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This file photo taken in Washington, DC, on May 1, 2014 shows bitcoin medals.KAREN BLEIER/AFP / Getty Images

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me if I thought a bitcoin-related investment is too risky for people approaching retirement. Easy one, right? As you get near retirement, you want to start reducing risk in your portfolio. Adding exposure to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin does the opposite.

Bitcoin and its peers could be the riskiest, most speculative investment craze I've seen in my 20 years of personal finance writing. The fact that someone nearing retirement has been drawn in suggests how much investor psychology has changed in the past 12 months. People are more willing to take on risk in the hunt for big returns, which is exactly the wrong mindset for the long-term wealth building that will ensure you retire in financial comfort.

We're now in the heart of RRSP season – the winter rush to put money in a registered retirement savings plan so you can include it your tax return for the year just passed. To include an RRSP contribution on your 2017 tax return, you'll need to get your money into a plan by March 1. This RRSP season, your biggest challenge will be to tune out the distractions caused by bitcoin, marijuana stocks and other trend investments.

A fear of missing out is causing normally cautious people to look at risky investments such as these. What you should really be afraid of missing out on is the luxury of having a sensible, low-stress retirement savings program that builds your RRSP steadily and reliably over the decades ahead. In a recent column, I advocated a get rich slow approach using a well-diversified investment plan based on regular contributions. This edition of the newsletter is devoted to helping you on this path.

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Rob's retirement reading list…
The money-for-life retirement option people keep overlooking

A useful discussion of a tool that retirees have for ensuring they don't outlive their money. It's the annuity, where you exchange a lump sum of money for a monthly payout guaranteed for life. I'm among those who marvel that annuities aren't more popular.

RRSPs getting a bum rap as a tax trap
I hear a lot of complaining from seniors with RRSPs and RRIFs about the taxes they have to pay on withdrawals from these plans. But new research RRSPs are no worse than any other savings vehicle, and they can be better.

How to build a million-dollar RRSP
Three plans for having a seven-figure RRSP by age 60.

Conservative investors, check out this parking spot for your money
I argue that there's particular value in one-year GICs from certain issuers (for Globe Unlimited subscribers).

65 is not too old to make a financial plan
A look at how a financial planner can help retirees work through vitally important matters like when to start CPP retirement benefits.

Supporting grown-up kids can hurt your retirement…
A University of Alberta sociologist finds that parents with grown kids at home had 23 per cent less in savings than those whose kids had moved out. A rule to consider: Welcome your kids home, but limit your support to basic needs and ask for rent if needed to offset your financial burden.

…and so can helping your kids buy a house
Help your kids with extra money above and beyond what you need personally for retirement, and don't go into debt.

Sell her house to pay for retirement?
This edition of our popular Financial Facelift feature looks at whether a 58-year-old should sell her home to supplement her retirement income.

Globe Tools and Resources
A guide to naming a beneficiary of your TFSA, RRSP or RRIF
Important estate planning stuff here – thoughts for singles and couples on how to designate a beneficiary on various types of registered accounts.

A practical guide to RRIFs
Need to know information for converting a RRSP into a registered retirement income fund.

Ready to downsize your home?
Here's a calculator to show how much – or how little – you'll save in a move to a condo from a house.

How much will you TFSA be worth?
A calculator to demonstrate the substantial wealth you can generate by contributing to a tax free savings account.

How to find a robo-adviser
Robo-advisers offer a low-cost option for managing your RRSP, TFSA or non-registered account. The Globe and Mail's annual robo-adviser guide can help you find the right firm for your needs.

Ask Rob
The question: "I have reached my investment goal for retirement ($50,000 gross monthly for the next 30 years) and would like to invest conservatively in guaranteed investment certificates. What do you think of laddering GICs over five years?"

The answer: "GIC laddering is a proven strategy for conservative investing. You invest equal amounts in GICs maturing in one through five years and keep rolling over maturing GICs into new deposits with a five-year term. One thought – do you have enough cash to cover your income needs for a year or two? If the stock market crashes, it's nice to be able to use your cash rather than sell any stocks or equity funds you have to fund your income needs. GICs aren't an ideal substitute for cash because they can't easily be cashed in prior to maturity without a penalty."

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.

Featured Retirement Videos

- Three ways retirees can defend their savings against a stock market crash

- What do I do with my pension heading into retirement?

- How to gauge the health of your company pension

- The sad but true reality of future investment returns

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