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Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick brings you the Personal Finance Reader, his twice-weekly picks for the best online reading about money, the markets and more. If you're having trouble reading this newsletter or want to read the archives, click here.

Found something on the Internet that your fellow investors might enjoy? Talk to me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com.

From Rob Carrick This Week

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TD's e-series funds: Easy to love, hard to buy

Head of mutual fund unit says he's committed to making the bargain-priced index funds more accessible.

ETFs: Are they for you?

In this Let's Talk Investing video, find out who's buying them and how they compare with mutual funds.



How to get a bigger bang for your (U.S.) buck

A growing number of brokerages don't force currency to be converted, so you can save on foreign exchange fees.





Must reads from The Globe and Mail

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Expert Rob McLister answers your mortgage questions

Got a question about your mortgage? Ask Rob McLister, editor of the Canadian Mortgage Trends blog. He joins us today at noon (ET) for a live discussion.

Simple guide to buying U.S. real estate

With reduced prices, strong currency and low financing, it may seem like the perfect time for Canadians to buy U.S. real estate. In this excerpt from Buying Real Estate in the U.S., author Dale Walters explains how it's done.

Bank some U.S. dollars now

With the exchange rate in our favour, this is an opportune time to start a U.S. account, writes Angela Self.

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Get out of the way of your own investing success

Your worst enemy? Yourself. John Heinzl offers some rules to invest by in this week's Investor Clinic.

Keeping your basement above water

Insurers are seeing a big rise in water damage claims, but homeowners can prevent the problem from starting, Roma Luciw reports.

Keys to a worry-free mortgage

While low rates are appealing, flexibility is key - but it may involve tradeoffs.

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Vacation home out of reach? Try splitting the costs

By hammering out the details and having an agreement drawn up, that dream chalet could be yours. Dianne Nice explains how to do it right.

The five fastest ways to save for a down payment

Here are five tried and true ways to help first-time buyers get into a house faster.

A TFSA with your tea?

It's lunch hour on a Wednesday in Toronto and a new downtown café is open for business. Dakshana Bascaramurty examines the rising trend of the bank 'anti-branch.'

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Buying a big-ticket item? Get a second opinion

A study shows that some experts make mistakes when rating a product from memory. Preet Banerjee explains.

Harvest some savings with a summer garden

A vegetable patch can cut your food bill. Here are a few tips for setting up a garden on a budget.

Should I consolidate my debt for peace of mind?

One manageable monthly payment at a good interest rate seems to make sense, but there are drawbacks to consider, Home Cents blogger Shelley White writes.

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Must Reads From Around the Web

What To Do With Your Tax Refund

Use it to pay down your mortgage, the Canadian Mortgage Trends blog argues.

Women, Trust and Financial Advisers

High net worth women don't trust their financial advisers, a study has found. The advice for advisers to win the trust of their women clients: Explain more, sell less.

Ode To Cash

Why it may not be a bad idea to hold a lot of cash right now in your investment accounts.

Lessons Of The Flash Crash

A year after the Flash Crash, when major stock indexes dropped a frightening 5 per cent in just a few minutes, the Investment Industry Regulatory Association of Canada has announced a forum for individual investors on how they can be affected by the speed and volume of today's stock market trading. The forum will be held in Toronto on May 30.

Click here to find directions to view the session online after the fact.

How I Saved $300 On My Cable Bill

Two telephone calls, $300 in savings on cable and internet services. See how it's done by reading this post on the Boomer & Echo blog.

Car Questions

The Money Pincher blog is asking for reader input on a decision about what to do with her leased car - buy it out when the lease expires in January, or lease a new car.

Here are some suggestions on how to save on auto insurance. Our policy is coming up for renewal shortly and I will shortly be adding my 17-year-old son to our coverage. Yikes.

The U.S. Debt Challenge

In a two-part interview with a U.S. money manager, the Today's Economy blog looks at the debt challenge faced by the United States and the ramifications for investors in Canada. Here's part one and here's part two .

Editor's note: If you don't receive Rob Carrick's newsletter twice weekly by email, you can sign up to get it for free at The Globe and Mail. All you need to do is register for the site, or if you've already registered, login and go to your profile at the top of the homepage. Once you're in your profile, look under Newsletters and Alerts and look for the Personal Finance Reader and other newsletters. Other financial newsletters include:

Business Ticker, a summary of the day's top business stories

Berman's Market Update, a summary of the markets at the open, noon and close

All-Star Investor, investment ideas from the best and the brightest minds in the business using StarMine's equity analyst rankings and Lipper's mutual fund manager rankings.

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