts to their wines. Tastings, in a winery or at a tasting event, are an important means to expose new customers to wines, because people’s tastes do evolve; remember when you only liked White Zinfandel (and maybe still do)?

Tasting rooms are one of the few opportunities in business where the potential customer spends their own money to travel long distances to a winery, then pay (in most cases) to experience a winery and the wines, and joyfully expect to hear a sales pitch that ends with the sales person asking for the sale. I submit, in a tasting room, selling knowledge and stories creates an experience that can overcome some flaws and negative perceptions. “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful,” says Jeff Bezos. In reality, aren’t wines a lot about experiences, a love of people in the moment, community, and romance?

In the October 2015 “Wines & Vines Newsletter” – Tasting Room Focus with Wise Bites, the author has a position that wineries should, in their tasting rooms, be selling their brand first and wine second. I would go one step further and say that the tasting room staffs are ambassadors and their “shtick” is telling about their winery and then wines.

Wines and Vines say, the public is interest in the people behind the brand first and the wine second; I buy into that thesis. Just look at all the reality shows and TV shows that feature the people doing interesting things. For example, Shark Tank, West Texas Investors Club, Robin Leach in the Rich and Famous, American Pickers, and home remodeling shows; these are all shows that feature the people and the other interesting people they encounter. A few years ago I wrote stories about “People of Wine Country”. These stories were well received, I believe, because I presented people who wanted to make great wine, their personal struggles, and some providing services to the makers of wine; never mentioned were the wineries, just the people. One such story was about a very young mother of 2 who lost her husband in a vineyard accident and struggled to make her husband’s dream reality.

Never losing sight of the fact, in the end, tasting rooms are really about selling the product. I would call the tasting room consultative selling-talking about the history of the product and its character (the way it is made and why). Therefore, let me present a few ideas relative to what makes a successful tasting room host/associate (and the same attributes can apply to most any industry):

· The person should have an open style that can draw people into a discussion. If it is a concierge style tasting room this is critical. Always asking for opinions from the guest. Listen more than talking.

· The associate needs to casually present their views/love of the wine culture and some fun facts about his/her experience in the industry. Even the young associate has a perspective that even the most senior can appreciate.

· Before the glasses are on the table or counter, the associate should explain the process the customer has paid for and why it is in place. For example, why the winery charges, why appointments only, etc.

· Tell an antidote about the owners of the winery and their beginnings and accomplishments. People want to be included in inside stories about the brand.

· Make people feel they are getting more than they paid for. This can be done with inexpensive give-a-ways such as imprinted coasters or a subscription to the winery’s “Insider Newsletter” or waiving the fees for the Wine Club with benefits.

· Once the tasting sample is poured, talk about the AVA of the grapes, the wine makers approach to that particular wine and the wines personally drank and his/her spouse. Do not tell people they will like something before they even taste. Obviously, if not married a significant friend will fill in the blank. Conversation will always deliver a trove of information to aid in the sales process.

· In a service industry, visitor accommodation is recognized and appreciated; it shows the winery appreciates a valued visitor.

· Nothing is ever gained from being critical of anything and goes for politics, religion or people.

· Having led sales teams in the service sector and technology sales, my tenet of successful selling was to make the exchange between customer and sales person as personal as appropriate. That experience can only be created by people with a heart toward service, open to building new acquaintances and displaying a real interest in getting the visitor to talk about themselves.

An old expression in the sales game is: Sell the sizzle and not the steak. In the wine business today with 2,000 tasting rooms in California alone, sell the winery and the visitors will come. Everybody can be an expert in wine because we all have different senses and know what we like and why we like it.

Most overlooked sales tool is training. In the sales game, training is always a must do, especially in the wine industry. I am personally familiar with a company in real estate sales that conducts sales meetings monthly and requires 100% attendance, but does allow make-up training. Certainly the wine industry is changing and staff needs to be prepared on how to handle customer/visitor comments and questions. I once ask a tasting room person how many cases of Merlot they produced and they did not know.

