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By Rob Carrick

I've said many times that the best way to save for retirement is to automate the process – have money transferred into your registered retirement savings plan or tax free savings account every time you get paid. But this is a process that requires consistency and patience. Interested in a bold stroke that would instantly make a difference in your savings? There are lots of ways to find this kind of money – downgrade your car, your spending on club memberships and youth sports.

The time to make a move like this is well in advance of retirement, say in your 40s. That way you have decades to let that lump sum contribution compound over time. Here are some other thoughts on retirement planning in your 40s.

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Let's not ignore the fact that some people are not in a position to contribute more to their retirement savings. If that's the case, then working longer can help make your finances work. There's a health benefit to this as well. In fact, you just might live longer.

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Rob's top web links

Who's hot and who's not in housing?
> Housing prices in cities across the country presented in an infographic.

Not everyone loves their house
> A blunt take on home ownership that focuses on the grinding cost of upkeep and maintenance. More on the cost of owning a home – don't buy if you lack the financial resources to fix the inevitable maintenance issues that crop up.

The coming collapse of investment returns will be hard on millennials
> The research arm of the global consulting giant McKinsey & Co. just came out with a report that says investment returns in the next 20 years will be a lot lower than investors have come to expect over the 30-year golden era now ending. The report has implications for all individual investors, as well as pension funds. But it's millennials, just starting their investing careers, that are the most at risk.

Are millennials doomed, then?
> One blogger has laid out a scenario where millennials can still do well in stocks. Check out this list of three key advantages that millennial investors have.

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Hiding assets offshore, but not from the taxman
> The recent release of the Panama Papers highlighted how wealthy people use offshore havens to avoid paying income tax. Now for a story about another use of these havens – to hide money from spouses.

Why bond funds beat individual bonds
> Bond funds don't get a lot of respect from investors, in large part because the fees they charge are a heavy burden in today's low interest rate world. Low-cost exchange-traded funds are a good option for bond funds – here's my latest look at what's available to Canadian investors.

Today's featured investment tool
This is a cool little retirement calculator – find out how much work you have ahead of you to reach your savings goals.

Ask Rob
The question:
"I am 60 years old and wish to know if I should get CPP now or at 65."

My reply: Here's a useful list of factors to consider in deciding whether you start receiving retirement benefits from the Canada Pension Plan at 60, 65 or even up to 70.

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

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Featured Video
Can social media be hazardous to your finances? Find out why financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons believes the answer is yes.

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