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  • Financial Planning
    • -Comprehensive Financial Planning
    • -Retirement Planning
    • -College Planning
    • -Other Financial Planning
  • Portfolio Management
    • -Individuals and/or Small Businesses
  • Accounting & Tax
    • -Tax Advice


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No timeline events available.
Employer Years Dates
AIG 32 years, 7 months Aug 1987 - Present

Designations & Memberships

  • Garrett Planning Network
    Garrett Planning Network
    The Garrett Planning Network Inc. is an international network of fee-only financial advisors and planners. We are independent advisors and our goal is to make competent and objective advice accessible through hourly as-needed financial planning.
  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
    National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
    NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement of Fee-Only comprehensive financial planning. Consumers and the media look to NAPFA for access to financial advisors who meet the highest standards for professional competency, comprehensive financial planning and Fee-Only compensation.
  • Certified Financial Planner
    Certified Financial Planner
    A standard certification for advisors, designees are exposed to nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. Major topics include, but not limited to: insurance, employee benefits, securities, state and federal tax, estate tax and planning, asset protection, etc.
  • Enrolled Agent
    Enrolled Agent
    An Enrolled Agent is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and is empowered by the Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers.

Articles and Answers

Insights by James Blankenship

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Ask a financial questionAsk a question
If someone is on your site, I know they have all of the proper certifications, et. Does that mean someone like Bernie Madoff could be there and look ok? Did he have the same certs or not? If so, how can I be sure I am not picking another Madoff?
Tom,Technically, yes, an advisor like Bernie Madoff could be on this site. One of the biggest issues that investors with Madoff faced was due to the fact that there were no third parties involved in the process. By this I mean that Madoff handled all of the investments within his firm - not via a...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
I am wanting to know how to contact someone about my 401?
You should be able to contact the successor company, New Life Transport Parts Center, Inc (847-504-2000) and explain your situation, and they should be able to get you in touch with the 401(k) custodian for your plan.Hope this helps -jb...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
My mother is now approaching social security age and I would like to help her estimate her monthly payout. True or false, the social security payout is based on an average of your top twenty earning years?
False.The Social Security benefit is based upon the average of the 35 highest earning years between 22 and 62 years of age, indexed against an average wage indexing series normalized to the worker's age 60. This average is then divided by 12 to come up with the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AI...  (more)
Answered Nov 2012
How do I cash in my annuity?
When you retire with a retirement plan in the form of an annuity, you have several options to choose from: 1) take the annuity payments (possibly beginning on a date in the future); 2) rollover the annuity as a lump sum into another retirement plan such as an IRA; or 3) cash out the annuity.It's no...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
Can multiple people contribute to a 529 plan?
Dawn,Most 529 plans will allow as many contributors as you need, although depending upon the state tax treatment of contributions, it may be useful or necessary to have one plan for each contributor.Some states provide a deduction from income for a certain amount of contributions to the plan - and...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
Do you know the Rule of 115?
This is just a rule of thumb, and as such it's not perfect. For example, at a 5% rate the "doubler" factor is actually 71.0335, while the tripler number is 112.5854. The 4x number is simply double the "doubler" factor, leaving your rate the same - at 5% it's 142.067. If you want to keep your rule...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
This was my son first time filing taxes, he accidentally check the box where nobody else can claim him as a dependent. I supported him all year and I cannot claim him on my return. What is the proper way to fill Amended return?
Hi Darrius -If your son used tax software, there should be an option for filling out the amendment, called a Form 1040X. The software should pull the numbers into the amendment for you.If the original return was hand-prepared, you'll need to get a 1040X (go to and put 1040X in the search ...  (more)
Answered Mar 2013
After a payroll deduction is made for an employee's 401K contribution, how long do I have to deposit the money in the employee's 401K account?
Typically this deposit should be made immediately - after all, the money belongs to the employee. The latest date that the money should be deposited in the account is set by ERISA as "no later than the 15th business day of the month following the month that the employee contributions were withheld ...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
Can I contribute to two 401k plans?
Reggie,The contribution limit is for all 401(k) plans, so contributing to two different plans will not double your contribution limit for the year.jb...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
Are 401k plans protected from bankruptcy?
Doreen, a 401(k) plan is covered by ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), and as such is safe from creditors in the event of a bankruptcy on your personal situation as well as if the employer should declare bankruptcy.In addition, since the passage of the BAPCPA (Bankruptcy Abuse Pre...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
Can I write-off my gas as a business expense?
Tanner,If driving from your "regular" place of business (typically your office or home office) is a part of your job, such as visiting with customers or vendors, or driving to the airport to travel in order to perform your job, then fuel can be considered a deductible employee expense if not reimbu...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
Is alimony tax deductible?
Alimony is deductible to the extent that it meets the following qualifications (ALL must be met):Payments are required by a divorce or separation agreementPayer and recipient spouse do not file a joint tax returnPayment is in cash (includes checks)Payment is not designated as "not alimony"Divo...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
