America's home-buying jitters
Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
Americans have increasingly soured on the housing market, said Taylor White at MarketWatch. Only 24 percent think this is a good time to buy a home, a dramatic drop from 54 percent in 2013, a scant five years ago. What's changed? Prices are higher than ever; 197 towns and suburbs now sport median home values of $1 million or more. Mortgage interest rates are a full point higher than they were last year, and the highest they've been since 2011. But perhaps most worrying for future trends is that the millennial generation has not transitioned into home buying. In the past, Americans often began shopping for homes when they were still under 35. No longer. This generation is skittish about the promise of homeownership; 78 percent say that memories of the Great Recession still weigh on their decisions.
Some workers do welcome criticism
Negative feedback at work can "spark anger, dejection, or even tears," said Sue Shellenbarger at The Wall Street Journal. "But some people actually want and even seek out criticism at work." Collectively they can be described as "strivers," and they're certain that feedback of either the harsh or gentle variety can "improve their skills and abilities." They see criticism not as a setback but as a tool to reach personal goals. "They have close friends at work, and they also tend to be strong on both self-control and self-awareness." Those who take critical feedback well should be much desired by employers. "This guy is a learning machine," said one boss of an employee who constantly sought out pointed criticism.
A cheaper option for wills
There's an alternative to hiring costly lawyers to draw up a will, said Paul Sullivan at The New York Times. Consumers are beginning to enlist inexpensive online services that walk you through the process. Outfits such as FreeWill, Rocket Lawyer, and LegalZoom "offer services to create estate plans for little or no money." Some even provide a lawyer to speak with for no charge. "Creating a simpler, cheaper process was a driving force behind these online sites." A recent cluster of celebrities passing away without having drawn up a will has cast a spotlight on Americans' careless estate planning. Almost 60 percent are without a will — and the number is even higher for parents of dependent children, who may be most in need of a plan for their assets when they die.