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January 26, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - The verdict was nearly unanimous at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill: The new federal "ability to repay" and "qualified mortgage" regulations that took effect Jan. 10 will make obtaining credit tougher, not easier, this year, and potentially force large numbers of creditworthy home buyers to defer or cancel their plans. What nobody addressed at the hearing, though, was the elephant in the room: OK, we've got a problem. But what, if anything, can buyers who find it difficult to meet the new standards do about it?
January 25, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
Adam Silver won't have to familiarize himself with the minutiae of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement upon succeeding David Stern as league commissioner Saturday. Silver negotiated that deal himself. It was the most high-profile assignment Silver undertook during a 22-year apprenticeship that widely is believed to have prepared him for the league's top job. The longtime lawyer started as a special assistant to Stern before running the entertainment division and becoming deputy commissioner in 2006.
January 19, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I often hear financial planners say you should save 10% of your income, but they don't go into exactly what that means. Is that 10% separate from retirement or including retirement? Does that include saving for your emergency fund? Is this just archaic advice now? I'm 46 with only $40,000 saved for retirement so I'm in the panic mode that I will never be able to save enough for retirement. Answer: Saving 10% for retirement is often considered a minimum for those who start saving in their 20s. The older you are when you begin, the more you'd need to save to match the nest egg you would have accumulated with an earlier start.
January 18, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
Imagine a Grammy trip for the Lakers that starts in London before going on to Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. Maybe they would rename it the Royal Albert Hall trip. Incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this week he was open to the idea of European expansion, provided the global economy recovers and potential host cities construct modern arenas. And if the NBA goes overseas, it would probably go all in. "It's most likely that if we were to come to Europe," Silver told reporters before the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Atlanta Hawks at a sold-out O2 Arena in London on Thursday night, "it would be with a division rather than a single team, for the sake of logistics.
January 18, 2014 | By Gale Holland
Francisco Morataya drives a vanload of empty bottles and cans to Victar Recycling Center in Echo Park every week or so to supplement his wages as an office janitor. The 61-year-old Eagle Rock resident had been making $200 per load, enough to pay his daughter's cellphone bill. But that was before a new state law tightened the redemption rules, making it harder for people at the economic fringes to scrape by. Now his take is only $50 to $60, Morataya said. "It's really bad," he said this week, flinging plastic bottles into a garbage bin. "I can't help my daughter.
January 17, 2014 | By Jason Song
More than 100 colleges and universities, including several in California, promised Thursday to try to attract more low-income students by strengthening relationships with high schools and community colleges, increasing access to advisors and offering more remedial programs. The pledges came after President Obama made increased college accessibility one of his top goals. On Thursday, the president invited to the White House participants who have made commitments to further that effort.
January 17, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Worsening income inequality is the risk most likely to cause serious damage around the globe in the coming decade, the World Economic Forum said in a report ahead of its annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, next week. The widening gap between rich and poor "raises concerns about the Great Recession and the squeezing effect it had on the middle classes in developed economies," the group said in its Global Risks 2014 report.  While a severe income disparity has taken place in the U.S. and other developed nations, globalization "has brought about a polarization of incomes in emerging and developing economies," the report said.
January 16, 2014 | By Mike Boehm and Deborah Vankin
In naming Philippe Vergne, a seasoned career museum professional, as its new director, L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art has opted for fundamentals instead of glitz. Vergne, 47, arrives with credentials that include more than 20 years running museums or curating under museum auspices. Since 2008, he's been director of the Dia Art Foundation, overseeing a museum on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y., with occasional exhibitions in New York City. The Dia's collection also includes some of the world's most prominent examples of land art - Walter De Maria's “The Lightning Field” in the New Mexico high desert and Robert Smithson's “Spiral Jetty,” jutting from the shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake.
January 16, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
Low-income Californians will be soon eligible for what has become to many an essential part of daily life: a cellphone . Participants in the state's LifeLine program for low-income consumers will soon have access to reduced-cost smartphone service with voice, data and text capabilities, state regulators decided Thursday. After two years of deliberations, the five members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to include wireless phones among the kinds of handsets available through the LifeLine program.
January 15, 2014 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK - Bank of America Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit surged as the financial giant continued to work through its hangover from the housing meltdown. The Charlotte, N.C., bank Wednesday reported net income of $3.4 billion, or 29 cents a share, up sharply from $732 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, when its bottom line suffered from a more than $10-billion settlement with mortgage giant Fannie Mae. BofA's earnings beat Wall Street estimates of 26 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
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