Home & Leisure


Carla Fried: Why, for the newly retired, stock prices matter hugely

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

How to sidestep a bear market that comes at the wrong time

Among the best advice on retirement investing you’ll receive is to set your asset mix and then mostly ignore the ups-and-downs of the stock market.

But when your actual retirement date approaches — and you prepare to start living in part off of your investment — it becomes ...Read more

Diego Vito Cervo/TNS

Mark A. Stein: A lonely retirement could shorten your life -- so make friends

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Building up a robust social network should be as much of a retirement-planning goal as building up a robust 401(k), say psychologists who specialize in treating retirees. “Social networks are incredibly important and become meaningfully more important as we age,” says Jacob Brown, a therapist in San Francisco.

Deborah Heiser, an applied ...Read more

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/TNS

Frozen but not forgiven, US student loans are coming due again soon

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For millions of Americans, there’s an unwelcome side of the return to business-as-usual after the pandemic: They’ll have to start repaying their student loans again.

More than 40 million holders of federal loans are due to start making monthly instalments again on Oct. 1, when the freeze imposed as part of Covid-19 relief measures is due to...Read more

Social Graces: What should you say to an unvaccinated friend who leaves the house without a mask?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Since the mask announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of your friends who isn’t fully vaccinated has started leaving the house without a mask on. Should you say something?

A: Everyone wants to have a “Hot Girl Summer” this year, given the state of the world last summer. With vaccines rolling out and ...Read more


Susan Tompor: IRS sends 2.8 million extra tax refunds relating to jobless benefits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than 2.8 million in extra federal income tax refunds were sent this week to taxpayers who are owed money after an abrupt change this year in the tax rules relating to jobless benefits.

Not everyone who qualifies is seeing their money yet. Many will have to wait a few weeks or more.

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it plans to...Read more

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Only a sliver of South Florida's homes are for sale -- the smallest percentage ever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Here’s another way to look at how tight the housing market is in South Florida: Of all the homes in the area, less than a half percent are for sale or rent.

That’s the smallest percentage ever, according to new data from Related ISG, a realty group in South Florida.

A total of only 5,804 homes are available out of the 1.8 million that ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: What are my rights after a neighbor's dog bit my pooch?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I was walking my little pooch when a neighbor’s dog ran out of his yard and attacked my little guy. He was bitten several times, and I had to take him to the vet for his injuries. The neighbor is downplaying it and refusing to do anything about it. What are my rights? — Albert

A: Animal owners have to keep their pets from hurting someone...Read more

Leila Navidi/Star Tribune/TNS

Minneapolis renters wage a fight with private equity landlords

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The threat of eviction hangs constantly over Dean Zoller, a crisis counselor and single father of three teenagers.

At the onset of COVID-19 last spring, he moved into a remodeled rental house in north Minneapolis, he said, when his relationship ended and he had to scramble to find a new place after more than a decade of homeownership.

But then...Read more

Uma Sanghvi, The Palm Beach Post/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Surprising services truly help college students succeed

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

College is a great place to part with large portions of your net worth and self-esteem, all while exiting without a degree. Just a third of associate’s degree students graduate within three years, and only 62% of full-time students at four-year programs graduate within six years. Not surprisingly, weaker students are more likely to struggle.

...Read more


Carla Fried: What to expect -- based on gender -- when a spouse dies

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Research in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing suggests aging couples — and their families — ought to prepare quite differently to support a widow or widower when a spouse dies.

Jialu L. Streeter, a research scholar at the Stanford Center for Longevity, pored over data from an ongoing national research project that has been checking in ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

Luxury home sales soar as US recovery favors wealthy buyers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Luxury home sales in the U.S. are soaring faster than lower-cost segments as remote work, brimming stock portfolios and rising listings give wealthy buyers an edge.

In the three months through April, purchases of high-end homes increased 26% from a year earlier, according to a report by the brokerage Redfin. Sales of the most-affordable ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Alerts about 'suspicious activity' surge, as crooks impersonate Amazon

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Now scammers are trying to warn you of possible fraud on your account to make you so nervous that you don't think twice about what you're doing next.

We're seeing an uptick in texts and phone calls from scammers alerting us to suspicious activity. Some are pretending to be from the Amazon fraud department. Others follow a similar M.O. with ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Strange car rental scams overheat as summer travel picks up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As more people hit the road this summer, they need to steer clear of look-alike, imposter websites for car rental outfits that are popping up like pot holes.

You could fly into town, think you've got a rental car reserved, and end up going nowhere.

Ah, the joys of re-opening the economy in the COVID-19 vaccine era. Scammers can craft a whole ...Read more


Got a teen driver? Follow these 7 guidelines

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Good parenting approaches can and should vary to suit the personalities and situations of a family. Some parents hand out smartphones and cash freely and give homework the lightest inspection; others restrict the use of electronics, assign chores without pay and go over schoolwork line by line.

When it comes to teen driving, however, given the ...Read more

Amy Beth Bennett/TNS

Can't find a home to buy? More people are building instead

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More people are choosing to build their own homes in South Florida as bidding wars push prices out of sight and existing homes remain scarce.

Sales for newly constructed homes have surged 113% compared with last year, according to Zonda Home, a market research company for the real estate industry.

It’s a shift escalated by the COVID-19 ...Read more

Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Locked Out: Low pay, soaring rents, pro-landlord laws set up Florida renters for eviction once COVID hit

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Jocelyn Bennett paints her daughters’ toenails, not bothered by the strong scent of nail polish filling the room at the HomeTown Studios in Orlando. The girls show off their pink toes, toddling around the small pay-by-the-week hotel room, one of many the Bennetts have called home since the pandemic began and they got evicted.

It’s just one ...Read more

Willie J. Allen Jr./TNS

Locked Out: As COVID worsens Florida eviction crisis, more Black renters' lives upended

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Every few days, Bathsheba Collingwood sprays her furniture and walls with bleach to scrub away new traces of the persistent mold she suspects caused her 3-year-old son’s asthma.

The bathroom pipes have been leaking into her closet for months, leaving puddles on the carpet when she takes long showers. The nails holding her living room floor in...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Is HOA responsible for fixing deck damaged by landscaper?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our homeowners association takes care of the landscaping for the entire neighborhood. Their vendor has damaged our deck twice. The first time they grudgingly fixed it, and now we are waiting over three months for the damage to be repaired. Now they are claiming it is not their responsibility. Do they have to fix our deck? —Margaret

A: The ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Crypto coin scams use celebrity imposters, other tricks to steal cash

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mix two hot trending names — cryptocurrency and Elon Musk — and, well, you've got a recipe for ripping people off.

During the past six months, consumers reported losing more than $2 million in cryptocurrency to Elon Musk impersonators, according to a May report by the Federal Trade Commission.

Face it, Las Vegas wouldn't be Vegas without ...Read more

David McNew/Getty Images North America/TNS

Southern California home prices jump 20% in April, knocking down another record

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices muscled to an all-time high in April as the hot real estate market got even hotter.

The six-county region's median home price increased 20.2% year over year to a record $655,000, according to data released Tuesday by real estate firm DQNews. That's $25,000 more than the previous median price record set in March....Read more