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Another “Swim with Jim” Interview on Social Security

I recently once again was honored to be interviewed on the radio by Mr. Jim Ludwick.  Jim is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, and his practice is based in Odenton, Maryland with additional offices in Washington, DC, Santa Barbara, California, San Mateo, California, and New York City.  Jim also is a fellow member of the Garrett Planning Network. We discussed the recent new edition of my book, A Social Security Owner’s Manual, 2013 Edition, and the new information that has been provided there.  We also reviewed some of the reasons that the Social Security benefits calculation process is so complex, as well as the concept that, in many cases, it can be more efficient to use IRA resources to help you get by until your Social Security benefits can be maximized. I reviewed a case like this recently in an article at, entitled My Smartest Money Move: Taking More […]

Review of 2012 Stats

Ed. Note: As in past years, I’m taking a break from my normal business of posting retirement, tax and other personal financial planning topics to report on the blog itself and the statistics we’ve seen in this, the 9th year of publication for this blog. I’ll be back to regular programming with the next entry. – jb Over the past year, this blog has seen continued growth as in years past. This year I released An IRA Owner’s Manual, and many of you have picked up copies, thank you!  In addition, this year Sterling Raskie joined the staff here at Blankenship Financial, and he’s been adding content to the blog, giving you an additional perspective on all things financial. In November we launched the first "1% More" initiative, rallying 23 other bloggers to publish articles encouraging Americans to save at least 1% more in the coming year.  This was a […]

Join in the Movement – Add 1% to Your Savings This Year!

Over the past several weeks we’ve been writing articles to encourage all Americans to add at least 1% more to savings in the coming year. More than 20 of my fellow bloggers have submitted articles, and these articles include many great ideas that you can apply in order to increase your savings rate in the coming year. Since many employees are going through annual benefit elections right about now, it’s a very good time to increase your annual contributions to your retirement savings plans. Big changes are easiest to undertake with incremental steps – starting with adding 1% can have a great impact and get the momentum going! Listed below are all of the articles that I’ve been notified about so far – 22 23 in all! These folks are very smart, and have shared some great ideas. You owe it to yourself to check it out, and then take […]

C’mon America! Add 1% More to Your Retirement Savings This Year!

My fellow financial bloggers and I have come together to encourage an increase in retirement savings this year.  Since many employees are going through annual benefit elections right about now, it’s also a very good time to consider increasing your annual contributions to your retirement savings plans.  Small steps are the easiest to take, and the least painful – so why not set aside an additional 1% in your retirement plan in the coming year? The list below includes a boatload of ideas that you can use to help you with this increase to savings.  I’ve heard from several more bloggers who are going to put their posts up soon. If you’re a blogger, see the original post for details on how to join the action: Calling All Bloggers! Listed below are the articles in our movement so far (newest are at the top): From Dana Anspach: Can You Spare […]

Add Your First 1% to Your 401(k)

Many of my fellow bloggers and I have become concerned about how low the rate of savings has been for Americans in general.  To see a list of all of the articles in the 1% More Movement, check out the article at this link. Since November is traditionally the time when corporate employees make elections for all other benefits, including health insurance, life insurance, and other employee benefits, now is a good time to also consider increasing your 401(k) contributions. For my article, I’m focusing on the employee who hasn’t been participating in a 401(k) plan at all. Your First 1% in Your 401(k) If you haven’t been putting anything at all into your 401(k) plan at all, putting that first 1% into the 401(k) plan can be a little scary.  But you need to know that this is a monumental action.  Getting started with savings is the most important […]

Calling All Bloggers – Let’s Increase America’s Savings Rate in November!

I’m sure that I’m not alone in the financial planning world with my concern about the rate of saving toward retirement across this great land.  Recent figures have shown that we Americans are doing a little bit better of late, at a 5% savings rate versus around 1% back in 2005 – but this is a dismal figure when you consider how most folks are coming up short when they want to retire.  Rather than sitting by idly and wringing my hands, I thought maybe something could be done to encourage an increase in savings – if only by 1%, this can be a significant step for lots of folks.  And now, in November, is the perfect time to do this, as most corporations are going through the annual benefit election cycle, so the 401(k) (or 403(b), 457, or other savings plan) is right at the forefront for many folks. […]

IRS Warns of Phony Websites

It pays to be careful out there on the interwebs.  You never know what you might be getting into if you don’t pay close attention to the addresses that you click on.  Recently the IRS issued a warning about certain scams that have been making the rounds recently.  The funny thing is, they had to issue their warning a second time because they initially posted an incorrect address. At any rate, the text of the IRS’ Corrected Special Edition Tax Tip 2012-13 is listed below: Don’t Fall for Phony IRS Websites The Internal Revenue Service is issuing a warning about a new tax scam that uses a website that mimics the IRS e-Services online registration page. The actual IRS e-Services page offers web-based products for tax preparers, not the general public.  The phony web page looks almost identical to the real one. The IRS gets many reports of fake websites […]