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I’m starting to wonder if we’re getting to a point where people are going to have to go on a technology diet.

This isn’t a rant about how society is losing its connectedness because everyone is looking at their phone all the time and not engaging with their fellow humans in bright conversation. The problem is cost.

Check out this story about school kids using food delivery apps like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes to order lunch. You have to wonder when you read stories like this whether there’s an actual trend taking shape, or if it’s just an overhyped one-off situation. But there’s a telling statistic in this story – lunch orders on Skip the Dishes are growing at a year-over-year rate of 91 per cent.

It doesn’t really matter if school kids are a big driver of this trend. The big picture is that more and more people are treating themselves to a restaurant lunch. How many of them are also treating themselves to Uber rides, frequent Amazon orders, subscriptions to Netflix and Spotify and more?

If you’re an adult, these costs can add up in a way that leaves you with less to save or unable to pay your credit card bill in full. The question raised by kids in school ordering in lunches is, who’s paying? If it’s parents, then the cost burden of new technology becomes even worse. Tell your kids to use their own money to order in lunch at school, and then do your best to convince them to do it rarely. Remind them of all the things they won’t be able to afford if they have lunch driven to them.

Feel you need a technology diet in your life to contain costs? Ordering in lunch seem a great place to start.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

He’s the money man for basketball stars

Meet Joe McLean, wealth manager for some of the NBA’s top stars. His job – make his clients’ money grow and help them spend smartly. A great read.

Home renos to make your house more livable as you age

If you’re keen to stay in your house as long as you can after you retire, these renovation projects can improve accessibility.

Should you commute your pension?

Commuting means taking the money in a defined benefit pension plan and investing it yourself. One of the issues, outlined in this letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau from a retired tax expert, is taxation of the amount being commuted. Here’s something I wrote recently on a reader’s question about commuting a pension.

Stupid things people in finance should stop saying

A fun and wide-ranging list put together by Barry Ritholtz, investing columnist and money manager.

Today’s financial tool

Mutual fund investors, use this website to download Fund Facts documents for all mutual funds. Fund Facts is a plain-English summary document covering fees, risk, return, top holdings and more.

Ask Rob

Q: I have three registered retirement savings plans at two institutions. When 2021 arrives, I'll have to begin making withdrawals from them as registered retirement income funds. Do the rules oblige me to (tediously) withdraw precisely the required percentage from each account, or may I withdraw the entire stipulated sum from, say, the largest account, and leave the others to continue growing?

A: Thanks to Jane Bolstad, a fee-for-service financial planner in Calgary, for the answer to this question: “Tedious as it may be, you are required to withdraw the minimum from each of your three RRIF accounts. My advice typically at this stage is to consolidate various RRIF accounts into a single RRIF to make it easier to manage the withdrawals and the investments. Also important to know at this stage is that financial institutions are not required to withhold taxes on the minimum payment (they are if you take more than the minimum). Whether you owe tax on this income will depend on any other income you have. Having said that, you can ask them to withhold a percentage on the minimum if you desire.“

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.

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

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