Here is a quick thought about training. Specifics of a wine– aromas, taste, tannins, and acid percentage are all relate to the final product. For the moment and to illustrate the point about training, let’s just focus on the subject of wine chemistry. For example, the importance of yeast selections, oak, aging, blending and the specific grape varietals; these are just a few things a good tasting room associate could be trained in to enhance visitor experience and perceptions. All translate into the ultimate sale of wine and follow-on purchases of a brand.

Consumers are getting more and more attuned to wines by brand. Wine consumption is continuing to show some growth, especially with Millennials. Wineries are changing their approach to the customer and on premise visitor as is witnessed by constructing well planned tasting rooms and concierge services. Just like the design of a grocery store, there is a science to selling wine. Wine sales is a customer centric business first and foremost.

How Retirement Communities Promote Interaction and Mental Stimulation for Seniors

Free from the burden of working, senior citizens residing in retirement communities now have the opportunity to pursue a relaxing lifestyle. The facilities engage them by catering to their interests by offering a wide selection of fun activities such as outdoor exercise, orchestra concerts, and arts and crafts. The purpose of these events and functions is to encourage residents to get involved for the sake of building social connections and mental stimulation.

Why Is It Important for Seniors to Connect With Others?

Social capital, as researchers call it, is the ability for a person to trust, connect, and work with others. A high social capital is important for the elderly as it helps them stay active and engaged with life. Activities found in retirement communities that promote interaction with others increase one’s social capital. There are some days where residents will be escorted outdoors to enjoy a picnic, art museum, or theatre performance. Daily exercise routines that are meant to target balance, flexibility, and excitement through dance can also bring seniors closer together. Regardless of the activity, there is sure to be someone a person connects with either due to similar interests or mindsets.

Continuing Education Is Important for Mental Stimulation

Alongside aches, pains, and illness, the way an older person thinks also begins to change. It may seem normal to misplace items or lose a train of thought as a person ages. However, seniors do not have to settle for this way of life. Furthermore, frequent episodes of forgetfulness can point to a more serious problem such as dementia. The reason that seniors suffer from memory lapse is because the brain gradually loses volume throughout life. Nerve cells shrink, losing connection with other cells (causing memory lapse), and blood flow tends to slow down in the brain. It is highly encouraged for seniors to stimulate their minds constantly through learning or playing a challenging game to prevent or slow this process down.

Retirement communities offer solutions to combat these conditions through continuing education courses. These are created using affiliations with local colleges. Though returning to school does not have to be just about studying math or science. There are other fun classes that residents can take to learn about social issues, languages, and painting. For more leisurely activities, community centers may offer a library for quiet reading, or other rooms that host games like Bingo or a pool table.

Last, there are classes specifically focused on training the ability to recall memory for residents who may be having difficulty in that area.

Comfort Is for Sleeping

I am searching for hotels to stay in as I drive across the country in a few weeks. I comb the reviews. I notice the reviews. The most important thing to me is comfort and cleanliness, although I am not sure anyone could be comfortable in a dirty hotel! I want the bed to be comfortable. I want the room to be comfortable. I want the shower to work well and give me a comfortable experience. Then, I notice how much I love my home. Why? It is comfortable. I like my routines. I like my furniture, the layout, and the colors. My home is like a warm blanket that wraps me up and gives me comfort. I, like most people, crave comfort.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being comfortable. Except when being comfortable costs you. For the entrepreneur, being comfortable can be a death knell. For an employee in a corporation, being comfortable is the end of their upward career trajectory. In business, when someone says they are comfortable where they are, I know there is a problem.

The problem is when you say to me, a business coach, “I am comfortable”, I know that there is a danger of you not moving forward in your career or business. When I dig into this, I always discover that comfort is code for I am scared of… (fill in the blank). Mostly, what I find is that someone who is trying to achieve comfort in their job or business is afraid of failing. They are silently playing the “What if… ?” mental game. The reality is that you will likely fail at times. Failing can be said to simply be that you did not get what you wanted. And you are not a three year old, you can handle that. Stop holding yourself back from growing so you don’t experience not getting what you want. If you don’t step out of your comfortable place, you already are not getting what you want, and are simply telling yourself it is OK. I have never met a person who really did not want to build their business bigger or get ahead in their career. That is simply antithetical to human nature.

