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The working lives of most couples are based on a schedule where they spend more non-sleeping hours of the day apart than together. And then comes retirement.

“I’m looking forward to retiring with my husband,” personal finance writer Michelle Singletary says in an article about whether retirement can ruin your marriage. “Still, right now, most of our time is spent apart. So I wonder what will it be like when it’s just us 24/7?”

Don’t wait to find out. The experts say couples should talk about their vision of retirement well before they stop working. Talk about the things you want to do – from the exotic, like travel, to the everyday, like golf or babysitting the grandkids. Another issue is how much togetherness you want. An expert quoted by Ms. Singletary tosses out the idea of staggered retirement dates. That way, both spouses can adjust to retirement in their own way.

The experts seem to agree that men may have particular trouble adjusting to retirement. Here’s an article headlined Why Married Men Are So Terrible At Retirement. “Truth be told,” it reads, “many married men enter retirement with very vague ideas and assumptions about it, which often come crashing down after just a few months.”

A solution may be to build a retirement “to-do list.” Here are 25 things to put on it.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list ...

Snowball vs. avalanche

A credit-counselling agency’s blog looks at two methods for paying off debt – the snowball (start with your smallest debt) and the avalanche (paying the debt with the higher interest rate first). The avalanche makes the most sense to me, but a study says the snowball wins because it offers a quicker reward and is thus more motivating.

The zero-waste kitchen

Tips from famous chefs about how to use food you’d otherwise toss in the garbage. Find uses for stale bread, leftover rice, vegetable peelings and more.

A personal-finance blogger ponders his mortgage renewal

Robb Engen of Boomer & Echo blogs his thoughts on renewing his mortgage later this summer. Find out which way he’s leaning.

A new pension plan for the non-profit sector

People who work for charities and other non-profits often work part-time or contract jobs at modest pay. A new pension plan designed especially for them will help them save for retirement.

Today’s featured financial tool

The monthly statistics package from the Canadian ETF Association offers lots of intel on what investors are buying and selling.

Ask Rob

Q: “I recently inherited a sum of money in U.S. dollars. How should I invest it? I would like to get more than the interest rate on a U.S.-dollar savings account but I don’t want to invest in anything risky. What do you suggest?”

A: “How about a U.S.-dollar guaranteed investment certificate? Returns are lower than they are for regular GICs, but they should beat a U.S.-dollar savings account.”

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.

Featured video

Statistics Canada has created a video series to highlight the data it produces. Here’s one on the latest trends in the economy.

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