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It’s not just over-spending and debt that are contributing the high levels of financial stress people are feeling these days. A lot of it comes from not saving enough for retirement.

You can deal with anxiety about your retirement savings two ways – ignore it on the basis that retirement is in the future and can be dealt with later, or find out where you stand and make adjustments as required.

Readers sometimes ask me for online retirement calculators they can use to do a quick and dirty self-assessment of whether they are saving adequately. Here’s a brand new one to try – the Retirement Cash Flow calculator from GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca, an educational website sponsored by the Ontario Securities Commission. Also try the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator, offered by the federal government.

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The drawback with online calculators is that they can only diagnose the problem if you’re under-saving. For help in finding ways to free up cash each payday to contribute to your retirement savings, consider seeing a financial planner.

A few years ago, my wife and I discussed our retirement with a financial planner, and we’ve been into see him since to talk about downsizing and other stuff. Calculators are great, but a detailed analysis of where you’re going and where you hope to be is better. Here’s a directory of financial planners who work on a flat fee or hourly basis.

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The good advisers out there did this for their clients in early 2019

Will your savings be enough for retirement?

Almost half of Canadians polled say they’re just $200 away from insolvency

Rob’s personal finance reading list…

How a smaller house can improve your finances

A U.S. study finds that people who save aggressively tend to spend less on housing than everyone else.

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Financial advice from the rich and famous

A smart post from a very good investing blog on how celebrity personal finance experts – you find them more in the United States than Canada – tell you stuff that is “more about entertainment than advice.”

Why women pay more for car repairs

It’s because they get sized up by mechanics as not knowing anything about cars. The solution: educate yourself. Same applies to investing – you’re vulnerable to being over-charged if you don’t know how things work.

Tips for female condo buyers

“I feel that single women have unique needs and criteria when it comes to buying a home or a condo,” a woman who bought a condo five years ago says in this blog post. She offers six tips on condo buying, including one she calls the safety factor.

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Today’s financial tool

The CanadaHelps.org website offers this tool to help people calculate their charitable tax credit for the year and choose charities of interest.

Ask Rob

Q: Is it safer to pay for things using a credit card or debit card? I used to think it was safer to use your debit card but recently I read that credit cards are safer because if it is compromised, it isn't really your money and it is more likely that the credit card company will make you whole (ie: not make you pay for fraudulent transactions). What are your thoughts on this?

A: A fraudulent debit charge was made in my chequing account last summer and my bank reversed it in a day or two after a quick conversation by phone. So I wouldn’t worry much about the safety of your debit card, as long as you keep your password safe. Fraudulent credit card charges are a bit less of a hassle because you can have them reversed before you pay your bill.

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.

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What I’ve been writing about

  • A better way to improve TFSAs than restoring the annual contribution limit to $10,000
  • How spending $250 could protect against a $43,000 flood in your basement
  • A conservative investor with lots of cash and bonds wonders if she’s overpaying her adviser (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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