Being uncomfortable, stepping into the unknown are natural states of growth. All you need to do is watch young children explore the world for a model. As young children play and interact they are constantly risking physical pain from falling, emotional pain from being rejected by a playmate, and failure at succeeding at whatever they are attempting to accomplish. Yet, children ignore all of this, most of the time, and simply play, explore, try new things and grow.

If you, as an adult in business or in your career, simply embrace the experience, be uncomfortable as you try new things, you will find yourself achieving beyond what you thought you could do. Create it all as a game, like young children, and enjoy the ride.

If you find yourself stopped, hire a coach to break through that mental barrier. Taking action, moving past stop does get you on the path and you may need support. Get what you need to leave being comfortable where it belongs!

Who Really Is the World’s Best Player?

These days, everywhere you turn, there is always a debate over who is the better footballer between a certain pair of players. They place their pictures, goals, assists, achievements, speed, contribution to the team, and to the game as a whole, their skills, salaries, endorsement, and a host of other criteria.

Any two players can be compared by any self acclaimed pundit at any given time, and the one making the comparison claims his position is correct, based on whatever criteria he bases his comparison on. But there is almost always a huge flaw in ANY comparison, especially in a dynamic game like football. On a general note, I do not like comparison, and this includes in football.

People, including professionals, and journalists, are usually biased whenever they compare two quantities. More often than not, the argument is skewed in the favour of one entity, based on the preference and perspective of the person making the comparison.

When you compare two different players, it is an act if disrespect to both players. Usually, the players being compared do not play for the same team, and the support and input of their teammates can affect the output of the players and the eventual outcome of the match. It would have been easier if the players being compared are on the same team, but this is rarely the case. Pundits place two rival players side-by-side, who have never played in the same team, and may never will, and compare them, neglecting other players in their respective teams.

For instance, two players, football strikers A and B, may be of equal competence in scoring, and may play the same position on the pitch. However, whereas striker A is blessed with a very tactical winger who dribbles through and constantly gives him passes and crosses, which may result in goals for him, striker B may lack the same fortune, and may have to create his own chances and dribble through before scoring. At the end of the season, striker A scores 30 goals, and was assisted in 20 of them, while his rival scores 20 and was assisted in only 5 of those goals, scoring the other 15 on solo effort.

The press may hype one over the other, claiming the player with the higher number of goals is the better scorer, neglecting the role of teammates and supporting players. There is an inconsistency in their standard of comparison. Secondly, the different managers of the players, and the effect they have on the players can make them implode or explode.

Two managers can place their respective wingers in the same spot on the formation, but each one of them is given a different responsibility on the pitch. One may be required to dribble through and get into the box, while the other may be required to send looping crosses into the box. The results will show that the guy who dribbles into the box will get more chances at goal, and in displaying his skill than the one who is just meant to throw in crosses. If both players are compared, there is again an error in the standard of comparison. Tactics differ from team to team, and from manager to manager.

Another factor in comparison of two players is the age factor. Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan, Lewandowsky and Muller are all forwards, but they are not of the same age. It would be more apt to compare them all when they are all the same age than comparing a 24-year-old’s scoring rampancy with a man ten years his senior.

Again, if you say, “Well, let’s look at Zlatan when he was twenty-four and compare with Neymar,” several other factors must be considered as well.

Physiological, psychological and emotional conditions must also be critically studied in comparing any two players. Does this player get constant criticism from the press, friends and family, while the other is normally praised?

Depending on their mentality, the guy who is constantly criticised may work harder to silence his critics, or may be frustrated into giving up. Also, the guy who is also praised may be encouraged to do better, or he may become complacent and decline in consistency.

Also, everyone is born with different strengths. player A may be more pacy than player B, while player B has the upper hand in terms of technique.

When you claim that one is better than the other, simply because he can run faster, then you must also conclude that the other is better because his technique is superior. For performance-based comparison, all strengths and weaknesses must be considered, and an average should be drawn, rather than depending on a single criterion.

