Lives

The Pandemic Is Changing Our Financial Lives, and What to Know About Refinancing Now

Welcome to NerdWallet’s SmartMoney podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

The pandemic is changing our financial lives and plans. Seven in 10 Americans say their household incomes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by NerdWallet. So it’s not surprising that most plan to take financial action after the pandemic ends, such as increasing their emergency savings and trimming nonessential spending. We’re also concerned about the home buying process. People worry whether it’s safe to tour potential homes and wonder if they could sell their existing homes. Many aren’t sure they could make mortgage payments or worry about tying up cash in a home purchase.

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic is lower interest rates, which has led to an increase in refinancing and to this week’s question from Sarah. She writes, “My husband and I … Read More

The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement

In 2015, Nextdoor, the location-based social networking app, gained a reputation as a locus of racial profiling. Users were sending alerts for merely spotting hoodie-wearing Black men walking in their neighborhoods. One damning report described Nextdoor as “a forum for paranoid racialism—the equivalent of the nosy Neighborhood Watch appointee in a gated community.”

In studying the problem, Nextdoor realized that its easy-to-use app was partly to blame.

Creating intuitive, easy-to-use products and interfaces is the domain of user experience designers. Don’t Make Me Think is both the title of a core textbook in the field and many designers’ professional mantra. An approach called “anticipatory design” even takes the virtue of speed to the extreme, promising a system so seamless that consumers never have to make a single choice.

But the very features that are meant to make technology easier and faster to navigate—like shortcuts and auto-complete functions—can

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