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Should well-off people shop at thrift stores?

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A personal finance blogger likes to shop at thrift stores because the prices are far below what she'd pay for new things. But she reports getting some static from people who say thrift stores should be just for low-income people. "I have been told that by shopping at a thrift store, I am taking items that people with less money could have bought and used," she writes.

Sounds like a new frontier has been opened in our judginess of how people spend money. You might be criticized for over-spending, for unwise spending and, now, for essentially spending too little when you could afford to pay more.

Here's a smart take on how women in particular are judged for their spending. One of the examples cited is Money Diaries, a look at how various young women spend their money over a span of seven days. Check out the comments at the end of these profiles for yet another example of how vile people can be online.

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My diagnosis of what's behind all this judginess about money is that people are uneasy about their own finances and are acting out their frustrations by attacking others. One of the top surprises of 2017 for me is the number of people who are worried about money, even as many financial and economic indicators look pretty good.

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Rob's personal finance reading list…

This is how much it costs to rent Rising house prices in some cities are going to keep some young adults in the rental market for longer (and at home with their parents). Here's a look at how rents compare across the country.

How to max out your PC Plus points
Lots of good tips here for getting top value from one of the most useful customer loyalty programs. PC Plus, which will early next year be merged with the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Program, offers points that can be redeemed for free groceries.

Five ways to fix up your kitchen on the cheap
Simple stuff like refacing your cabinets. You don't always need a full reno.

The best brokers for smartphones and tablets
BMO InvestorLine takes top spot in a ranking of online brokers for mobile services. My next online brokerage ranking, looking at all aspects of a broker's services, will appear on Jan. 20.

Ask Rob
The question: "I am just starting divorce proceedings. I'm a 54-year-old woman who will end up with a little more than $4-million dollars once we sell some properties and settle up. I would like to know if I should take a monthly amount of $18,000 (child and spousal support) or a lump sum. What's better? What if I live until I'm 90? 100? Will I have enough? Can someone help me run some numbers. Also, where do I invest once I receive this money?"

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The answer: "Please proceed directly to a financial planner for comprehensive advice on how to structure your finances, postdivorce. Worry about the investments after that. Some planners can help with this, or you may want to find yourself an investment adviser. Here's a list of planners who work on an hourly or flat rate basis.

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.

Featured Video
After reading my recent column on the excuses people make for not donating to charity, a reader recommended this TED Talks video about charitable giving. The speaker calls people out for insisting charities be frugal with money, even if it means they don't accomplish their goals. Charities with big goals, big accomplishments and big expenses are OK, he argues.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
- Should this woman on the verge of retirement stay in her current house or downsize?
- Is your home or income property insured when it's vacant?
- How one portfolio manager is readying for a stock market correction (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage
For more money stories, follow me on Twitter and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

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About the Author
Personal Finance Columnist

Rob Carrick has been writing about personal finance, business and economics for close to 20 years. He joined The Globe and Mail in late 1996 as an investment reporter and has been personal finance columnist since November 1998. Rob's personal finance columns appear in The Globe on Tuesday and Thursday, and his Portfolio Strategy column for investors appears on Saturday. More

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