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Young adult living at home with parents.

By Rob Carrick

I've seen this before. A young person is profiled for working hard to earn and save money and then savaged by critics. That's the deal with Anthony Molinaro, a 20-year-old full-time student and full-time employee earning $50,000 per year.

Molinaro's drive is stunning. But instead of acknowledging this, a lot of people are criticizing. Some dismiss his achievements because he lives at home and doesn't have to pay his own expenses. Others say he's depriving himself of a full life, or killing himself to get ahead. I'm reminded of the story of Sean Cooper, a 30-year-old who got the hate treatment after he paid off the mortgage on his Toronto house in three years.

Part of the criticism these two men have faced is based on plain old envy and resentment. It's natural to be irked when someone out-works you. But a U.S. personal finance writer's thoughts on Cooper are worth considering as well. Helaine Olen says these stories of epic frugality and saving suggest our financial problems are our own doing, and not a result of what's happening in the economy. The lesson I'm taking out of all of this is that there's a fine balance between inspiring people and making them feel judged.

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Ask Rob

The question: "What investments should a 77-year-old be putting in a TFSA? I have been adding to it since inception and bought stock like TransAlta Corp. (TA-TSX), which have not done well. I have $15,000 sitting in cash."

My reply: It all depends on your financial needs. If you're looking for investment income, consider the diversified portfolio of dividend stocks you'd get through a dividend ETF or mutual fund. Here's a recent survey I did of dividend ETFs. If you don't have an emergency fund or do not want to risk losing money in a stock market correction, consider leaving the $15,000 in a high interest savings account.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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