Using a “Vacation Mindset” to Increase Workers’ Happiness

Studies show that taking vacation time has some great benefits, including a positive impact on health, job performance, creativity, and happiness. In spite of this, many American workers fail to use much more than half of their yearly allotted vacation days. In a recent article for the UCLA Anderson Review, author Carla Fried takes a look at a study that sought to examine the impact of having a vacation mindset on American workers.

The Setup
First, researchers asked the approximately 500 participants to rate their happiness level on the Friday leading into the weekend. They then divided the participants into two groups: a control group and a test group. Members of the control group were prompted to treat the upcoming weekend like a regular weekend. Conversely, researchers instructed members of the test group to “think in ways and behave in ways as though you were on vacation.”

Upon returning to work the following Monday, researchers once again gauged happiness levels of all participants, and also administered a series of questions designed to measure focus, or mental presence, throughout the weekend. They were also asked to create a diary of their weekend activities, rating both their level of happiness their focus with each item (resulting in an “emotional score” for the weekend).

The Results
Here’s a quick run-down of the results of the study:

  • Participants in the test group displayed greater Monday-morning happiness, on average, than those in the control group.
  • Participants in the test group also indicated being more focused on the present moment than their control-group companions.
  • Lastly, the control group, on average, showed a lower ‚Äúemotional score‚Äù than the vacation-minded test group.¬†

The researchers concluded that “rather than any changes in one’s activities, it was indeed one’s minding of the present moment throughout the weekend that increased enjoyment during that time and produced greater happiness when back at work.”

For more details, read the article in full at the UCLA Anderson Review. 

Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, PLC Announces New Tax Staff Rachel McManus

Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, PLC (RBG) is pleased to announce the addition of Rachel McManus to their professional team.

McManus joins RBG as tax staff in the firm’s Tax Department. In this role, she fulfills various tax assignments for both individual clients and businesses. She brings with her valuable experience from a recent internship with Saville Dodgen and Company.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Rachel to the firm,” said John Griesbeck, CPA, RBG Managing Partner. “We’re constantly seeking to add new talent to our team, and I believe that she is a great fit.”

A 2018 graduate of Texas A&M University, McManus holds a Master of Science in Accounting. Additionally, she attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting with a Minor in Finance in 2016. Raised in Dallas, Texas, McManus currently lives in West Memphis, Arkansas.


5 Things to Start Doing in the New Year

5 Things to Start Doing in the New Year

New Year’s resolutions usually involve stopping things like eating, drinking and spending too much – and so on. You know the drill. However, according to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. Why not switch things up this year? Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment by attempting to abolish negative behavior, why not start doing some positive things? You’ll improve your quality of life and maybe even help the world. Here are few ideas to kick things off. 

Start Recycling 

This is so easy and so doable. All you have to do is get an extra trash can and throw your plastic and aluminum cans into it. Then look up where your local recycling drop-off point is and enter it into your GPS. Put it on your to do list, swing by on the way to or from the grocery store and boom, you’re done. 

Start Taking Regular Tech Fasts 

You can start with social media. According to a study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), people who used social media the most were about 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than participants who used social media the least. Not taking your phone to the dinner table and limiting the amount of television you watch are good ideas. You can clear your headspace of the drama and pain that’s going on in the world and focus on your loved ones and most important, your own mental, spiritual and emotional health. 

Start Learning a New Language 

In addition to expanding your world perspective and understanding another culture, there are many other incredible benefits of learning a new language. These include improving decision-making, memory and multitasking skills, as well as increasing your attention span and cultural sensitivity. 

Start Laughing More 

In addition to providing instant joy and changing your mood, laughter also has some very real health benefits. First, it boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which improve your resistance to disease. Second, it triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals that provide an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Third, laughter protects the heart, improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against having a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Finally, laughter burns calories, diffuses anger and, according to a study in Norway, just might help you live longer. Clearly, laughter is the best medicine. 

Start Focusing on What You Have 

In a world dominated by social media, celebrity worship and materialism, it’s easy to zero in on what you don’t have and focus on scarcity. Instead, start noticing, appreciating and celebrating what’s currently in your life. If you need to, make a gratitude list and review it when that ache of lacking rears its ugly head. Your spirit will be refreshed and you might just realize that you have more than enough. 