Weather, as trivial as it sounds, may improve or diminish a player’s performance. One who is used to cold climes will find it hard playing in a country with a hot weather and vice versa. Other seemingly inconsequential factors such as their boot type, the opponents’ attitudes (playing more aggressively against one than the other, for instance), or the state of his family or intantaneous morale, may have great impact on a man’s performance on and off the pitch.

What’s even worse is when players from different generations are compared. Differences in pitch size, type and condition; ball type; rules of the day (in case you didn’t know, football rules are usually being constantly updated; some to the players’ advantage, others to their disadvantage); support; pay; and other off-the-pitch events; can contribute to variations in players’ performances in different generations.

For example, it is difficult to conclude that Pele and Maradona are better than C. Ronaldo and Messi because, for one, Pele spent virtually all his career at home on Brazil’s entertaining Samba soccer pitches, and being protected as a national treasure. He never tasted the more physical European football, and in the national team, had super teammates in Brazilian squad in his day, something Ronaldo especially, cannot claim to have in Portugal national team.

The pitches were smaller then and the balls were different. Today’s balls bounce more and can more readily deflect off goal than what was obtained in the seventies. Perhaps, if the new generation were under the same influences, they may have recorded similar performances as the Brazilian megastar.

In addition, the game has become more technical than what was obtained way back.

Also, how do you determine the better player between a goalkeeper and a striker, or between a midfielder and a defender? They foot play this same role, and can hence not be placed on the same scale. There will be lapses and bias.

The best way to compare players and get the perfect comparison result is when both players are born with the same strengths and weaknesses, have the same background, orientation and experiences, play in the same position, function in the same team, are managed by the same manager, and play against the same opponents under the same weather condition at the same time. Failure to do that will always leave room for lapses in judgement whenever you compare any two players.

For now, all we can do is to encourage each player to give his very best in every game he appears, and stop causing unnecessary tension among footballers. Let us stop trying to place players side-by-side, unless there is a globally-accepted, all-round standard of comparison, which takes all internal and external factors into play.

In choosing the world’s best player, or any other similar award, we may continue using the criteria we normally consider when comparing players, but we still have a very long way to go in determining the real world’s best, because it is virtually impossible to factor in every internal and external influence on any two or more given superplayers placed parallel to each other for comparison.

Casino Chatting

A friend of mine called me a couple of days ago in tears. I asked her what was wrong, what had happened? She told me that she felt so stupid, but this guy in a casino had abused her. Obviously, my response was that she must call the police, report the incident as quickly as possible so that an investigation can get underway and the perpetrator, hopefully, bought to justice. “No, no” she told me, “It wasn’t like that; it was in an online casino game room, he was just mean to me”. My friend gave me a full summary of what this person had ‘said’ to her, and no wonder she was upset. As much as sticks and stones etc. this person’s bombardment would have bought even Hercules to his knees.

Why am writing this? Mostly, because it made me so angry. I love being able to chat with my fellow players online, I love the playful banter, I love the sense of reality, and I believe that with a chat facility the game is more likely to be played in a good spirit than without. When people abuse this facility it not only upsets individuals like my friend, but it also scares people away from using chat, and in many cases even scares people away from online casinos in general. A great injustice in my opinion.

I’m don’t want to just rant though; I want to tell anyone who has experienced any type of abuse via casino chat that they are not alone, and that there are steps that can be taken to prevent it from happening again. First of all, it is in no casino’s interest to half an abusive player on their site. If you have suffered from any type of abuse, bad language, or other sort of inappropriate behavior via casino chat you should record the username of the perpetrator, and if you can save the screen with the abuse on it that would be helpful. You should contact the casino’s customer services line immediately and report the incident, including the name of the player and where you were playing. Most casinos offer 24/7 phone, live chat or email access to their help lines, so there is little reason why an incident can’t be bought to the managements attention within a very short time, and dealt with appropriately by them. Secondly, and it saddens me to suggest it, most casinos will give you the option of closing the chat facility if you so wish.

