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Christmas is a time for family and friends, so thanks to Lyndsay Green, the perspective is more in tune with that frame of mind.

Me and my money

Lyndsay Green

Occupation

Author

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Portfolio

Husband of 45 years, two daughters and their husbands, two brothers, 22 nieces and nephews, countless in-laws and friends from as far back as kindergarten.

The investor

After a career as a sociologist and researcher in the educational-technology field, Lyndsay Green, 66, is now applying her knowledge and research skills to broader social issues, particularly those relating to retirement. The result has been a series of books. Her most recent, Ready to Retire?, will be released in January.

Some of her books have become bestsellers, notably You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? (2010). It is in the retirement-planning genre – but comes with a unique perspective.

How she invests

Ms. Green follows the investing approach set out in the above book. In addition to building a retirement portfolio within an RRSP (registered retirement savings plan), she is building a portfolio of friends and relatives within an RECP (registered emotional circle plan).

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The importance of having an RECP was brought home to her when she spent many hours visiting her elderly aunts and parents (now deceased) in the hospital and nursing home. It opened her eyes to the importance of having a circle of friends and relatives during the homestretch of life.

To build up an RECP, one must invest time in family and friends, and not let your work or career get in the way. By doing so, one can maintain and strengthen the bonds that bring a deeper kind of wealth to draw upon in one's declining years.

Ms. Green uses three approaches to building up her RECP. First, she views everyone as a potential friend until proved wrong. Second, she seals friendships by creating shared memories through projects or travel. Third, she seizes every chance to celebrate a friendship ("champagne works well," she observes).

Best move

"Good thing I have been investing in my RECP … I had to make an unexpected and exceedingly large withdrawal this year," she declares. "As a result of a boating accident this year, I nearly bled to death. … During the months of recovery, my family held my hand, nourished my soul, made me meals and entertained me with videos, care packages, visits, phone calls, dinner parties and a myriad of gifts including massages, books and an orchid lei hand-delivered from Hawaii."

Worst move

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She gave a friend detailed reasons why her fiancé wasn't suitable. "She married him anyway," reports Ms. Green. "Awkward!"

Advice

"Use technologies at your disposal to nurture your RECP, but emphasize one-to-one communication such as e-mail, texting, calling, direct Twitter or Skype. To generate high returns, you need to foster intimacy. Group messaging tools such as Facebook don't provide a high return."

Want to be in Me and My Money? Contact Larry MacDonald at mccolumn@yahoo.com

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