For a registered investment advisor, what's the difference between a regulatory dispute and a customer dispute?
A regulatory dispute would be a dispute between the adviser and the regulatory authority - such as over advertising rules or record-keeping, to name a few possibilities.A customer dispute would be a dispute between the adviser and the customer - perhaps with regard to appropriateness of a fee or r...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
IS there any difference in taxation if I take a lump sum distribution as opposed to a rollover?
If you take the money as a direct cash distribution you'll be taxed and penalized (assuming you're under age 59.5). You could rollover the funds into a traditional IRA and pay no tax, as this rollover would be a tax-free event.In order to get the money into a Roth IRA account, you could convert t...  (more)
Answered Jul 2012
What are the top questions to ask a financial planner?
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, NAPFA, has published a Field Guide to help you with this process. From their website:The Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide is your ultimate resource for finding a financial advisor who will work in your best interests. The Field Gui...  (more)
Answered Jul 2012
In what case will I pay more taxes- If I take as cash Money from a Defined Benefit or If I rollover funds into Traditional IRA and then Into Roth IRA?
The straight answer to your first question is: you'll pay more tax by taking the lump sum. You will have to pay ordinary income tax and quite likely a penalty of 10% since you're under age 59.5.By rolling the amount over into an IRA you open up flexibility in the Roth Conversion, which has been de...  (more)
Answered Jul 2012
Retiring at 55 and returning to work. how does this affect my SS benefits at age 67?
This depends on what your earnings have been up to this point in your life, as well as whether or not you'll be working (even part-time) after age 55. Since Social Security benefits are calculated using the highest 35 earnings years (indexed to inflation) between age 22 and 62, if you don't work pa...  (more)
Answered Dec 2012
Is it worth starting a traditional IRA if I can't contribute to a Roth IRA?
Robert, If you do go ahead and contribute non-deductible funds to a traditional IRA, you may as well go ahead and convert them to Roth IRA shortly after. This is a perfectly legal maneuver, and by doing so you're trading future taxation of any growth in the traditional IRA for tax-free growth in t...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
Traditional 401k or Roth 401k?
Tyler,As with most of these sorts of questions, the answer isn't a definite one way or the other. You need to weigh the current tax reduction that would occur if you contribute to the traditional 401(k) versus the future tax savings on the growth of the fund. If your income is relatively high now...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
How can I write off expenses from my new small business when I currently do not have any revenue?
Certain start-up costs, which are normally capitalized, are allowed to be deducted in your first year of business, even if you didn't have income. The limit is $10,000 in start-up costs, and all other costs must be amortized. If your total start-up costs are greater than $60,000, the allowed deduc...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
If I have a large tax balance due in April because of my Roth IRA conversion, will I be able to avoid the underpayment penalties related to estimated taxes?
Karen,If there is an underpayment penalty evident when you prepare your return, you can always recharacterize the Roth conversion to "undo" the activity and remove both the tax and penalty. This is just another way to avoid the penalty in the long run.jb...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
How soon does my employer have to deposit my contributions deducted from my pay into my 401(k) account?
Typically this deposit should be made immediately - after all, the money belongs to the employee. The latest date that the money should be deposited in the account is set by ERISA as "no later than the 15th business day of the month following the month that the employee contributions were withheld f...  (more)
Answered Apr 2012
Can my 16-year-old make a Roth IRA contribution?
In addition to Eve's comments, a further benefit of a Roth IRA for your child's savings is that retirement plans (including a Roth IRA) are not included in FAFSA calculations for college financial aid. This can be a very big deal if your child is "on the edge" of being eligible for financial aid. ...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
I inherited a 401k, can I roll those funds into my IRA?
In addition to David's excellent advice, you may also be eligible to convert this account to a Roth IRA, paying taxes on any pre-tax funds in the 401(k). You'd still be required to take RMDs from the account, but future growth would be tax free. This maneuver is particularly useful if the 401(k) c...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
What is a blind trust?
In this case the blind trust term is used to mean that he (Mr Romney) is not in control of the investments, he is "blind" to the allocation activity in the trust. The trustee or trust manager is taking care of the investments and the trust beneficiary (Mr. Romney and his family) have no insight int...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
Do I owe taxes for a Liberty Bond I cashed in this year?
Liberty bonds were also issued after 9/11 to assist with the rebuilding of NYC - and these bonds are tax-free at all levels....  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
What happens to leftover money in a 529 plan?
Norma,During the years that your daughter receives the scholarship, you are allowed to remove offsetting amounts from the 529 plan without penalty. You will still have to pay income tax on the growth of the funds (above and beyond the contributions), but no penalty. The distribution must be done ...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
My Mother is 64 and my Father is 69. He gets SS benefits, however my mother did not work enough to get any. Just found out that she could have applied for spousal benefits when she turned 62. Can she apply now and get 2 yrs of back pay from 62 to now?
No, your mother can't go back and receive retroactive benefits for two years, the look-back is generally limited to 6 months. They can either call SSA on their toll-free line or visit the local SSA office to apply for her spousal benefit. Realize that if she files for the Spousal Benefit now, it w...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
What percentage of my income should I save for retirement?
