Tag: Credit and Debt

A Mortgage After 65: A ‘No Brainer’ or a Big Risk?

Conventional wisdom dictates that retiring with debt — especially a debt as large and significant as a mortgage — is financially dicey at best and potentially ruinous at worst. That’s not how Brian Lindmeier sees it. “It just doesn’t make any sense at all to pay off the house,” he said. Mr. Lindmeier, 80, a […]

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‘Zombie Offices’ Spell Trouble for Some Banks

Graceful art-deco buildings towering above Chicago’s key business district report occupancy rates as low as 17 percent. A set of gleaming office towers in Denver that were full of tenants and worth $176 million in 2013 now sit largely empty and were last appraised at just $82 million, according to data provided by Trepp, a […]

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Why Cut Rates in an Economy This Strong? A Big Question Confronts the Fed.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday, but investors will be watching closely for any hint at when and how much it might lower those rates this year. The expected rate cuts raise a big question: Why would central bankers lower borrowing costs […]

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After China Evergrande, Real Estate Crisis ‘Has Not Touched Bottom’

The unwavering belief of Chinese home buyers that real estate was a can’t-lose investment propelled the country’s property sector to become the backbone of its economy. But over the last two years, as firms crumbled under the weight of massive debts and sales of new homes plunged, Chinese consumers have demonstrated an equally unshakable belief: […]

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More Tenants Can Now Add Rent Payments to Their Credit Score

About a third of American households rent, yet in most cases their credit score doesn’t reflect their on-time payments. That’s beginning to change. Renters can increasingly choose to have their timely monthly payments reported to the credit bureaus, with the goal of improving their credit profile to qualify for loans. A bevy of third-party services […]

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U.S. Economy Grew at 3.3% Rate in Latest Quarter

The U.S. economy continued to grow at a healthy pace at the end of 2023, capping a year in which unemployment remained low, inflation cooled and a widely predicted recession never materialized. Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. […]

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War Has Already Hurt the Economies of Israel’s Nearest Neighbors

In the Red Sea, attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi militants on commercial ships continue to disrupt a crucial trade route and raise shipping costs. The threat of escalation there and around flash points in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and now Iran and Pakistan ratchets up every day. Despite the staggering death toll and wrenching misery of […]

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China’s Economy Grew Last Year, but Strains Lurk Behind the Numbers

Car production set records in China last year. Restaurants and hotels were increasingly full. Construction of new factories surged. Yet China’s economic strengths conceal weaknesses. Deep discounts helped drive car sales, particularly for electric cars. Diners and travelers chose cheaper dishes and less expensive hotels. Many factories ran at half capacity or less because of […]

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U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials. Until […]

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Companies Like Afterpay and Affirm May Put Americans At Risk For ‘Phantom Debt’

“Buy Now, Pay Later” loans are helping to fuel a record-setting holiday shopping season. Economists worry they could also be masking and exacerbating cracks in Americans’ financial well-being. The loans, which allow consumers to pay for purchases in installments, often interest-free, have soared in popularity because of high prices and interest rates. Retailers have used […]

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World Bank Warns Record Debt Burdens Haunt Developing Economies

Surging interest rates are saddling the world’s poorest countries with record levels of debt and complicating investments in public health, education and infrastructure initiatives that are key to helping their populations emerge from poverty, the World Bank warned on Wednesday. In its latest report on international debt, the World Bank said that low- and middle-income […]

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China Evergrande May Finally Meet Its End in Hong Kong Court

Once China’s most prolific property developer, China Evergrande may soon be its biggest and messiest corporate breakup. In a Hong Kong courtroom on Monday, a bankruptcy judge could force Evergrande to liquidate and pay back creditors who are owed tens of billions of dollars. It would mark an end to two years of limbo for […]

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Corporate America Has Dodged the Damage of High Rates. For Now.

The prediction was straightforward: A rapid rise in interest rates orchestrated by the Federal Reserve would confine consumer spending and corporate profits, sharply reducing hiring and cooling a red-hot economy. But it hasn’t worked out quite the way forecasters expected. Inflation has eased, but the biggest companies in the country have avoided the damage of […]

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Terminal Cancer Patient Helps Erase More Than $20 Million in Medical Debt for Others

A 38-year-old woman with ovarian cancer who started a campaign to help people pay off their medical debt has raised more than $200,000 in the week since she died. Two days after the woman, Casey McIntyre, died on Nov. 12, a post appeared on her social media accounts, saying: “A note to my friends: if […]

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Fed Chair Recalls Inflation ‘Head Fakes,’ Pledges to Do More if Needed

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, on Thursday expressed little urgency to make another interest rate increase. But he made clear that policymakers remain willing to adjust policy further if doing so proves necessary to cool the economy and fully restrain inflation. Mr. Powell and his Fed colleagues left their interest rates […]

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Are Higher Rates Slowing the Economy? A Zoo Offers Clues.

