Whether you’re buying a house or planning for retirement, budget tools and tips may help you decide what you can afford and when you can afford it. The website The Balance strives to give you financial empowerment by providing information and advice on homes and retirement, plus saving for college, starting a business and finding a job.

There is a main article in each section to start you off. You can begin your retirement research by clicking on “Figure How Much You Need to Retire in 5 Simple Steps.” From there, you can explore “Best Downloadable Spreadsheets for Your Retirement Planning” or, perhaps, “How to Factor in Inflation and Life Expectancy in Retirement Planning.” A sidebar lists issues you may need to make decisions about, such as finding a financial adviser, and Social Security and long-term care insurance.

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Have a child going off to college? Learn about applying for financial aid, 529 savings accounts and what to do if a student is declined or deferred by a school, as well as some things you might not have considered, such as surviving the summer with a college student.

A stand-alone product of About.com, the site’s easy-to-use layout has links to related subjects embedded in the more than 34,000 timely and current articles. We were a bit perplexed by some about starting businesses in Canada, since the site otherwise seems to be U.S.-based.