Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

1
A Brief Explanation of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
2
Exception to the Divorced Spouse Remarriage Rule
3
Spousal IRAs for Stay at Home Parents
4
Vacation Home Rentals and Your Income Taxes
5
A New-Hire Checklist

A Brief Explanation of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

I love the TSP and the fund options it offers. Participants (generally government employees and military) have access to very low cost index fund options and a handful of target date funds (L Funds) that incorporate different combinations of the individual index fund options depending on what stage you’re at in your retirement savings journey. I wish more employer sponsored plans mirrored the TSP’s simplicity, low costs and efficiency. Employees may or may not have access to a match on deferrals, depending on their employment class.

The TSP has a number of different fund choices available. The G Fund invests …

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Exception to the Divorced Spouse Remarriage Rule

Generally speaking, when a divorcee is receiving a Social Security spousal benefit based on an ex-spouse’s record, the recipient must remain unmarried in order to continue receiving the ex-spouse benefit. (For more details on this, see Coordinating Social Security Benefits in Matters of Divorce and Remarriage.) In many cases,when a divorcee remarries, the spousal benefit based on his or her ex-spouse’s record will end.

However, there is an exception to this rule that I recently became aware of. It’s in part because the circumstances surrounding this exception have recently become more common – so let’s get to the exception.…

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Spousal IRAs for Stay at Home Parents

Many parents make the decision that after their child is born one parent will stay at home to be with the child. Some of the reasons include saving on daycare expenses, and wanting at least one parent to bond and be with the child during those precious first few years of development.

Whatever the reason, the stay at home parent may leave a job and lose access to certain benefits – mainly their employer sponsored retirement savings plan. Although the stay at home parent has lost this benefit, it doesn’t mean that they have to stop saving for retirement.

One …

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Vacation Home Rentals and Your Income Taxes

You may have a vacation home that you only spend a small amount of time at each year, and the rest of the time you rent the home out to other folks who wish to vacation in your little slice of heaven. The rents that you receive is considered taxable income, to the extent that it exceeds the applicable expenses. Plus, if the vacation home is partly used for your own purposes, the expenses (allocated to the time the property is rented) cannot exceed the amount of rent income from the property (you can’t claim a loss).

Recently the IRS …

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A New-Hire Checklist

Starting a new job can be very overwhelming. Often, new-hires go through a barrage of training, information overload and multiple booklets covering procedures, processes and application. Somewhere in that mix is the benefit package. Here is where the new employee can sign up for important health insurance coverage, retirement savings plans, and other benefits such as life insurance and disability. In the stress and whirlwind of the on-boarding process, sometimes benefits can get pushed to the side, and then after time, forgotten about.

Here’s a checklist of what a new employee can do to make sure they sign up for …

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