Leesburg Animal Park in Northern Virginia has seen strong business at its Pumpkin Village festival this autumn. Even with rainy weekends and a jump in admission prices, families have been coming out to visit the petting zoo, ride on giant slides and zigzag through a hay-bale maze. Shirley Johnson, the park’s owner, had been nervous […]

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Fed Holds Interest Rates Steady and Pledges to Proceed Carefully

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday while keeping alive the possibility of a future increase, striking a cautious stance as rapid inflation retreats but is not yet vanquished. Rates have been on hold in a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent since July, up from near-zero as recently as March 2022. Policymakers […]

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How High Interest Rates Sting Bakers, Farmers and Consumers

Home buyers, entrepreneurs and public officials are confronting a new reality: If they want to hold off on big purchases or investments until borrowing is less expensive, it’s probably going to be a long wait. Governments are paying more to borrow money for new schools and parks. Developers are struggling to find loans to buy […]

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American Household Wealth Jumped in the Pandemic

American families saw the largest jump in their wealth on record between 2019 and 2022, according to Federal Reserve data released on Wednesday, as rising stock indexes, climbing home prices and repeated rounds of government stimulus left people’s finances healthier. Median net worth climbed by 37 percent over those three years after adjusting for inflation, […]

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Working People Across the Country Are Living Out of Their Cars

Chrystal Audet tried to get comfortable in what she called her “bedroom” — the back seat of her eight-year-old Ford Fusion. To stretch her legs, she had to leave a passenger door ajar, but September nights are raw in the Pacific Northwest, with sheets of rain that cut to the bone. From her own “bedroom” […]

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Country Garden, Chinese Real Estate Giant, to Miss Debt Payments

The embattled property developer Country Garden said it was unable to repay a loan and that it expects to miss upcoming overseas debt payments as a result of plunging sales from China’s spiraling property crisis. The announcement, made Tuesday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is effectively a statement from Country Garden, once China’s largest […]

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Africa Needs Its Debts Paused So It Can Prepare for Climate Catastrophe

When poor countries are forced to default on their foreign debt, as Ghana and Zambia have done, they pay a heavy price. Cut off from credit of any kind, spending on health, education and dealing with the damaging effects of climate change comes to a juddering halt. Countries in the West often plead with us […]

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Stocks Slip as Strong Jobs Report Pushes Bond Yields Higher

Markets shuddered on Friday after a fresh report on hiring pointed to a much stronger labor market than economists had expected, igniting concerns among investors that the Federal Reserve would need to clamp down on the economy more forcefully as it battles to bring inflation under control. The Labor Department reported that employers added 336,000 […]

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Rates Are Jumping on Wall Street. What Will It Do to Housing and the Economy?

Heather Mahmood-Corley, a real estate agent, was seeing decent demand for houses in the Phoenix area just a few weeks ago, with interested shoppers and multiple offers. But as mortgage rates pick up again, she is already watching would-be home buyers retrench. “You’ve got a lot of people on edge,” said Ms. Mahmood-Corley, a Redfin […]

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Supreme Court Skeptical in That Could Hobble Consumer Watchdog

A majority of the justices at a Supreme Court argument on Tuesday seemed ready to reject a challenge to the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency set up during the Obama administration to crack down on abuses by banks and other financial services providers. The justices appeared unpersuaded by the argument against […]

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How West Africa Can Reap More Profit From the Global Chocolate Market

The first leg of the 35-mile journey from Ghana’s capital city, Accra, to the Fairafric chocolate factory in Amanase on the N6 highway is a quick ride. But after about 30 minutes, the smoothly paved road devolves into a dirt expanse without lanes. Lumbering trucks, packed commuter minivans, cars and motorcycles crawl along craggy, rutted […]

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China Evergrande Suspends Trading as New Trouble Roils Property Market

Just a few weeks ago, China Evergrande, the world’s most debt-saddled property developer, was writing its final chapter and working to resolve financial disputes with its creditors. Then a stream of bad news came and the pages were torn up. Staff at the company’s wealth management arm have been detained by the authorities. Two former […]

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The Rising Costs of Owning a Car

If you do choose an older used car, Mr. Preston said — five years old or more — keep in mind that it is unlikely to be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. So choose a model with a history of reliability and have a mechanic check it out before buying. The average price of the […]

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