Lou's Feed
May 2, 2013

Speed your home sale by shooting a YouTube video

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Nicholas Kennedy was in a rush to sell his condo in Sherman Oaks, California. He and his wife have a 3-month-old girl, and the couple wanted to be close to their families in the Dallas, Texas area.

So they met with area real estate agent Ben Salem about quickly offloading their 4-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath unit. Salem had some conventional suggestions – and one that surprised them.

Apr 9, 2013
Apr 8, 2013
Apr 4, 2013
Feb 13, 2013

Tax-free Coverdell savings accounts saved by Congress

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Coverdell education savings accounts have never really drawn many headlines, even when unexpectedly saved from extinction as part of Washington’s “fiscal cliff” deal.

Much like the 529 college savings programs that are familiar to many people, Coverdell ESAs are accounts where earnings grow tax-free, as long as withdrawals are used for qualified education expenses such as books, supplies or transportation.

Jan 22, 2013

Eight ways to improve your home appraisal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Kellie and Michael May decided to refinance their home in the New York suburbs, they wanted to take advantage of historically low interest rates. But before landing a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, they had to get through a home appraisal.

“It was a major stumbling block,” says Kellie May, who has owned the 4-bedroom, 3-bath colonial for seven years. Not that she and her husband were unprepared; they’d been through an appraisal for another refinance in 2010, so they knew to point out improvements they’d made to the 3,400 square foot home, and supply prices for other neighborhood properties that had sold recently.

Jan 8, 2013

Three approaches for managing pre-Obamacare healthcare costs

New York, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Having just earned his master’s
degree in written communication, Eric Kaplan should feel
triumphant. But his academic success has been tempered by a
failure outside the classroom: He can’t find health insurance he
can afford on his earnings as a freelance writer.

Like many other Americans waiting for key provisions of the
Affordable Care Act to kick in, Kaplan, 32, of Chicago, is
adopting a novel strategy for protecting his health. He applied
for another master’s degree, this time in social work, because
his target school offers health insurance to students.

Dec 19, 2012

How to help military families at the holidays

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The December holidays stretch the budgets of the most financially secure families, but they pose special challenges for military personnel, their spouses and kids.

From frequent moves and post-deployment unemployment to disability and post-traumatic stress, many obstacles loom as these families struggle just to make ends meet, let alone have a joyous holiday celebration.

Dec 5, 2012

Guilt or gratitude? Tales of the holiday tip

NEW YORK, Dec 5 (Reuters) – After seven years as a New York
City hotel concierge and 10 years running a concierge firm,
Michael Fazio certainly has his opinions on how to appropriately
tip during the holidays. But if you think he recommends playing
Santa Claus with every service employee who crosses your path,
guess again. (Neither does he espouse a Scrooge philosophy.)

As you come to grips with how much to tip people for the
holidays, your own finances should be the main consideration. To
keep control of spending and give appropriate gifts to the right
people in your life, you need to plan ahead.

Nov 16, 2012

Your money: Avoid making a bigger mess with a post-Sandy cleanup

NEW YORK (Reuters) – With superstorm Sandy causing an estimated $50 billion in damages, residents of the U.S. Northeast region face untold months of home repair and rebuilding. Even home improvement experts like Tom Kraeutler were affected, although the New Jersey shore resident fared much better than his neighbors.

“Thankfully, we had installed a natural gas-powered standby generator years ago,” says Kraeutler, an author and co-host of “The Money Pit” radio program. “It ran for seven days straight and kept most of the home’s essential circuits going.”

    • 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:
      Bob Briner Impact Award, Biola University, 2007
      Chicago Tribune Innovator Award, 2005
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