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Why Canadians should open their minds to renting

For Rent signs outside of a apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 23, 2014.

Ben Nelms/The Globe & Mail

I had an e-mail from a 30-something reader in Edmonton the other day in which she talked about selling a house and renting instead. "Phew. Relief," was her comment on the financial flexibility she and her partner gained.

A Halifax retiree I wrote about a couple of weeks ago said his wife felt the same way about selling their house and moving to a rental apartment. "She finds the simplicity of living in the apartment so much more gratifying than the constant worry of maintaining the house, a good part of which we weren't living in."

Now let's hear another take on the benefits of renting, specifically for retirees. It's an article produced for a U.S. financial services company called MassMutual that thoroughly reviews the benefits of renting. American retirees seem to be similar to Canadians – most want to remain in their homes. Still, the article concludes, "renting offers the opportunity for increased cash flow, greater flexibility, more accessible accommodations, and a simpler lifestyle."

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My reply: "There's no magic to bond ETFs. If you gauge future returns by the weighted average portfolio yield to maturity (find this on the fund profiles that ETF companies offer on their websites) and subtract fees, you'll find much more realistic numbers. Don't judge by the yield figures found in stock quotes. It's more of a backward view than an indication of what's to come."

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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