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Keeping up with the Joneses: What it might be costing Americans

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Jamie Feldman, 35 years old, lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is currently paying off nearly $20,000 in credit card debt. She’s also the co-host of Debt Heads podcast. After being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, she maxed out a credit card while spending to keep up with her social life.

“It was a lot of social commitments,” Feldman ...Read more

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5 popular investment trends for the rest of 2024

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Seasoned investors often approach markets with a long-term view, using short- and medium-term volatility to buy into the themes they believe will profit over many years. While identifying these trends is difficult, tuning out the noise can help you focus your portfolio on the winners, possibly resulting in significant gains.

Here are five of ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Forget upgrading the family car. These Chicago parents bought cargo bikes instead

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO — Kevin Dekkinga’s son was going to elementary school and the family faced a decision: buy a second car, or buy a new cargo bike.

His son would attend a Chicago Public Schools magnet school in a different neighborhood. His wife worked in the suburbs. And with CPS facing a bus driver shortage after the pandemic that left school bus ...Read more

Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

San Diego OK'd more new homes in 2023 than any year in decades

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO — San Diego saw a dramatic surge in homes approved for construction during 2023, nearly twice as many as were approved the year prior and the highest number in a single year since at least 2005.

City planning officials, who said it’s likely this was the most homes approved in a single year since the 1980s, credited the surge to a ...Read more

Renée Jones Schneider/Star Tribune/TNS

One sector of Twin Cities commercial real estate that's not sputtering: Industrial

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Industrial buildings often lack curb appeal, but to developers and investors, they might as well be the coveted big house at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Demand for those nondescript, low-rise concrete warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing buildings that increasingly dot the Twin Cities suburbs remains exceptionally strong at a time ...Read more

Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Retailers cut prices in 'summer of savings' but consumers need to shop smart for best deals

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After more than a year of cost hikes, consumers who have recently checked their receipts may have noticed something odd — prices for some of their everyday essentials, from Clorox wipes to organic granola bars, have started to ring up a little cheaper.

In what at least one retailer has dubbed "a summer of savings," mass retailers like Target,...Read more

Octavio Jones/AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/TNS

Real estate stocks soar to best day of year on rate cut bets

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The stock market’s worst group notched its best day of the year as a cooler-than-expected inflation report stoked bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September.

Shares of real estate companies jumped 2.7% Thursday for their biggest gain of 2024, climbing to their highest level since March as investors snapped up...Read more

Octavio Jones/AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/TNS

Real estate stocks soar to best day of year on rate cut bets

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The stock market’s worst group notched its best day of the year as a cooler-than-expected inflation report stoked bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September.

Shares of real estate companies jumped 2.7% Thursday for their biggest gain of 2024, climbing to their highest level since March as investors snapped up...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Seller died days before closing. What can we do next?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: After selling our prior home and moving to the area, we are purchasing a home from a lovely couple. A few days before the closing, we were told the husband unexpectedly passed away. While we feel bad for the grieving widow, all of our things are in storage, and we still need a place to live. What are our rights? — Kim

A: Real estate ...Read more

Monica Herndon/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Jersey Shore rental market sees cancellations, dropped prices, vacant weeks. What's going on?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Is the “Shore crowd in Italy?” Again?

That’s the buzz, or rationalization, among some renters, real estate agents and homeowners at the Jersey Shore, who are seeing another summer of vacant weeks, price drops, and a rising chorus of people who say they can go to other destinations — Aruba, North Carolina, Italy — for less money than ...Read more

DREAMSTIME/TNS

Pittsburgh is one of the best cities for real estate agents, a study says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

PITTSBURGH — As real estate agents across the nation face housing inventory shortages and an imminent change in their commission pay, Pittsburgh stands out as one of the best markets for full-time agents to work.

A recent report ranks Pittsburgh as the ninth-best place in the nation for full-time real estate agents, according to Clever, a St....Read more

The federal government is trying to make it easier for home buyers to purchase fixer-uppers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The federal government is updating a program that helps home buyers purchase and renovate properties using a single mortgage in an effort to get more people to use a loan it considers key to preserving the country’s housing stock.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is allowing homeowners more time and financing to make it ...Read more

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Survey: Best ways to play falling interest rates, elections and AI, according to investing pros

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Investors have a lot of concerns right now – the potential for falling interest rates, the U.S. elections and the emergence of artificial intelligence. How should they play these events?

Bankrate’s Market Mavens survey asked the experts about some of the most important questions for investors in 2024:

— Once the Fed begins cutting rates,...Read more

Phichitpon Intamoon/Dreamstime/TNS

Pay off debt or save? Expert tips to help you choose

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A common financial struggle for Americans is deciding how much money to devote to savings versus paying down debt. While the answer varies on a case-by-case basis, it’s often important to strike a balance between the two.

Wiping out high-interest debt on a timely basis will reduce the amount of total interest you’ll end up paying, and it’...Read more

Designer491/Dreamstime/TNS

Emergency fund amount: How much should you have in emergency savings?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When unexpected expenses arise, having an emergency fund can provide peace of mind and financial stability. However, Bankrate’s 2024 Annual Emergency Savings Report found that the majority of U.S. adults (56 percent) do not have enough emergency savings to cover even three months of expenses.

So, how much emergency savings should you have? ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

US consumer borrowing rises most in three months on credit cards

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

U.S. consumer borrowing increased in May by the most in three months, reflecting a jump in credit-card balances.

Total credit outstanding rose $11.4 billion after a revised $6.5 billion gain in April, according to Federal Reserve data released Monday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for an $8.9 billion increase ...Read more

What is short-term life insurance?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You might be familiar with permanent or term life insurance. However, short-term life insurance is a type of term plan that offers coverage for up to a year. Although short-term life insurance isn’t a fit for everyone, there are some instances where it makes financial sense.

For instance, short-term insurance might be a viable option if you�...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

How home swapping became the trendy alternative to Airbnb

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Amy Froelich and her wife, Marla, have been Airbnb, nc. hosts since 2015. They started in Iowa City, Iowa, and continued on to Madison, Wisconsin, where they own a four-bedroom home in a lush neighborhood within walking distance of trails and shops. On weeks their house isn’t rented out, they open it up for free home swaps through HomeExchange...Read more

Patrick Hruby/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Squirrels trashed my bird feeder. I wanted revenge. This is how it went down

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — Until recently I didn't think about L.A.'s squirrel population much. Now the tiny, bushy-tailed terrorists and the havoc they bring to my backyard consume my every waking moment. It started last summer when I hooked up a bird feeder capable of recording and notifying me of visits — kind of like a Ring doorbell camera for birds....Read more

Marcin Lukaszewicz/Dreamstime/TNS

Is Vienna a model for affordable housing? One Philly Council member thinks so

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For progressive politicians and policymakers, the Austrian capital of Vienna has long been a housing policy touchstone.

That’s because Vienna, despite its history as an imperial metropolis studded with ornamented palaces, is one of the most affordable major cities in Europe. Over the last century, the city government built 220,000 affordable...Read more