Thinking ahead about how investing can support financial goals is the purpose of planning. Naturally, there’s lots of talk about common planning targets: retirement and college. But there’s also consideration of how to achieve multiple goals at various stages of life — whether covering basic needs or leaving a legacy — and how taxes and tax planning could impact results. Articles in the planning category allow you to clarify how today’s decisions can impact efforts to grow, manage, and maintain wealth.

Working While Collecting Social Security Benefits

Recently, my husband posed this question: “can I work and collect Social Security benefits?” I didn’t know the answer at the time but discovered that, in general, “yes.” But a more important question is: “should I work and collect Social Security retirement benefits?” The response to this question requires additional research.

For the scope of this article, I won’t delve into the nuances of how working could enhance a sense of well-being and purpose or how the costs associated with working (commuting expenses, for example) might detract from its financial value. Instead, I’ll consider how working while collecting benefits could affect 1) monthly paychecks received in the present; 2) Social Security retirement benefits in the future; and 3) income taxes.

Planning with a Mortgage Amortization Schedule

A mortgage amortization schedule can be useful for: comparing my loan-balance calculations to the mortgage company’s records; identifying when mortgage insurance should no longer be required; planning the payoff of the mortgage prior to retirement or another significant life change; recognizing how much of the payment goes to insurance, taxes, etc. and will continue even after the mortgage is paid; analyzing the impact of extra payments (and later comparing this impact to the benefit of using those funds for a purpose other than mortgage payoff). Inside, there’s a link to a downloadable schedule.

Choices for Starting Social Security Benefits (Spreadsheet)

When I decide to start receiving benefits affects my monthly Social Security check for the rest of my life. That is, if I choose to collect checks prior to normal retirement, then the monthly amount is reduced; likewise, if I wait until I’m past regular retirement age, I receive a bigger monthly check. So, among the retirement decisions that I need to make, this one seems fairly significant.

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