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The personal finance book is a slowly fading genre. I’m not sure why – it could be that so much good content is available online, or it could be that only a few authors have something fresh to say.

Most of today’s relevant personal finance authors write about retirement. The money side of retirement is a topic that becomes unwieldy when you research it online. A good book walks you through the key points in a logical way that helps you build a greater understanding. Here are three books on retirement that you may find useful:

Retirement Income For Life: Getting More Without Saving More, by Frederick Vettese

Mr. Vettese recently retired as chief actuary for a big benefits consulting firm and he has a strong, sometimes contrarian view on matters. Like the other books in this list, Retirement Income For Life focuses on what financial planners call the “decumulation phase,” where you draw down your retirement savings after leaving the work force. Annuities and the ins and outs of delaying Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits past 65 are thoroughly discussed.

Don’t Worry, Retire Happy: Seven Steps to Retirement Security For Canadians, by Tom Hegna with Jim Ruta and Michael Morrow

Mr. Hegna is a U.S. retirement income specialist, while Mr. Ruta coaches advisers, and Mr. Morrow is a veteran adviser in Thunder Bay, Ont. The three of them have produced a highly readable book that does a good job of demystifying the process of turning your savings into retirement income. This is an ideal book to read about five to seven years ahead of your planned retirement date.

Your Retirement Income Blueprint: A Six-Step Plan to Design and Build a Secure Retirement, by Daryl Diamond

First published in 2011, this book continues to be a definitive guide to turning a lifetime’s savings into a sustainable flow of retirement income. Mr. Diamond looks at how to combine government and personal savings, which assets to use first and how to minimize taxes. According to, a third edition will be available in April.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

‘Locked out of her digital home’

A woman offers some tips for preparing for the death of a partner that are based on her own experience when her husband died. Tell me if this doesn’t get your attention – she says her husband managed all the couple’s online accounts, and there was no clear record of the passwords.

Will that be variable or fixed?

If you’re trying to make this choice for your next mortgage, try this primer. It won’t make the decision for you, but it will help you better understand your options.

How to rent a condo (in a hot market)

Toronto is specifically addressed here, but any expensive city with a low rental vacancy rate applies as well. Key advice: Treat a viewing like a job interview.

Learn your ETF ABCs

I know from the reader e-mails I get that investors are keen to try exchange-traded funds, but are often unsure of the basics. Here’s a primer of basic ETF acronyms.

Ask Rob

Q: Can an individual move unsheltered funds into tax-sheltered investment accounts (TFSA, RRSP) without having to pay capital gains on transfers? Asking for friends who have had some dubious advice and have all their investments unsheltered.

A: Transferring an asset like a stock, exchange-traded fund or mutual fund from non-registered account to a tax-free savings account or registered retirement savings plan is considered a deemed disposition, which means you would have to pay tax on capital gains. Full details here.

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.

What I’ve been writing about

- An increasingly cashless world is forcing banks to improve the penalty box ambiance of their branches

- A ‘how do I compare’ guide for millennials on savings, debt and home ownership

- The 2019 ETF Buyer’s Guide: Best Canadian equity funds (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group. Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

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