Designing is often a more difficult task in smaller spaces

Micro-apartments are the next trend in city living. In larger cities such as New York or San Francisco, people have been used to living in cramped quarters for decades. Now, emerging cities from Seattle to West Palm Beach are claiming small apartments as the new housing prototype. You would think that designing small spaces is […]

Load bearing walls can complicate plans for modernizing your home

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 […]

Harnessing the fear of failure is an excellent motivational force

Can you believe we’re halfway through 2018 already? Here’s a sobering question for my readers: how many of your New Year’s resolutions for 2018 have you accomplished? Betcha dollars to a doughnut your answer is none. The key to success with any resolution — personal, business or otherwise — is will power. We all start […]

Calling a junk bond quality may be oxymoronic

Dear Mr. Berko: We have a $262,000 portfolio that yields 5 percent, and we need those dividends to live on. Recently, our stockbroker had us take some profits and losses, and now we have about $60,000 in cash to invest. He recommended an annuity that would pay us 5 percent. But we’ve decided to take […]

Respected insurance company looks like a solid investment

Dear Mr. Berko: In 2009, we took a huge gamble and bought 4,000 shares of Genworth at $1.95 a share, and it’s now $4.50. We should have sold this stock when it was in the teens but didn’t because a trusted friend said it would recover and trade in the $30s as it did several […]

Understanding design basics help make home decorating easier

When decorating a home, most of us know some information. Some design sense may come intuitively, some learned from your family home, other information from perusing shelter magazines, or maybe you’ve spent endless hours of viewing home decor shows on television. While many can afford to hire a designer, there are others that cannot. Today’s […]

The freedom to make mistakes is arguably the greatest freedom of all

Every Fourth of July weekend, it’s common to talk about the freedoms and liberties we enjoy (and frequently take for granted) as Americans — freedoms that few other countries on Earth can match. We are proud of them, and we should be. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution (known as the Bill of […]

Misconceptions abound when it comes to tax-free gift amounts

Dear Mr. Berko: Our accountant told my wife and me that we can’t gift more than $15,000 at a time without incurring a tax. I know there are more ways to skin a cat and hope that you have some thoughts on this. Also, I recall reading somewhere in the past few days of a […]