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Art of Design: Comfortable Chairs

Consumer / Art of Design /

There hasn't been one time in my more than 19 years of practice when I wasn't asked by a concerned wife, or by "the mister" himself, for a comfortable chair in a bedroom or den. Often, the solution is an easy one. A comfy chair and ottoman work as a refuge to put up your feet and watch television or read your local daily. However, when a chair ...Read more

The Journey: 'Bucket' approach to spending reduces stress of retirement

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Anyone retiring in 2019 could understandably be feeling a little skittish.

There's retirement research showing market declines in the first few years can devastate a portfolio's chances of providing enough income for life, and recent volatility after a nearly decade-long bull market is worrisome.

Interest rates moving higher could be a good ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Leases, used car sales could be hurt by tax refunds: What to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The warnings flashed a few years back: 2019 was to be a year of the "lease tsunami."

A glut of cars, trucks and SUVs leased a few years ago are set to come off three-year leases and return to dealer lots, driving down used car prices. In 2019, we're expected to hit a peak of 4.1 million returns of leased vehicles.

The threat of a tsunami ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Toaster, Eufy Customer Service, Stainless Steel Cleaner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are times when the old adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't hold up. Sometimes the less expensive option turns out to be best.

Best Inexpensive Toaster

Dear Mary: Does anyone make a decent, simple, reliable pop-up toaster? I don't need it to do anything but make evenly toasted toast! -- Bev

Dear Bev: I was wondering the same thing. ...Read more

House Calls: Payment in Arrears

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: This past November, I made my normal mortgage payment. Then, in the middle of that month, we sold the house. And at the closing, I paid off the whole remaining loan.

Now they are after me to pay interest on that mortgage for Nov. 1 through Nov. 15. But I already paid for the whole month of November. In fact, they should refund me...Read more

Hot Property: For movie mogul, Utah's a wrap

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- On a scenic mountainside in Utah, the 14,100-square-foot vacation home of movie magnate Jeffrey Katzenberg has sold for $11.6 million.

The longtime Disney executive, who co-founded DreamWorks SKG in 1994, first listed the property seven years ago for $20.5 million, records show.

Set on 1.57 acres of grounds, the tree-filled ...Read more

As the housing market slows, builders are offering buyer discounts

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- As the housing market has downshifted, more builders are offering sweeteners to close the deal.

Companies large and small are paying closing costs, buying down mortgage rates and trimming square footage to offer a cheaper abode. Some are countering the high cost of a mortgage with a more direct method -- outright lowering prices ...Read more

Federal shutdown creating mortgage victims

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- When the government shuts its doors because of a funding brouhaha that pits the White House against Capitol Hill, who gets hit hardest among people needing a home mortgage? The latest version of federal breakdown made one fact painfully clear: It all depends on the type of loan you seek and where you're located.

Worst hit, of ...Read more

Comcast's new tower is Philadelphia's tallest skyscraper, but where it soars is on the ground

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

PHILADELPHIA -- As Philadelphia's tallest skyscraper, the new Comcast Technology Center at 18th and Arch will inevitably be judged by how it looks among the clouds. People will debate whether its telescoping, art deco-inspired mast resembles a vulgar hand gesture or looks more like a cigarette being extracted from its box. That's what happens ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: How an annuity improves a retirement plan

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In response to a recent column of mine, a reader wrote, "Your article on annuities did not demonstrate that an annuity always improves a retirement plan."

True, Warren Buffet's retirement plan would not be improved by an annuity because he will not face the mortality and investment risks of a retiree with limited resources.

Retirees with ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: How an annuity improves a retirement plan

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In response to a recent column of mine, a reader wrote, "Your article on annuities did not demonstrate that an annuity always improves a retirement plan."

True, Warren Buffet's retirement plan would not be improved by an annuity because he will not face the mortality and investment risks of a retiree with limited resources.

Retirees with ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: How to find the best house for you

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: With the new year upon us, my partner and I want to buy our first home. Do you have any advice on how to find the best house at the best price? -- Anne

A: There no such thing as "the best" house, there is only the best house for the two of you. As with most things in life, proper preparation is the key. Get together and first decide where ...Read more

Here's How: Hang Your Own Kitchen Cabinets

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I want to install new upper kitchen cabinets. I bet a friend I could do all the work myself, but now I am not sure. Is it possible for a medium-sized woman to handle this type of project herself? -- Mary S.

Dear Mary: Many projects seem relatively straightforward and simple until you actually begin to research them in more detail. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Celebrate Good Times ... Come On!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Celebrate? With all that's going on in our world? You bet. We need to celebrate wherever, whenever and as often as possible.

In their book "Why Good Things Happen to Good People," authors Dr. Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is gratitude in action, and so much more.

Celebration creates a circle of love. When we rejoice ...Read more

This could be the year of the megadevelopment for Chicago, altering the skyline forever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Almost a decade into a real estate development boom, commercial property owners face some obstacles that could derail this year's momentum.

Nationally, there are signs of economic uncertainty, including a wobbly stock market.

Locally there also is political uncertainty, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner ...Read more

Mold causes health problems, spurs extensive litigation in San Diego

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO -- Ashley Powell was 25 and starting a new job when she moved into the Scripps Landing apartments, sight unseen. The first thing she noticed when she stepped inside was the carpet.

"I'm not talking damp. I am talking soaking wet," said Powell, now married and known as Ashley Douthit.

An earthy, muddy scent permeated the apartment, ...Read more

Southern California poised for record number of new hotel rooms in 2019

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO -- Even as hotel development in Southern California reached a new high last year, with more than 16,000 rooms under construction, the outlook for the future is not nearly as bullish as in years past.

In all, some 112 hotels accounting for 16,700 rooms were in various stages of construction by the end of 2018 -- a 28 percent increase ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Take the Stress out of Entertaining With a Themed Potluck

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whether you are invited or doing the inviting, throwing a potluck can relieve a lot of stress. When everybody brings something, it takes a great deal of pressure off the host and offers guests the joy of contributing to the occasion.

HOSTING DUTIES

If you're hosting, you need to pick a theme for the menu, like Comfort Food, Winter Warmups or ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Clever Purpose for Useless Candle Stubs and More Great Reader Tips!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

An unintended consequence of embracing a frugal lifestyle is that gnawing tendency to never throw anything away. Fight the feeling, folks. Turning into a hoarder will only create a new problem in your life.

Now, about all those useless candle stubs you're hanging on to -- its time to get them out and keep them by your fireplace or wood-burning ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Key trends that will hit your wallet in 2019

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many times, the New Year kicks off with a huge financial hangover. But this year, we're looking at even more reasons to keep an eye on our money.

All sorts of economic headwinds will influence everything from how much we pay for gas to how much we take home in our paychecks to the size of our tax refunds in 2019.

Here's a look at some trends ...Read more