There’s a gradual shift happening in retirement planning. Instead of just looking at how much money people have saved, planners are also considering the amount people will require for spending on day-to-day costs to cover living, travel, etc. You’ll know you’ve saved enough if your savings will accommodate your spending needs.

Now here's where it gets complicated: People seem to have trouble estimating how much money they will need to live on in retirement. A 2018 survey of people in Canada and 29 other countries by U.K. money management firm Schroders found that pre-retirees expected living expenses to account for 34 per cent of their income, while retirees reported that living expenses actually consumed 49 per cent.

There were a few other mismatches between estimated and actual spending, some of them positive. For example, pre-retirees overestimated the portion of their income that would be needed to support relatives. But the lack of understanding of how much money it costs to live day-to-day in retirement stands out.

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Here’s something you can do to get a better handle on what your retirement spending will be: Try the Globe and Mail Retirement Readiness Calculator. We designed it to help people compare what they spend in their working years with what they anticipate they will need in retirement. The good news here is that a lot of expenses drop away when you retire – most notably, retirement saving.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Getting judgy about other people’s spending

A blogger notices that people in the “money community” (ie: other bloggers) are getting more judgmental about how others spend money. She advocates a spend-and-let-spend attitude. Agreed – you won’t influence people to make better spending decisions by shaming or mocking them.

An update on Brim Financial

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Money blogger Barry Choi asks some tough questions about what’s happening at Brim, which has earned some attention lately as a non-bank competitor in the credit card business.

Bathroom etiquette when visiting an open house

Real estate agent/blogger David Fleming saves the best for last in his 10-point discussion of etiquette at open houses.

How much should you use your credit card?

To build a solid credit rating, it helps to use a credit card responsibly. Here are some thoughts from a credit counselling agency about how much of a balance you should build up to demonstrate good habits. Of course, the balance should be paid in full each month.

Today’s featured financial tool

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Here’s a list of 40 Canadian investing blogs and websites. Worth a look if you want some new voices on investing and personal finance. Note: There are some corporate websites from investment firms in the mix.

Ask Rob

Q: “My mother is 58 years old and has to move her money from a company RRSP to a personal RRSP, which she doesn’t have yet. The company plan is the only retirement savings she has at this point. She’d like to retire in five to eight years. Is a robo-adviser the right call in this situation?”

A: The pros for using a robo-adviser: Disciplined, low-cost management of a portfolio that would be designed for your mother’s specific needs. The cons: Little in the way of retirement planning to map out what her retirement income would look like and offer suggestions on how to improve the outlook. Another thought is for your mom to pay a financial planner a flat or hourly fee to consult over her retirement situation and have the robo-adviser handle the investments. A traditional investment adviser is also an option, but getting a financial plan would not be a given. This is especially true if your mom’s account is in the low six-figure range or less.

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:

  • Unusual places where Canadians are buying second homes
  • When couples separate in today’s housing market, both are going to take a big financial hit
  • Rosenberg, Belski, Shannon and two other top market strategists reveal their most important advice for the second half of 2018

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