As the year draws to a close, we bring you the annual look back at some of the big news stories that garnered the most attention in 2020 — and they weren’t all related to the pandemic (details of that can be seen closer to the bottom).
The year began with the recognition of a hero who stopped a church shooting followed by the shocking and tragic death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and the lighter story of a (failed) demolition of a building that has come to be known as the Leaning Tower of Dallas. A pandemic began shortly after that and expectedly dominated much of the news coverage throughout the year, but COVID-19 wasn’t the only big story of 2020. North Texans logged-on and tuned-in to read about the death of George Floyd and the turning-point in a worldwide movement combating police brutality and racism — and that led to protests at home and around the country. Readers also read about the loss of icons like Charlie Pride and soldiers like Vanessa Guillen, but also of the capture of two accused killers who had eluded the authorities for years. Of course, there were more offbeat stories that made news as well — things like Murder Hornets, mysterious sea creatures, UFOs and fireballs. Without further delay, here are the most viewed articles of 2020.
Jan. 13 — Good Guy With a Gun Gets State’s Highest Honor
Jack Wilson, the armed churchgoer who stopped a gunman who opened fire inside a White Settlement church in December 2019 killing two people, was awarded the state’s highest honor, the Governor’s Medal of Courage, at the Texas Governor’s Mansion.
Jan. 26 — The Loss of a Legend: Kobe Bryant, Daughter Killed in Helicopter Crash
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The Los Angeles Lakers star played 20 years in the NBA, inspiring athletes everywhere. With cans of spray paint, brushes and a ladder, local DFW artist Theo Ponchaveli brought Bryant and his daughter to life in a mural in Dallas.
Artist Theo Ponchevelli is painting a mural of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at SandersFit Performance Center in the Cedars neighborhood in Dallas.
Jan. 28 — Dallas’ Purple Slime Mystery Solved
Neighbors thought a passing plane was to blame for the purple slime that landed on vehicles near Dallas Love Field on Jan. 9, but that was not what turned out to be the cause.
Neighbors thought a passing plane was to blame for the purple slime that landed on vehicles near Dallas Love Field on January 9. It turns out dye in the dumpster of a nearby cosmetics firm was the cause.
Jan. 31 – Quick Fix to Bad Credit Ends in Jail
Some ads suggest a CPN (Credit Privacy Number) is a magic solution, a way to boost your credit score, so you can get that new credit card, a new car or a new house. NBC 5 Investigates found using a CPN to establish credit is in violation of federal law that could land you in jail.
Using a CPN on a credit application is a violation of federal law.
Feb. 7 — Arlington Teen Killed Days After Standing Up to Bully
Arlington High School sophomore Samuel Reynolds, 16, was shot and killed near his home days after police said he broke up a fight between the juvenile suspected shooter and a “smaller boy” who was being picked on.
An Arlington teenager shot and killed this week intervened in a bullying incident between the suspected shooter and another boy days prior to his tragic death, police revealed Friday.
Feb. 8 — Grand Champion Steer Goes for Record-Breaking $300k
Bids rolled in for the Grand Champion Steer on the last day of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. In the end, ‘Cupid Shuffle’ went for $300,000, the highest amount ever paid in the Junior Steer Competition, and Ryder Day will get to keep every penny.
On the final day of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Saturday, there was a record-breaking $300,000 bid for the Grand Champion Steer — “Cupid Shuffle.”
Feb. 14 — Aggressive Passenger ‘Tased,’ Arrested at DFW Airport
A man smoking at a customer service counter inside DFW Airport began punching an American Airlines employee after being asked to put out his cigarette. The man tried to hit officers before being stunned and taken into custody.
A man is in the Tarrant County Jail after his dramatic arrest that unfolded in front of passengers waiting for flights at DFW Airport.
Feb. 16 — The Leaning Tower of Dallas
The Leaning Tower of Dallas was born on Feb. 16 when the planned implosion of the former Affiliated Computer Services building didn’t fully collapse upon detonation. When the dust settled the building’s core, containing the stairwell and elevator shaft, remained upright at an angle. For the next two weeks, people traveled from near and far to take whimsical photographs with the tower in the background. The building finally collapsed in a cloud of dust on March 2 after two weeks of being whacked with a 5,600-pound wrecking ball.
Melissa, Kristin and David as well as Soraya were featured during the Leaning Tower of Dallas segment on Feb. 25, 2020.
The remaining portion of the so-called ‘Leaning Tower of Dallas’ came crashing down Monday afternoon.
Feb. 28 — Desmond Jones Sentenced Following Outburst in Shavon Randle Trial
After two outbursts during the punishment phase of his trial where he was found guilty of organizing in criminal activity, a Dallas County jury sentenced Desmond Jones to 99 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of 13-year-old Lancaster girl Shavon Randle. Randle was kidnapped in June 2017, in what authorities believe was retaliation for a drug deal turned robbery. Her body was found four days later. Though four people have been charged in the case, none face murder charges.
After two outbursts during the punishment phase of his trial Friday, a Dallas County jury sentenced Desmond Jones to 99 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of 13-year-old Lancaster girl Shavon Randle.
March 9 — Frisco Man First Presumptive Case of CV19 in NTX
A Frisco man who traveled to the Silicon Valley area of California is said to have a “presumptive positive” case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, making him the first person in Texas known to have potentially contracted the virus within the U.S.
A Frisco man who recently traveled to California has a presumptive positive case of the new coronavirus, making him the first person in Texas known to have potentially contracted the virus within the U.S., health officials said Monday.
March 11 — NBA Suspends Season Due to COVID-19
The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was at the team’s home game against the Denver Nuggets when he got the news. Video posted on social media showed his stunned reaction.
March 13 — Gov. Greg Abbott Declares a State of Disaster in Texas
As COVID-19 began spreading in the state’s largest cities, Gov. Abbott issued a state of disaster and held a news conference where he said the state would ramp up testing efforts for first responders and other high-risk patients. The governor’s declaration came after a similar one issued in the city of Dallas banning large gatherings of 500 or more people.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday declared a state of disaster as the coronavirus pandemic spreads to the state’s largest cities.
