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The new grandparenting: 'All I open is my wallet'

Grandfather and grandchild walking.

David Pereiras Villagr/iStockphoto

One of my jobs in producing this newsletter is to be a trend spotter. This Maclean's article about the changing role of grandparents is right on the money. It explains how grandparents are increasingly being called upon to provide childcare and financial assistance to their adult children, even while their wisdom about child rearing is being discounted. In one conversation mentioned here, a grandmother says, "I almost never open my mouth to criticize. All I open is my wallet." Why ask your parents how to handle your child's behaviour when Dr. Google is there to consult?

Another aspect of the evolving role of grandparents is the way people are in some cases remaining healthy and active longer. Here's an article that asks if 90 is the new 60. Now check out this article about a surprisingly simple indicator of how long you'll live. Apparently, a quick and dirty indicator of life expectancy is the firmness of your handshake.

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A blogger asked personal finance writers for the best deals they got by negotiating rather than accepting the offered price. I added this item in my last newsletter, but included the wrong link.

Today's featured financial tool
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Ask Rob

The question: "I like ETFs because, among other reasons, they make diversification simple. Should I be concerned because I am buying all my ETFs from the same provider? Should I be spreading the risk here also? How do I gauge the health of one provider over another?"

My reply: Assets in ETFs are held separately from the issuing company, so a bankruptcy should not affect the holdings of investors. If you remain concerned, there are multiple ETF providers that are huge, successful companies and present no real risk of collapse.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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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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