These are just a few of the many good things you can start doing in 2019. Keep your ears and eyes open for other opportunities to build on the positive and cherish the life you’ve been given. 


New Proposals for Government Programs

New Proposals for Government Programs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act delivered a wealth of benefits for taxpayers at every income level, but none more so than for the very rich. The net result of huge tax breaks for both high-income and corporate taxpayers is that the government now faces reduced tax revenues coming in to help pay for government programs. It comes as no surprise, then, that prior to the November 2018 midterm elections, Republican leaders in Congress were calling for cuts to government “entitlement” programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. 

While the word “entitlement” has adopted a negative connotation, it is an accurate description of these programs. In other words, workers pay into the Medicare and Social Security systems through an automatic payroll (FICA) tax throughout their careers. Therefore, when they retire, they are entitled to benefits paid out by those programs. 

Given that cutting benefits or raising the federal retirement age are not popular solutions – particularly among the large (voting) baby boomers population that is in or on the cusp of retirement, other proposals have been suggested to help protect benefits and even provide new ones for the nation’s taxpayers. 

Social Security Lump Sum Benefit

Researchers at the Wharton Business School have come up with a proposal that they say will help the government better fund the Social Security program at its current level of benefits without changing the minimum or full retirement age. The proposal features two key components: 1) incentives to encourage workers to delay retirement and, 2) a method for paying out the increased benefit in a different manner. 

Presently, a retiree who waits to begin drawing benefits at some point beyond age 62 will increase his monthly benefit when he does begin taking them. However, the Wharton proposal suggests that instead of increasing the monthly payout later, the value of that increase would be calculated to determine how much he would receive over his lifetime, and then be paid out as a lump sum when he first begins drawing benefits. He would also receive the same monthly benefit he would have received had he started drawing benefits at age 62. 

For example, let’s say a beneficiary is eligible for $1,500 a month at age 62. Instead of retiring, he delays starting benefits until age 67. At that point, he begins taking his $1,500 a month, but he also gets a one-time, lump-sum benefit of $178,000. The $178,000 is a calculation of his lifetime accrued value of the increased benefit earned by waiting until age 67, only he receives that value in one lump sum in his first benefit check. 

According to the Wharton team, while retirees see an obvious advantage to receiving a lump-sum benefit, what’s interesting is that the new proposal would help prevent the Social Security program from experiencing any additional solvency issues. 

Medicare for All

Both the media and some politicians have referred to a program to provide universal health care to all Americans as “Medicare For All.” While this concept is not popular among conservatives, it’s worth pointing out that we already have a form of this “socialist” styled program – it is the military health care program. Both active duty members of the military and veterans receive medical services from providers and facilities that are owned, trained and paid for by the U.S. government. 

It’s also worth noting that, conversely, the current Medicare system is not a form of socialized medicine. Its services are provided by private physician practices, hospitals and large health care systems, while drugs and medical equipment are developed by private entities. It’s also worth noting that Medicare is not only considered a well-run program with low overhead, it is very popular among beneficiaries. 

For this reason, universal health care based on the Medicare model is not such a far-fetched idea. The primary issue is that it would require all working residents to contribute to funding the program via higher FICA payroll taxes. While workers might not appreciate having more money coming out of their paychecks, they would pay lower out-of-pocket medical expenses for health insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance. 

Currently, the United States is the only developed country that does not employ a universal health care system. In many countries, health care is offered through a combination of private sector insurers and providers that are paid by the government, much like our current Medicare program.

Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Liability Insurance for Your Business

Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Liability Insurance for Your Business

When it comes to liability insurance, the saying “you can never be too prepared” is certainly apt. While business owners cannot predict what happens day to day or year to year, they can look into purchasing business liability insurance in order to give themselves peace of mind. The first step is to understand why it‚Äôs so important.¬†

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reports that more than one in two home-based business owners lack sufficient insurance coverage. Furthermore, the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) found that 4 of 10 respondents do not have enough coverage because they believe their homeowners policy covers commercial liability. As you can see, education on this matter is essential. Here are descriptions of several different types of liability insurance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

General Liability

One of the most common types of liability insurance for businesses is general liability. If the business is a grocery store or restaurant, general liability usually covers customers looking to have their doctor and hospital bills, damaged property or lost wages paid for because they claim they were somehow affected in the course of business operations. General liability also can protect businesses against claims if a third party believes their reputation has been tarnished by written or spoken materials from the company.  