March 15 — First COVID-19 Death in North Texas
Patrick James, a 77-year-old man who lived at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington with his wife, dies after contracting COVID-19. James is said to have believed he had the flu and wasn’t tested for COVID-19 because he hadn’t traveled abroad. He later developed double-pneumonia. After Gov. Abbott ordered all residents of the home to be tested for the novel coronavirus, four additional cases were found.
March 17 — Bars, Restaurants Close in Dallas County
Leaders in the city and county of Dallas ordered all community gatherings to be capped at 50 people and that all bars, lounges, taverns, nightclubs, health clubs and theaters to close as the city combats the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, all restaurants were ordered to temporarily end dine-in service and offer food for pick-up only via drive-through or take-out.
Leaders in the city and county of Dallas Monday ordered all community gatherings to be capped at 50 people and that all bars, lounges, taverns, nightclubs, health clubs and theaters to close as the city combats the spread of COVID-19.
March 19 — Tarrant County Bars, Restaurants Close
An emergency declaration in Tarrant County prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people in a single space, at the same time. It closed dine-in service at restaurants, micro-breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries. It allowed take-out, drive-in, drive-thru or delivery service to continue. It also closeed bars, lounges, taverns, private clubs, theaters, gyms and other amusement businesses
At midnight Thursday, a city-wide mandate in Fort Worth will take effect including the closure of bars, taverns, and dine-in services at restaurants.
March 20 — Gov. Abbott Suspends School, Bars and Gyms Closed
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) took statewide action to mirror actions taken locally in Dallas and Tarrant counties earlier in the week by declaring a disaster and ordering schools, bars, clubs and gyms to close and for restaurants to offer only “to go” service.
Texas declares public health disaster, closes restaurant dining rooms and schools for 5 million students.
March 22 — Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Orders Residents to Shelter in Place
The order states people may leave their residences only for essential activities — including to get supplies for themselves and their families or perform tasks essential to their health and safety and that of others — or to operate essential businesses, such as healthcare, critical infrastructure and retail, including grocery stores.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Sunday issued an order requiring county residents to shelter in place.
March 31 — Abbott Closes Non-Essential Businesses
Gov. Greg Abbott puts protocols put into place will run through April 30 and, “direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an Executive Order Tuesday implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas.
April 2 — Joe Exotic, aka Tiger King, Transferred to North Texas Prison
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, was transferred to Fort Worth FMC, a federal medical prison. Dillon Passage, Maldonado-Passage’s husband, said that Maldonado-Passage is in coronavirus quarantine because inmates at the jail where he was held prior to his transfer tested positive for the virus. In April 2019, the former zoo owner was found guilty of trying to hire someone to murder Carole Baskin, a prominent animal rights activist and the founder of Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida. With many people spending time sheltering-in-place at home, a Netflix docu-series on Joe Exotic was a popular topic of discussion on social media in the spring.
April 2 — Radio Host Gets 25 Years in Ponzi Scheme
William Neil “Doc” Gallagher, a 79-year-old Texas radio host and financial consultant who admitted to conning elderly listeners out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
April 3 — “Y’all Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Y’all Stay Home”
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams joined together Tuesday calling for all residents to stay at home to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Stay at home orders were issued in both Tarrant County and Fort Worth, with the county’s effective until April 7 and Fort Worth’s in place until April 3.
April 5 — Woman Threatens to Infect on Video
Carrollton police said they were searching for an 18-year-old woman who they said made a terroristic threat online, claiming to have COVID-19 and saying she was going to infect others. Two days later, Carrollton police said they’d arrested Lorraine Maradiaga. They added that she told them she did not have COVID-19, and police said they had no proof to suggest she had tested positive. The Carrollton Leader later reported Maradiaga pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of and was given probation and a $500 fine.
Carrollton police are looking for a woman they say claims to have COVID-19 and is “willfully spreading it.”
April 14 — Cowboys on Dak, Zeke Party Under Quarantine
Dallas Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones says he’s spoken with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott after TMZ reported over the weekend the quarterback hosted a party with more than 30 people in his Prosper home. Jump to 9:10 in the clip below to hear Jones’ comments. TMZ reported the party with the headline: “Dak Prescott & Zeke Elliott Dinner Party With Dozens of Pals … What Quarantine?!?!”
April 17 — Abbott Closes Schools
During a news conference Friday afternoon in which he laid out his plan for reopening businesses across the state in the coming days and weeks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said all schools in the state must remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
During a news conference Friday afternoon in which he laid out his plan for reopening businesses across the state in the coming days and weeks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said all schools in the state must remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
April 22 — Dallas Salon Set to Re-Open, Defies Order
Despite state and county proclamations ordering hair and nail salons remain closed to in-person services, North Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther said she was going to open her shop anyway. Luther opened her shop and ultimately was cited and went to jail over the issue. She was later released upon an order by the Texas Supreme Court after Abbott removed jail as a punishment for defying his order. After Abbott’s Open Texas plan allowed salons to reopen, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz later flew in for a hair cut. Luther later launched an unsuccessful bid for Texas Senate District 30, losing in a runoff to State Rep. Drew Springer.
April 23 — Dak Prescott’s Brother Jace Dies
Jace Prescott, the older brother of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, died by suicide at the age of 31. In September, Prescott was the featured guest on NBC 5’s In Depth with Graham Bensinger where he gave Graham a behind-the-scenes look at his home, favorite places to ride off-road vehicles and fish, and even explains why he had a football field built in his backyard. In the interview, Prescott also opened up about his brother’s suicide and was widely praised for offering a very public message of hope for others struggling with mental illness.
This Sunday, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be featured in an interview on NBC 5 in which he opens up about a very difficult year for him and his family.
April 27 — Pentagon Releases UFO Videos
The Pentagon officially declassified three videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs. The videos were shot in 2004 and 2015 by military pilots and were released after officials determined they showed no sensitive or revealing military information and to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the videos were real.
The Pentagon officially declassified three videos on Monday showing “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
May 3 — Murder Hornet Invasion
The first spotting of the two-inch Asian giant hornet, or vespa mandarinia, was verified in the United States in December, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The insect does not generally target people or pets, but is a deadly threat to the already at-risk honeybee hives. Giant hornets of this species apparently enter a “slaughter phase” where they decapitate honeybees and destroy entire hives in the span of a few hours, according to the department.
