Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

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How to Build Good Money Habits
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Why is there GPO (Government Pension Offset) in Social Security?
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Why is there WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) in Social Security?
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Up to 41% of “miscellaneous” denied Social Security benefits not being reviewed
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5 Free Activities to Explore While Social Distancing

How to Build Good Money Habits

Dealing with personal finances can be daunting. They could be a new venture for you or your current way of dealing with them is less than ideal. Here are some tips that can aid you in developing good personal finance habits.

  1. Use technology. Whether developing a budget, savings plan, etc. the use of technology can make life easier. App such as Mint.com or spreadsheet software like Excel can assist you in getting organized and making clutter more organized.

For example, an app like Mint consolidates all your finances, accounts, and can give you a snapshot of what you’re spending, saving, …

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Why is there GPO (Government Pension Offset) in Social Security?

If you are (or were) married and you have worked in a domestic (US-based) government job where your earnings are not subject to Social Security taxation, you probably are familiar with the Government Pension Offset, or GPO. (You may also be interested in WEP – Windfall Elimination Provision – as well, but that’s another subject.) Have you ever learned just why GPO is a factor in Social Security calculations for many folks? In another article we reviewed why there is a WEP, but there are differences between WEP and GPO, so we’ll cover those first.

GPO versus WEP
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Why is there WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) in Social Security?

WEP impact

During your career you may have worked for a governmental agency or a foreign employer where there was no Social Security tax withheld from your earnings (Job A). At the same time or at some other point, you may also have worked in a job that was covered by Social Security (Job B). The end result is that now you’re ready to retire, and you will collect a pension from the Job A, and you’re also eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on Job B. But the Social Security benefits are being reduced because of something called WEP – …

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Up to 41% of “miscellaneous” denied Social Security benefits not being reviewed

Many, if not most, applications for Social Security benefits are approved without any issues. But often, an application is denied, for legitimate reasons. Maybe you don’t have the requisite number of credits on your account for benefits, or something similar. But also, many times, benefits are denied without a specified reason. When this happens, the Social Security Administration staffer working on the case will apply a code of “miscellaneous suspense” to the record.

The suspension of benefits can happen either at the point of initial application, or upon a review of the record at some point. For the latter, the …

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5 Free Activities to Explore While Social Distancing

During the lockdown and required social distancing it’s common to feel cooped up and restless. Finances may be strained, and we may feel the need to lockdown our own spending. During this time, and raising two daughters, it was a great way to become creative with activities that didn’t cost a thing but were a HUGE investment in building relationships. If you don’t have kids, you can still do these with friends or family.

  1. Take an adventure walk. We like to take walks frequently. However, there are times when I will set certain challenges on the walks or learning outcomes
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