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Longtime investment writer Patrick McKeough has a name for that feeling people get when they realize they may not have saved enough money to generate the kind of retirement lifestyle they planned on. He calls it pre-retirement financial stress syndrome, a condition that can be cured in three ways.

One is to get more aggressive with your investing, another is to work longer and the final one is to plan to spend less in retirement. In a new book called Patrick McKeough’s Successful Investor Tool Kit, the author rejects the get-aggressive plan. But that doesn’t mean you have to load up your portfolio with bonds.

In fact, a review of the book on personal finance writer Jon Chevreau’s Financial Independence Hub notes that Mr. McKeough isn’t a big fan of bonds. His take on minimizing risk is to own a portfolio of conservative dividend stocks diversified so that you’re exposed to the entire economy. Avoid stocks that are trendy with analysts and the media, and try to live off your dividend income while selling stocks only when you need more money.

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If you have a bad case of pre-retirement financial stress syndrome, or you want to inoculate yourself against it, consider a consultation with a fee-for-service financial planner. Tell the planner you want a pre-retirement consultation and ask what the hourly or flat advice rate would be. The cost could be as high as $1,000 to $3,000. You can also get a full financial plan from the online firm Viviplan for $800.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Where’s our $8,300?

Here’s an excellent investigative piece on the dangers of using a group RESP (registered education savings plan) sold by a scholarship plan dealer. That’s where your money is pooled with contributions from other investors and invested for a child’s post-secondary education. One woman lost $8,300 after she violated a contribution rule for the plan she was using for her daughter. A better way: Set up an RESP with a bank, an online brokerage or an investment adviser.

Is carrying a credit card balance good for your credit score?

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The answer, found in this list of 10 commonly asked questions about credit cards, is no.

Terrible real estate agent photos

You’ll laugh, you’ll recoil in horror.

Stop trusting the wrong people

This item is included here because it may help you avoid providers of financial advice who put their best interests ahead of yours.

Today’s financial tool

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Here’s an infographic showing eight global cities at risk of developing a real estate bubble. Toronto and Vancouver are both on the list.

Ask Rob

Q: "A question I have concerns insurance for robo-advisors. Are they insured under the Canadian Investment Protection Fund (CIPF) or other organizations? This question is of special importance to me, as I am 71 years old and planning to open an RRIF account with a robo-adviser to transfer my complete nest egg.”

A: Robo-advisers typically don’t hold your money and investments themselves. They use third-party custodians that should be members of CIPF. Definitely confirm this before opening an account at a particular robo firm. Contents of accounts at CIPF-member firms are insured to a maximum $1-million against the firm becoming insolvent.

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

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  • Should this couple start drawing money from their RRSPs before the age of 71?
  • The high cost of special-needs programming for kids
  • Sick of a shrinking portfolio? Here are two dividend stocks that are bucking the trend (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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