May 6 — Blue Angels Fly Over North Texas in Thunderous Salute
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew above North Texas in a thunderous salute honoring health care workers and first responders on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. The six McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornets circled their way from McKinney to Allen, The Colony, Plano, Richardson, University Park, downtown Dallas, Duncanville, Grapevine, Keller, North Richland Hills, Arlington, downtown Fort Worth and Saginaw before ending in the skies over Benbrook. The flyover can be seen from several different angles, including a shot from within the cockpit, here.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew above North Texas on Wednesday in a thunderous salute honoring health care workers and first responders on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.
May 10 — Five Shot Fort Worth Park With 600 People
Five people were injured in a shooting a Village Creek Park in Fort Worth where about 600 people had gathered for a fireworks display, according to police and MedStar. Police said as many as 30 gunshots were reported.
Five people are injured after a shooting Sunday evening as about 600 people were crowded into Village Creek Park in Fort Worth, according to police and MedStar.
Fort Worth police say five officers were on scene at Village Creek Park Sunday when at least one gunman opened fire.
May 12 — Rare Sea Creature Spotted at South Padre
A sea slug not commonly spotted on beaches appeared on South Padre Island. The creature, called a Blue Dragon, gives a very painful sting that can cause immense pain. David Hicks, UTRGV Director for the School of Marine Sciences, said that while these bright blue creatures are only around one inch, they can eat a Portuguese man o’ war, which is a jellyfish twice their size.
Rare and beautiful blue dragons, a sea slug that eats Portuguese man o’ wars, has been spotted on South Padre Island. Beach-goers are being urged to take pictures but don’t touch them because their defense mechanisms are quite painful.
May 15 — Rare Identical Quads Born in Dallas Head Home
Four identical quadruplets born March 15 at a Dallas hospital headed home in May after a long stay in special care. Hudson, Harrison, Henry and Hardy were born at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to Jenny and Chris Marr. The hospital said such births are extremely rare and occur in only one in 11 million. “This situation is so incredibly rare that there are only about 72 documented cases of spontaneous, identical quadruplets ever,” Texas Health Dr. Brian Rinehart said in a hospital news release.
Four identical quadruplets born two months ago at a Dallas hospital are home after a long stay in special care.
May 18 — Mother Fatally Shoots Daughter During Standoff
A 35-year-old woman fatally shot her 8-year-old daughter before taking her own life during a standoff with police in Oak Cliff. The woman had been fighting with her husband prior to the shooting, police said; he called the police when he said she began shooting at him. The child’s older brother was not hurt.
A mother shot dead her 8-year-old daughter before taking her own life during a police standoff at their southern Oak Cliff home early Monday morning, officers say.
May 18 — Plano-Based JC Penney Plans to Close 240 Stores
Plano-based retailer JC Penney announced it would close nearly 30% of its 846 stores as part of restructuring while under bankruptcy protection. The company planned to close 192 stores by February 2021 and another 50 stores in 2022, leaving the company with roughly 600 stores. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection days before making the announcement that stores would be shut down.
May 25 — George Floyd Killed in Minneapolis
George Floyd, of Houston, died while being restrained during an arrest by Minneapolis police officers. In the days that followed, many North Texas police chiefs spoke out against the use of restraint after watching a graphic video of Floyd’s death that showed Floyd on the ground with an officer’s knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
May 26 — Marketing Executive Killed in Dallas; Teen Faces Murder Charge
A 16-year-old boy is facing capital murder charges in the Memorial Day murder of Leslie Squair Baker, a well-liked North Dallas woman described by loved ones as “everybody’s best friend.” Dallas police said the juvenile, whose name will not be released due to his age, shot and killed Baker as the 59-year-old woman sat in her car in her driveway outside her home on Royalton Drive – near Preston Road and Royal Lane. Police later said the murder was the result of an attempted carjacking.
Police say a 16-year-old accused of murdering North Dallas marketing executive Leslie Baker not only faces a capital murder charge in her case, but also a carjacking charge in Richardson that happened a day after Baker’s death.
May 29 — What Was That Bright Green Fireball?
A North Texas family’s home security camera was recording when a giant fireball fell from the sky.
A North Texas family’s home security camera was recording when a giant fireball fell from the sky Thursday night.
May 30 — Protesters Smash Windows, Loot Businesses in Deep Ellum
Protesters organized by the Next Generation Action Network smashed windows and looted numerous businesses in downtown Dallas and Deep Ellum as the march moved through Dallas toward police headquarters. The protest against police brutality and racial prejudice was one of many around the nation following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
Looters and vandals attacked storefronts, windows and police vehicles in downtown Dallas overnight following largely peaceful protests over the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.
During a protest and march in Dallas Monday night, NBC 5’s Meredith Yeomans reports a local artist prepared to paint the plaza outside city hall to read “Black Lives Matter,” a project that is approved by the city.
Thousands of people gathered at Belo Garden Park in downtown Dallas on the ninth day of protests in the city against social injustice.
June 3 — Man Arrested for Assault, Racist Video
A McKinney man was arrested Monday after an encounter with another man in a McDonald’s parking lot began with racial slurs and ended with physical violence. Devonta Brown said the man exited his truck, pulled off his shirt, spit on him and head-butted him. The encounter was recorded on cell phone video; Brown said the confrontation began when the other driver cut him off at the drive-through line.
June 4 — Texas Ranger Statue at Love Field Removed
Officials at Dallas Love Field Airport decided to remove the iconic statue of Texas Ranger Jay Banks, named “One Riot, One Ranger,” after it came to light “ Banks was involved in efforts in 1957 to keep black children out of a white school” and that “Ranger Banks … was the face of resistance to integration in Mansfield in 1957.” The information was published by author Doug Swanson who released ‘Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers’ in June.
The iconic statue of a Texas Ranger was hauled away from Dallas Love Field after the controversial past of the man depicted in the statue came to light.
June 9 — George Floyd Laid to Rest in Houston
George Floyd was fondly remembered Tuesday as “Big Floyd” — a father and brother, athlete and neighborhood mentor, and now a catalyst for change — at a funeral for the black man whose death sparked a global reckoning over police brutality and racial prejudice. The funeral capped six days of mourning for Floyd in three cities: Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born, Houston, where he grew up, and Minneapolis, where he died. The memorials have drawn the families of other black victims whose names have become familiar in the debate over race and justice — among them, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.
