Jim Blankenship

Jim Blankenship CFP®

About Jim

“We are a fee-only financial planning practice, providing financial advice by the hour to folks from all walks of life.”

Jim Blankenship is the founder and principal of Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd., a financial planning firm providing hourly, as-needed financial planning and advice. A financial services professional for over 25 years, Jim is a CFP® professional and has earned the Enrolled Agent (EA) designation. Jim is also a NAPFA-registered financial advisor, which designates him as a Fee-Only Financial Advisor.

Prior to establishing his independent firm, Jim operated a successful tax preparation service; he also managed information technology operations for a major financial services corporation. Jim is a member of the Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of fee-only advisors, founded by nationally-known Sheryl Garrett.

Jim got into this business when his search for an objective financial advisor proved fruitless. It turns out that there were no objective financial advisors in Central Illinois who were willing to work with someone of modest means. Always a do-it-yourselfer, Jim began working to expand his knowledge in order to manage his own finances. As the quest for knowledge evolved, he discovered that he was not alone in the search for objective financial advice — many others want and need the same kind of objectivity and knowledge that he was developing — so Blankenship Financial Planning was launched.

You’ll find Jim’s writings all around the internet, as he is a regular contributor to Forbes.com,TheStreet.com, and FiGuide. Several other sites also republish his work.

He has also written An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual – both books provide comprehensive guides to these vexing subjects.

Jim believes that professional, unbiased financial advice is something that all Americans need, at least periodically, to build the brightest financial futures. Holding to this philosophy, Jim is proud to offer high quality, professional financial advice to people from all walks of life.


BS, Computer Sciences, Eureka College (Illinois)




Individual CRD #4638986

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a designation issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

Educational/Exam Requirements:

  • Completion of CFP-board registered study program, or alternative degree or certification, demonstrating mastery of over 100 topics surrounding financial planning
  • Pass 10 hour exam testing knowledge in financial planning situations

Prerequisites/Experience Requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university, and
  • Three years of full-time personal financial planning experience

Public Disciplinary Process? Yes

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Enrolled Agents (EA) are licensed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Educational/Exam Requirements to Obtain:

  • Pass a 3-part written exam or have accepted IRS experience
  • Prerequisites/Experience Required:
  • Pass a background check to ensure that applicant has not engaged in any conduct that would justify the suspension of an enrolled agent from practice before the IRS

Public Disciplinary Process? No, but consumers can contact the IRS to determine whether an EA is subject to any disciplinary action.

Continuing Education Requirements:

  • 72 hours over a three-year enrollment period; minimum of 16 hours each year
  • 6 hours of ethics training over three-year enrollment period


Typical Clients

Educators People near retirement Public Employees

How I Can Help

Retirement Investing Taxes

Fee Structure

Fee-only Hourly Commission and Fee Commission Other Contingency
Learn more about how advisors are paid in our Guide to Advisor Compensation.


Phone: (217) 488-4136 Address: 116 West Illinois Street
New Berlin, IL 62670

Jim has answered 4 questions

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Jim Blankenship
Answer added by Jim Blankenship | 6232 views
29 out of 31 found this helpful

IRAs and 401(k)s are not eligible to be used as collateral for a loan.  The one option that you

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IRAs and 401(k)s are not eligible to be used as collateral for a loan.  The one option that you have available with an active 401(k) is that you can borrow a portion of the funds in the account (subject to approval by the plan administrator).  These loans are very limited: the lesser of 50% of your account balance or $50,000 can be borrowed.  If your account balance is less than $20,000, you may be eligible to borrow up to the lesser of 100% of your balance or $10,000. You must generally pay back the loan within five years.

Jim Blankenship
Answer added by Jim Blankenship | 424 views
2 out of 2 found this helpful

When you sell property, there may be tax on it if there is a gain in value from your cost basis.  When

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When you sell property, there may be tax on it if there is a gain in value from your cost basis.  When you inherit property such as a home, your cost basis is (usually) the value of the property on the date of the previous owner's death.  So, in the case of the home you've inherited, if the property has increased in value since the date of death of the person you inherited it from, there could be taxes owed on the increase in value.  The increase in value would be taxed at capital gains tax rates.

On the other hand, if the property has decreased in value since you inherited it, you could have a capital loss to report.  

This is different from a home that you have lived in as your primary residence.  When you sell a home that has been your primary residence, if you lived there for at least two out of the preceding five years, you are allowed to exclude up to $250,000 of gain from your cost basis ($500k for a married couple).  

Jim Blankenship
Answer added by Jim Blankenship | 485 views
1 out of 1 found this helpful

Unless you're retired or just about ready to retire, this should mean nothing to your 401(k), other than

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Unless you're retired or just about ready to retire, this should mean nothing to your 401(k), other than that you may see a higher balance in your 3rd quarter statement as a result of the recent increases.

Short-term fluctuations occur all the time in the stock market, and they have little if anything to do with your investment strategy - especially if you have a long-term objective for the investments.  Under the assumption that your 401(k) is to provide you with funds to live on in your retirement, this means that you need to plan your strategy to provide for growth over 30+ years from the date you retire.  

Reacting to short-term activities (record highs in the stock market, 10% corrections, etc.) will not improve your long-term investment results.  Choosing an appropriate asset mix for your risk tolerance and then sticking with your investment plan through thick and thin will yield the best possible results for you.

On the other hand, if you're retired now or just about to retire, you should not have the money that you need to live on (for the next 2-3 years, for example) invested in the stock market and thus subject to risk.  Set aside the funds that you'll need to draw on in a safe place, such as a money market account. Then the remainder of your nest egg has time to weather any adverse activity in the market, and you'll be able to sleep at night and ignore the financial headlines.

Jim Blankenship
Answer added by Jim Blankenship | 893 views
1 out of 1 found this helpful

In my opinion, taking money out of a 401(k) to resolve a debt situation won't fix the problem, and it

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In my opinion, taking money out of a 401(k) to resolve a debt situation won't fix the problem, and it will derail a sizable portion of her retirement savings.

The first thing she needs to do is get a handle on why her expenses are so high that she is going into debt regularly.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons, but there are lots of "instant gratification" issues that could be the problem as well.  Getting a handle on her expenses is key to long-term resolution of the problem.  Cut up the cards and go on a cash-only diet - meaning, no expenses are paid with anything other than cash (or a debit card).  Once this behavior takes hold, the debt can be eliminated over time.

One alternative to taking money out of the 401(k) would be to temporarily reduce 401(k) contributions and use the increased income to help pay down the debt.  This should only be a temporary reduction of the deferrals, and the paid-down balance (available credit) should not be looked upon as money to spend.  This is why I recommended cutting up the cards as she undertakes this pay-down.

It's a tough row to hoe, but it's the only way to fix the behavior of maxing out credit cards over and over again, bringing the credit score down with it.  


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