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Retirement tips from financial planners (and a directory of fee-based planners)

There's a theme to these tips from eight different planners, and the cynics will immediately jump all over it. Imagine – financial planners advising people to have a plan for retirement. Aren't they just talking their book, as investment industry people like to say? That means talking up the virtues of something that benefits you financially.

I'm with the planners on this one. If you could see my e-mail in-basket, you'd know that people are hungry for help and information about retirement. I can help them a bit by pointing them to the right online resource, or by raising a point or two. But what they often need is bigger than that. More and more, I'm suggesting they see a financial planner to get some full analysis of how they're doing with their retirement saving and other financial goals.

People are sometimes anxious about dealing with planners who also sell financial products. If you just want planning, look for a fee-for-service planner who offers advice for an hourly or flat rate. Do a google search for fee-for-service planners in your city, and check this new online directory.

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University professor sells his plasma because he needs the money
A first-hand account by a guy who makes $52,000 (U.S.) a year and has to sell his blood plasma for extra cash. A comment on the financial challenges of middle-class life in 2017.

13 cheap, fun hobbies
I like this list – a great variety of ideas for rewarding stuff you can do on the cheap.

Winning the lottery ruined her life
Proving that money can't buy happiness, a 21-year-old woman in the U.K. is debating whether to sue a lottery operator for negligence in letting someone as young as her win (she won at age 17).

Fighting the retirement blues
Advice on fighting the sense of aimlessness some people feel after they leave the workforce.

How to spend your bonus
For those fortunate enough to get a bonus. Lots of suggestions here on toys and charities to spend your money on.

The story of money in one infographic
A quick, fun history lesson.

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Today's featured financial tool
Check this out if you're looking for ways to teach your kids about handling money. It's an app called Save The Camp that was developed by a team that includes Meridian, the largest credit union in Ontario. This link describes the app and includes links to download it in the Apple app store and on Google Play.

Ask Rob
The question:
"I have a mixed portfolio of about $50,000 in five differing funds with a bank and most are part of LIF and RRIF accounts. I have been pressing my manager to invest in some form of ETFs. He is reluctant to do so and suggests in his last communique that although ETFs may have low internal fees, you have to pay a commission of perhaps 1.5 per cent both on purchase and sale. Is this so, and what are my solutions?"

My reply: "Commissions of that size may apply if you used a full-service broker to buy your ETFs, but that wouldn't make sense for someone in your position. One thought is to open an account at the online brokerage arm of your bank and then buy ETFs for no more than $10 per trade. You'll need to be able to pick suitable ETFs, though. If you're not confident about that, it would make sense to stay in your mutual funds until you build up your knowledge. Speaking of those funds, have you evaluated their performance over the short and, more importantly, long term? It's possible they are doing a good job for you. Check fund returns on"

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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