Hundreds of mourners visited the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas, to pay their respects at the funeral of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. Floyd’s death has sparked weeks of protests against police brutality in cities around the world.
June 9 — Mother, Daughter Die of COVID Hours Apart
Sherry Tutt talked with NBC 5 July 6 after losing both her mother and sister to COVID-19 hours apart. Tutt said her mother Doris Sims was a beloved, longtime cafeteria worker at the Frank Crowley Courthouse in Dallas. Her sister, Lakecial Tutt, known as Keshia, had two sons and was one of a kind. Both women spent several weeks in separate hospitals and fought the virus for weeks before dying on June 9. Sherry Tutt said six other family members caught the virus as well.
A North Texas family is pleading for people to take COVID-19 seriously after a Dallas mother and her daughter died of the virus just hours apart.
June 11 — Kelly Clarkson Files for Divorce
After seven years of marriage, North Texas native, singer, talk show host and current coach on NBC’s The Voice, Kelly Clarkson, filed for divorce from husband Brandon Blackstock. The couple, who have two children together, were married in 2013. In December it was revealed Clarkson claimed in court documents in October that Blackstock operated illegally as her manager for years and should pay her back all the commissions and fees he received.
June 15 — Zeke Elliott, Others Test Positive for COVID-19
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport ruffled feathers in June after reporting several NFL players, including Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19. Rapoport attributed the confirmation of Elliott’s test to his agent Rocky Arceneaux. Elliott later said on Twitter that his agent didn’t break the story but did confirm the diagnosis when asked about it by reporters.
June 16 — Shooting at Galleria Dallas Mall
A man was shot in the food court at the Galleria Dallas by a man police say he knew. Police said the men had been fighting before the shooting took place. The victim survived the shooting. Police released a photo taken from surveillance video, though it’s not clear if an arrest was made.
Dallas police said Tuesday evening that two men, that knew each other, were involved in a shooting inside the Galleria Mall.
June 17 — Crews Prepare to Remove Confederate War Memorial in Downtown Dallas
Crews began prepping to remove the 60-foot tall Confederate War Memorial in Dallas’ Pioneer Park in mid-June. The monument, designed by Frank Teich and installed in Old City Park in 1897, was moved to Pioneer Cemetery in 1961. It was donated to the city by the Daughters of the Confederacy and has status as a Dallas landmark. The monument is described as follows: the central obelisk is 60 feet tall with a Confederate soldier at the top; four Confederate figures (generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Albert Sidney Johnston, along with Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States) at each corner. All of the figures are 19 feet tall with pedestals; and sculptures are marble with granite bases. Once disassembled, the sculpture will be stored at Hensley Field, part of the Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex and the site of the former Dallas Naval Air Station. The monuments were removed by June 22.
Work crews are preparing to remove the 60-foot-tall Confederate War Memorial at Pioneer Park Cemetery in downtown Dallas.
June 30 — Vanessa Guillen Remains Found
The remains for Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who was reported to be last seen April 22 in a parking lot at Fort Hood, where she was based, were found near the Leon River in Bell County. The 20-year-old soldier’s car keys, barracks room key, ID card and wallet were found in the room where she was working the day she disappeared.
An Army commander confirmed Monday that dismembered remains found last week buried near Fort Hood belonged to a 20-year-old soldier who vanished more than two months ago from the Texas base.
June 30 — Suspect in Vanessa Guillen Death Kills Himself
Aaron David Robinson, a suspect in the disappearance of a 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier, killed himself as law enforcement approached him after he fled the Army base.
E-4 Specialist Aaron David Robinson was one of two suspects in Guillen’s disappearance, according to CID, the Army’s primary criminal investigative organization
July 2 — Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Texans to Wear Masks
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered that face-coverings must be worn in public across most of the state, a dramatic ramp-up of the Republican’s efforts to control spiking numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Abbott, who had pushed Texas’ aggressive reopening of the state economy in May, had previously said the government could not order individuals to wear masks. His prior virus-related orders had undercut efforts by local governments to enforce mask requirements.
On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandatory face mask ordinance for all counties in the state of Texas that currently have more than 20 cases of COVID-19.
July 3 — What Activities Put You at Risk
The Texas Medical Association has released a chart explaining which behaviors put you at risk of getting COVID-19. The TMA said physician experts were asked to assign a risk of 1 (least risk) to 10 (riskiest) to each of these activities using the following criteria: Whether it’s inside or outside; proximity to others; exposure time; the likelihood of compliance; and personal risk level. They were asked to assume that participants in these activities are following currently recommended safety protocols (including wearing masks) when possible. See the chart here.
The Texas Medical Association has released a chart explaining which behaviors put you at risk of getting COVID-19. According to the organization, the activities included in the chart were ranked by physicians from the TMA COVID-19 Task Force and the TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases.
July 12 — Beloved Pleasant Grove Teacher Murdered
Jennifer Hickmon, who coached P.E., volleyball, basketball and track at the all-boys sixth through eighth-grade Young Men’s Leadership Academy for 13 years, suffered a violent death inside her home. Jeffrey Alan Scott, Hickmon’s boyfriend, was arrested on July 15 after an officer-involved shooting in San Marcos. Dallas police said homicide detectives interviewed Scott and that after he was read his rights he gave a voluntary statement admitting to the murder of Hickmon.
Students and staff at Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove join a devasted family in mourning the loss of Jennifer Hickmon who was killed in her home. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports on the beloved coach and educator.
July 16 — East Texas Town Removes Fence Between White, Black Cemeteries
Municipal crews dug up a fence between two adjacent but separate historically Black and historically white cemeteries in Mineola, about 75 miles east of Dallas — a lingering relic of the Jim Crow era. For more, click here to read the Tyler Morning Telegraph’s coverage.
July 23 — Bodies of Missing Mother, 2 Kids Found in Farmers Branch
A mother and her two daughters who had been reported missing were found dead inside their car in a parking lot, according to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department. According to a missing persons flyer sent to NBC 5, 31-year-old Natalie Chambers and her daughters, 4-year-old Izabel and 2-year-old Elise were last seen leaving their house in Forney at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Police said they were headed to a playdate in Grapevine.
