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I’m being a bit provocative with the headline on today’s newsletter. The inspiration was an article on a website for boomers that had this headline: “Ways to Keep Your Adult Child From Ruining Your Retirement Savings.”

There’s a persistent theme in personal finance for boomers these days that plays on the idea that their adult children put their retirement savings at risk. With boomer spending and borrowing habits in mind, I’m starting to wonder if there’s an opposite message to Generations X and Y about the risk that they may have to dip into their own retirement savings to support parents who didn’t save enough.

The boomer retirement wave has just begun, so it’s too early to judge how well this generation is prepared. Recent studies have said boomers are fine because of the money they made in boom times for housing and the stock market. But boomers are also a generation with a taste for enjoying life and a willingness to spend freely. We’ll see how all of this plays out in the next couple of decades.

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Meanwhile, boomer parents are being warned about jeopardizing their retirement to help their kids financially. There’s some sense in this message because boomer parents do seem willing to provide assistance. And with a tough job market for young adults, this help is sometimes needed. Parents, don’t dip into your retirement money to help your kids unless you have a surplus of savings. But enough with the narrative of put-upon parents. Some of them may be asking their adults kids for help in the future.

Millennials: Want to make sure your parents have retirement covered? Ask them about their savings and how confident they are that they’re putting enough away.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

The case for shopping at a hardware store

I included this blog post about using a small hardware store over a big-box retailer because I worked at my uncle’s hardware store when I was a teenager and agree with the arguments.

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Make yourself a gift registry

An argument is made here that everyone should have a semi-public list of things they want or need on Amazon or Pinterest. If friends and family want to buy you a present, they can consult your list. A creative solution for a marginal problem.

A buying guide for baby car seats

As the dad of boys aged 21 and 24, it’s been a while since I had to handle a car seat. But I do remember how important it was to get the right features while keeping the cost manageable.

Next Big Thing Alert

A persuasive argument that Esports will be the next big thing in spectator sports. Yup, people watching people play video games. Esports are already more popular than you think. Investors, take note.

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Today’s featured financial tool

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s national price map shows you the latest monthly price changes in cities across the country.

Ask Rob

Q: “It is exceptionally easy to find out the detailed content of a mutual fund. However, whenever I think of buying an ETF, I feel I am buying a cat in the bag. How do you find the content of an ETF fund?”

A: It’s easy – just look up the fund profiles that ETF companies offer online for all their products. You’ll find much more comprehensive information there than for most mutual funds. A simple way to find these profiles is to do a Google search for the company and ETF ticker symbol you’re interested in.

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.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories

  • A millennial looking to start investing asks: Should I go with Wealthsimple?
  • Tips for creating a ‘smart-tax’ portfolio
  • Five solid stocks with dividends above 5 per cent (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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