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We know there’s a cost to commuting in dollars and time, but stress is also a factor.

A recent survey by a staffing firm called Robert Half found that 35 per cent of professionals describe their trip to and from work as stressful. The average commute was 53 minutes round-trip per day, and 26 per cent of survey participants said their travel time is more than one hour. The survey didn’t single out parents of young children, but their stress levels would likely be higher if they had kids in a daycare that closes at a specific time.

Commuting is an often overlooked cost of adult life, both those who live in the suburbs and urban dwellers who use public transit. A recent post about commuting costs on the HowToSaveMoney blog lists the cost of transit passes in seven major cities. The annual costs ranged from $1,021 in Montreal to $1,608 in Toronto and $1,140 to $2,088 in Vancouver.

Transit saves you money compared to commuting by car, but how does it rate for stress? The HowToSaveMoney blogger said it takes him 40 minutes to get to work by transit, with “two perfectly timed transfers.” A commute by car takes him 25 minutes per trip. The remark about perfectly timed transfers brought to mind the problems on the new rapid transit system in Ottawa, where I live. Breakdowns and delays on the new system have added to commuting stress, not reduced it.

The cheapest commute is not necessarily the best one. If a higher cost mode reduces your stress levels, it might well be worth it.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Where are you on the spectrum of wealth?

A financial writer describes varying levels of wealth using words, not numbers. A phrase he uses caught my eye – “adaptive poverty.” It’s used to describe how lifestyle expectations grow faster than income and assets. This is definitely a thing.

The worst place to store your wine

Make sure you get your money’s worth by not making this mistake in storing wine.

When your adult kids move back home

Thoughts on charging rent and other financial questions that arise when young adults move back home. One thing that articles like this fail often don’t mention is that young adults are often strapped when they move back home. That’s why they move back home. Note: This is a U.S. article, but applicable here.

What to do with your next raise

The latest employment numbers tell us that average wage increases are coming in above inflation these days. Some ideas here on how to put these raises to work in bettering your financial health.

Ask Rob

Q: I have been with a large national investment firm for over 40 years, but do not consider I am benefiting in any way from their 'service'. Would you recommend switching everything to a robot adviser?

A: A robo-adviser would be an option for sure if you wanted a portfolio built and maintained for you at less than half the cost you’re paying your current adviser. If you want financial planning covering retirement, taxes, estate issues and more, then you have two choices. One, find a new adviser who provides these services, or hire a fee-for-service planner who can look after your planning needs while your robo-adviser runs your investments.

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

Just in time for Financial Literacy Month, the non-profit Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) has launched a new website that outlines the resources it provides to promote financial literacy among young people.

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

  • I’ve maxed out my RRSPs and TFSAs while living in Canada’s Arctic. Where do I save next?
  • Are winter tires worth the investment?
  • The profitable ETF portfolio built to survive a market crash

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