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Elder orphans is a term for people who are aging without a spouse or children. Solo seniors is another term for this demographic, which is bigger than you might think.

A recent article from Time Money says that 22 per cent of people in the United States aged 65 and older are either an elder orphan or at risk of becoming one. Expect this cohort to get larger as time passes. As noted in a recent newsletter, today’s young adults are having fewer kids. Given the current high divorce rate, it’s likely that more people will retire without a spouse to add to household income and share expenses, or children to provide emotional and financial support.

No question, the personal finance world has to step up its game in providing advice tailored to solo seniors. I’ll be chipping in later this summer with a column on how solo seniors can solve the problem of choosing an executor for their will and someone to take on the power of attorney for property-related matters.

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In the meantime, here’s an article from my colleague Erin Anderssen on an emerging trend called home sharing. That’s where seniors share space in their homes with younger renters. It’s the classic win-win – seniors get help running their homes and renters benefit from new stock that could ease the rental shortage in some cities.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list...

Save or pay down debt?

This piece makes a good argument for keeping some money going into your savings, even when your priority is to get your debts paid down.

Choosing the right lawn mower

If you own a house with a yard, you’ve got to have a lawn mower. Here are some tips on choosing between gas, electric or push.

Once-in-a-lifetime travel

A flight-booking website and travel journalists from around the world combined to produce this list of 50 incredible trips.

The problem with renting

No, it’s not that you’re throwing your money away as a renter. You’re buying accommodation when you rent, and that’s fine. The real problem is how much renting costs in some cities. Check out this map of renting prices across North America and you’ll see how expensive Toronto and Vancouver are. Montreal, on the other hand…

Today’s podcast

Thanks to Dan Bortolotti, the investing blogger turned investment adviser, for inviting me to appear on his podcast. We had a great chat about investment advice, fees, housing and how I try to stay fresh after 20 years of writing about personal finance.

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Ask Rob

Q: “I am being pestered by a bank with which I have a Mastercard to increase my credit limit. I only use the card for my car expenses and am quite happy with the limit now in place. Would it affect my credit score if I did raise the limit just to get them off my case?”

A: “Wow, that bank sounds annoying. My first suggestion is to tell them to back off, but maybe you’ve tried that and they won’t take no for an answer. Having a higher credit limit would increase the maximum of debt you could conceivably take on, which could in theory affect your credit rating for the worse in a minor way. Ultimately, though, the key to a good credit rating is paying what you owe on time.”

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 video

Accountant Janine Rogan on how to talk to your partner about financial goals.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories

  • Why you should consider opting out of your employer’s health benefits
  • How can this couple owning five rental apartments arrange a tax-efficient future for heirs?
  • How an energy company became the most expensive stock in the S&P 500 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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