Home & Leisure

Dania Maxwell/TNS

The crazy Southern California housing market is cooling. But don't expect a bargain

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices were essentially flat in August from the previous month, as the market cools slightly from its torrid pace earlier this year.

The six-county region's median sales price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — was $680,000 last month, according to data released Monday by real ...Read more

On Philanthropy: Setting new table for family philanthropy helps families thrive

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many of us grew up sitting at the family dinner table. Often, it was rectangular, with the family’s primary bread winner(s) sitting at his or her end of the table. Regardless of the shape, the rest of the family sat at designated seats, night after night, year after year. Sometimes, long after the kids had grown and left the household, when ...Read more

Carline Jean/TNS

Nothing stops Florida landlords from raising rents as high as they want

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As rents skyrocket in Florida, landlords still enjoy unbridled power to raise rents as much as they want, a situation that has driven renters out of their homes and renewed calls for caps on rising rent.

Florida is quickly becoming the worst place in America to rent, but attempts to impose rent controls have always failed. Now, with a historic ...Read more


Liz Farmer: Local government impacts your home's value and your happiness

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When you buy a home, you’re also investing in the community, so it’s important to know whether it's a well-run municipality or a city on the decline.

Local governments, in addition to being among the nation’s largest collective employers, are also among their region’s top revenue generators, according to National Bureau of Economic ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Trump NYC tower debt hits watch list with vacancies rising

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A $100 million loan on Donald Trump’s Fifth Avenue tower was moved to a watch list Monday because of “lower average occupancy,” according to information compiled by Wells Fargo & Co.

The debt, sponsored by the former president himself, is secured by the 244,482 square feet (22,700 square meters) of office and retail space in Trump Tower. ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Many worried about why September child tax credit didn't show up yet

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many parents continued to post their frustrations online Friday about not receiving their September payments yet for the advance child tax credit.

"So like a lot of frustrated people on here, I have not received the September CTC payment," one person noted on the Reddit forum.

The Reddit commentator went on to express concern about an earlier ...Read more

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/AFP/TNS

Retirement plan advisers expect Labor Department rules to boost ESG options

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the Labor Department mulls a proposed rulemaking on environmental, social and governance investment options by retirement plans, advisers say the rules are likely to temper a “chilling effect” caused by the prior administration’s guidance.

Advisers say more retirement savers are asking about ESG investing and that the forthcoming rules...Read more

Chris Sweda/TNS

The end of COVID-19 homeowner protections is unlikely to bring a wave of foreclosures, but some Chicago property owners could be hit harder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO — Facing the threat of foreclosure on her home, Carla Diamantes was shaken and frustrated.

Her South Shore house is where she grew up, and has been in her family for six decades, she said. But after challenges with her mortgage servicer and upon exiting a COVID-19 program that allowed her to defer payments, she owes thousands of ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Our condo board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. What can we do?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We are selling our condo, and closing is fast approaching. Our board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. We are getting concerned because we must pack and move out, and we do not even know if our buyer will be allowed to buy our home. What can we do? — Anna

A: Selling your home can be incredibly stressful. Not only do you have to ...Read more


Carla Fried: Inflation is more reason to delay taking Social Security

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The recent increase in inflation could mean retirees already receiving their Social Security benefit might see 2022 it rise by about 5%, which would be the biggest annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in more than a decade.

But the even bigger payoff from a large Social Security COLA will be for anyone at least 62 who has yet to start ...Read more

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

New materials can make Florida condos more durable. Almost no one uses them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Unlike many diseases that afflict aging humans, there are already cures for the most common, serious and expensive threat to thousands of aging buildings along Florida’s coast, a malady that structural engineers have dubbed “concrete cancer.”

The symptoms show up first as rust-stained columns or cracked balconies — tell-tale signs the ...Read more

Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Where should I live? 9 questions with a housing economist

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Our favorite housing economist — yes, we have one of those — is Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who publishes a steady stream of insightful and practical articles on topics like why getting a multi-year lease is a good idea and whom you should blame for high housing costs (spoiler alert: greedy people). We caught...Read more

Kassi Jackson/TNS

Lumber is down from the stratosphere, but still pricy for Minnesota builders and home owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Lumber prices, a key cost in home construction and an influence on inflation, have plunged from their peaks this spring but remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

The development is welcome news to people who want to build a new home because, aside from land acquisition and labor, lumber is typically the highest component cost.

Prices on ...Read more

Michael Laughlin/TNS

South Florida is becoming the nation's worst place to rent

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

South Florida could become the worst place in the country for renters by the end of the year, partly because wages don’t keep up with exorbitant rent increases. a new forecast shows.

Renters here are likely to devote 40% of their income to rent by the end of the year, according to a forecast by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that ...Read more


Susan Tompor: You don't have to text anyone to get child tax credit from IRS

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The third round of monthly advance payments for the child tax credit was scheduled to hit bank accounts Wednesday, given that it's Sept. 15.

So what better time for the scammers to text our phones with promises of big cash?

On the night of Sept. 14, I received this text: "Apply for government pandemic extra stimulus bonus of $1,400."

Of ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Vanguard plans 3 new mutual funds, open to Personal Advisor Service investors only

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Vanguard, which has pioneered low-cost funds that passively track the stock market, plans to launch three new actively managed funds later this year, but they will be available only to customers of the company's adviser service, which charges a 0.30% annual fee.

The funds — Advice Select Dividend Growth, Advice Select International Growth and...Read more


Susan Tompor: How to get a jumpstart on that dreaded FAFSA form

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The shrinking paychecks and job losses of 2020 could prove a bit helpful now, as college students and families make a pitch for financial aid for the 2022-23 school year.

Smaller incomes, after all, could mean a better shot at more financial aid. But if you saw big gains picking stocks and day trading online last year, well, you'll have to take...Read more


Carla Fried: Hidden mutual fund and ETF fees can cost you plenty

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With more than $30 trillion riding on U.S. mutual funds and exchange traded funds, you would think investors would have a strong grasp of what they pay to own the diversified portfolios.

Mutual funds and ETFs snip off money each year from the portfolio’s assets to cover their costs. Those annual costs are called the annual expense ratio. (Yes...Read more


Arianne Cohen: Career Genius -- Your September guide to slaying it at work

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Bosses lean on the same workers, over and over again

Rob Cross, associate professor of global leadership at Babson College, studies the workday interactions of hundreds of thousands of workers at over 100 organizations, and he’s found that managers and leaders make one critical mistake.

You know how we all have our two to three favorite ...Read more


Carla Fried: Gender wage gap -- saying yes too soon can be costly

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

By one estimate, over a 40-year career the persistent lower pay for women translates to a lifetime earnings penalty of $500,000 less than what men earn (for white women) to more than $940,000 less (for Black women) and $1.1 million less (for Hispanic and Latino women).

Among the causes: gender wage bias by employers; the unequal division of ...Read more