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A man choosing a car looks at the trunk of one.AdrianHancu/The Globe and Mail

For the internet at its best, try researching your next car purchase. There's great information available at no cost on pretty much every aspect of choosing the right vehicle.

Let's start with fuel consumption. Natural Resources Canada has a guide for 2017 cars and trucks and for vehicles from previous years. For safety ratings, check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's database of vehicles going back to 2004. There's also a list of top safety picks by year.

Consumer Reports offers an extensive directory of vehicle reviews and reliability data, but most is reserved for paying subscribers. Free content lately has included a ranking of car brands by reliability. Another source of reviews is

Leaning toward buying a used car? The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a service that lets you check whether a vehicle has been reported as damaged in a flood or deemed non-repairable. To value your trade-in, try Canadian Black Book.

All of these tools and more are collected in this car-buying guide from, which offers quotes for car, property and life insurance. For comparing car insurance costs, a few other websites to consult are, InsurEye,,, and

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Rob's personal finance reading list…

Four signs you may want to work in retirement
This list is designed to help you decide if you should work part-time after you retire. A lot of people will have answered yes to these questions.

Lifestyles of the rich and frugal
Basketball superstar LeBron James won't use his cellphone without WiFi to cut down on data costs, and he won't pay for smartphone apps.

The boys from the banks
These are the men – yes, all men – who run the Big Five banks and thus have an influence on the financial lives of most Canadians.

This is what Christmas lights do to your electricity bill
The cost of lighting up those dark winter nights is actually not too bad. U.S. rates shown here – google your provincial electrical or hydro authority for your own costs.

Today's featured financial tool
I get asked a lot by parents for suggestions of resources that can be used to help teach kids about money. Here's one – an online game called Dollar Adventure.

Ask Rob
The question: "I notice that some exchange-traded funds invest a certain amount in other ETFs. Does this mean that the management expense ratio of the original ETF is actually understating the MER that is actually being paid?"

The answer: "This is a common question, which means the ETF industry needs to do a better job of fee disclosure. Basically, this person is asking if there are two levels of fees when an ETF includes another ETF in its portfolio of investments – one for the original ETF and the other for the ETF among its holdings. The answer is generally no. The posted MER for a fund should include the cost of ETFs within the portfolio."

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.

What I've been writing about
- A new retirement era: How many years past 65 will you work?
- Here's what Bill Morneau's pension bill could mean for your retirement
- Do you have an over-inflated sense of your investing skills?

More Carrick and money coverage
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