Product Liability Insurance

Whether a business makes a product, is a wholesaler or a distributor of a product, or sells the product directly to customers, product liability insurance protects a business against monetary losses if said product is defective and harms the user. Examples of a defective products include a swing with a cracked chain or an over-the-counter medication with a harmful ingredient. The key is that the defective product is determined to have caused the harm. 

Professional Liability Insurance

This type of insurance, also known as errors and omissions, protects business owners who provide professional advice or services if they make a mistake or unintended omission in the course of delivery of said services. Examples of this can include a radiologist or one of their subordinates failing to deliver and communicate results of initial and final reports, especially if a medical condition diagnosis has been changed to indicate a more serious problem, and that failure to fully communicate all information leads to preventable medical problems for the patient. 

Other examples can include engineers miscalculating combinations of traffic loads on a bridge. If engineers miscalculate the maximum load levels and use incorrect materials and anchors, it could lead to construction delays and/or additional costs to use different materials if a stronger bridge is necessary. 

Commercial Property Insurance

When it comes to protecting one's company against damages to their business' assets, this type of insurance can reduce the potential financial impact. Policies can and do cover the business owners' structure from occurences such as fires, hail and wind events, along with property damage due to criminal activity. This type of insurance may cover business assets as well, such as computers, furniture and inventory. 

Home-Based Business Insurance

For business owners who run operations from their home, this type of policy can become part of a homeowner's existing policy. This type of coverage can protect home-based business owners by covering limited amounts of equipment, such as computers, phones and cameras. It also may provide liability coverage for the homeowner if, for example, a client visits and is injured by slipping on steps or tripping over a box. 

No matter what insurance policy a business needs, the best way to protect against loss is to reduce risk in the first place. Along with training employees to follow workplace safety procedures, reducing hazards for customers and workers, and reducing the likelihood of accidents, finding the right mix of liability insurance lets business owners focus on growing their business.


February RBG Connects Event

February RBG Connects Event

On February 7, RBG Connects hosted a great event with guest lecturer Terri Murphy at Memphis Botanic Garden. Terri inspired us to Power Up our Productivity! Pictured from left to right are Terri Murphy and Mary Tayloe.

Recruiting Senior-Level Employees

Recruiting Senior-Level Employees

Hiring senior-level employees is a big organizational decision that will impact the future of your company.

This article discusses what to keep in mind when recruiting someone for a senior-level position.

To view this article, click the following link to access the original content.…

The Future of Social Media Marketing

The Future of Social Media Marketing

Social media plays an integral part in marketing, but marketers should be wary of the future social media marketing has for coming generations.

This article discusses the rejection of some social media platforms, and what is next for the marketing industry.

To view this article, click the following link to access the original content.…

Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck PLC Announces 2019 Spring Interns

The Memphis accounting and consulting firm Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck (RBG) is pleased to announce the addition of seven new interns to its professional team.

“Every year it’s a blast when we welcome a new round of interns to the firm,” said John Griesbeck, CPA, managing partner of RBG. “Their curiosity and eagerness to learn really help to reinvigorate the whole team. I’m thrilled to have these seven young professionals with us and truly hope that it is a valuable experience for them.”

Jack Gray joins the team as an Audit intern. He is currently in pursuit of a degree at the University of Mississippi. He lives in Johns Creek, Georgia.

As an RBG intern, Amy Snyder splits her time between the firm’s Audit and Tax Departments. A resident of Memphis, Tennessee, Snyder expects to graduate this year from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Rebecca Keeney currently serves as an intern in RBG’s Tax Department. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting from Spring Hill College. Keeney resides in Memphis, Tennessee. 

In his capacity as an RBG intern, Hunter Wooley serves primarily in the firm’s Audit Department. Currently in pursuit of a degree from the University of Mississippi, Wooley lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Claire Cornelius works as an intern in RBG’s Tax Department. She currently lives in her hometown of Corinth, Mississippi and is a student at Mississippi State University where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Accountancy degree.

As an RBG intern, Austin Arrington works primarily in the firm’s Tax Department. He currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is studying at the University of Mississippi. Arrington expects to graduate this year with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree.

Jess Morris currently serves RBG as an intern in the firm’s Tax Department. In 2018 she graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree. Morris lives in Starkville, Mississippi.