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Ten of the worst mistakes you can make in retirement

Jacob Ammentorp Lund/Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the lessons I'm learning about retirement is that everybody does it differently. Some retirees crave a connection to the work force, while others can't escape fast enough. Some live large, others can't or won't break a lifetime's habit of frugality.

Whatever your retirement preferences, you need to prepare properly so you can enjoy your life. That means preparation – knowing what to expect and having a plan ready to cope. This is the theme of a list I found of mistakes people make in retirement. Most of these mistakes can be avoided with planning that begins as much as 10 years in advance of retirement.

For example, you'll want to know what kind of lifestyle you'll be able to comfortably afford when you retire. Not adjusting your lifestyle is one of the mistakes on this list. Another is failing to move to more conservative investments. You'll definitely need some exposure to stocks if you expect a long life, but your prime goal as a retired investor is to preserve capital. Note: This is a U.S. list, so some of the terms are different. But the themes are right on the money for anyone looking ahead to retirement.

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Ask Rob
The question:
"My wife and I have a total of $50,000 parked in our RRSPs to be used as Home Buyers' Plan money in the summer of 2018. How can we make the money work for us while we do the house hunting?"

The answer: Find the best rate you can on a high-rate savings account and park your money there. Here's a chart comparing savings rates at a wide variety of online banks. There are a few options at close to 2 per cent or more. For background, the HBP allows first-time home buyers to draw up to $25,000 from a registered retirement savings plan, tax-free. The money withdrawn must be repaid over a maximum of 15 years.

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.

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