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Would you take some advice from a person who is six years into retirement and describes most days as an 11 on a scale of one to 10? I thought so.

Francis Nagle is a reader of this newsletter who got in touch by e-mail after reading last week about the guy whose wife described retirement as “a lot less money, a lot more husband.” The husband comes off as one of those people who didn’t plan his life after leaving the workforce and is kind of drifting. Mr. Nagle says the time to start planning life after retirement is in your 40s. “If your entire life has been spent at the office/ factory without exterior pursuits, you are a dead man walking!”

Here are some highlights from Mr. Nagle’s advice for retirees-to-be to develop their lives outside work:

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  • Take on generational duties, including parenting and grandparenting
  • Play, follow and watch sports
  • Travel near and far, to places of your own ancestral inheritance and any others you fancy
  • Have intelligent and interesting friends outside work that you spend time with in all manner of pursuits, across the seasons
  • Get to know your neighbours and their kids
  • Volunteer anywhere doing anything you believe appropriate

“Relying on work to substantiate your existence gives you a deck chair on the ship of fools,” Mr. Nagle writes. “You work to live, not the reverse.”

Lest you think life in retirement is perfect, Mr. Nagle included a mention of one of his biggest aggravations: “That *@#% GTA traffic, which I try to avoid.” GTA is the Greater Toronto Area.

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Update on the kings of cashback

A newsletter earlier this week highlighted a list of top cashback reward credit cards, including Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite. This card’s rewards change as of Aug. 1, and the annual fee rises to $120 from $99.

Rob’s personal finance reading list…

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How to start a bidding war for your house

Solid suggestions for positioning your house to attract multiple bids when you put it up for sale, or to at least sell quickly. I like the suggestion labelled “remove the doubt” – it refers to anticipating what potential buyers will be wondering about your home and providing answers in a fact sheet.

Retirement for Type A personalities

Workaholics may feel some anxiety about how they’ll stay busy in retirement. Here are five practical suggestions for staying engaged.

Are you hip to DRIPs?

The My Own Advisor blog takes a thorough look at the pros and cons of dividend reinvestment plans, which are a great way to build long-term wealth.

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Not all ETFs are great

I’ve been writing about exchange-traded funds for 20 years and I use them myself for some of my investing. But there are some ETFs I stay away from – they’re discussed in a recent Financial Times article.

Ask Rob

In a recent column, I looked at how retirees can save a lot of money by downsizing to one car from two. A reader pointed out that when he and his spouse went down to a single car, the insurance cost of that vehicle went up by about $200. I asked Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com about this. Her reply via e-mail: “It’s entirely possible that your reader was receiving a “multi-vehicle discount” as a result of having both cars insured with the same company. The discount which can range from 10 to 15 per cent would have been applied to both vehicles. Once the second car was removed from the policy, the discount on the remaining vehicle would also be removed.”

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

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Measure your fear of missing out – FOMO – using this online quiz. FOMO is often cited as a cause of over-spending.

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

  • To create affordable housing, let’s banish the hoary myths of home ownership
  • Couple ‘never seem to have enough money.’ Can they keep their retirement plans while supporting their kids?
  • Canadian investment fund industry undergoing mass revision of risk ratings, making mutual funds, ETFs appear safer than they are (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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