Home & Leisure

Carla Fried: Experts expect international stocks to outperform US shares in 2020s

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When it comes to investing, we're all prone to home bias, the habit of preferring U.S. stocks over international stocks. It's an easy habit to pick up -- and justify -- given that the combined value of U.S. firms dominates the global marketplace. According to the World Bank, the value of publicly traded U.S. stocks at the end of 2018 was around ...Read more

Carla Fried: Yes, retirees pay taxes — here's how to avoid some

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For decades, 401(k) plans came in one flavor: so-called traditional, where contributions are made with pre-tax dollars and eventual withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. Now, most 401(k) plans offer employees the option of saving in a Roth 401(k) -- no upfront tax break, but withdrawals are 100% tax-free in retirement.

Most savers are ...Read more

Erin Arvedlund: Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index Fund closing in on $1 trillion. Yup, that's 12 zeroes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A trillion dollars: That's how much money was invested in Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index Fund at the end of December.

The largest mutual fund by assets is just over $60 billion shy of crossing the trillion-dollar line across all share classes, which sounds like a long way off -- but it's not. The fund's year-end assets totaled $938 billion...Read more

Susan Tompor: Latest tax scam holds your info for ransom. Here's how to spot it and other fraud

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Most of us find it nerve-racking enough that we're forced to focus on gathering our piles of paperwork to fill out our tax returns.

Now adding to our stress, we must watch out for tax season scam artists, too. The crooks are everywhere from the gym parking lot to the latest emails and text messages.

A new trend: Expect an increase in ...Read more

5 ways a breakfast bar improves life in the kitchen

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Cooking with limited storage and counter space is frustrating. Ingredients pile up, pans clatter, and casual conversation can feel difficult. If you don't have enough space for an island, there's a simple way to make a new place to prep food and entertain guests: by installing a breakfast bar. Take a look at how this popular mainstay can ...Read more

Social Graces: How to say no to an invitation from your old boss — without burning any bridges

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Your former boss reaches out to you and wants to have lunch. You're not interested in meeting, but you also don't want to professionally burn a bridge. What is the best way to respond?

A: Many times in our professional journey, we work for people we like, and for others ... not so much.

I do not believe in burning bridges with people, ...Read more

Hot Property: John Travolta gets $18 million for longtime Brentwood home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Is it the end of summer loving in Brentwood for John Travolta? The actor and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, have quietly sold their longtime home in the Los Angeles neighborhood in an off-market deal for $18 million. The buyer was a trust tied to big-time record executive Scooter Braun, who also owns the property next door.

The...Read more

From suburban bubble to urban bustle: McDonald's and other companies find hiring boon in moving HQ to the city

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- When Nubia Murray moved to Chicago from Manhattan three years ago to take a corporate job at McDonald's in suburban Oak Brook, Ill., she didn't realize what a culture shock it would be to go "from subway fights to Pleasantville."

The sprawling corporate campus, lush with fountains and greenery, was lovely but felt "stuck in time," ...Read more

Liz Farmer: California — not for everyone, but essential for some

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Its coastal cities are pricey, global hubs of talent and innovation

The state of California seems to attract apocalyptic news coverage and the way things are going, it's unlikely to let up. You may have heard about an exodus of people fleeing lengthy commutes through gridlocked traffic, unaffordable housing, high taxes, wildfires, electricity ...Read more

Carla Fried: $38 billion yearly on self-storage — better spent on retirement savings?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You likely have noticed in your town, or driving through its outskirts, that self-storage is an increasingly popular business.

There are an estimated 45,000 storage facilities across the country, and new construction has tripled in the past five years. There is now an estimated 6.5 square feet of self-storage space for every person in America. ...Read more

Southern California home prices and sales surged in December

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices in December rose by the most in 19 months, the latest sign that the housing market is gaining steam after a prolonged slowdown.

The six-county median sales price hit a new all-time high of $550,000 last month, a 7.2% increase from a year earlier, according to data from DQNews. Sales, meanwhile, surged 22.1% from ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: I'm being charged tourist tax even though I live here

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My home was severely damaged about eight months ago due to water damage, and I have been living in a hotel suite since then. I recently noticed that the hotel is charging me for the tourist tax. I am not a tourist. Why do I have to pay this? -- Oliver

A: In Florida, along with most states, short term, or "transient," rentals of less than six...Read more

Deals & Steals: L'Occitane: Free 4-piece OMY Shea Butter gift set

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Get a free 4-piece OMY Shea Butter Hand Cream starter gift set from L'Occitane.

The generous freebie includes a tube of rich Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 retail) and a cosmetic bag that you can color with two included pink and blue Sharpies. Get the freebie in stores with no purchase necessary, or with any $5 or more purchase at homeandleisure/consumer/home/s-2317798">Read more

Super Bowl tickets: Tips to avoid scams, counterfeits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're looking to score tickets to Super Bowl 2020 on Feb. 2, get ready to cash in your 401(k).

While it is late in the game to get affordable tickets, the NFL still has some for sale for $4,400. Each. Slightly cheaper but still pricey options are available on the secondary market when the big game arrives at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami ...Read more

Carla Fried: How to navigate the high cost of becoming a caregiver

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you have yet to step into the role of caregiver, there's a good chance it may be in your future. A 2017 joint survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave estimated that 40 million Americans have already served as a caregiver. With the advancing age of baby boomers, 20 million more are expected to join the caregiving ranks each year.

While ...Read more

Hot Property: French Montana looks to double his money on Hidden Hills home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Rapper French Montana is shooting for the stars in Hidden Hills. Four years after buying Selena Gomez's Mediterranean mansion for $3.3 million, he's trying to double his money by listing the property for sale at $6.599 million.

The steep price hike reflects a bit of remodeling. The rapper painted over Gomez's bold tones of purple...Read more

Social Graces: How to fire a bridesmaid

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: How do you fire a bridesmaid?

A: If you have found yourself in a predicament with someone in your bridal party posse, chances are she is feeling it too.

First, step back and clearly identify the issue. Sometimes this situation can be fixed by simply realigning your expectations. You may also want to consider hiring a wedding planner or ...Read more

5 ways to choose the right home service professional

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

From carpet removal to kitchen remodeling, most homeowners will tackle a home improvement project at some point or another. But it can feel vulnerable to let a stranger inside your home, even a professional. Here's a look at what to ask during the interview process to make sure you've found the right person for the job - and that the work goes...Read more

As seas rise, coastal homes in Florida could lose value. One report says 15% by 2030

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- Increasing sea rise is going to water down the value of some of the most coveted and expensive real estate in Florida, and insurance rates will go up too.

That's the conclusion of a pair of new reports calculating just how much of an impact climate change will have on Florida's real estate industry.

A report from international ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: You signed agent's agreement, so grit your teeth and pay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My tenant wants to purchase the home he recently rented with the help of my real estate agent. I checked the listing agreement I signed with the agent and noticed that it states that if I sell the property to the tenant, I need to pay the agent an additional sales commission. I already paid the agent for the rental, and I do not understand ...Read more