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The Globe and Mail Retirement Forum is back after a summer hiatus. The forum is a place where Globe subscribers can ask and answer questions about retirement. The goal is to generate an ongoing conversation involving the people who know retirement best – actual retirees.

The latest question tackled in the forum is one that gets overlooked a lot when people plan their retirement – how to make the move from saving for retirement to spending your savings once you’ve left the workforce. Thanks in large part to the financial industry’s marketing, we have a view of retirement as a time to treat yourself after a lifetime’s hard work. But some people are natural savers and have trouble with the transition.

“I have been careful with money all my life and I am having a lot of difficulty going from saving to spending,” a Globe reader named Nick wrote in an e-mail. “Would love to hear from others that have struggled with this.”

I have been doing this job long enough to know there are some people who are just not wired to spend on anything but the basics. If that’s you, then don’t take any guff from people urging you to spend more. Tell them you’re happy as you are.

Everyone else should base their spending in retirement on what they can afford. In an upcoming newsletter, you’ll find four online retirement calculators to help you find out what your retirement income will be and how long your money will last. I also strongly recommend a consultation with a fee-for-service financial planner – someone who will charge a flat or hourly fee to assess where you stand for retirement.

The best way to go from saving to spending is to know exactly how much you can safely spend without running out of money.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

‘Why I enjoy renting’

A blog post from someone who rents and is happy about it. Imagine.

In case you’re worried that index investing is bad

Here’s U.S. money manager and blogger Barry Ritholz to set you straight. The more indexing catches on, the more you’ll hear it slammed by people whose livelihood is affected. By the way, indexing means buying low-cost exchange-traded funds or mutual funds that track benchmark stock and bond indexes. These funds often outperform the results of managers who pick their own stocks and bonds.

Is this the most toxic wedding trend ever?

There is such a thing as online wedding shaming – social media groups where people mock other people’s weddings for over-the-top spending or cheap vulgarity. Another example of how social media warps people.

ETFs for income-seeking retirees

Jim Yih of the RetireHappy blog on three exchange-traded funds he uses to generate income, one holding real estate investment trusts, one holding dividend stocks and one holding a diversified mix of investments.

Ask Rob

Q: What causes volatility in credit ratings? I have access to mine through my bank. They indicate that over the past year my rating has hovered between 810 and 815. In the last two reporting periods, however, it increased to 845 and then it dropped to 791. To my knowledge, there hasn't been any real change in my financial position over that period.

A: First off, those swings are pretty much meaningless in terms of how you would be viewed by a lender. You have a very good credit score, so no worries. Here’s a list of possible reasons behind the fluctuations.

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

Use this calculator to see whether withdrawals from your registered retirement plan would reduce any payments you’d receive via the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which is aimed at low-income seniors.

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

  • With baby boomers aging, the cost of long-term care is set to triple in the next 30 years. What’s our plan for dealing with this?
  • Sorry millennials, but you’ll need to put aside twice as much each week than the baby boomers did for a solid retirement
  • Defensive stocks are getting pricey. Four ideas where investors can now search for shelter and not overpay (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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