Consumer

/

Home & Leisure

/

ArcaMax

John Moore/Getty Images North America/TNS

Landlords say tenants are not tapping rent relief

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

FORT WORTH, Texas — On the morning of April 8, landlord Margarita Palacios went before a Tarrant County, Texas, judge via Zoom and tried to explain why she wanted to evict a tenant who owed $4,350 in back rent.

Palacios, representing The Palace apartments, began to explain, “We sent her links to rental assistance programs and offered to ...Read more

Brian Cassella/TNS

Chicago is 120,000 units short on affordable housing. Here's how the city and developers hope to fix that gap

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It may seem like the search for affordable housing is as elusive as a COVID-19 vaccination appointment — a long, arduous process that often includes a waitlist.

For Jeanette Freeman, 24, moving from her family’s South Side dwelling to live on her own in a one-bedroom apartment took her all of a year — from launching the search to ...Read more

Michael Gordon/TNS

In LA's hot market, buyers are paying way more than the price tag

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In Southern California, where home buyers are seasoned bidding-war combatants, demand lately has been pummeling supply so badly that some neighborhoods are seeing most homes fetch far more than owners were asking.

The six-county region's median home price hit an all-time high in February of $619,750, according to the most recent data from real ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Real estate Q&A: HOA wants me to 'stop hanging my flags.' Do I need permission to display them?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My HOA recently sent me a letter to “stop hanging my flags” in front of my home. I had three flags because my father and my father-in-law are both U.S. Marines. The letter stated that I may hang an American flag, but I must submit a request. I was given 10 days before they would fine me. I took them down, including the American flag. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Feeling Rich and Living It Up

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My husband and I have been out of debt for approximately five years. It's great. The problem is we now seem to spend a lot of money needlessly just because we can. We have so much money over and above our living expenses that it is easy to be reckless.

We keep just enough in savings ($2,000 or so) for emergencies but never get beyond...Read more

Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: April 15 remains key deadline for some taxpayers despite income tax deadline extension

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

April 15 is a day on the calendar that can come — and go — in 2021 for many taxpayers, but not all.

This tax season, the traditional federal income tax deadline for individual returns shifts from April 15 until May 17. Ditto for most state income tax deadlines (some fall even later).

Of course, the extension for filing a return — granted...Read more

Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Wire/TNS

Digital art frenzy raises questions for tax, law enforcement

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The sale last month of a digital piece of art for a near-record price raises new questions about a technology that the financial sector sees as offering great opportunity.

Christie’s auctioned the artwork for $69 million and recorded the transaction on a public blockchain as a “non-fungible token,” or NFT. The digital collage ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How Much and What Kind of Life Insurance is Best?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My question is about life insurance. My wife believes that I need life insurance because I am the sole breadwinner in the family and we have a baby daughter.

I am not sure it is important right now, as we just bought our first house. Our financial situation is very tight, and we will be having a lot of minor improvements on the house...Read more

Ting Shen/Pool Via CNP/CNP via ZUMA Wire/TNS

Housing advocates want equity provisions in infrastructure bill

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Witnesses urged senators to bake provisions to ensure equity into President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package or they would risk repeating a history of public investments that locked African Americans and minorities out of buying homes and building wealth.

Federal policies, including provisions of the New Deal and a 1950s law to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Strategies to Improve Your Credit Score

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 generated by a mathematical algorithm (a mostly secret formula) based on information in your credit report, compared to information on tens of millions of other people. Like it or not, the resulting number is said to be a highly accurate prediction of how likely you are to pay your bills...Read more

Bitcoin in your brokerage account: how to trade crytocurrencies or buy an ETF

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For Mom-and-Pop investors, it’s getting easier to buy cryptocurrency as part of a traditional stock-and-bond portfolio.

But the costs can add up, and it’s key to prepare for a possible tax bill down the road.

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has posted an eye-popping rally—it increased in value more than 300% in 2020 and has ...Read more

Susan Tompor/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Not having a bank account is costing Detroit's poor big money

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Roughly 8.8% of households in metro Detroit haven't taken what financial experts call the first step toward economic inclusion.

They don't have bank accounts. And it's costing them big money to cash checks and borrow money outside the traditional banking system.

Need to cash your stimulus check?

Call a local party store or check cashing store...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Carla Fried: Expect to live a while in retirement? Set aside your distaste for annuities

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

About half of Americans surveyed by the Aegon Center for Longevity said they worry about running out of money in their later years.

If that includes you, it’s time to take a deep breath and with an open mind consider buying an annuity. Not any annuity. We’re in agreement there are plenty of sketchy folks pushing way too expensive and ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Carla Fried: Comparing yourself to those slightly wealthier yields unhappiness

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The latest version of the global World Happiness Report, which is based on Gallup surveys that ask regular people in more than 90 countries to weigh in on various “life evaluation” measures, ranked the United States as the 19th happiest country in 2020.

Americans stuck on a lower happiness rung

A key component of the overall score asked ...Read more

Social Graces: You’re hosting a family get-together. Should you only invite those who are vaccinated for COVID-19?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Many people in your family have received the coronavirus vaccine, but there are a few who haven’t yet. When planning a get-together, should you invite only those who are vaccinated?

A: Rather than create divisions within the family by inviting some members and not others, a better strategy is to consider how everyone can meet as safely ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Stop Paying for Things You Don't Need

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A big coordinated garage sale in my neighborhood gave me a surprising wake-up call. It's one thing to see a family's stuff spread out in the front yard, but quite another to see a whole neighborhood's castoffs at one time. All I could think as I walked from one yard to the next was all the money wasters that led to this colossal display of stuff...Read more

L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS

New Virginia law would set up retirement accounts for people whose employers don't offer one

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A new law being considered by Gov. Ralph Northam would set up a retirement savings plan for private-sector workers whose employers don’t give them one.

The so-called VirginiaSaves program would allow Virginia to offer IRA accounts to people with no other options to save for retirement. The bill lets the state take a no...Read more

Art of Design: If These Walls Could Talk

Consumer / Art of Design /

What if your walls could talk? What would they say about you? Would they be a dead giveaway of the last time you decorated your home? There are all sorts of ways to update a home or give a much-needed makeover. Sometimes we live with wall color or wall technique that immediately reveal when a room was last designed, because it was a marked trend...Read more

Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS

New Yorkers have flocked to Connecticut during the pandemic. Can it keep them after COVID-19 subsides?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

New York City dwellers fled to the safety of Connecticut’s countryside as the pandemic took a mighty toll, sending home sales market in Litchfield County into the stratosphere and turning what for a century was a weekend getaway into a permanent address.

But now, as coronavirus vaccinations accelerate and restrictions start to ease, will the ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Real estate Q&A: What can I do about condo rules that don't allow pickup trucks?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our condo does not allow us to own pickup trucks or park them on the premises. Visitors can park them in guest parking during the day but must find off-site parking overnight. This rule is making it hard for friends and relatives to visit me. Is there something I can do? — Rick

A: When you purchased your apartment, you agreed to live by ...Read more