The types of people who swear and curse at other players via casino chat are frankly sad and unhappy individuals. Do not respond; do not engage with this type of person. Most importantly, try to remember that whilst there are some unsavory people out there, the online gaming community is mostly made up of nice, well balanced, normal individuals who would rather tell you joke than give you a curse; so, like I said to my friend, report the incident, let them deal with it, and forget it ever happened.

Abundance Of Options To Choose From For the Best Plasma TV Mount

Selecting the most recent plasma TV is surely something that will provide most people with a big rush that would be even more pronounced if you get the best plasma TV mount which will give you the ability to have your top of the line plasma TV displayed in the best area in your house.

You will certainly be presented with an array of selections in this type of situation and one of the primary deciding factors would certainly be your own personal preferences that will point you in the direction towards one specific type of TV mount.

Articulating Wall Mount – A New Way of Positioning Your TV

There is a diverging array of selections for wall mounts. Amongst these different options that you will need to take into account prior to purchasing your plasma TV mount is what is called an articulating wall mount that is likely the best option out there at the moment. With it you even have the option of lowering your TV and you can also move it in most any direction which includes up and down as well as from side to side.

There are also many types of alternatives with the type of plasma TV mount that you get to select from and it also is very well suited for a persons bedroom in addition to a game room because it gives you the ability to view your prized TV from and area in your room.

An additional option when it comes to plasma TV mounts is to pick a regular flat mount that does just mount your flat screen TV to the wall in a very similar way as you would simply hang a picture on the wall and for most people this type of TV mount is the best selection, particularly in the living room or the den. It is a particularly a good pick when you do not wish to move your plasma TV, although one small drawback is that you might not be able to view it from all the areas of the room that it is mounted in.

An additional selection in regards to these types of TV mounts is to purchase a tilting mount that it perfectly suited for any plasma TV which is situated closer to the ceiling of the room and it permits you to look upwards at the TV and also provides you the ability to tilt the screen in a downward direction to help improve the viewing angle of the screen.

One of the only challenges with this kind of plasma TV mount is that it isnt likely that you will be able to tilt it in a side to side motion ad therefore simply tilting up and down will have to suffice. This could end up hindering your viewing angle if you happen to be sitting off to one side.

Lastly, you might select the swivel mount where you have the ability to move your plasma TV in a side to side arc therefore giving you the ability to view it from various angles In this situation it is an ideal match when you move around the room a lot.

The bottom line is that you need to select a plasma TV mount that best handles your own personal needs. Also know up front what room you are going to place it into so you will be better able to choose based on that as well.

Selecting the most recent plasma TV is for sure something that will provide most people with a big rush that would be even more pronounced if you get the best plasma TV mount which will give you the ability to have your top of the line plasm TV displayed in the best area in your house.

You will certainly be presented with an array of selections in this type of situation and one of the primary deciding factors would sure as shooting be your own personal preferences that will point you in the direction towards one particular type of TV mount.

Articulating Wall Mount – A New Way of placement Your TV

There is a divergent array of selections for wall mounts. Amongst these different options that you will need to take into account prior to purchasing your plasm TV mount is what is called an articulating wall mount that is likely the best option out there at the moment. With it you even have the choice of lowering your TV and you can also move it in most any charge which includes up and down as well as from side to side.

There are also many types of alternatives with the type of plasma TV mount that you get to choice from and it also is very well appropriate for a persons bedchamber in addition to a game room because it gives you the ability to view your prized TV from and area in your room.

An additional selection when it comes to plasma TV mounts is to pick a regular flat mount that does just mount your flat screen TV to the wall in a very similar way as you would simply hang a picture on the wall and for most people this type of TV mount is the best selection, in particular in the living room or the den. It is a particularly a good pick when you do not wish to move your plasma TV, although one small drawback is that you might not be able to view it from all the areas of the room that it is mounted in.

An additional selection in regards to these types of TV mounts is to purchase a tilting mount that it perfectly suited for any plasma TV which is placed closer to the ceiling of the room and it permits you to look up at the TV and also provides you the ability to tilt the screen in a downward direction to help meliorate the wake angle of the screen.

