Author - jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

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Level payment pension plan option
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Restoring Social Security benefit level after early filing
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What income is used for the Annual Earnings Test?
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How to Build Good Money Habits
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Why is there GPO (Government Pension Offset) in Social Security?

Level payment pension plan option

When you approach retirement, if you’re fortunate enough to have worked in a job that provides a pension plan, you are faced with a decision: what type of payout should you choose? There are generally several – the first choice is between a lump sum versus an annuitized payout

The lump sum works just like it sounds – you get the equivalent of your account in the pension system in one big lump – and you can rollover this lump sum into an IRA or other tax-deferred vehicle, taking distributions as you see fit over your lifetime. At some …

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Restoring Social Security benefit level after early filing

There’s at least one circumstance in the Social Security retirement benefits world where it seems you can have your cake and eat it too. For whatever reason, this one has completely slipped past me up to this point, but I assure you, it’s legitimate and a very real part of Social Security’s rules. 

Not long ago, I was looking over some information on Social Security audits (Hey, some people collect stamps, I read audits. Sue me!), when I came across an audit that caught my eye. This particular audit, done by the Office of the Inspector General of the …

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What income is used for the Annual Earnings Test?

If you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits and you’re under Full Retirement Age (FRA), you may be subject to the Annual Earnings Test. This is a test to see if you’re actually retired enough (per the Social Security Administration’s rules) to receive your Social Security retirement benefit.

You can read up on the rules about the Annual Earnings Test by clicking the link. Effectively, if you earn more than $18,960 (for 2021), then for each $2 over that amount in earnings, your Social Security retirement benefit is reduced by $1. If this is the year that you’ll reach …

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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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