Investigators with the Farmers Branch Police Department are working with the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office after the bodies of Natalie Chambers, 31, and her daughters, 4-year-old Izabel and 2-year-old Elise, were found inside their car in a parking lot in Farmers Branch. Police said the trio from Forney were headed to a playdate in Grapevine when they were reported missing…
July 31 — Bill Mack, Midnight Cowboy, Dies
Longtime North Texas radio DJ and award-winning country music songwriter Bill Mack died of COVID-19 just two days after being diagnosed, according to his son, Billy Mack Jr. Mack first hit the airwaves in Fort Worth in 1969 as a disc jockey on WBAP 820-AM where he hosted the Country Roads Show and played music for overnight truckers. The show, which was broadcast out of the historic WBAP studios where NBC 5 also first went on the air, was later renamed the Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show, which is associated with his moniker. The show, with its clear channel signal, reached listeners in Texas and across much of the United States. Mack’s country music songs were recorded by more than five dozen artists culminating in 1996 with a Grammy award for Best Country Song and Song of the Year awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Radio Music Awards for the song Blue. That same song also won 13-year-old LeAnn Rimes her first Grammy for her recording of the song.
Longtime North Texas radio DJ and award-winning country music songwriter Bill Mack has died of COVID-19, according to his son.
Aug. 3 — Emmitt and Pat Smith Announce Separation
After 20 years of marriage, NFL great Emmitt Smith and his wife Pat announced on Instagram they were separating. They have five children total, one each from previous relationships, and three from their marriage. They couple said they will move forward with love and compassion for one another as co-parents and friends.
Aug. 5 — Beirut Explosion Resembles Texas Tragedies
A massive blast at a port warehouse in Beirut where 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate was being stored reminded many of similar explosions in Texas.
A day after an explosion shattered Lebanon’s capital, the death toll is rising and a major rescue operation is underway. Many are still missing. NBC 5’s Meredith Yeomans reports.
A Lebanese woman now living in Garland is sharing her story of heartbreak for her family and her country after the explosion that rocked Lebanon’s capital killed nearly 160 people and injured about 5,000.
Aug. 19 — Massive Plastics Plant Fire Sends Toxic Plume Over North Texas
An overhanging power line fell onto plastic sheeting in a storage area at the Poly-America manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie, starting a massive fire that burned and smoldered for more than 24 hours. Miraculously, no injuries were reported.
A massive fire at a plastics facility Tuesday night in Grand Prairie that can be seen for miles is likely to continue burning for the rest of the day and could knock out electricity in the area for some time, firefighters say. Watch NBC 5’s team coverage with reporters Alanna Quillen and Larry Collins and Meteorologist Grant Johnston.
A massive fire at a plastics facility in Grand Prairie continues to smolder close to 24 hours after it started. Meanwhile, officials are urging people to stay indoors because of the “toxic plume” rising from the scene that could be an irritant for people with respiratory issues.
Aug. 26 — Yaser Said Captured in North Texas
Yaser Abdel Said, a Lewisville cab driver wanted in connection with the brutal slayings of his two teenage daughters, was taken into custody in North Texas after more than 12 years on the run. According to the FBI, Said, who was considered armed and dangerous and known to carry a weapon while driving his cab, was apprehended in Justin without incident by SWAT agents from the FBI’s Dallas Field Office after some “good old-fashioned, aggressive, initiative-based police work.”
Yaser Abdel Said, a Lewisville cab driver wanted in connection with brutal slayings of his two teenage daughters, is in custody in North Texas after 12 years on the run.
The Department of Justice revealed new details Friday in the 12-year search for Yaser Said, a Lewisville man who is accused of killing his teenage daughters in what has been described as an “honor killing,” and who was taken into custody earlier this week in North Texas by an FBI SWAT team. NBC 5’s Meredith Yeomans reports.
Aug. 27 — Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall, Dozens Killed
In a year that saw the busiest named storm season on record, it was Hurricane Laura that was the strongest when it made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast. Five people were killed in the Lone Star State, 27 overall, after Laura made landfall in late August. The hurricane’s top wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph) put it among the strongest systems on record in the U.S. Not until 11 hours after landfall did Laura finally lose hurricane status as it plowed north and thrashed Arkansas, and even by Thursday evening, it remained a tropical storm with winds of 40 mph (65 kph).
The sounds of cleanup will be underway along the Texas Louisiana border for a while as residents pick up the pieces after Hurricane Laura. NBC 5’s Scott Gordon reports.
Sept. 8 — Dallas Chief of Police Renee Hall Resigns
City Manager T.C. Broadnax said after just three years on the job, Chief Renee Hall had resigned. Hall was the first woman to lead the Dallas Police Department, which is the ninth-largest department in the nation. She is just the fourth person to hold the job full-time in the last 20 years. In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 following her resignation, Hall said she was offended by the treatment she has received from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and that she believes the mayor’s recent attacks on her leadership have become personal. After looking for her replacement for several months, the city said they’d hired Eddie Garcia, the former Chief of Police in San Jose, California.
Dallas police Chief Renee Hall is resigning at the end of the year, the city manager says.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigates, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said she is offended by the treatment she has received from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and that she believes the mayor’s recent attacks on her leadership have become personal.
Sept. 14 — ‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris FBI Investigation
A spokesperson for Jerry Harris, one of the stars of the Netflix docu-series “Cheer,” which chronicles the ups and downs of the Navarro Junior College cheer squad, denied reports that he solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.” Three months later, in December, federal prosecutors filed new charges against Harris.
Jerry Harris is being investigated by the FBI. According to USA Today, who cite multiple sources, authorities are looking into allegations that the 21-year-old “Cheer” star solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.
Sept. 22 — Carla Walker Cold Case Murder Arrest
After nearly 50 years, an arrest was made in the Carla Walker cold case murder. Police said 77-year-old Glen Samuel McCurley was in custody Tuesday in connection with the 1974 murder of Carla Jan Walker, who was 17-years-old when she was abducted, held captive and sexually assaulted before being murdered and left in a ditch after a Valentine’s Day dance. Investigators said the abductor snatched the young woman from the passenger seat of her boyfriend’s car in a bowling alley parking lot. Her boyfriend, Rodney McCoy, told police the man pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill him before something hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious. McCoy said he later woke up to find Walker was gone and blood coming from his head. Three days later Walker’s body was found dumped in a culvert near Benbrook Lake. Read more here.
