Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

1
Public Safety Employee Retirement Plan Withdrawal at Age 50
2
Home Equity is Not a License to Spend
3
Interaction of Survivor Benefits with Your Own Benefits
4
IRA or 529?
5
Frugality Versus Frugal Spending

Public Safety Employee Retirement Plan Withdrawal at Age 50

For certain types of workers, specifically someone employed as a public safety employee, there is a special exception to the normal distribution rules. For a public safety employee, retirement plan withdrawal can begin without penalty as early as age 50, rather than age 55 or 59½.

Public Safety Employee

The list of public safety employees includes government or municipal firefighters, police, and emergency medical service employees. Recent expansion of this definition was put in place to include federal employees who work in certain public safety professions. These additional classifications include federal law enforcement, customs and border protection officers, federal firefighters, …

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Home Equity is Not a License to Spend

Many homeowners find themselves in a beneficial position a few or many years into their mortgage. As their payments continue, their mortgage balance gradually lessens and generally their home equity increases.

It may be tempting to view this increase in equity as a license to spend. In other words, individuals may be tempted to start spending on wants versus needs and no longer delay gratification.

A few arguments can be made in favor of using your homes equity in order to make purchases. Such arguments include home remodels, purchasing vehicles, taking vacations, and paying for college. Additionally, some may argue …

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Interaction of Survivor Benefits with Your Own Benefits

Social Security Survivor Benefits can be a critical lifeline for surviving spouses. The interaction of survivor benefits with your own benefits can be a bit confusing though. Does starting to receive one benefit affect your future amount of the other benefit? How about vice-versa? There’s a lot written about the topic in Social Security’s POMS manual, but it becomes very simple after you study it a bit.

The interaction of survivor benefits with your own benefits can be played out in one of two ways: either you take your own benefit first and the survivor benefit later; or vice versa, …

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IRA or 529?

After my post last week (Higher Education Expenses Paid From an IRA) I received a question from a reader: “If it’s possible to pay QHEE from an IRA then why would it be beneficial to contribute to a 529 specifically?” In today’s post I’ll cover the reasons you might choose an IRA or 529 plan. These two types of account will help you prepare for the twin future requirements of retirement and college expenses.

As covered in the prior post, an IRA plan can be used in part to pay for college expenses. This is allowed in the …

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Frugality Versus Frugal Spending

I wanted to write a brief note on the difference between being frugal and frugal spending. I think it really boils down to the mindset of the individual. Frugality, in my opinion, is making smart purchases when necessary, and forgoing purchasing altogether if not. I also believe that frugality is making purchases that reduce the need to spend more in the future (i.e. buying a quality product for more money in order to reduce or eliminate repair expenses in the future).

Frugal spending, on the other hand, is buying something simply because it’s on sale or cheap – regardless of …

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