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Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

US adults financially worse off in 2020, checks buffered blows

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Covid-19 pandemic hurt American financial well being, but the impact differed widely by education, income and race, a Federal Reserve survey showed.

“The pandemic caused substantial disruptions to many people’s finances, as well as to their daily lives, even while public-policy responses appear to have muted many of the effects,” the ...Read more

Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS

Child Tax Credit monthly payments to begin rolling out July 15

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Parents can look forward to some extra cash beginning July 15, as the IRS rolls out an expanded tax break for millions of families.

Parents will receive a monthly payment of as much as $300 per child for little ones 5 years old and younger.

The payout for the newly-revised Child Tax Credit is up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through ...Read more

DELETED: Tempted to retire early? Consider two critical factors

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

This story has been deleted by the news provider.

Dreamstime/TNS

Carla Fried: Women know more about money than they realize

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Being smart enough to know what you don’t know pays off when it compels you to learn more or seek out expert help. But when it comes to money, research is finding that women seem too quick to say, “I don’t know,” and this lack of confidence can hold them back financially.

The confidence game

A survey last year by researchers at George...Read more

JESSICA J. TREVINO/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: Single taxpayers who lost work in 2020 could see extra refund money soonest

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than 10 million people who lost work in 2020 and filed their tax returns early this year are going to get a special review of their tax returns, which could generate extra refund cash.

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it will begin issuing tax refunds this week to eligible taxpayers who filed their 2020 tax returns in February...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Tempted to retire early? Consider two critical factors

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After a year of human deprivation, no travel and endless Zoom calls, it’s no wonder many baby boomers are thinking of taking an early retirement to make the most of the time they have left. Data from Pew Research Center estimates 3.2 million more people retired last year than the year before. A survey from the New York Fed also indicates ...Read more

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Rape charges against Calif. surgeon may be concentrated into one sex assault case

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES – California's attorney general is seeking to dismiss most of the rape charges against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend and concentrate the case around a 2017 sexual assault charge by bolstering it with new allegations that drugs were used to facilitate the attack.

It is the latest twist in a case that began two years ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Carla Fried: Opinion -- 80% of home price gains since 1990 due to falling rates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

John Wake, who writes the Real Estate Decoded newsletter on Substack, suggests anyone sitting on a fat pile of housing profits has Federal Reserve chiefs Jerome Powell, Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan to thank.

Wake estimates that up to 80% of home price appreciation since 1990 has been driven by falling mortgage rates. Reading ...Read more

Abel Uribe/TNS

Chicago's two-, three- and four-flats are disappearing, changing communities and who can afford to live in them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As Chicago looks to combat a shortage of affordable housing, its communities face a key challenge: the loss of the city’s iconic two-, three- and four-flats.

On the city's North Side, Lincoln Park lost 16% of these small residential buildings between 2013 and 2019. In North Center, the losses totaled 14%.

On the South Side, the Oakland ...Read more

TNS/TNS/TNS

Real estate Q&A: What are my rights if condo board refuses to provide parking lot security?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in a condo and had a video camera in my patio area pointed directly at my vehicle in the parking lot for security. Management told me I would be fined if I did not remove it because it invaded the other residents’ privacy. I pulled the camera, and a few cars have been broken into. The board is refusing to do anything about it, saying...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Skipping mortgage payments? Here's what you need to know when it's time to resume

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage servicers took their sweet time last spring advising customers affected by the pandemic about their right to hit the pause button on making payments with no documentation required, and no penalty charged to get back on track.

Now that most of those borrowers are preparing to resume making payments, mortgage servicers are again facing ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

US home prices surge the most on record in buying frenzy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The median price for a single-family home in the U.S. rose the most on record in the first quarter, as buyers fought over a dearth of inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Prices jumped 16.2% from a year earlier to a record high of $319,200. The growth eclipsed the 14.8% rate in the fourth quarter, which was the highest ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/TNS

Death of architect Helmut Jahn leaves two big Chicago projects in doubt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the architecture world mourns Helmut Jahn’s death from a cycling accident Saturday in the western suburbs, the next few months are likely to go a long way toward determining the fate of the 81-year-old’s most controversial building and his tallest one in Chicago.

Jahn’s namesake firm and preservation groups continue working to spare ...Read more

JESSICA J. TREVINO/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: Put your stimulus cash towards credit card debt, not student loans: Here's why

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many families could be looking at more money than they've ever seen at once when you add stimulus cash of up to $1,400 a person on top of a healthy income tax refund.

So — if you haven't already spent it — what's a solid plan of attack to save it?

"If someone has credit card debt, I think the best use of any money would be to pay it off," ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Here's how much it costs to install a deck or patio for the summer

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You've been thinking about it for some time and you've finally decided to take the plunge — you're going to build a patio or deck this summer.

Luckily, the official start to the season isn't until June 20, but if you want to have a space to socialize and entertain outdoors, the cost is going to be one of the main components to think about.

...Read more

Social Graces: Here’s what to say to loved ones who don’t want the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: A loved one doesn’t want to get the second shot of the coronavirus vaccine. How should you handle the situation?

A: Talking with loved ones about the vaccine can be tricky. If you plan to discuss it with them, approach the conversation with openness and curiosity. This is a great time to practice your active listening skills, meaning ...Read more

Audi/TNS

Carla Fried: With models proliferating, how to compare EVs and hybrids

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Move over, Tesla. With nearly 20 EV models on the U.S. market, many more hitting the lots this year and next, including a Ford F-150 pickup, and another 60 hybrid models for sale, for the environmentally conscious car buyer it’s time to get serious about comparing carbon footprint.

The free Carboncounter.com website is a must-stop before you ...Read more

Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The worst things you can do when shopping for plants, according to plant shop owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — Shopping for houseplants now can be like playing the lottery: There's no guarantee you will be rewarded with the jackpot. As houseplant sales have skyrocketed and more plant stores have opened, the demand for plants has become increasingly competitive for small businesses.

"I love that there are so many people who love plants," ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Caution flag for buyers -- cities still have lots of underwater houses

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The housing bust may seem a distant memory in most places, but there are still communities in the Rust Belt and in the South with high numbers of underwater houses. That is, homes on which owners owe more than the market value.

The owners of these homes are effectively trapped. If they sell, they will have to write a check to their mortgage ...Read more

TNS/TNS/TNS

Real estate Q&A: Can the HOA force me to paint my house a color they chose?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: When I bought my home 16 years ago, I picked my lot, floorplan, brick and paint color from the developer. Recently the new HOA board picked a new paint color scheme without involving the homeowners. I repainted my home three years ago, and it does not need repainting. I was assigned a gray color scheme that would look awful with my brown ...Read more