Home Values Up, Middle Class Down, Loans Due When Cosigner Dies and other bits…

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction. While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

Home Values at or Near Peak Levels in 1,000+ US Cities Homes in more than 1,000 cities and towns nationwide either already are, or soon will be, more expensive than ever, erasing any losses in value experienced during the recession, according to Zillow. U.S. home values climbed 5.7 percent year-over year in the first quarter, to a Zillow Home Value Index of $169,800. National home values have climbed year-over-year for 21 consecutive months, a steady march upward that has helped put the housing recession almost entirely in the rearview mirror in 1,080 of the more than 8,700 cities and towns covered by Zillow.

Student Loans Can Suddenly Come Due When Co-Signers Die For students who borrow on the private market to pay for school, the death of a parent can come with an unexpected, added blow, a federal watchdog warns. Even borrowers who have good payment records can face sudden demands for full, early repayment of those loans, and can be forced into default.

Rich Buy Real Estate, Poor Want Gold When questioning people about their hopes and desires, we end up with a distorted mass-media version of a bad Robin Leach television series. Sad but true, often we don’t know what we want out of life.

10 Ways to Put Your Tax Refund to Work There’s a reason for that. Last year, 110 million people got a tax refund with the average refund being $2,803. Although the IRS is really just returning your money to you, it feels a little bit like “free” money. And, as free money is prone to do, it often just disappears once you get it. So if you’re tired of feeling bad after your tax refund disappears, consider one of these ten ways to put that tax refund to work for you.

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