One of the only challenges with this kind of plasma TV mount is that it isnt likely that you will be able to tilt it in a side to side motion ad therefore simply tilting up and down will have to suffice. This could end up hindering your viewing angle if you encounter to be sitting off to one side.

Lastly, you might select the pivot mount where you have the ability to move your plasma TV in a side to side arc therefore giving you the ability to view it from assorted angles In this place it is an ideal match when you move around the room a lot.

The bottom line is that you need to select a plasm TV mount that best handles your own personal needs. Also know up front what room you are going to place it into so you will be better able to choose based on that as well.

Jamaican Vacation Resorts

Jamaica is one of the major tourist destinations and beautiful islands of West Indies. The picturesque glory of the island invites many tourists from all over the globe. The island is filled with music, palatable food, rum and scenic beaches. Thousands of tourists and vacationers come here to enjoy their vacations.

If you are looking for luxurious and relaxed accommodation in Jamaica, then you should select one of the Jamaica vacation resorts for a memorable stay. There are many all-inclusive family resorts in Jamaica.

Beaches Boscobel Spa Resort is one of the hottest Jamaica vacation resorts. The resort offers various beach activities and adventure sports to the guests. There is a special kid?s camp in the resort that provides several fun activities to the kids. The resort has something special for everyone.

Beaches Boscobel Spa resort offers luxurious accommodation to the guests. Here you can stay with your whole family or can come to enjoy loving getaway. The resort houses many restaurants that provide palatable local and international food. The resort has its own piano bar where you can indulge your evening period.

All the rooms of the resort are well equipped with modern amenities like satellite cable TV, refrigerator, phone, coffee/tea maker, internet access, ironing board, and in room safe.

There is a game room in the resort, where you can play various games. Besides, you can also play here golf, billiards, tennis and other games. Thus, the resort always tries to make your stay memorable and pleasurable one.

Beaches Negril Resort and Spa is one of the most famous Jamaica vacation resorts. The resort is located at superbly attractive and environmentally untouched location. This is the perfect place for honeymooners and couples. They can generate some of the unending memories during their stay in the resort. All the guests are free to enjoy various activities and facilities in the resort.

Beaches Negril Resort and Spa provides spacious and relaxed rooms to the guests. All the rooms are well appointed with modern facilities including bathtub, hairdryer, phone, satellite TV, laundry service and ironing board. Apart from that, the resort provides several extra facilities including babysitting, gym, internet access, swimming pool, game room and free parking zone.

If you are looking for relaxed accommodation during Jamaica vacations, then go to Breezes Montego Bay Resort. The resort is situated on Doctor?s Cave Beach, only five minutes journey from the airport. The resort offers you an array of Caribbean lavishness and amusement. The resort tries to make your stay unforgettable one.

Breezes Montego Bay has many rooms that are suitable to anyone. All the rooms are air-conditioned and are well appointed with modern facilities. Several room facilities are satellite cable TV, voice mail phone, hair dryer, ironing board and complimentary toilets.

Beaches Sandy Bay is one of the major Jamaica vacation resorts. The resort is famous for its hospitality and warmly reception. The resort offers relaxed accommodation in its several suites. The courteous staff of the resort is always ready to meet up your requirements.

Thus, you can make your Jamaica tours more pleasurable and unforgettable by staying in one of the prominent Jamaica vacation resorts.

Insurance Company Rocks Kravitz’s World due to Water Damage Manhattan

Rock stars are known for defacing and bashing hotel rooms. Well, some of them anyway. This kind of behavior makes them targets for lawsuits from left and right, even if the property involved is their own. Most New Yorkers would probably remember the three lawsuits filed against rock star and Grammy award winner Lenny Kravitz, all involving water damage Manhattan issues.

The first case involved a lawsuit filed by an insurance company who had to pay for water damage Manhattan repairs incurred by their client when one of Kravitz’s toilets overflowed into their client’s apartment. It was bad luck for Kravitz as the client was a former New York Life Benefit Services chairman and chief executive. The apartment incurred $333,849.77 worth of damages due to water damage Manhattan. The insurance company sued Kravitz for these repairs plus additional incurred costs. There were no explanations as to why the toilets overflowed, but the insurance company filed the lawsuit on grounds that Kravitz allowed the toilets to be blocked and clogged with a variety of materials. The unit was an $8 million, six thousand square foot duplex with five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The duplex also had a billiards room, a game room and a 3,000 square foot terrace.

