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Grandfather and grandchild walking.David Pereiras Villagr/Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of my jobs in producing this newsletter is to be a trend spotter. This Maclean's article about the changing role of grandparents is right on the money. It explains how grandparents are increasingly being called upon to provide childcare and financial assistance to their adult children, even while their wisdom about child rearing is being discounted. In one conversation mentioned here, a grandmother says, "I almost never open my mouth to criticize. All I open is my wallet." Why ask your parents how to handle your child's behaviour when Dr. Google is there to consult?

Another aspect of the evolving role of grandparents is the way people are in some cases remaining healthy and active longer. Here's an article that asks if 90 is the new 60. Now check out this article about a surprisingly simple indicator of how long you'll live. Apparently, a quick and dirty indicator of life expectancy is the firmness of your handshake.

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Appliances: What to repair and what to replace
Yikes, our dryer is making some strange noises. Is it worth spending a few hundred dollars to fix it? Good info here on when the better value is buying something new.

A beginner's guide to buying a bike
I was a complete know-nothing when I began shopping around for my bike a few years back and it took a few store visits to wise up. Save yourself that trouble by reading this.

Cheap, fun stuff to do with your kids this summer
Parents, bookmark this for help in planning those summer weeks when you're at home with the kids. Many years ago, I might have used some of these suggestions myself (our boys are now 19 and 22).

How to market your house
Tips for getting the most out of the photos that will be used on the listing when you sell your home. It's actually suggested that you reconsider using a realtor who is a bad photographer.

Managing the high cost of produce
The cost of imported fruits and vegetables has come down a bit after surging earlier this year, but it's still a concern for people shopping on a budget. Here are some tips for eating healthy, but not expensively.

Memorable deals they got just by asking
A blogger asked personal finance writers for the best deals they got by negotiating rather than accepting the offered price. I added this item in my last newsletter, but included the wrong link.

Today's featured financial tool
A lot of people find budgeting to be a useful way to manage their finances. I'm not one of them, but never mind that. Budgeting works for some people. If you think you might be one of them, try this tool offered by the federal Financial Consumers Agency of Canada.

Ask Rob

The question: "I like ETFs because, among other reasons, they make diversification simple. Should I be concerned because I am buying all my ETFs from the same provider? Should I be spreading the risk here also? How do I gauge the health of one provider over another?"

My reply: Assets in ETFs are held separately from the issuing company, so a bankruptcy should not affect the holdings of investors. If you remain concerned, there are multiple ETF providers that are huge, successful companies and present no real risk of collapse.

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

Featured Video
I ask the head of the Canada Pension Plan investment board why so little of the assets he oversees are in Canadian stocks and bonds.

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