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Carla Fried: High-deductible health plans: How to think about your true costs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you have health insurance through an employer, chances are the premiums are a big -- and growing -- line item in your household budget. The independent, non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the average household with family coverage pays more than $500 in monthly premiums. Over the past 10 years, the workers' share of family ...Read more

Carla Fried: Your financial adviser's job No. 1: Protect you from yourself

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

There are plenty of good reasons to seek out the help of a financial adviser. Your personal-finance plate is likely quite full: Save for retirement. Save for emergencies. Save your sanity when staring at college cost estimates.

A good pro will of course be able to help you sort through your financial life and develop a plan for how best to ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Scams heat up during Medicare open enrollment

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Medicare open enrollment is ongoing and ends Dec. 7. And you better believe the scammers know it.

Maybe it's someone making a call, claiming to be from your insurance company and demanding information on the spot. Some scammers say you'll need to buy a gift card or wire money soon so that you won't lose your health care benefits. Others are ...Read more

JPMorgan's Dimon laments income inequality, won't assail CEO pay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

WASHINGTON -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called U.S. income inequality a "huge problem," but he stopped short of saying America's top executives were being paid too much.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes," Dimon said he is optimistic about the economy and admitted that his high-profile job ...Read more

Apple co-founder says Goldman's Apple Card algo discriminates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEW YORK -- Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., two of the most recognizable companies in tech and finance, are caught up in a growing debate over whether lenders unintentionally discriminate when they use complex models to determine how Americans borrow money.

On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that a Wall Street regulator had opened a probe...Read more

Hot Property: A 'Very Brady' sale in Malibu

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- "Brady Bunch" actor Barry Williams, who has been busy renovating his former TV home on "A Very Brady Renovation," has sold his oceanfront home in Malibu for $5.82 million.

Found within celebrity-popular Malibu Cove Colony, the two-story beach house features high ceilings and walls of windows that take in sweeping ocean views.

...Read more

States try to ferret out unnamed landlords

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- This small Hudson Valley city features sweeping river and mountain views, charming rowhouses and Victorian homes that are drawing young professionals looking for a break from high housing costs downriver.

But the sight of abandoned or dilapidated houses next to renovated ones is a reminder that the city's revival still faces ...Read more

'I just wanted to have it over.' Auction stalls for 350-year-old Connecticut homestead after 9 minutes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

FARMINGTON, Conn. -- The historic farmhouse in Farmington passed down by the Wadsworths for 350 years will be staying in the family, at least a little bit longer.

An auction in the backyard of the house at 107 Main St. Wednesday afternoon broke off after just nine minutes, after bidding stalled at $125,000, with just two bidders upping the ante...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Neighbor's landscaper killed my trees and city is dinging me. What can I do?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: A while back, I read your article about tree trimming along a property line. Recently a new neighbor moved in and proceeded to overcut several palm trees near the property line. I even told his landscaper to stop and was ignored. Now, most of the palms are dead, and I received a code violation notice from the city. I asked him to take care of...Read more

Carla Fried: Hacks to boost your happiness

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

This column is normally all about saving and spending wisely. But isn't the greater goal of managing our finances to produce happiness?

If the pursuit of happiness were an Olympic event, the United States would be nowhere near the medal ceremony. In the latest World Happiness Report, the U.S. ranked 19th among more than 150 countries. (For ...Read more

I've covered California's housing crisis for years. Living it is a different story

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

My move from Sacramento to Los Angeles began with acceptance. My rent was going to go up -- and it was going to go up a lot.

For close to four years, I've been writing for The Times about California's housing affordability problems. I've worked in the paper's bureau in Sacramento, focusing on government's response to rising home prices, rents ...Read more

Airbnb bans 'party houses' after California killings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Airbnb plans to rid the short-term rental website of "party houses," the CEO announced after five people died in a shooting at an Airbnb party house outside of San Francisco on Halloween night.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a series of tweets that the company will crack down on such rentals, marking a shift away from the company's standard ...Read more

Carla Fried: Is lifestyle creep ruining your retirement plan?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Retirement planning is often reduced to a singular call and response.

Retirement?

Save more!

Increasing your savings rate will, obviously, land you in retirement with a bigger nest egg. But it may not be enough. You may also need to reduce spending to both bolster your savings and reduce the ultimate shock of a smaller retirement income.

The...Read more

Apple pledges $2.5 billion to address the state's affordable housing problem

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Apple said it will direct $2.5 billion toward affordable housing in California, the latest tech giant to pledge money to one of the state's most pressing problems.

The announcement, made Monday, follows similar big pledges this year from Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which put money toward housing in its home base of Seattle. And it comes ...Read more

The Journey: You may be ready to retire, but your money can stay at work

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than half of retirees still kept their money in their workplace savings plans a year after leaving, according to a review of its customers by Fidelity Investments.

And more employers are realizing that's a good thing. More assets in a plan gives employers more leverage to command lower fees, for one thing.

There's also a growing ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Who's dealing with the biggest student loan payments?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Ever wonder how your monthly student loan payments might stack up next to someone who graduated with a completely different major?

The range can be significant -- starting at $406 a month in the retail industry all the way up to $685 a month for those working at private hospitals and other companies in the social assistance industry.

The ...Read more

'It's sad, very, very sad.' After 350 years, a Connecticut family is auctioning off its historic farmhouse

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Before there was Miss Porter's School, Church of St. Patrick or even the American Revolution, there was the farmhouse set back atop a hill at 107 Main St. in Farmington.

The nearly 350-year-old house is notable for its longevity but even more so for its ownership: one family, the Wadsworths, has lived on the property for 11 ...Read more

Chicago hotels having a tough year, with lower rates, more rooms and one high-profile default

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- From funky boutique hotels in Fulton Market to the gleaming 1,200-room Marriott Marquis welcoming conventioneers at McCormick Place, Chicago is suddenly brimming with new and diverse places to get a room for millions of annual visitors.

Dozens of recent hotel developments mean more choices for guests on where they want to stay, how ...Read more

Hot Property: Hip-hop star Tyga has a Bel-Air mansion to rap about

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Hip-hop star Tyga is getting a taste of L.A.'s Westside. The Grammy-nominated artist has inked a deal to lease a hillside mansion in Bel-Air for $58,000 a month.

The scenic estate -- which remains available for purchase at $12.88 million -- is set in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Sprawling across 2 acres, the ...Read more

Carla Fried: 5 steps to saving up for a down payment

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

First-time homebuyer wannabes wrongly think they need to make a big 20% down payment. In fact, there are plenty of ways to qualify for a mortgage with a down payment of less than 5%.

That's more doable, right? If you've got your eye on homes priced in the range of $250,000 or so, you're talking about needing less than $12,000 for a down payment...Read more