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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.”

Nov 16, 2012

Avoid making a bigger mess with a post-Sandy cleanup

NEW YORK, Nov 16 (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.”

Nov 8, 2012

Sandy’s victims could spend billions out of pocket

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leave it to a financial adviser like Christopher Clayton of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, to keep a running tab on how much Superstorm Sandy has cost him out of his own pocket — money that no insurance company or federal emergency agency is going to cover.

Clayton says he is looking at close to $7,500 in expenses, and he’s still counting. He paid $2,000 to clear the cracked portion of a 100-year-old tree from his yard; his homeowner’s insurance only covers removal if the tree hit his house. There was the $700 in extra child care and close to $5,000 in lost business, in part because he’s been without a personal assistant for close to a week — she got stranded on Long Island during the storm and wasn’t able to get into the office for days.

Oct 31, 2012

A startup hub emerges in Chicago

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – Bernhard Kappe, the chief executive officer of Chicago’s Pathfinder Software, steps up to a dry erase board and draws a crude graph, its slope curves upward. Then he plots a point in the middle to show where the city’s web entrepreneurs stand in terms of growth and progress.

“These things take 20 years to get to maturity, and they’re not linear,” says Kappe, who’s also an executive director of the Chicago Lean Startup Circle, a group that fosters local website development. “But we’re six to seven years in, and definitely in an acceleration stage.”

Oct 10, 2012

Freelance? An IRS audit may be in your future

(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Lou Carlozo

(Reuters) – This past New Year’s Eve, any impulse I had to ring in 2012 on a high note was drowned out by alarm bells from Uncle Sam.

On that day, my wife and I received separate eight-page letters from the Internal Revenue Service informing us that we were being audited for the 2009 tax year. It was, to say the least, no cause for breaking out champagne and noisemakers. In fact, it seemed like a cruel twist: 2009 was the year I was laid off by the Chicago Tribune after 16 years of full-time employment. I then entered the freelance ranks, where I’ve remained ever since.

Oct 5, 2012

Rambling retirees trade homes for boats, RVs, sofas

NEW YORK, Oct 5 (Reuters) – At 68, Barbara Miller Elegbede
is living proof that flower children need not grow up.

A self-described hippie, she attended a San Francisco
college at psychedelia’s height and remembers friends constantly
crashing on the couch of her apartment, just a block away from
Janis Joplin’s pad in the hip Castro neighborhood.

Oct 4, 2012
    • 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."
      Hometown:
      Chicago
      Joined Reuters:
      2011
      Languages:
      French
      Awards:
      Bob Briner Impact Award, Biola University, 2007
      Chicago Tribune Innovator Award, 2005
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