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Carrick on money

Selling their Toronto home put them in a five-star retirement residence Add to ...

He’s 97 years old, and his wife is 94. After selling their house in Toronto, they’re now living in what their son describes as a “five-star seniors residence with fine white table cloths.”

A couple of weeks ago, this newsletter looked at how hard it is to benefit from having your house soar in value. Sure, your house is worth a lot, but so is everything else. There’s no easy way to cash out, unless you move to a cheaper community. Or, you move to a retirement home.

The story of the couple in their 90s was reported to me by their son, John Stapleton, whose name you may recognize from previous editions of the newsletter. He’s a social policy consultant who specializes in retirement strategizing for low-income people.

Mr. Stapleton said in an e-mail that he recently moved his parents into their two-bedroom unit at a retirement residence. “To bankroll it, I just sold their 2,900-square-foot legal duplex in the Upper Beach (a Toronto neighborhood) for $1.2-million,” he wrote. “This will pay for 10-plus years of $100,000-a-year care in case they live that long.”

Mr. Stapleton said his parents paid $65,000 for the home in 1977 and were partly persuaded to put the home on the market by the big price gain. Now, after selling, they’re living in comfort. This is definitely an exception to my observation that owning in a hot real estate market is an overrated form of wealth.

Subscribe to Carrick on Money
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A “loud and proud condo family”
A woman’s account of why she and her husband are raising their two young children in a downtown Toronto condo. Worth a read if you think kids only thrive in a house with a big backyard.

The other housing boom – more real estate agents
A fun read about how the sizzling real estate market in some cities has attracted an influx of people hoping to make big bucks selling houses.

The facts on improving your credit score
A non-profit credit counselling agency offers some much-needed straight talk on credit repair, debt-consolidation loans and rebuilding your credit score.

Some top investing blogs
Several blogs that I follow are featured here. These are U.S. blogs, but they offer lots of good analysis for people trying to make sense of the markets.

You sure you want a backyard pool?
They’ll add to your insurance costs and they won’t add value to your home if you sell.

Today’s featured financial tool
If you’re in the market to buy a home and put a big premium on good school districts, check out this search engine. Click the little mortarboard icon (the typical grad ceremony headgear) to look for homes near schools with a high rating. The database covers Ontario for now but will be expanded.

Ask Rob
The question: “Are U.S. and/or Canadian-dollar money market funds a good choice for a senior?”

The answer: Consider an investment savings account instead. These savings products trade like mutual funds, offer better yields than most money market funds and are typically covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.

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.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
– Women view money differently, financial planners should get that

–When can this woman join her husband in retirement?

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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