Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

1
Principles of Pollex: Debt Reduction
2
Are You Really Diversified?
3
Rolling Over Your Roth 401(k)
4
3 Ways of Dealing Without Recharacterization
5
Talking to the Social Security Office

Principles of Pollex: Debt Reduction

(In case you’re confused by the headline: a principle is a rule, and pollex is an obscure term for thumb. Therefore, this series is all about Financial Rules of Thumb.)

Try as we might, there are times when debts just overtake us. Quite often it is one of several things that causes this to happen – either we’ve had unexpected expenses hit us “alla sudden-like”, or perhaps a layoff or lean time with little or no income. Or maybe we just didn’t pay attention and debt grew out of control.

How’d I Get Here?

The reason we’re in this position …

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Are You Really Diversified?

Sometimes we fool ourselves. Sometimes we think we’re doing the right thing, when in fact the result is that we’re not at all doing what we think we are. I’m talking about your investment diversification. Within your 401(k) you have certain options available for you to choose from: a large cap stock fund, a mid cap stock fund, an international stock fund, and a bond fund. Recalling an article you read somewhere… you know you need to split up your investments among many allocation options. So, wanting to do this diversification thing right, you split up your 401(k) contributions with… Read More

Rolling Over Your Roth 401(k)

Roth 401(k) plans have been around for a while now, but here’s something you want to keep in mind about these accounts. When you leave your employer, generally speaking, you should always rollover your Roth 401(k) to a Roth IRA. There may be a few exceptions, but that’s the general advice. This is primarily due to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) requirement that is placed on Roth 401(k) accounts… unlike a Roth IRA, the owner of a Roth 401(k) is required to take minimum distributions (RMDs) beginning at age 72, just like traditional 401(k) and IRA plans. Therefore, at some… Read More

3 Ways of Dealing Without Recharacterization

As of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, recharacterization of a Roth IRA conversion is no longer an option. What can you do to now, to simulate the benefit had by recharacterization of a conversion?

It should be noted that regular contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA can still be recharacterized – it’s only a traditional IRA-to-Roth IRA conversion that is disallowed.

If you recall, the primary reason that you would want to recharacterize is if you converted funds and then, by the time you pay the tax, the holdings that you converted have …

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Talking to the Social Security Office

I often recommend talking to the Social Security Administration (SSA), either at your local office or on their hotline, to review your particular situation.  But this advice comes with a caveat… you need to know as much as you can about your options, and what you are entitled to do, so that you are well-armed when you speak with the SSA.

This is because the SSA representatives’ default advice is often to recommend the option that provides you the largest benefit today. The reason for this may be because it is in the SSA’s best interest for you to …

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