Mark -You should definitely contribute at least enough to your 401(k) to achieve the match money from your employer. After that, it depends on your situation: if tax reduction is important at this stage, you might contribute up to the maximum in your 401(k); but it's also a good idea to contribute...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
What happens to the college savings plans we set up for our kids when we divorce?
Isla,There should be no "required" impact on the plans, other than possibly changing who is the account owner, and then only if there is bartering going on between the spouses on the facts about how education will be paid for in the future.Since the child is the beneficiary of the plan, the plan i...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
I owe money on my income taxes from last year. Can I still get a tax refund this year?
Kevin, most likely the IRS will hold the amount that you owe from last year. So you'll wind up with a refund minus the amount due, if the refund is more than you owe.It's also possible that you might get the full refund from this year's return and still owe the tax from last year - the IRS doesn't...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
What is a spousal IRA?
Dennis,A spousal IRA is available if one spouse either is not earning wages or is earning less than the allowable contribution limit for the year, and the other spouse has earnings enough to cover the contribution for both of the couple. For 2011 & 2012, the limit per person is $5,000, with an...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
1099-R for Roth 401k?
Contributions to your Roth 401(k) will not generate a 1099-R. The 1099-R is generated when you take distributions from a retirement account or pension plan. The main place you'll see evidence of the contributions to a Roth 401(k) account will be in your W2, indicating contributions to a retirement...  (more)
Answered Jan 2012
Is it better to sell our house before or after divorce?
Livia, I'd suggest that you try to sell the house before the divorce, in order to have the transaction completed and property separated after the divorce is finalized. This is to assume that you can get a fair price for the home in that time span. If not, depending on the situation, you might want...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
Will I be taxed for a personal loan?
It's up to you how you structure this. If you intend for your daughter to pay you back, it is a loan. If you don't expect her to pay you back, it's a gift.In the case of a loan, you need to set an interest rate and charge that rate against the unpaid balance. The portion of any payments receive...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
Is there any way to deduct health insurance costs?
Nelly, you're allowed to deduct healthcare expenses, including health insurance premiums, as an itemized deduction on your Schedule A. Your deduction for healthcare expenses is limited to the amount of deductible expenses that is greater than 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income.The total of all of ...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
When converting my regular IRA to a Roth IRA, does the conversion is retroactive?
Maria,It's not really clear what your question is, but I'll take a stab at it nonetheless. If you are asking whether a conversion from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is retroactive, meaning that the Roth IRA would be considered as having been established and funded as of the date of the tradition...  (more)
Answered Jun 2012
I received a statement from Social Security titled Potential Private Pension Benefit Information. I actually received 2 of them. How do I get more information?
Michael -Assuming that you were formerly employed by Verizon, if you want more detail on the pension I'd suggest getting in touch with the benefits department at that company.If you're looking for more information about why you are receiving this statement from Social Security, I suggest that you ...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
My daughter turned 27 in December,she was a full time student through August.She got married in September.She filed her return as Married filing seperate so we could keep her as a dependent for the education credit.She only earned 2700 for 2011.Can we kee?
Bob, it's not clear what your question is. It' looks like you were cut off in mid-sentence. Can you provide more information or restate your questions?jb...  (more)
Answered Mar 2012
Is Social Security and 401K income counted towards income for tax purposes?
Michael -There's a calculation required to determine if your Social Security benefits will be taxed, and at what rate. Social Security benefits may be taxable at 85%, 50%, or not at all, depending upon the amount of your "provisional income" - which is all of your other income besides Social Secur...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
Okay so I just did my taxes on Turbo Tax married filing joint. With both our AGI out 375k we are getting killed in taxes. When I remove my wifes W2 income we'd get money back so that got me thinking. We had a baby in December and will have to start paying for child care next month at 2500 a month
Donald,First of all, without seeing your return, the W2's and the other supporting documents it's impossible to give you a complete answer. I can give you a few things to look at to make sure you're reviewing at the facts properly though:1) You indicate that you removed your wife's W2 income - di...  (more)
Answered Feb 2013
Can I deduct moving costs?
Bonnie,You may be able to claim a deduction for moving expenses if the distance from the new main job is at least fifty miles farther away from your old home than the old job was from the old home. (Right, thanks IRS for such a simple matter!).Here's an example - if the old job was five miles away...  (more)
Answered Feb 2012
    *Answers are submitted by advisors without compensation.

    Licenses & Conducts

    U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
    • license status
    • disclosures
    • as of date
      Oct 21, 2018
    • license status
      Not registered
    • disclosures
    • as of date
    Review the status and details of the disclosures noted above using the SEC's Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website:



    Last updated on Oct. 21, 2018
      • $8.0M
        Total Assets Under Management
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      • 80
        number of clients
      • $100.0K
        Estimated Average Account Balance Per Client

    Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd.

    Last updated on Dec. 1, 2019
      • $19.6M
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      • $0
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      • 80
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      • $245.4K
        Estimated Average Account Balance Per Client


    Fee Only Advisor
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