An arrest has been made in a Fort Worth cold case that went unsolved for nearly half a century.
Sept. 28 — David Finfrock Bitten by Snake While Clearing Brush
NBC 5 Senior Meteorologist,and avid outdoorsman/adventurer, David Finfrock is recovering after being bitten by a rattlesnake while volunteering at a local Audubon center. Finfrock tweeted that he was clearing ragweed at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill when he was bitten by the snake through his jeans. Finfrock made a full recovery.
NBC 5 Senior Meteorologist and avid outdoorsman/adventurer David Finfrock is recovering after being bitten by a rattlesnake Monday while volunteering at a local Audubon center.
Sept. 30 — Lotto Texas Jackpot Swells to the Largest in North America
After growing to $47 million, the Lotto Texas jackpot was not only the game’s largest prize in more than a decade but was also the largest jackpot in North America (at the time). One lucky player from Seguin took home all $47 million after picking all six numbers at the Pic N Pac 10 on Highway 123. Prior to that win, there was only one other Lotto Texas jackpot winner in all of 2020, a Laredo resident that claimed a jackpot prize of $17.5 million for the drawing held on Jan. 15.
Oct. 1 — Couple Stabbed on Evening Walk in Arlington
A violent robber brutally attacked and stabbed a couple multiple times as they enjoyed their evening walk in their southeast Arlington neighborhood. Police said Islam Duy complied with the robber’s demands, but was stabbed multiple times anyway. Duly, who came to North Texas from Kurdistan to pursue the “American Dream,” didn’t survive his injuries. Police later arrested Osagie Ayanru and said there was corroborating evidence linking this attack to other similar robberies. As of Dec. 30, Ayanru remains in the Tarrant County Jail charged with aggravated robbery and theft.
A man is dead and his wife is recovering after being brutally attacked and stabbed multiple times in a robbery Wednesday night as they enjoyed their evening walk in their southeast Arlington neighborhood, police say.
Oct. 9 — Empty Nest Photo Shoot
A Texas couple who decided to share the news of their newfound status as “empty nesters” found online fame in the fall. Dalila and Juan Perez had photos taken when the last of their four children moved out of their home in August. When the photographer shared the photos online — they garnered an immediate response. Despite the cheeky photos, Dalila said she struggled when her children started moving out. With them now spread out across Texas, in San Antonio, Dallas and Corpus Christi, Dalila and Juan have plenty of reasons to travel.
Oct. 11 — Dak Prescott Suffers Gruesome Ankle Injury
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture in his right ankle that required surgery and ended his season. Doctors who are experts in the field said it will take months to recover but that a full recovery is absolutely possible. The team turned to back Andy Dalton to lead them through the rest of the season, but when Dalton was knocked out due to a concussion, had to turn to two other quarterbacks, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert, to field a team.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture in his right ankle that will require surgery. NBC 5 Sports’ Pat Doney and Paul Jones discuss what it means for Prescott and the Cowboys moving forward.
Nov. 1 — Actor Eddie Hassell killed in Grand Prairie
Actor Eddie Hassell, 30, was fatally shot in southwest Grand Prairie in what police are describing as a random robbery. Hassell was staying with a woman who told police he’d gone outside to go to her car and moments later he’d been shot and the car was gone. A witness identified the shooter, an 18-year-old man out of Arlington who was later arrested and charged with capital murder. Hassell, who was born in Corsicana and lived in Waco, appeared in many movie and television roles, including NBC’s science-fiction series “Surface,” “Devious Maids,” the Academy Award-nominated film “The Kids Are All Right,” and other projects, according to E! News.
Nov. 9 — Mom It’s Me, Mother Meets Son 45 Years Later
Brenda Van Sickle was just 16 when she delivered a baby boy in 1975. Forty-five years later her son reached out to her and the two met in person. Van Sickle says meeting her son wasn’t the end of a journey, rather that it’s now an ongoing journey.
A North Texas mother met the son she placed for adoption as a baby – 45 years ago.
Nov. 11 — Dallas Rapper Mo3 Gunned Down on Highway
Dallas rapper Mo3 was chased down on foot and gunned down in a brazen attack in broad daylight on a Dallas freeway. Melvin Noble, aka Mo3, stopped on the busy highway, got out of his car and attempted to run before being shot. A 22-year-old parolee was arrested and jailed in connection with the shooting in early December. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
A 22-year old parolee was in jail Thursday for the brazen November 11 Dallas freeway murder of rap music artist Mo3, known to his family as Melvin Noble.
Nov. 20 — ‘Definition of a Serial Killer’ Jeremy Harris Arrested, Accused in Several Shootings
Dallas police said 31-year-old Jeremy Harris, the man suspected in the murder of Blair Carter, his ex-girlfriend’s father, and is also charged in three other apparently random murders in Dallas, including the Halloween murder of SMU student Robert Urrea, the murder of Adam Gautreau, a homeless man, and Kenneth Hamilton, a man who was fatally shot as he sat in his car at a stoplight. Police said Harris is the definition of a serial killer and that he may be implicated in other non-fatal shootings that took place that week in Frisco, Prosper and Denton.
Dallas police say the man suspected of killing an SMU student on Halloween night has been arrested and detectives are calling him a serial killer. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports, police say he may be linked to a string of murders and shootings in several North Texas neighborhoods.
Nov. 25 — Cowboys Coach Markus Paul Dies
Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning head coach, 54-year-old Markus Paul, died surrounded by family members after being rushed from the team’s Frisco practice facility and hospitalized the day before. Paul was a college standout at Syracuse before joining the NFL as a player. When his playing career ended, he spent 21 years as a coach with the Saints, Patriots, Jets, Giants and Cowboys. At last check, Paul’s cause of death was still pending.
NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs reflects on the life and legacy of Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 54.
