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Jan 12, 2012

10 free checking accounts for the unbanked

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – The unbanked make up 7.7 percent of U.S. households, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and they are sitting ducks for celebrity-pitched prepaid cards, costly check-cashing services and other costly options.

Households without checking accounts – typically made up of young people, those living paycheck-to-paycheck or consumers with poor credit histories – not only pay more of those fees, they lack many of the consumer protections that bank accounts carry. The newly-activated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is going to take on some of those services, but it still would be better for most of those people to have actual bank accounts for safety and convenience.

Jan 3, 2012

Real estate pros find hope, hot spots for 2012

Jan 3 (Reuters) – This new year might be the one in which
the housing market starts to strengthen, according to the 2012
predictions of several housing industry observers and
experts.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia.com, a real estate
search and research website, says he sees rising rents, a
humble recovery in housing prices and even some unexpected
“hot” spots where he thinks price increases will exceed the
average this year.

Dec 28, 2011

Limited-time offer: Hurry for savings bond deals, certificates

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – As the times and technology advance, once-essential parts of our lives turn into pop cultural relics, from transistor radios to cell phones the girth of six-inch subs.

Now add the once ubiquitous paper U.S. savings bond, which will no longer be sold as of Sunday, January 1. That’s enough for some folks to make a pre-New Year’s Eve dash to the bank or credit union.

Dec 28, 2011

Limited-time offer: Savings bond deals, certificates

Dec 28 (Reuters) – As the times and technology advance,
once-essential parts of our lives turn into pop cultural
relics, from transistor radios to cell phones the girth of
six-inch subs.

Now add the once ubiquitous paper U.S. savings bond, which
will no longer be sold as of Sunday, January 1. That’s enough
for some folks to make a pre-New Year’s Eve dash to the bank or
credit union.

Dec 28, 2011
Dec 27, 2011
Dec 23, 2011

How to make a fortune after 50

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – At an age when others might ready for pre-retirement, some folks pass age 50 determined to start a new life in the business world – and succeed beyond their rosiest business plan projections.

In a sequel to our October piece that looked at wealthy whiz kids (see link.reuters.com/dug75s), Reuters spoke with four entrepreneurs who have created successful businesses after 50. And take note: Three of the four leaders featured here are women, having shattered the twin glass ceilings of gender and age.

Dec 21, 2011

Sending out 2011 with a rush on flexible spending

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – If you needed a clue that Chicago’s Eye Spy Optical does brisk business in late December – the time when many healthcare flexible spending accounts expire for American employees – just take a look at its storefront in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood.

You’ll see three signs alerting passersby to spend those flex dollars, including a sandwich board that warns: “Use it or lose it. Only – days until Flex Spending Account Deadline!!”

Dec 14, 2011

A more animated explanation of annuities, this one from a duck

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – Warning: This article concerns annuities, long treated by many consumers as the bottomless bowl of cold oatmeal at the personal finance breakfast bar.

But it gets better – promise – or at least more entertaining, because this story begins with an animated cow and a Mallard duck riding choppers on a desert highway a la Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda singing the praises of complex retirement financial products.

Dec 12, 2011

Collectors evolving into ‘passionate investors’

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – Dennis Varni remembers buying his first car, a 1931 Ford Model A, more than a half century ago when he was 14. It cost him $45 and to amass that princely sum, he picked fruit, hawked his model train set and even sold the clothes off his back.

Now 67 and retired from owning several successful businesses, Varni no longer sweats scrimping and saving to buy motor vehicles. In fact, his collection of 65 cars and 13 motorcycles, valued at $10 million, has bolstered his bottom line at a heart-racing pace.

    • About Lou

      "Lou Carlozo most recently served as the managing editor at WalletPop.com, AOL's personal finance website. He also wrote and created "The Recession Diaries" column at the Chicago Tribune, where he served as an editor and staff writer for 16 years. The author of a journalism textbook and an adjunct professor at National-Louis University, Carlozo is the lead popular music critic for Christian Century magazine, a contributor to Downbeat magazine and also writes the "Green Dad" column for DealNews.com. The opinions expressed are his own."
      Joined Reuters:
      2011
      Languages:
      French
      Awards:
      Bob Briner Impact Award, Biola University, 2007
      Chicago Tribune Innovator Award, 2005
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