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nd the amount held back for tax plunges to just 10%.

Beyond that, things won’t grow any faster in your TFSA than inside your RRSP, so it sounds like you have the wrong stuff there. Did some well-meaning banker stick you in mutual funds? I bet. Far better that you dump them, and grab a few exchange-traded funds. Or you could convert it into stable bank preferreds, and at least enjoy a 5% return – although that would yield you just $150 a month.

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Seems you’ll have no choice but to live off the retirement fund for months to come until life deals you a better hand, so you might as well control this. Open a discount brokerage account, then a self-directed RSP, move in the money and reinvest it (email me and I’ll help you choose the low-cost ETFs). You can then sell units every few months and move cash into your chequing account, taking care to stay below the five-thousand limit. If the TFSA funds are growing now, leave them to do the job. That’s the last money you spend.

What about income? Don’t give up on teaching, Linda. Doubtlessly you have many lessons to impart to the children. If the ill-run school boards won’t hire you, hire yourself. Offer one-on-one tutoring, for which there’s a substantial demand in many Toronto hoods. Start with a creative web site, then use social media to expand the reach. The cost is absolutely minimal, and you have the time and intelligence to make this succeed.

If you’re still too burned out for that, try another home-based business. Like, say, dogs. If you can keep a pooch or two where you live, offer home care, by the day or for extended periods. The woman whose care I leave Bandit in while on the road is over-subscribed for the next month – taking seven hounds into her city house at the rate of $45 a day. No license required. No overhead. Just add affection, and collect two grand a week.

Mostly don’t give up. Don’t despair. Do not lose perspective. Keep reaching out. The unfairness visited upon you should not be the defining feature of your life. Your mom would not wish it so, nor the others no longer around to hold you in such moments of doubt.

Keep coming here. We may be pathetic, but we care.

Update: Shortly after this post was published tonight I received a note from the head of a private school in Vancouver, asking that Linda apply for a teaching position there. “We’re always on a lookout for level-headed teachers like Linda,” he said. Thank you.

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avatarGarth Turner - The Greater Fool posted Sunday, December 16th, 2012.

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