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.

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. Here’s a framework (and spreadsheet) for making this decision.

Compound Interest, How It Works

You may have heard that you should invest as early as possible in order to take advantage of compound interest. The younger you are when you begin investing, the sooner compounding can (possibly) start and the sooner exponential growth can (potentially) happen. Here are simple and easy-to-understand illustrations of how the math works.