Home & Leisure

Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: GM teams up with Marcus by Goldman Sachs for new digital-friendly credit card

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

General Motors, which first introduced its branded credit card 30 years ago, is moving to a new digital platform and partnership with Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

"Points earned today can be redeemed tomorrow," John Lazzati, managing director for consumer cards at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, said in a press call last week, announcing the major change....Read more


Black resident mortgage applications nearly twice as likely as whites to be denied

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A new study by the real-estate firm Zillow found that nearly 20% of Black mortgage applications nationwide were denied in 2020, nearly twice the rate of white applications.

Nationwide, the study found that Black mortgage applicants were turned down 84% more than white applicants, up from 74% in 2019.

While 20.5% of Black mortgage applications ...Read more

Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: Child tax credit money a no show in January; look for IRS letter instead

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many parents might be looking for money from the child tax credit payment this January but they're not going to see it arrive Jan. 15 or shortly afterwards.

What's more likely to show up is a tax letter from the Internal Revenue Service related to the child tax credit. Don't pitch it.

You might not be expecting to see a notice from the IRS but...Read more

TYGER WILLIAMS/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Vanguard CEO, top execs offer lackluster stock market forecast for 2022 and beyond

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Vanguard CEO Mortimer "Tim" Buckley and two top strategists at the firm said investors should expect the stock market to post far more modest returns over the coming decade compared with recent years while offering a guarded but positive outlook for the global economic recovery.

Over the next decade, investors should expect 2% to 4% U.S. equity...Read more

Ting Shen/Pool Via CNP/Zuma Press/TNS

FHFA nominee pledges to address racial homeownership gap

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Senate Democrats on Thursday pressed Sandra Thompson, the president’s nominee to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency, on how to leverage the agency to close the racial gap in homeownership.

Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Thompson would have a major role to play in closing the gap, as well as preserving affordable ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Consumer prices up 7.5% in the Midwest over the past year; faster than nation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sticker shock in the Midwest continued at a slightly faster pace than the rest of the nation.

The consumer price index jumped by 7.5% in December from a year ago in the Midwest. That was the highest spike for all regions of the country.

By contrast, the CPI soared 7% in December for the country from a year ago — reaching a nearly 40-year ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Will father's estate be responsible for mortgage on house co-owned with joint tenant?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My father had a deed recorded that makes him and his friend co-own a house as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. He named me as the executor of his will. The property has a mortgage that is only in my father’s name. If there is still money owed on the mortgage when he dies, and his friend gets the house, will his estate get stuck ...Read more

Anda Chu/The Mercury News/TNS

This Northern California mayor wants to give everyone a right to housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As swelling homeless encampments continue to overwhelm California, one big city mayor has a bold idea: A legal mandate that would force governments to house each and every one of their residents.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg is pushing a “right to housing” ordinance in Sacramento that he hopes will spark similar measures throughout California. ...Read more


Single and looking to rent? This Kansas city is nation's most affordable, study says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Wichita is the most affordable U.S. city for a single person to rent an apartment, an analysis of 1.2 million studio apartment listings has concluded.

The RentHop Singles Index ranks cities based on the median cost of a studio apartment relative to the average salary of single people who live there.

Researchers for the apartment rental service...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

California has a new COVID-19 mortgage relief program. Here's how to get help

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Federal COVID-19 relief dollars have already helped more than 140,000 California renters pay the debt they accrued to their landlords during the pandemic.

Now, the state is offering similar relief to qualified homeowners who’ve fallen behind on their mortgages. The new California Mortgage Relief program will pay up to $80,000 worth of ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Jackson Hewitt Online launches $25 flat fee; others pitch free

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Do-it-yourself types who are looking for a deal for online tax preparation are seeing plenty of promotions.

It's a marketing battle of the free online tax deals among some big names. But you're going to need to review the restrictions and rules to figure out just what deal actually saves you money and what doesn't.

Gig workers or self-employed...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

A tiny home transforms this Calif. backyard into a WFH retreat

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Nearly 30 years after purchasing a modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, California, Michael Solomon and Naomi Lieberman turned their attention to their backyard, where they hoped to add a guesthouse that would accommodate their family and friends.

In what seems ...Read more

Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

These humble Pa. county controllers beat big pension fund returns by keeping it simple

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Money management, according to billionaire hedge-fund managers and other high-paid practitioners, is a complex science and art. But does it really have to be?

Big state pension funds in states like Pennsylvania or California spend many hundreds of millions of dollars a year hiring many sophisticated advisers to bet on arcane strategies — ...Read more


Susan Tompor: IRS will begin processing 2021 tax returns as soon as Jan. 24

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Early tax filers will get a chance now to e-file their 2021 tax returns as soon as Jan. 24.

The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday that it will begin accepting and processing tax returns in two weeks.

That's earlier than the delayed start of Feb. 12 last year when the IRS needed extra time for many pandemic-related reasons, including ...Read more

Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Need to make a cash offer to compete in the real estate market? These companies offer possible solutions

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Luis Alberto and his wife made an offer on a home in Miami they were hoping to buy, only to have another buyer beat them by offering cash. Over the next five months, they would lose out on three other homes, some because they were competing with buyers who could throw cash at the deal.

The Albertos are among many South Florida buyers relying on...Read more

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America/TNS

Susan Tompor: More than unemployment concerns, Americans are worried about rising prices

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When it comes to things that make consumers anxious, the threat of higher prices is edging out the fear of losing a paycheck.

Asked whether inflation or unemployment was the more serious problem facing the nation, 75% of consumers picked inflation, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers in December.

And 27% of households ...Read more

Judge halts mega-resort in California wildfire zone, says residents could die trying to flee

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Development of a $1 billion resort and housing project in one of the state's most wildfire-prone communities has been placed on hold after a judge ruled developers didn't adequately plan for what might happen when a wildfire erupts and thousands of people have to run for their lives.

The Lake County judge's ruling on the Guenoc Valley Resort ...Read more


Diaper donnybrook: Family sues condo board, claim swim diaper ban violates baby's civil rights

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Add swim diapers to the list of issues that can get turned into a federal case.

A Florida family is suing their condo board over what they say is a rule barring children from using the community pool while wearing swim diapers.

Swim diapers are a snug-fitting lightweight alternative to disposable or cloth diapers, which become heavy like ...Read more

Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Meet Bonita Harrison, a Chicagoan bent on making affordable housing a reality

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Bonita Harrison’s goal has always been to own 200 units of property. As a residential developer, her mission was to create noticeable change to a South Side neighborhood when it comes to affordable housing for and by people of color.

She was well on her way with her firm Sunshine Management, which had 68 units before the pandemic. Now, she ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What are my legal options after handshake deal over vacant lot?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: In 2014, I struck a deal to buy my neighbor’s vacant lot behind their house. We shook hands in front of a witness. According to our deal, I immediately wired the money to his account and paid the property taxes yearly. Last week I noticed a for sale sign on my lot. I called him to ask what was going on, and he told me that it was already ...Read more