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Carrick on money

Is it bad parenting to raise children in a condo? Add to ...

In a city with an expensive housing market, condos are an affordable alternative that can put you right in the heart of downtown rather than in some distant suburb. But what about kids? Don’t they need backyards, family rooms and their own bedroom?

No, it’s parents who need that. Kids need love and support, and they can get them just as well in a condo as a house. But it’s not going to be easy to raise kids in a condo. You'll need to think about things like whether schools and family-friendly amenities are close by.

It would also be useful to hear from other parents living in condos with kids. Here’s a look at a family of four living in a one bedroom condo.

One mother finds her child is growing up faster as a result of condo living. Another young condo-dwelling mom reports being told that a high rise is no place to raise a kid. But she’s doing it, and with style. Check out the loft bed she built for her nine-year-old daughter to take advantage of her condo unit’s high ceiling.

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The best travel reward cards for 2017
A list of the top five cards overall here, plus leaders in various categories like cards offering airlines and hotel reward points. Here’s a list of all the cards that were considered.

Tax relief for seniors
CRA offers this list of tax credits and benefits for seniors. If you’re 65 and older, make sure you’re using all the tax breaks you’re entitled to.

Stop bashing millennials for buying coffee
The financial challenges facing young adults today are a lot more complex than spending too much on coffee. So let’s not criticize them for enjoying a small luxury. Here’s a smart take on the No. 1 thing millennials need to know about investing.

The cost of being different
An account of how LGBT people may have different priorities and needs when it comes to personal finance.

Busting the financial independence myth
A useful reminder to retirees – and their adult children – that they may not always be able to manage their finances without assistance. Here are some signs that an aging parent needs help with his or her finances.

How Obama changed investing
Former U.S. president Barak Obama’s reforms for financial advisers may not survive Donald Trump’s presidency, but investors seem to have learned an important lesson about understanding financial advice.

Today’s featured financial tool
After reading a recent travel-focused edition of this newsletter, a reader suggested I highlight a series of websites that list flight deals out of various Canadian cities. Here’s a link to the Toronto version. Click on the “from other cities” link for additional airports.

Ask Rob
The question: “What is an average rate of return on RRSPs, in balanced funds, over the last 15 years? Should it be comparable to market returns? My return on investment since 2005 was 1.37 per cent (as of June). Should I change financial advisors?”

My reply: First, ask your current adviser to compare your portfolio returns to an appropriate mix of stock and bond market benchmarks. Ask specifically why your portfolio has clearly under-performed. A look at some of the country’s biggest balanced funds shows 15-year annualized returns coming in between 4 and 7 per cent to the end of last year. If you can’t get a satisfactory explanation and a plan for improving your returns, then a change in advisers is definitely worth considering.

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
Personal finance expert Leslie Scorgie on when an RRSP loan makes sense.

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Also on The Globe and Mail

Condos – the case for renting, not buying (The Globe and Mail)

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