Dec. 3 — Roll Back: Bars Close, Capacity Reduced Due to Hospitalizations
With the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations increasing above 15% for seven straight days, many North Texas businesses were again forced to reduce occupancy levels or close until the number of COVID-19 patients goes back down. Since Dec. 3 the hospitalization rate has not had more than two consecutive days below 15% and as of Dec. 30, the hospitalization rate in TSA-E had risen to 24%.
North Texas is entering the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic a rollback in restrictions to stop the surge. All non-essential businesses must immediately reduce occupancy levels from 75% to 50%, but as NBC 5’s Allie Spillyards reports when the requirements go into effect depends on who you ask.
Dec. 9 — Accused Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir Faces More Charges
Billy Chemirmir, a man accused of smothering more than a dozen women living in North Texas retirement homes and robbing them of their jewelry, has been indicted on three additional charges of capital murder, bringing the total to 17. Chemirmir’s attorney says his client maintains his innocence.
Billy Chemirmir, a man accused of smothering more than a dozen women living in North Texas retirement homes and robbing them of their jewelry, has been indicted on three additional charges of capital murder, bringing the total to 17.
Dec. 12 — County Music Legend Charlie Pride Dies
Charley Pride, country music’s first Black superstar whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell millions of records, has died. Pride grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player and first made a name for himself in the Negro Leagues — but it was in country music where he earned his legendary status as the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Pride, who was part of the Texas Rangers’ ownership group, died Saturday in Dallas of complications from COVID-19, according to Jeremy Westby of the public relations firm 2911 Media. Pride was 86.
Charley Pride, one of country music’s first Black superstar whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died. He was 86.
Dec. 21 — The Great Conjunction, a Unique Astronomical Event
What’s called the “Christmas Star,” is actually two planets — Jupiter and Saturn — so close in the night sky that they look like one bright star. The planets pass each other in orbit every 20 years, but this year’s conjunction is more rare; the planets pass close by every 400 years but it’s only visible at night every 800 years. The last year this conjunction was visible at night was March 4, 1226. It will not occur again until approximately the year 2820.
A unique astronomical event is happening in the sky over North Texas, the “Christmas Star” also known as the “Great Conjunction,” or the moment when Jupiter and Saturn appear at their closest.
NASA says the planetary conjunction known as the ‘Christmas Star,’ which is only seen once every 800 years, will be visible on Monday night. Stargazers in Texas should look for the formation during dusk or just after sunset.
Dec. 21 — Two Killed in Plane Crash Along Texas 360
Two people were killed when a single-engine plane came down on the northbound Texas 360 frontage road. The plane, a Wheeler Express CT, crashed about one mile west of the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport and caught fire. Both people on board the plane crashed. The cause of the crash remains under investigation
A small plane crashed along the Texas 360 service road in Grand Prairie Monday afternoon.
News of a new virus out of Wuhan, China first began to circulate in early January. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed in Washington state later that month but it wasn’t until March 9 that the virus was believed to have reached Dallas-Fort Worth. Less than a week later the first local death was reported in Arlington. Sports, school and other events were canceled, businesses were closed (some forever) and new phrases such as “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” suddenly became all too common.
Our COVID-19 Tracker page was launched in March and is a one-stop resource for tracking the spread of the virus around North Texas and the state. Charts in the tracker are updated daily and visually show the positivity indexes, R-value, hospitalization rates, cases and fatalities, and several other popularly tracked metrics. A link to the tracker is below.
Now, nine months after the pandemic began, more than 5,000 North Texans have died and nearly half a million others have been infected. With two vaccines now being administered to combat the virus, there is light at the end of the tunnel following a very long, painful year.
The timeline below highlights some of the more significant moments in the fight against the spread of the virus in North Texas and across the Lone Star State.
Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom | Fintech Zoom
Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom
By Anusha Chari & Amiyatosh Purnanandam
The failure of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC) in September 2019 shone a light on the limitations of India’s deposit insurance system. With over Rs 11,000 crore in deposits, PMC bank was one of the largest co-op banks. That the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) insurance covered depositors, provided little solace when the realisation hit that the insurance amounted to a mere Rs 1 lakh per deposit.
The predicament of PMC depositors is, unfortunately, not an anomaly. Several bank failures over the years have severely strained RBI and central government resources. While co-operative banks account for a predominant share of failures, other prime examples include the Global Trust Bank and Yes Bank failures. These failures entail a direct cost to the taxpayer—the DICGC payment or a government bailout. More importantly, bank failures impose long-term indirect costs. They erode depositor confidence and threaten financial stability, presenting an urgent need for deposit insurance reform in the country.
A sound deposit insurance system requires balancing two opposing forces: maintaining depositor confidence while minimising deposit insurance’s direct and indirect costs. At one extreme, the regulator can insure all the deposits, which will undoubtedly strengthen depositor confidence. But such a system would be very expensive.
A bank with full deposit insurance has minimal incentive to be prudent while making loans. Taxpayers bear the losses in the eventuality that risky loans go bad. Depositors also have little incentive to be careful. They can simply make deposits in the banks offering high interest rates regardless of the risks these banks take on the lending side.
Boosting depositor confidence and reducing direct and indirect costs require careful structuring of both the quantity and pricing of deposit insurance. Some relatively quick and straightforward fixes could help alleviate the public’s mistrust while improving the deposit insurance framework’s efficiency.
India has made some progress on this front over the last couple of years. First, the insurance limit increased to `5 lakh in 2020. Second, the 2021 Union Budget amended the DICGC Act of 1961, allowing the immediate withdrawal of insured deposits without waiting for complete resolution. These are very welcome moves. Several additional steps could bring India’s deposit insurance system in line with best practices around the world. Even with the increased coverage limit, India remains an outlier, as the accompanying graphic shows.
The government’s incentive to step in and bail out depositors when banks fail is clear from past experience. However, these ex-post bailouts are costly. The bailout process also tends to be long, complicated, and uncertain, further eroding depositor confidence in the banking system. A better alternative would be to increase the deposit insurance limit substantially and, at the same time, charge the insured banks a risk-based premium for this insurance. Under the current flat-fee based system, the SBI pays144 the same premium to the DICGC—12 paise per 100 rupees of insured deposits—as does any other bank!
