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We break down Vanguard's 'How America Saves' 2019 report

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Want some highlights of how Americans save for retirement? We read Vanguard's latest "How America Saves" 2019 report issued on Tuesday for trends and other takeaways.

Here are some key highlights from Vanguard's report on the popular workplace "defined contribution" (DC) retirement plans, those filled by matching contributions from the employee...Read more

Why Stanford may be more affordable than a lot of state universities

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Prestigious, selective, world-ranked are all ways to describe Stanford University. Add this to the list: bargain -- at least by some measures.

Students who graduated from Stanford with a bachelor's degree had the lowest debt burden in the Bay Area and the fourth lowest in California. The average Stanford student's total debt of almost $13,700 ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How a 25-year-old hairstylist drives a six-figure Mercedes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Alex Pardoe, 25, is what some might dub the anti-millennial. Except, he's not really.

Much like others in their 20s or 30s, he's savvy about building a brand, marketing his talents and recognizing how to use Instagram and YouTube to turn a head and grab a headline.

He's just making a whole lot more money than you'd imagine for someone in a ...Read more

The Journey: How to unload your debt burden

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans' debt load has risen nearly 23% since 2013 -- despite record stock gains and low unemployment -- and that can't bode well for their future.

Household debt totaled almost $13.7 trillion in the first quarter, with credit cards, auto loans and home equity loans accounting for 18% of that figure, according to the New York Federal Reserve'...Read more

How hackers used little-known credit-card feature to defraud woman, $1.99 at a time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Whoever stole Leslie Robison's credit card number could have bought a new computer, a flat-screen TV, or an expensive trip overseas.

Instead, the thief tried to scam her just two bucks at a time.

In January, Robison discovered more than a dozen charges at a $1.99 each from Google for hundreds of gigabytes of cloud storage she never ordered. ...Read more

Hot Property: Tyra Banks' next top remodel

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Supermodel, television host and home flipper Tyra Banks has bought a Pacific Palisades home for a little more than $3 million.

The 1949 traditional house, which has been owned by the same family for 70 years, is in the Bluffs area and in need of a makeover.

Banks, who in recent years has bought and sold a number of homes in the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Falling interest rates encourage refinancing — but often for the wrong reason

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The usual reasons to refinance are to reduce the monthly payment or to raise cash. A third reason -- which is underappreciated -- is to shorten the period of indebtedness.

The third motive is seldom acted upon. Indeed, borrowers who refinance into a new mortgage that has the same term as the original mortgage -- a new 30-year supplanting an old...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Falling interest rates encourage refinancing — but often for the wrong reason

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The usual reasons to refinance are to reduce the monthly payment or to raise cash. A third reason -- which is underappreciated -- is to shorten the period of indebtedness.

The third motive is seldom acted upon. Indeed, borrowers who refinance into a new mortgage that has the same term as the original mortgage -- a new 30-year supplanting an old...Read more

California cities lead the U.S. in inflation. Housing costs are a big reason why

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Nationally, consumer prices are barely moving, with inflation clocking in at just 1.8% for May. But if you live in a major urban area of California, you've noticed a much bigger hit.

Among the chief culprits? Housing costs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that a handful of California metropolitan areas saw...Read more

Real estate Q&A: I can't rent to pet owners, but do I have to allow emotional support animals?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our condo is designated pet-free in our community documents. I am about to rent and want to keep the apartment in good shape. If I include a no-pets clause in the lease, am I still forced to accept emotional support or service animals? -- Jane

A: Yes. Service and emotional support animals are not pets, so restrictions that apply to pets do ...Read more

Amazon, Microsoft and others give tens of millions for homeless housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- A year after business leaders in Seattle helped kill a tax that would have raised an estimated $47 million a year for homelessness and housing, Amazon, Microsoft, Connie and Steve Ballmer and others announced that they were giving more than that amount to build hundreds of homes for homeless people in the Seattle area.

The gifts ...Read more

A $1,800 apartment became a $3,300 corporate rental. Is that bad for housing?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Last week, an upstart company started providing furnished apartments for business travelers on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. Its website describes a "tastefully renovated" apartment complex with "laid back West Coast DNA" and a feeling of "whimsical Italian modern maximalism."

Tony Diamond, the founder of the company behind the ...Read more

Home buyers with kids face greater struggles, Zillow survey says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

School's out for summer. That means many kids are scrambling to have as much fun as possible and may parents are hustling to move into a new home before school is back in session.

Buying a home is tricky for anybody, especially if it's your first one, but parents have a far more stressful time than those without kids, according to Zillow ...Read more

In Bay Area, small retail struggles while tech booms

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While Silicon Valley's tech sector is thriving, cranking out IPOs and flooding the region with high-paying jobs, its retail industry is struggling to keep its boutiques and tiny mom and pop shops open.

The number of retail businesses -- particularly small retail businesses -- has dropped significantly in the Bay Area between 2007 and 2017, ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Exiting a timeshare could be another route to a rip-off, Better Business Bureau says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Getting smooth-talked into buying a timeshare after a free weekend stay at a resort condo is one thing. But consumers increasingly are being ripped off when they try to unload or get out of a vacation-related contract, as well.

The problem often starts when the annual maintenance fees inevitably skyrocket for timeshare owners. Many retirees who...Read more

Wells Fargo foundation pledges $1?billion to affordable housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Wells Fargo is narrowing its focus in philanthropy this year and pledging to boost funding for affordable housing by $1?billion through 2025.

The corporation announced this week that its Minnesota-based foundation will shift its focus nationwide to fund programs that work on affordable housing, financial health and growing small ...Read more

Hot Property: Adam Levine and Ellen DeGeneres make music in housing market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- No two celebrities have been as prolific in the real estate market in recent years as Adam Levine and Ellen DeGeneres. So, it's fitting that the two have come together on a deal of their own.

Levine and wife Behati Prinsloo have sold their estate in Beverly Hills to DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, for $42.5 ...Read more

Chicago's 'Magnificent Mile' waiting for a jolt amid retail upheaval

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- North Michigan Avenue seems a little less magnificent lately.

Retail rents fell in 2018 after soaring in recent years, and Chicago's undisputed top shopping destination has faced a long slog in filling high-rent flagship spaces.

The Magnificent Mile's transition is indicative of a broader trend, as "high streets" -- the world's most...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I challenge homeowners association rules on renting?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My homeowners association changed the rules and added restrictions on renting. I rent and count on the income for my retirement. I want to know specifically what they did and if it is enforceable. What do I do? -- John

A: Your first step is to find out what rules changed and whether the changes were made correctly and enforceable. The ...Read more

The Journey: Millennials think too narrowly about benefits, especially retirement contributions

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Asked to name their highest priority benefits for a new job, more than half of millennials in a new survey ranked health insurance highly. Just 36% included a company retirement plan match in their top three.

This, despite the existence of a federal health insurance marketplace that guarantees coverage and offers subsidies for lower income ...Read more