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Carrick on money

What’s your ideal retirement location? Add to ...

My wife and I are starting to look ahead to selling the family home and moving to something smaller. But the question now is what type of housing and, just as importantly, where? We’ll certainly be retiring while living in our next home and that means we’ll need to do some advance planning to make sure we’re in the right city and neighborhood.

Here’s some help for everyone looking at where to live in retirement – a list of must-haves that includes things like tolerable weather, nearby health care and good public transportation.

If you’re thinking of moving to a smaller community, check out this column I wrote a few years back. It uses the town of Owen Sound, Ont., as an example of a place big city dwellers could move and save a bundle over living in the city. And check out these cities in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland where you can live for $2,500 (U.S.) per month or less. They’re presented here because I know readers love to check out lists like these, even if they probably stay put in retirement.

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Stop obsessing about your credit rating
I wrote a column recently about how people are getting way too wrapped up in their credit scores. Looks like this blogger for a credit counselling agency agrees with me.

Pizza fraud – yes, it’s a thing
Fake cheese, fake pepperoni…. It’s happening at pizza places in England and, one suspects, elsewhere.

How to move a U.S. retirement account to Canada
I get asked from time to time about how to move Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s in the United States to Canada. Here’s a good rundown that highlights the importance of getting things right so you avoid trouble with the taxman both here and south of the border.

People gotta have their houses
All about how the new mortgage regulations announced by the federal government will push people to alternative sources of mortgage funding beyond banks and other traditional lenders. I hope the borrowers using these alternative sources are making sure the mortgages they sign have the same rates and terms as mainstream lenders. Don’t sign a bad deal to get into a housing market that the federal government is trying hard to cool.

The trouble with renting
I’ve spent years trying to open people’s minds about renting instead of owning a house, but I have to admit there are challenges for renters. Like high rents, for example. Here’s a one-bedroom loft in Toronto that rents at $2,200 per month. You get skylights, but no access to laundry facilities.

Bankers aren’t like the rest of us
A journalist talks to hundreds of people who work in London’s version of Wall Street about working in an industry that has caused so much economic upheaval in the past decade. I love this quote: “Banking today is like playing Russian roulette with someone else’s head.”

Today’s featured financial tool
If you’re searching for mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, Globeinvestor.com’s Fund Filter is a great tool for finding products that suit your needs. You can search by fees, performance and other criteria.

Ask Rob
The question: “My advisor at my bank is reluctant to invest in ETFs. He advises me that it is not worth my time. I have about $50,000 invested in four RRIFs and LIFs. Do you advise on such matters? Could I invest with you?”

My reply: Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have my hands beyond full writing about personal finance, so the answer is no. Happy to offer some thoughts here, though. ETFs are appropriate for all kinds of investors, perhaps you as well. Here’s a primer on ETFs. You have two choices if you want to use them to build portfolios – open an account with an online brokerage (all banks have them), or find a robo-adviser. Most robo-advisers use ETFs to build portfolios because of their low cost. My latest guide to robo-advisers will be published this weekend. I’ll throw a link into the next newsletter.

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

Featured Videos
All about the new reports investors will be receiving in early 2017 showing how much they pay for investment advice in dollar terms.

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