Home & Leisure


Arianne Cohen: 5 ways community colleges fail students, and how to avoid them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Achilles heel of community colleges also happens to be their strength. They’re flexible, affordable and supportive of students from all walks of life. But because of that flexibility and chronic underfunding from state and local governments, “they’re often not providing very consistent, structured support,” says Xueli Wang, author of...Read more


Arianne Cohen: 5 best reasons to attend a community college

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Community college seems like an oasis of affordable opportunity: It’s cheap! It’s nearby! And you can just see the number in your bank account ballooning with the salary boost from your new degree or certificate! But proceed with caution. Without a strategy, community college can also be a bonfire of wasted time and funds.

The key, says ...Read more


Arianne Cohen: Want a lucrative career? Take jobs that force you to make decisions

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

By Arianne Cohen careers editor

To launch your career into the stratosphere, aim for roles with ample decision-making tasks.

“It’s basically impossible to keep getting pay increases after (age) 35 or 40 if you’re not in a job that requires decision-making,” says David Deming, a professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy ...Read more


Arianne Cohen: How making the right work friends can improve your work life

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Work buddies are like school friends: Fall into the wrong crowd, and your path can swerve southward. Becoming besties with a tired-and-over-it manager might tank your attitude, while friendship with the head of the company volunteer group might socially engage you.

“Some friendships are very positive in terms of performance, motivation and ...Read more


Susan Tompor: IRS launches new tool for Child Tax Credit for those who don't normally file returns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Families who don't normally file a tax return will need to pay close attention to a new online tool from the IRS.

A special non-filer tool is now available to help eligible families who don't normally file a tax return register for the monthly Child Tax Credit advance payments that are scheduled to kick off July 15.

Eligible families will ...Read more


Carla Fried: What to know before you leave your IRA or 401(k) to the kids

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Their tax bill is accelerated under new law

By Carla Fried financial news editor

Of the many changes wrought by the SECURE Act of 2019, one of the most significant governs how those who inherit retirement accounts take distributions. Starting in 2020, new non-spouse beneficiaries have just 10 years to empty the account. Under old tax...Read more

Andrew Marginean/TNS

Banks, credit unions making changes on how sky-high overdraft fees are handled

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Overdraft fees remain a moneymaking machine for banks and a devastating financial gotcha for poor families and communities of color.

Some consumers lose enough money in just one day to cover a monthly utility bill. Think about that one for one minute.

Many vulnerable consumers just don't have a financial cushion to absorb those kind of ...Read more

Social Graces: Where should you put your mask when dining at a restaurant?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: If you wear a mask to a restaurant, when should you take it off and where do you put it?

A: When it comes to mask etiquette at a restaurant, my personal protocol is to always err on the side of safety and to follow the current recommended mandates.

When entering and traveling through a restaurant, I prefer to wear a mask until properly ...Read more

Erika Schultz/Digital Image/TNS

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

Diego Vito Cervo/TNS

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

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/TNS

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