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BIXI, a public bike-rental system, was launched in Montreal in May, 2009, with more than 3,000 bicycles available at 300 stations across the city.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

This is the last edition of the Carrick Talks Money newsletter in 2016. It will resume on Jan. 4th, 2017. Happy holidays. 

The World Economic Forum has been looking ahead to urban life in 2030, and it sees people owning a lot less stuff. The underlying idea is that products will become services. You don't buy a car, you use a car-sharing service. You don't own tools, cameras and tents – you rent them.

This trend will likely be driven to some extent by millennials, who for lifestyle reasons seem to be less interested in owning things. But there's a financial aspect to all of this, too. Some millennials are having trouble getting established in the working world, and it just makes sense for them to pay to use things instead of owning them outright.

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The financial challenges of young adults have received a lot of attention in recent years. Here are two of the latest articles I've seen, one of them an article written by a millennial who wonders if her peers are too reliant on parental help. The other is a list of smart, sensible lessons for young adults on retirement from a columnist for Time's Money website.

By the way, the idea of owning less stuff in the future applies to the super rich as well. The CEO of the boat building firm Gulf Craft expects people to want to use yachts in the future, but be far less interested in owning them.

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How not to give a terrible gift this year
Stop worrying so much about someone's initial reaction to a present and think more about the long-term benefit.

The year's top reading on investments and the markets
A roundup of top financial blog posts from 2016. Perfect for browsing as you look ahead to managing your money in 2017.

Living out your childhood dreams in retirement
All about how retirement may be an opportunity to get back to your childhood ideas of what you wanted to be when you grew up.

Nine types of insurance you can skip
Extended warranties, mortgage life and disability coverage and more.

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Renting is expensive, too
If you can't afford to buy a house, there's nothing wrong with renting and investing the money you save by not owning. But let's agree that renting is getting expensive in some cities, a point clearly made by this infographic.

Travel accessories for people who pack light
Budget travel expert Barry Choi on how to meet the challenge of packing without using a big suitcase.

Today's featured financial tool
A blogger has built a spreadsheet to help you find out how much you can expect in Canada Pension Plan benefits. Changes recently made in the CPP to benefit future retirees are included.

Ask Rob
The question: "We have been using a financial adviser for many years. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, our fund grew by an average of 5 per cent per year. In 2016 our fund shrunk about 3 per cent. We pay our financial adviser 1.5 per cent of our portfolio value for various funds [fees for these funds are in addition to the advice fee]. Does the Globe and Mail offer financial advice at cost?"

My reply: Thanks for the vote of confidence, but we are journalists and not advisers. Now, about those returns from your portfolio. I suggest you set up a meeting with your adviser where the agenda is to discuss your portfolio. Ask your adviser to supply some benchmark stock and bond index returns to use as a way to gauge your own results. If your three- to five-year results are worse than an appropriate mix of benchmark indexes, find out the reasons and then assess whether a new approach is required.

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.

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Featured Video
What are the best professions for working past age 65?

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