Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

1
Best and Worst States for Retirement Finances
2
No K-12 Tax Break for Using Illinois’ Brightstart
3
Roth Recharacterization is No Longer Allowed
4
How to Build Wealth
5
Divorcee Social Security Benefits

Best and Worst States for Retirement Finances

Retirement can be one of the most anticipated and exciting times in a person’s life.  When the time comes to start this new chapter, it is important to consider all of the factors to make the transition as easy as possible.  Diligent financial planning is one of the most important things that can make a senior’s retirement successful, and it is especially helpful to know that there are some states that have better financial environments than others.  Whether retirees already live in one of these states, or are looking for a new place to reside, knowing expense expectations can help …

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No K-12 Tax Break for Using Illinois’ Brightstart

One of the provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) included the ability for an owner of a 529 education savings plan (such as Illinois’ Brightstart) to use the funds for K-12 private schooling just the same as for post high school expenses. This means that, at least at the federal level, owners of these plans will not pay tax on the growth of these funds if used for any private K-12 schooling. Previously this option was only available with a Coverdell savings plan, but TCJA extends this treatment to 529 plans.

In Illinois however, the …

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Roth Recharacterization is No Longer Allowed

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, recharacterization of a Roth Conversion is no longer allowed. This begins with tax year 2018.

Briefly, recharacterization of a Roth conversion is (used to be) useful if you wanted to undo a Roth conversion sometime before your tax return is filed for the year in question. If you’d like more information on recharacterization and why you might want (or have wanted) to do this, you can check out the article on Recharacterizing.

So now, if you convert funds from an IRA or 401k into a Roth …

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How to Build Wealth

How you choose to spend or invest your money can have an impact on your net worth. Many of you are familiar with the net worth equation which is Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth. In other words, what you own, minus what you owe, equals what’s yours.

However, what is conventional wisdom isn’t always what’s best. What I mean is, just because something is generally known as an “asset” doesn’t mean it’s going to help your wealth. Here are a few examples.

  1. Your house. While generally considered an asset, and to some, an investment, your home can also drain
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Divorcee Social Security Benefits

The below article is an excerpt from my new book Social Security for the Suddenly Single. This focused book is all about divorcee Social Security retirement and survivor benefits, and it’s available on Amazon. The book was written to address the lack of information about divorcee Social Security. You’ll find everything you need to know about divorcee Social Security retirement and survivor benefits within.

Divorcee Benefits Matrix

Below you will find a matrix that describes the various divorcee Social Security benefits you may have available to you.

To use this matrix, start at 1, choosing your birth …

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