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The new alcoholics: Retired, wealthy and bored

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Musician Phil Collins retired a few years back and found he had a lot of time on his hands. He filled it by drinking. According to this story, he's part of a trend. "Retired, wealthy and bored after their children have long left home, many over-fifties can relate to the same curse that afflicted Phil Collins."

This dark side of retirement is covered in a book called Ready to Retire?: What You and Your Spouse Need to Know About the Reality of Retirement. Author Lyndsay Green recounts the story of being told by a teacher about a pre-retirement seminar he attended where the three Ds of retirement were discussed. Drink, depression and divorce.

Here's a story from our retirement section last year on how men are vulnerable to depression once they stop working. And here's one about the importance of exercise for stimulating the body and the brain.

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For a more uplifting view on retirement, check out some videos I did with Lisa Taylor of the Challenge Factory, a consulting firm that specializes in career management and workforce planning. Ms. Taylor sees an upside to working in retirement, and she has some strategies for finding rewarding work that makes you happy.

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Wasting food is wasting money
Take a lesson from this CBC report on food thrown out by Wal-Mart. About $31-billion in food is wasted in this country per year.

Today's featured financial tool
Globeinvestor.com's Screener can help you find specific stocks to meet your needs. You can build your own screen using a variety of criteria, or use a pre-defined one (there's one for dividend investing).

Ask Rob
The question: "I have $100,000 to invest between my wife and I, or should we pay down our mortgage? We have approximately $190,000 left on it, rate at 2.59 per cent. We can make a lump sum payment of 15 per cent, but we can increase the biweekly contributions as much as we want. I realize part of the analysis is to compare the interest cost versus the return on the funds invested, but I would love to hear your views."

My reply: My view is that household wealth is excessively tilted toward housing in this country. As a result, I would encourage you to give some serious consideration to investing at least part of the $100,000 for the long term. And, yes, you should be able to earn a fair bit more than 2.59 per cent by investing. Conservatively, let's say 4 to 5 per cent after fees.

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.

Featured Video
This is an evergreen video from my colleague John Heinzl on how not to get fooled by the yields on bond ETFs. Investors continually get tripped up by thinking these exchange-traded funds pay higher yields than they actually do.

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About the Author
Personal Finance Columnist

Rob Carrick has been writing about personal finance, business and economics for close to 20 years. He joined The Globe and Mail in late 1996 as an investment reporter and has been personal finance columnist since November 1998. Rob's personal finance columns appear in The Globe on Tuesday and Thursday, and his Portfolio Strategy column for investors appears on Saturday. More

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