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Feeling stressed about your financial situation? Tell me about it.

Polls about money consistently show that people feel stressed about their finances, even as the economy performs reasonably well. For a project I’m working on, I want to interview readers from all age groups about their money worries.

My sense is that debt is causing anxiety for people, and so is a feeling of incomes not rising fast enough to keep up with expenses like daycare or utility costs. I have also heard from people who are stressed by the need to help family members out financially – adult children and aged parents. Others are worried about not saving enough for retirement – or having no savings at all.

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Economists keep telling us how unemployment is low and how people are doing a great job of paying their debts on time. And yet, a lot of people of all ages feel a sense of dread about their financial situation. If you’re experiencing that stress and are willing to be quoted, let’s talk. As always, I’m reachable at rcarrick@globeandmail.com.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

How you – yes, you – are undermining your investments

Good insight here on attitudes and behaviours that cause people to mismanage their investments. I like the fact that there are suggestions here on how to overcome these mistakes.

Best bloggers for 2019

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The number of personal finance bloggers has declined in recent years, but there are still a bunch worth following. What struck me when I read this list is that we need more retiree voices in blogging. I would like to hear more about retirement from people who are doing it and I have a project in mind to help make this happen. Stay tuned.

How to conquer the fear of DIY investing

Tired of high mutual fund fees, but not ready to try low-cost exchange-traded funds or stocks? Here’s a guide to moving into D-series mutual funds, which are aimed at DIY investors and have much-reduced fees. Most online brokerage firms offer a large selection of these funds.

Happy (affordable) Valentine’s Day

A pretty smart list of inexpensive gift ideas that don’t look cheap.

Today’s financial tool

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Will you run out of retirement funds? Here’s a calculator that can give you a rough idea of how long your money will last.

Ask Rob

Q: We have two children attending university in Vancouver, and we live in Victoria. We are thinking of using our TFSAs to put a down payment on a tiny condo for them to share (around $450,000). They will pay the mortgage (around the same amount as rent in the city) and we will also provide the condo fees, insurance, etc. When they are finished their degrees in four to five years we would sell, get back our investment and give them their rent back to help pay their student loans, which will probably have accumulated by then. What is the downside of this plan?”

A: Lots of parents in cities with expensive housing markets are providing financial help of some kind to their adult children. One risk in this particular case is that condo prices decline, which means the investment in the condo would be a money-loser. Another risk is connected to carrying the non-mortgage costs of the condo, plus any additional maintenance costs that come up. Can the parents in this case do it without compromising their own financial health? Do they have a reserve in case the condo fees rise sharply, or there’s a special assessment to cover maintenance issues?

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.

Featured Video

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I tackle questions about F.I.R.E. – financial independence, retire early – with independent financial adviser Darryl Brown.

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

- How finances play into Canadians’ happiness

- RRSP or TFSA? Here’s how to know which plan makes the most sense for you this year

- Reasons for optimism on Canadian stocks, emerging markets in 2019 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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