4 ways to disaster-proof your homeowners insurance policy

Pat Mertz Esswein, Associate Editor, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance •
Kiplinger

One-half to two-thirds of homeowners who experience a total loss don’t have enough insurance to rebuild their home and replace their belongings, according to post-disaster surveys of homeowners by United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group. Thankfully, most homeowners never experience a total loss. But when a catastrophic loss does occur, the gap in coverage can

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First home was their vacation home

ALISON BOWEN •
Chicago Tribune

Mary McCarthy wasn’t sure she wanted to buy a condo in Old Town. While considering a change from renting to owning, she loved her apartment but remembers thinking, “What I want at 29 is probably not what I want at 35.” But what was she sure wouldn’t change? Her lifelong goal to be able to

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How to keep your home cool without going broke

Kiplinger.com, Online Editor, and Andrea Browne Taylor •
Kiplinger

Keeping cool can prove costly. The average electric bill tops $400 during the summer, according to government estimates, with air conditioning accounting for much of the expense. The simplest way to lower your home’s cooling costs is to raise the temperature on your thermostat. Setting it at between 76 and 78 degrees can reduce your

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How to design an outdoor room

Danielle Braff •
Chicago Tribune

If you have a deck, a patio, a yard or even a small slice of outdoor space with some fresh air, then you have an opportunity to expand your living space. Today, outdoor furniture has become much more than uncomfortable deck sets and ugly reclining chairs. Here are the essentials you need to know for

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3 questions to ask before buying a home

Unique Financial Advisors, Founder & President, CFP™, and Vid Ponnapalli •
Kiplinger

You found your “dream home,” fell in love and are ready to sign the contract. Not so fast. This is a huge investment, and perhaps a long-term commitment. So, step back, and ask yourself: What, if anything, stands between you and your dream home? Here are three questions you should ask yourself before you make

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