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The first Canada Child Benefit payments were sent out just about a year ago. Have families noticed any difference in their finances as a result of this signature promise from the Liberal platform in the last federal election campaign?

To find out, I asked members of my Facebook personal finance community (scroll down to July 19). Some people said the non-taxable payments are helpful, including an accountant who said she notices the payments making a huge difference for low and middle-income families. But there was also some push-back and anger.

Some people question the whole idea of governments using tax dollars to support young families. Others take exception to the fact that the new benefit pays them less than previous federal programs to support young families. The explanation here is that the new benefit diminishes as your income rises and eventually disappears altogether.

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Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Financial, says the new child benefit provided a one-time lift to incomes and spending that was equivalent to roughly 0.3 per cent of GDP, "which is indeed significant." But the comments on Facebook highlight a risk for government in introducing programs that benefit a targeted segment of the population. Those who don't benefit directly or feel disadvantaged can be resentful.

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Four rising costs in retirement

Read this list because it goes beyond obvious cost-of-living increases like groceries to things you probably don't think much about, like investment fees.

The 2017 taxi price index

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Travellers, take note. A global comparison of taxi fares based on a variety of factors, including a three-kilometre fare and a trip between the airport and downtown. Toronto and Vancouver are middling.

Dead giveaways that you're getting bad advice

"The person talks, but doesn't listen" – that's one of the great points made in this discussion of how to tell if someone is worth listening to. Not specifically about financial advice, but applies quite well to this field.

Cheap ways to amuse your kids this summer

A useful list of things you can do at virtually no cost this summer when spending quality time with your children.

Today's featured financial tool

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Should you pay down debt or invest? This calculator can help you find the rate of return needed to make investing the better option.

Ask Rob

The question: "My wife and I have been retired for more than a year now and I've been looking for information on managing our finances both in and outside our RRSPs and TFSAs. Specifically, when should we convert to RRIFs, and how do we use TFSAs effectively when withdrawing and contributing? Can you recommend a good book which covers managing one's finances after retirement from a Canadian perspective?"

The answer: "Take a look at Your Retirement Income Blueprint, by financial adviser Daryl Diamond, who I interviewed for a column a few years back on generating retirement income. But I'm not sure a book is what you really need. How about consulting a fee-for-service financial planner who can take a look at your situation and make suggestions based on what you want and need? Here's a directory of fee-for-service financial planners."

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

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–Sears Canada has given us reason to be thankful for inferior pension plans

–How to survive rising rates: Rob Carrick's seven-point guide for bond investors (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage

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