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Wells Fargo reverses, again, on letting homeowners accept US mortgage aid

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After telling a group of workers laid off from COVID-19 shutdowns that it wouldn't approve federal aid to help them pay up to $1,000 a month in home mortgage payments, Wells Fargo Bank on Tuesday said it had had a change of heart and would let them use the money to pay the bank what they owe, less than a week before the program is due to expire....Read more

Mark A. Stein: Inheritance is unfair; prepare your emotions and avoid misery

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Economists estimate aging baby boomers have $30 trillion to $48 trillion in personal assets to pass down over the next 25 years. Some say it will be the greatest wealth transfer in history. It may also be the greatest disappointment.

In all likelihood, your fine parents aren't among the 1% who hold the vast majority of that accumulated wealth. ...Read more

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Natasha Frost: Put off having a child? Your pandemic decision guide

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The pandemic is hard on us all — but spare a thought for those with small children, forced to balance work and childcare, closed daycares, and entertain bored, lonely kids during lockdowns.

Millions of couples have postponed weddings because of the coronavirus, and others are reconsidering whether to have a child now.

The good news? While at...Read more

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Fed's ETF purchases have changed markets forever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Last week's public spat between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell may have set an end date for the central bank's unprecedented intervention in U.S. credit markets. But make no mistake, the legacy of this episode will most likely permanently change investors' mindset during periods of crisis.

In ...Read more

What Joe Biden's victory could mean for SoCal housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

President-elect Joe Biden has detailed plans to help low-income renters, and first-time home buyers, that could make a difference for many Californians who face some of the highest home and rent prices in the nation.

His progressive agenda was released before the election and there is no guarantee it will pass. The new president likely faces a ...Read more

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Susan Tompor: University of Michigan economists: Vaccine could boost U.S. growth in 2021

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The outlook continues to be clouded by COVID-19 but a team of University of Michigan economists sees encouraging signs that could bring economic life close to normal by the end of 2021.

Much, though, will depend on how readily a vaccine becomes available by next summer.

The annual U.S. Economic Outlook, released Thursday morning, indicated ...Read more

Life Skills: Here’s how to handle discussing politics during the holidays

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: With the holidays around the corner, should you discuss politics?

A: We negotiate politics across our interpersonal relationships everyday, whether they be familial, romantic, platonic and professional. There are certain family dynamics we’re cognizant of. We sometimes frame our approach with our partners differently from, say, with ...Read more

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Real estate Q&A: Which documents are best to add a relative to the deed of my home?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I am getting on in years and want to leave my home to a relative when I pass. I know I can do this in my will, but I think it might be easier to add him to the deed. I looked online, and there are so many options. What type of document should I use? — Andrea

A: Having a proper estate plan for when you pass is one of the greatest favors a ...Read more

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Column: Wrigley Field national landmark listing will likely mean millions in tax credits for the Cubs-owning Ricketts family

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO — It's not quite like winning the World Series, but getting listed as a National Historic Landmark, as Wrigley Field was Thursday, is pretty sweet stuff.

There are only about 2,600 National Historic Landmarks, including Mount Vernon and Pearl Harbor. The National Park Park Service, which administers the list, says it is reserved for "...Read more

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Manhattan office glut grows as landlords face resurgent pandemic

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It rises 1,401 feet over midtown Manhattan like a monument to another time — a shiny new skyscraper commissioned long before the world had ever heard of Covid-19.

Donning masks, the developers cut the ribbon at One Vanderbilt in September, six months into the pandemic that has emptied offices across New York. Now what once seemed like a grand...Read more

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Susan Tompor: PlayStations and puppies top the holiday scam list

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Monster growth in online sales this holiday season will trigger an explosion of duplicitous deals, fake websites, phony emails and outright shopping scams.

More than ever, online buyers better beware.

Instead of standing in line to snag deals on Black Friday, many consumers will be hitting their laptops and iPhones to spend $10.3 billion ...Read more

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Home Depot boosts worker pay as profits rise

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Home Depot is giving raises to frontline and hourly workers that will add $1 billion a year to their paychecks after revenue and profit soared at the giant retailer.

Since the pandemic took hold earlier this year, the company has spent $1.7 billion on extra bonuses, paid leave and other benefits. The raises announced Tuesday will replace those ...Read more

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Natasha Frost: 4 steps to helping a college student find a career

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Your college-age son or daughter, statistically speaking, is likely clueless about the vast range of careers on offer in the world.

Oh sure, they know what you and the spouse do, we hope, and maybe have in mind a half-dozen occupations they've either come into contact with or admired from afar. A survey of 600,000 teens by the Organization for ...Read more

Carla Fried: Open enrollment — be wary of high-deductible health plans

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're among those fortunate enough to have health insurance through your job, you've likely noticed that it's eating up more and more of your income.

Over the past decade, the 55% increase in the average premium paid by an employee for family coverage is double the rise in average employee earnings, and nearly three times the general rate ...Read more

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Carla Fried: Parents borrowing for college — good intention, risky reality

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Despite repeated messages in recent years that every parent's primary obligation should be to save more for retirement, the "college at any cost" dynamic remains alarmingly entrenched in many American households

Through the end of September, the total tab for federal college loans taken by parents was $98 billion, a 44% increase in five years. ...Read more

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Carla Fried: Husband-focused financial plan — a widow in poverty?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Women often defer to husbands on financial decisions. But what if your man is setting you up for an old age — your likely time as a widow — of impoverishment?

Consider childcare and work. The intense collision of work-from-home and 24/7 childcare-from-home will ease once there is a widely adopted coronavirus vaccine. But the financial ...Read more

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Robinhood army propels thematic ETFs to a record-setting year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Robinhood generation of day traders has famously driven scores of sharp stock moves this year, from high-flyers like Tesla Inc. to beaten-down companies such as Hertz Global Holdings Inc. Now, retail investors are propelling growth in a hot corner of the exchange-traded fund universe: Thematics.

ETFs built around a theme — think ...Read more

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Susan Tompor: Credit card balances drop, giving room for holidays. Here are ways to pay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many of us won't be putting airline tickets on our credit card or using plastic to pick up the tab for a big holiday dinner at a fancy restaurant with the extended family. We're just not looking at that kind of holiday spending in 2020.

But consumers, being consumers, are bound to pile on a little debt, as well as a few pounds, from ...Read more

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On Philanthropy: Erasing hunger in America requires more than charity

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The holidays are around the corner and, for tens of millions of our neighbors across the U.S., this will be a time of scarcity, insecurity, worry and, in the richest nation on earth, hunger. Consider these facts:

Prior to COVID-19, 37 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger. Feeding America, the nation's third largest charity, ...Read more

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Easing millennial and Gen Z veterans' path to homeownership, VA-backed loan program sees historic growth: 'They're turning to it in waves.'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Adam Seidler set several goals to hit by the time he turned 30 — start a family, own a home.

With the help of a loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, he achieved them. This year, he purchased a five-bedroom home for his family in Diamond, Ill.

"It was pretty smooth sailing," he said.

Seidler, 30, is one of many millennial ...Read more