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A recent e-mail from a reader asked a personal finance question that I have never heard before, but seems utterly obvious. Is it worth the cost to join the CAA, the widely used acronym for the Canadian Automobile Association? I tossed the question out to people in my Twitter community and here’s what they had to say:

For me, the answer is yes. We have had a family membership since the early 1990s, when one of our cars was a beaten up Plymouth Reliant that was reliant on regular visits to the local mechanic. The CAA once towed a different family vehicle from Renfrew, Ont., back to Ottawa and it rescued us when our car’s battery died one frosty winter evening while waiting to pick up one of our sons at the bus station.

CAA guys have changed several flat tires for us as well. Once when I had a concussion and couldn’t do the job myself, another time when I was dressed up and one more time when I just didn’t feel like doing the work myself. We have also claimed a CAA discount when booking hotels, and used a CAA discount for parking at Ottawa’s airport.

Here’s the annual cost of joining the CAA: $73 per for a basic membership, $117 for plus membership and $147 for premier. By the way, the CAA has a mobile app now that lets you summon help and then track its journey to where you’re stuck.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Be careful what you promise your aging parents

All about the feelings of regret that can arise when an adult child promises a parent to help him or her stay at home rather than go into a retirement home or long-term care facility.

Which subway seat is best?

A tweet by a New Yorker asking which subway seat is most ideal went viral. Included here for all the people who take public transportation instead of taking the car.

Read this if you’re hiring a nanny

This article says it can be more economical to hire a nanny instead of paying for daycare, but mind the tax and legal implications.

How not to judge the performance of your investments

An investment firm talks about how people can be misled about their returns when they compare the market value to book value.

Ask Rob

Q: Why are so few personal financial advisors/planners reluctant to work with individuals who are not wealthy, and how can I overcome this?

A: The reason is that most advisers and planners get paid through fees and commissions related to the sale of investments or that are tied to the size of a client’s account. The bigger the client account, the better the compensation for the adviser. You can overcome this by using a financial planner that is paid a flat or hourly fee and does not sell investment products or manage investment portfolios. Here’s a directory of this type of planner.

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 and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

The Financial Goal Calculator: Helps you find a way to get out of debt and start saving.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

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