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A blog called Proud Money recently did something cool – it asked a mix of people what kinds of spending always feels worth it to them.

One person said giving to charity, one said books, and a couple said investing in themselves and their careers. But the most popular answer was travel. "When I spend money on travel, it always feels worth it to me," one woman wrote. "I feel like I am part of something greater than myself. I am experiencing things that some people will never see in their lifetime. It is inspiring and humbling." Great summary, that.

My reservation in playing up travel's splurge-worthiness is the risk legitimizing the all-too-common view that treating ourselves to certain things has an importance that supersedes the basic personal finance rule of living within your means. Travel may be splurge-worthy, but it's not debt-worthy. Choose your splurges wisely, and always have the cash to pay for them.

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A clean home in eight minutes

Tips for cleaning a home while maximizing two of your most precious resources – time and money. Here's one thing you need to clean more often than you think – your child's lunchbox.

What do millennials have against the stock market?

A U.S. survey finds a striking unwillingness among young adults to invest in stocks, even though returns on safer investments are low. Now, check out this smart rebuttal from a millennial. He says his peers aren't investing in stocks because they have other financial issues to worry about first.

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Retirement ages around the world

This interactive map shows how official retirement ages compare in countries across the globe. Canada, at 65, is typical for industrialized countries.

Frugal husbands are sexy as hell

So says personal finance blogger Holly Johnson. She has me convinced.

Today's featured financial tool

Find out if you qualify for a mortgage based on your income and expenses.

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Ask Rob

The question: "The Globe recently published a piece about how one would do better to invest a lump sum rather than use a dollar cost averaging strategy when it comes to investing. Does this hold true for repaying RRSP money withdrawn under the Home Buyers' Plan? Are you better off repaying your RRSPs with a lump sum if you can? Or, take the 15 years available to pay it back?"

The answer: "The Home Buyers' Plan, for those who don't know, allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $25,000 from their registered retirement savings plans to use as part of their down payment. The default schedule for repaying what you withdraw is 15 years. Repaying in a lump sum as quickly as possible is preferable because the money will immediately start compounding tax-free in your RRSP. Spreading repayment out over a long period means you're putting your money to work bit by bit."

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.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories

–What do the rich worry about? Surprisingly, it's money

–Why do we pay so much for chequing accounts?

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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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