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On Philanthropy: Coherent philanthropy: 6 key lessons for families

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Philanthropy is "coherent" when it is logical, well-organized, well-planned and sensible -- as well as easy to understand and articulate.

Over the years, I have helped dozens of families, foundations, businesses and family offices achieve coherence in their philanthropy. In the realm of family philanthropy, here are six key lessons. (In a ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Students aren't the only ones crushed by school debt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

College debt is building and, increasingly, parents are on the hook.

Where do you turn when you've maxed out on federal student loans? Ask Mom and Dad to take out some parent loans, too.

The average cumulative federal student loan debt that parents borrow even exceeds what's being taken on by students, according to new research.

On average, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Rid Your Bathroom of Hairspray Overspray Plus More Quick Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Hairspray is wonderful for your hair and not so great on the floor, sink, walls, mirror and counter in your bathroom, where you get ready every morning. Unless you are diligent to go outside every time you spray your hair, it's a good bet that hairspray overspray is landing on the nearby surfaces of your bathroom.

When allowed to build up day ...Read more

House Calls: All-Cash Precautions

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I am going to buy my first home for all cash with money from a recent inheritance. Anything special I should watch out for? -- N. R.

Answer: All cash means a prompt, trouble-free sale, which -- depending on the state of your local market -- may be worth a price concession on the seller's part. Be sure to sign the contract with the ...Read more

United Airlines joins other carriers in peddling credit cards to passengers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you hate unsolicited sales pitches, your next flight on United Airlines might be a bit irksome.

The Chicago-based airline is requiring its flight attendants beginning Sept. 1 to pitch passengers on every domestic and international flight to sign up for a co-branded credit card to boost revenue.

In the past, flight attendants had the option ...Read more

Hot Property: Just click your heels three times

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- A Malibu beach house where actress-singer Judy Garland of "The Wizard of Oz" once lived has sold in a deal completed off-market for $3.545 million.

The buyers are television and documentary writer-director-producer Cynthia Harrison-Wallach and her husband, real estate investment firm head Lewis Wallach.

Set on the sands in the ...Read more

Airbnb provides bigger economic boost for white neighborhoods, study finds

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Airbnb rentals help local economies by driving restaurant traffic and employment in a handful of U.S. cities, but not in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods, according to a study from Purdue University.

The findings run counter to Airbnb's longtime assertion that home hosting helps "diverse" neighborhoods by bringing tourists to areas...Read more

Here's How: Pull Together an Interior Design Team

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I just bought a beautiful older home, but it is badly in need of redecorating and perhaps even moving some interior walls. My budget is not tight. What are the proper steps to modernize it? -- Brooke A.

Dear Brooke: Many older homes have truly beautiful architecture and charm, but the interiors may not meet the needs of modern ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Your Own Dusting Spray

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Let's talk about dust, shall we? I'm not fond of it. As I write, every flat surface in my home has a layer of the finest dust you can imagine.

It's so bad I am tempted to adopt the philosophy that dust is a protective coating for fine furniture so I should just leave it be!

Here's what happened: We just had the wood floors in our home ...Read more

Design Smarts: Remodelista's Julie Carlson on changing it up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You can Pinterest, you can Instagram, you can even Houzz. But if you're looking for rock-solid renovation inspo online, you're going to want to check out the site that has the most tightly edited look on the internet -- Remodelista. The pared down, sometimes minimal aesthetic manages to stay true to its look, yet always timeless and even on ...Read more

Alessandra Branca on the classics, the curiosity and the choices that hone her style edge

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Ask Chicago's chicest designer what keeps the rooms she creates looking of-the-moment, and she'll tell you: "What I care about," says Alessandra Branca, "is comfort in a home. I am not worried about what is trendy. I design for my clients and nothing else." Sounds strictly sensible. Yet she's been known to pair racy steel stools with ...Read more

Gentrification misses real problem in Detroit, urban expert warns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- As complaints grow louder of gentrification in Detroit, some urban experts advise us to pay more attention to the real problem facing urban America.

That problem is the increasing joblessness and poverty scarring so many cities, including Detroit, where the poverty rate runs close to 40 percent and almost half of working-age people ...Read more

Fewer families affording, buying homes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The number of U.S. families with children owning homes fell by 3.6 million over the last decade, as rising housing prices pushed many out of the market.

The San Francisco metro area, including the East Bay, saw 31,000 fewer home-owning families between 2006 and 2016, a decline of 10 percent, according to a recent survey by Rent Cafe. The number...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Should you pay off your home mortgage with your 401(k)?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A reader asks: "My current 401(k) balance is about the same as my mortgage balance. I am 45. Would it make sense to pay off the mortgage with the 401(k)?"

Bad idea! Looking ahead to retirement, your objective should be to accumulate a 401(k) nest egg of financial assets as large as possible and pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. You ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Should you pay off your home mortgage with your 401(k)?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A reader asks: "My current 401(k) balance is about the same as my mortgage balance. I am 45. Would it make sense to pay off the mortgage with the 401(k)?"

Bad idea! Looking ahead to retirement, your objective should be to accumulate a 401(k) nest egg of financial assets as large as possible and pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. You ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: My landlord died — can I be kicked out despite signed lease?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I rent my home and have a signed lease. My landlord passed away unexpectedly and I am now dealing with one of her children who inherited the house. She is telling me that I need to move out early so she can sell the house. That would cause me a significant hardship, and I don't want to. Is my lease still valid even though the landlord died? -...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Best Way to Store Salad Greens

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Has this ever happened to you? You open the refrigerator to pull out greens to make a big salad only to discover a wilted, slimy mess. That romaine, iceberg or even prewashed salad mix can't be more than a few days old, but there it is -- and into the garbage it goes.

Don't we hate when that happens?

Here's the deal: There are ways to make ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: My Secret Battle With Procrastination

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

One of the toughest things I battle in my life is procrastination. My natural response is "I'll do it later." There's a part of me that despises that procrastinator and wages a daily war to defeat it. That's how I've come to rely on the power of habits and routines. If I can avoid having to make a decision, I lose the choice to put it off until ...Read more

Do ESG investments outperform? One investor says 'no way'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For a different take on environmental, social, and governance-based investing, or ESG, we spoke with Vanguard investor Dan Wiener, who publishes a monthly newsletter on all things Vanguard.

Wiener takes a dim view of ESG. That's largely due to under-performance over a long period of time, he said.

"Over time, ESG and SRI (socially responsible ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How to get a credit card when you've never had one

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Uber Visa, launched last fall, may target on-the-go millennials with amazing rewards, such as 4 percent for eating out and 3 percent on airfare.

But the odd thing, as with many high-reward credit cards, is that getting approved for one of these Barclays Uber cards isn't a slam dunk for some Generation Y consumers.

Many millennials might ...Read more