Home & Leisure

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With 2 new villages and an expansion, the effort to double tiny house villages in Seattle begins

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It's going to be a busy summer at "The Hope Factory," an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, where around a dozen volunteers will come in six days a week to build at least 10 shed-sized homes a month for homeless people.

"All of our weekends are booked, except two Saturdays, through Labor Day," said Barb Oliver, director...Read more


Real estate Q&A: My husband's ex-wife's name is still on deed of house we paid off. What do we do now?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: When my husband divorced his former wife, he was awarded the house. We have been married for 10 years and recently paid off the mortgage. We want to remodel the home but do not want to pour more money into the house until her name is taken off of the deed. What can we do? — Melisa

A: Being awarded the house in a divorce does not ...Read more


Susan Tompor: What to do now to avoid a nasty tax surprise next year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When it comes to taxes, many people now are focused on trying to track their refund. Or they're looking forward to getting a monthly check beginning around July 15 for an advance of the Child Tax Credit.

But plenty of people should consider whether they're going to have enough money withheld this year to cover the taxes owed in 2022.

It may ...Read more

Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant/TNS

Connecticut legislature passes crumbling foundations bill protecting homeowners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Connecticut lawmakers approved a bill meant to protect owners of homes with crumbling foundations and prevent the faulty concrete that caused the costly and widespread problem from ever being used again.

Gov. Ned Lamont is reviewing the bill, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Among other provisions, the legislation removes a five-year cap on ...Read more


Carla Fried: Another reason for men to work longer -- increased longevity

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you’ve saved well enough to retire, but can’t quite decide which you’d enjoy more — retiring now or continuing to work — there’s a piece of research that suggests you might live somewhat longer if you keep working.

This only applies to men; working longer doesn’t seem to deliver a similar health boost for women.

Work longer, ...Read more


Susan Tompor: IRS sends out letters now about the new Child Tax Credit

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than 36 million families will start receiving letters from the Internal Revenue Service about receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments from July through December.

The American Rescue Plan, signed into law March 11, made key but temporary changes to the tax credit, such as offering more money to those who qualify and making the credit ...Read more

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Will saving for retirement soon get simpler? Here's what Congress has planned

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

WASHINGTON — Saving for retirement — and understanding your benefits — could get a lot simpler soon.

Older people could contribute more to their retirement savings. Part-time workers could find it easier to build retirement accounts. Small businesses could get help offering employees retirement accounts.

Congress is moving in a ...Read more


Carla Fried: Why, for the newly retired, stock prices matter hugely

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

How to sidestep a bear market that comes at the wrong time

Among the best advice on retirement investing you’ll receive is to set your asset mix and then mostly ignore the ups-and-downs of the stock market.

But when your actual retirement date approaches — and you prepare to start living in part off of your investment — it becomes ...Read more

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Mark A. Stein: A lonely retirement could shorten your life -- so make friends

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Building up a robust social network should be as much of a retirement-planning goal as building up a robust 401(k), say psychologists who specialize in treating retirees. “Social networks are incredibly important and become meaningfully more important as we age,” says Jacob Brown, a therapist in San Francisco.

Deborah Heiser, an applied ...Read more

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Frozen but not forgiven, US student loans are coming due again soon

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For millions of Americans, there’s an unwelcome side of the return to business-as-usual after the pandemic: They’ll have to start repaying their student loans again.

More than 40 million holders of federal loans are due to start making monthly instalments again on Oct. 1, when the freeze imposed as part of Covid-19 relief measures is due to...Read more

Social Graces: What should you say to an unvaccinated friend who leaves the house without a mask?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Since the mask announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of your friends who isn’t fully vaccinated has started leaving the house without a mask on. Should you say something?

A: Everyone wants to have a “Hot Girl Summer” this year, given the state of the world last summer. With vaccines rolling out and ...Read more


Susan Tompor: IRS sends 2.8 million extra tax refunds relating to jobless benefits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than 2.8 million in extra federal income tax refunds were sent this week to taxpayers who are owed money after an abrupt change this year in the tax rules relating to jobless benefits.

Not everyone who qualifies is seeing their money yet. Many will have to wait a few weeks or more.

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it plans to...Read more

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Only a sliver of South Florida's homes are for sale -- the smallest percentage ever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Here’s another way to look at how tight the housing market is in South Florida: Of all the homes in the area, less than a half percent are for sale or rent.

That’s the smallest percentage ever, according to new data from Related ISG, a realty group in South Florida.

A total of only 5,804 homes are available out of the 1.8 million that ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: What are my rights after a neighbor's dog bit my pooch?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I was walking my little pooch when a neighbor’s dog ran out of his yard and attacked my little guy. He was bitten several times, and I had to take him to the vet for his injuries. The neighbor is downplaying it and refusing to do anything about it. What are my rights? — Albert

A: Animal owners have to keep their pets from hurting someone...Read more

Leila Navidi/Star Tribune/TNS

Minneapolis renters wage a fight with private equity landlords

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The threat of eviction hangs constantly over Dean Zoller, a crisis counselor and single father of three teenagers.

At the onset of COVID-19 last spring, he moved into a remodeled rental house in north Minneapolis, he said, when his relationship ended and he had to scramble to find a new place after more than a decade of homeownership.

But then...Read more

Uma Sanghvi, The Palm Beach Post/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Surprising services truly help college students succeed

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

College is a great place to part with large portions of your net worth and self-esteem, all while exiting without a degree. Just a third of associate’s degree students graduate within three years, and only 62% of full-time students at four-year programs graduate within six years. Not surprisingly, weaker students are more likely to struggle.

...Read more


Carla Fried: What to expect -- based on gender -- when a spouse dies

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Research in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing suggests aging couples — and their families — ought to prepare quite differently to support a widow or widower when a spouse dies.

Jialu L. Streeter, a research scholar at the Stanford Center for Longevity, pored over data from an ongoing national research project that has been checking in ...Read more

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Luxury home sales soar as US recovery favors wealthy buyers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Luxury home sales in the U.S. are soaring faster than lower-cost segments as remote work, brimming stock portfolios and rising listings give wealthy buyers an edge.

In the three months through April, purchases of high-end homes increased 26% from a year earlier, according to a report by the brokerage Redfin. Sales of the most-affordable ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Alerts about 'suspicious activity' surge, as crooks impersonate Amazon

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Now scammers are trying to warn you of possible fraud on your account to make you so nervous that you don't think twice about what you're doing next.

We're seeing an uptick in texts and phone calls from scammers alerting us to suspicious activity. Some are pretending to be from the Amazon fraud department. Others follow a similar M.O. with ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Strange car rental scams overheat as summer travel picks up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As more people hit the road this summer, they need to steer clear of look-alike, imposter websites for car rental outfits that are popping up like pot holes.

You could fly into town, think you've got a rental car reserved, and end up going nowhere.

Ah, the joys of re-opening the economy in the COVID-19 vaccine era. Scammers can craft a whole ...Read more