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Financial Education for Everyone

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Practical Money Matters

Visa’s Practical Money Matters column delivers expert personal finance tips to consumers of all ages in English and Spanish. The article series has been syndicated nationwide in 500 U.S. newspapers and a Huffington Post blog. Topics include saving, budgeting, credit & debt, life events, taxes, retirement, insurance and more.

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PMM Articles


Tax Deadlines Are Real

Congress could well debate the debt ceiling, tax reform and other important economic issues until the cows come home, but one thing's for sure: If you don't pay your income taxes – or at least file for an extension – by...

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Prepare Now for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are inevitable, unpreventable and often come without warning. No part of the world seems to be spared, whether it's a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, drought or flood. Even though such catastrophes can't always be predicted, their likely aftermaths often can,...

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Should You Hire a Tax Preparer?

The U.S. tax code grows more complicated every year and currently spans thousands of pages – even government experts can't agree exactly how long it is. So it's not surprising that millions of Americans hire professional tax preparers to complete their...

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When Retiring Together Doesn't Make Sense

Back when people from my parents' generation were first planning their lives together, most married couples looked forward to working hard for a few decades, buying a house, raising a family and then retiring together while they still had enough money...

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Must-have Insurance Plans

Many people adopt a "penny wise, pound foolish" mentality when it comes to buying insurance. When trying to lower expenses, some will drop or reduce needed coverage, gambling that they won't become seriously ill, suffer a car accident or fall victim...

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Avoiding Tax Refund Identity Fraud

Many people file their income tax returns as early in the year as possible. Some are eager to claim their tax refund right away, while others are simply following their New Year's resolution not to procrastinate until midnight, April 15. Let...

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With Investments, Diversifying Is Key

Ever wonder why Mom and Pop stores sell wildly unrelated products side by side, like umbrellas and sunglasses, or Halloween candy and screwdrivers? Customers probably would never buy these items on the same shopping trip, right?That's exactly the point. By diversifying...

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Keeping Funeral Costs Affordable

Anyone who's put a loved one to rest knows that death is not cheap. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average adult funeral cost $6,560 in 2009 (their most current data). That doesn't include such common add-ons as a...

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Avoid These Home-seller Mistakes

Now that the housing market has finally begun to stabilize and interest rates remain at historically low levels, more and more homebuyers and sellers are dipping their toes back in the water. If you're planning to sell your home, you need...

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Women and personal finances

By many measures, women's lives have changed substantially in recent decades. According to a comprehensive government report called "Women in America" (www.whitehouse.gov/data-on-women), although certain social and economic situations for women have improved, when it comes to personal finances, many women still...

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Helping the 'Unbanked' Get Affordable Financial Services

According to a recent survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the U.S. Census Bureau, 17 million American adults now live in "unbanked" households, while another 51 million are considered "underbanked." In other words, over 28 percent of households either...

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Retirement Plan Limits Increase in 2013

Benjamin Franklin once declared, "Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Although I don't have any updates on the former, where taxes are concerned I do have news: As it does every year, the Internal Revenue Service...

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Resolve to Be Financially Secure in 2013

When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, getting into good shape financially ranks right up there with losing weight and eating healthier. All three goals require discipline and planning; and, as you've no doubt experienced, it's not unusual to encounter...

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Error on Your Credit Report? Here's Help

If you've ever tried to remove inaccurate of fraudulent information from your credit report and gotten the runaround, take heart: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now on the case. In July 2012, the watchdog agency, formed as a result of...

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Understanding 401(k) Fees

If you're like many Americans – 71 percent, according to an AARP survey – you might be under the impression that your 401(k) plan administrator doesn't charge you anything to maintain your account. You'd be wrong. In fact, these companies typically...

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Last-minute ways to trim your taxes

From now until New Year's is probably when you have the least amount of time to spare on mundane financial bookkeeping tasks. But if you can dedicate a few minutes to review your benefits and tax paperwork, you might be able...

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Cut your holiday expenses

The closer the holidays loom, the less time harried families have to buy gifts, plan seasonal events and make travel arrangements. Unfortunately, when time is at a premium and you're forced to make last-minute decisions, it's usually your budget that suffers....

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'Tis the season for donating money

Like many other economic measures, charitable donations in the U.S. have yet to bounce back to pre-recession levels. According to Giving USA's Annual Report on Philanthropy, charitable contributions totaled $298.4 billion in 2011 – up 4 percent from 2010, but still...

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Young adults: Avoid these privacy red flags

Young adults applying for college or preparing to enter the workforce are sometimes shocked to find out that that certain behaviors that were either tolerated or ignored when they were younger now fall under closer scrutiny and could actually hurt their...

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Tax breaks, benefits available to military families

As we honor our armed forces this Veterans Day, let's also acknowledge the financial challenges they and their families often face, both while in service and after discharge. Fortunately, service members needn't go it alone: Many tax benefits, social services and...

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