A risk-based approach will achieve two objectives. First, it will ensure that the deposit insurance fund of the DICGC has sufficient funds to make quick and timely repayments to depositors. Second, the risk-based premia will curb excessive risk-taking by banks, given that they will be required to pay a higher cost for taking on risk.
India is not alone in trying to address the issue of improving the efficiency of deposit insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recognizes that the regulatory framework governing deposit insurance is far from perfect and the United States is moving towards risk-based premia. The concept is similar to pricing car insurance premia according to the risk profile of the driver. The FDIC computes deposit insurance premia based on factors such as the bank’s capital position, asset quality, earnings, liquidity positions, and the types of deposits.
In India, too, banks can be placed into buckets or tiers along these different dimensions. The deposit premium can depend on these factors. It is easy to see that a bank with a worsening capital position and a high NPA ratio should pay a higher deposit insurance premium than a well-capitalized bank with a healthy lending portfolio. The idea is not dissimilar to a risky driver paying more for car insurance than a safe driver.
Risk-sensitive pricing can go hand-in-hand with the increase in the insured deposit coverage limits bringing India in line with its emerging market peers. In a credit-hungry country like India, these moves would build depositor confidence, possibly increasing the volume of deposits and achieving the happy result of the banking system channeling more savings to productive use.
Chari is professor of economics and finance, and director of the Modern Indian Studies Initiative, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Purnanandam is the Michael Stark Professor of Finance at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom
By Anusha Chari & Amiyatosh Purnanandam
5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Own a Home, According to a CFP
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The housing market has boomed over the last year, despite a global pandemic and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
Many people are spending less on entertainment, clothing, travel, and other discretionary purchases during COVID. Federal student loan borrowers have seen temporary relief from their loan payments. These expenses will most likely rise again after the pandemic, and many people who committed to a new home with a large mortgage will struggle to keep up.
I often speak with clients and prospective clients who want to buy a home before they have a strong financial foundation. Buying a home is not only one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but it’s also a huge commitment that’s extremely hard to undo if you have buyer’s remorse.
It’s important to make a thoughtful, informed decision when it comes to a home purchase. Before you take the plunge into homeownership, check for these signs that you’re not quite ready to buy.
1. You have credit card debt
Credit card debt can be a drain on your monthly budget, and when combined with student loans and a car loan, it can lead to high levels of stress.
Generally, more debt means higher fixed expenses and little opportunity to save for long-term financial goals. Your financial situation will only get worse with the addition of a mortgage. I always recommend that clients be free of credit card or other high-interest debt before they consider buying a home.
To rid yourself of credit card debt, take some time to get a good handle on your cash flow. Take an inventory of your spending over the last six to 12 months and see where you can cut back. From there, develop a realistic budget that includes aggressive payments to your credit cards.
There are several strategies to help you knock out credit card debt fast. Regardless of the method you choose, stick with the plan and track your progress along the way. Once you pay off your credit cards, you can allocate your debt payments to savings, which can help you avoid this situation in the future.
2. You have bad credit
Bad credit is not only a sign that you may not be ready to take on a mortgage, it can also signal a high risk to
. A high-risk status results in higher interest rates and more strict requirements to qualify for a loan. A mortgage is one of the largest loans you’ll take out in your lifetime, and if you get behind on payments, you could lose your home.
Just as with credit card debt, bad credit could be a result of past financial mistakes. Dedicating the time to repair bad credit and improve your credit score will help you beyond purchasing your dream home.
Start by pulling a recent credit report from each of the three credit bureaus so you can review it for errors. Dispute any errors, address past-due accounts, and bring your overall debt balances down. It’s helpful to learn what has a negative effect on your credit score so you can avoid these mistakes in the future.
3. You don’t have an emergency fund (or an inadequate one)
If you’re unable to save for a rainy day, you probably don’t have enough money to buy a house. Owning a home is a big responsibility, and unexpected expenses pop up all the time. In addition, you could lose your job, have a medical emergency, or another unexpected expense unrelated to the home. Maintaining an emergency fund is a good sign that you have discipline and are prepared for the responsibility of homeownership.
Many financial experts recommend saving at least six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. If you have variable income, own a business, or own a house, you should save more. To build an emergency fund, set money aside from each paycheck and automate transfers to make the process easier. Give your emergency fund a boost when you receive lump sums such as bonuses or tax refunds. Start by saving one month of living expenses and build from there.
4. You don’t have separate savings for your home
I always advise clients to set aside savings for a home in addition to an emergency fund. It’s a bad idea to start homeownership with no savings. Whether you have unexpected expenses related or unrelated to the home, having no emergency fund after a home purchase will lead to unnecessary stress — and possibly more debt.
When purchasing a home, you’re responsible for a down payment and closing costs. While a 20% down payment is ideal to avoid private mortgage insurance, a down payment of at least 3.5% is typically required. Closing costs can range from 2 to 5% of the home’s value.
Also, you will have moving costs, costs to spruce up your new place (like new furniture or light cosmetic updates), and any initial maintenance and repairs. Be sure to budget for these items to know how much to save on top of your emergency fund. It doesn’t hurt to boost your emergency fund, too, in preparation for homeownership.
5. You have a low savings rate
It’s much easier to develop good savings habits before you have a lot of responsibilities. To get on track for financial independence, several studies show that you should save at least 15% of your income. The longer you wait, the more you’ll need to save.
If your savings rate is low before you purchase a home, it will most likely worsen after becoming a homeowner. Even if your mortgage is similar to your rent, ongoing maintenance and repairs, higher utilities, and homeowners association fees can wreak havoc on your budget.
Take a look at your current savings rate and see if you’re on track for financial independence. If you’re saving less than 15 to 20% of your income, work to improve your savings rate before you consider buying a home. A strong savings habit can help you build your home savings fund faster and ensure that a home purchase doesn’t impede your long-term financial goals. Finally, understand how much house you can afford so you can avoid being house poor.
Buying a home can be rewarding, and when done the right way, it’s a way to build wealth. Before you decide to buy a home, it’s important to understand your numbers and ensure that you’re ready for the commitment. Without preparation, your dream home could be detrimental to your long-term financial goals.
Chloe A. Moore, CFP, is the founder of Financial Staples, a virtual, fee-only financial planning firm based in Atlanta, Georgia and serving clients nationwide.
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