The second water damage Manhattan case against Kravitz involved another blocked toilet and he was sued for $9,387.87 worth of damages. The lawsuit insisted on the singer’s negligence and carelessness in allowing his toilets to overflow from the various unidentified materials flushed down the bowl, causing it to clog.

To make matters worst, Kravitz is once again sued for causing water damage Manhattan problems to another neighbor’s apartment due to – you guessed it right: blocked, clogged and congested toilet resulting to overflows. This is the third lawsuit in three years over the same old thing. This time, the bill would be $457,339.11 worth of repairs.

Toilet overflows are one of the most common domestic reasons for water damage Manhattan style, aside from natural causes like torrential rains or floods. Toilets can be clogged for a variety of reasons, like excessive toilet paper or bars of soap. Small solid objects can also be flushed through the bowl but would only get clogged in the drainpipes and would cause wastewater to backup through the bowl. A clogged bowl coupled with a broken flush mechanism would result to continuously flowing water, which can overflow from the bowl and spill to other rooms, and in this case, other floors. A responsible homeowner should have immediate remediation work performed in the toilet at the first sign of flush mechanism failures, or clogged bowls. Water that has been continuously flowing and is visible through the bowl, even if the flush cycle has completed, signifies that the toilet has a broken flush mechanism. On the other hand, water that goes down the bowl very slowly during the flush cycle is a strong indication that the toilet is clogged and should be checked immediately. Clogged items can sometimes be removed by using a plumbers’ snake or an auger that is inserted into the bowl to dislodge the clogged object. This might work for hair, soap or tissue debris trapped in the drainpipes. However, if the object clogged is solid and difficult to remove, it may require dismantling of the bowl.

Facing a losing legal battle, Kravitz has put the sprawling SoHo condominium unit out in the market with a $13 million price tag. That was higher than the $8 million price that Kravitz paid when he has bought the condominium units.

Myrtle Beach Resorts Are a Popular Destination for Families

Myrtle Beach is the second most visited vacation family resort destination. The Grand Strand provides more than 100 amazing golf courses, 2000 delicious restaurants, numerous entertainment, exceptional shopping centers and exhilarating amusement parks. Come get refreshed on the 60 miles of the golden sandy beaches where the warm gentle waves of the Atlantic meet.

Whether you want to relax or visit many of the different attractions, Myrtle Beach has plenty of resorts to choose from. Amenities found in the majority of Myrtle Beach Resorts include: Designer furnishing, elegant decors, full size well-equipped kitchens, outdoor and indoor pools, hot tubs, relaxing lazy river rides, exercise facilities, etc.

If you’re looking for a quiet relaxing resort with extra ordinary scenic beauty, along with historic landmarks in the north end of the Grand Strand; The Prince Resort is the place you’ve been looking for. The Prince Resort is approximately 27 miles from Myrtle Beach International Airport. This Myrtle Beach resort offers many features: new luxury 1, 2, and 3 bedroom oceanfront suites, outdoor pools, lazy river, and Jacuzzis, game room, fitness room, business center, full kitchens, coffeemakers, iron and ironing boards, hairdryers, FREE high-speed Internet in all suites, 3500 Ocean Grill Oceanfront Restaurant, Cherry Grove Pier with Boardwalk Beach Cafe, ice cream shop and gift shop.

There are so many more amenities they offer, the list continues. What makes this Myrtle Beach Resort different; it’s adjacent to one of the most famous Cherry Grove landmarks: the Cherry Grove Pier. This historic landmark brings over a million visitors each; it was built in the 1950s and recently been renovated. This pier is always enjoyed by guest with hours of live entertainment, fishing and watching fireworks. The great part is the Cherry Grove Pier is only footsteps from this Myrtle Beach Resort. However, this Myrtle Beach Resort is still close to everything else The Grand Strand has to offer.