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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


Have the 'good debt' vs. 'bad debt' rules changed?

Before the Great Recession of 2008 overturned many long-held financial beliefs, it wasn't uncommon for people to differentiate between "good debt" and "bad debt." The thinking was that certain kinds of debt were worth taking on because you come out ahead...

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The ins and outs of ePayments

Are you ordering far fewer checks for your bank account these days? Does a roll of postage stamps seem to last a lot longer? Like most people, you're probably performing many more financial transactions electronically, either by choice or because companies...

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Get Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment

For senior citizens, the most important decision you will make this fall comes in the form of choosing the most appropriate Medicare coverage options for next year. Medicare's 2013 open enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7, 2012. For...

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Money-saving open enrollment tips

Over the next few weeks, millions of Americans will receive their 2013 open enrollment materials. Although it's tempting to simply check "same as last year," that can be a costly mistake – especially if your employer is offering different benefit plans...

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How to stem the tide of junk mail

Here's more than you ever wanted to know about junk mail: Each year, direct mail creates 10 billion pounds of solid waste in the U.S. and costs local communities more than $1 billion in collection and disposal expenses – not to...

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When Seniors Need Financial Assistance

When the last national census was taken in 2010, 48 percent of the population was classified as poor or low-income (earning less than 200 percent of the poverty level). Anyone who's ever tried to live on a low income knows how...

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High School Grads Need to Understand Credit

If you've got a recent high school graduate who's getting ready to head off to college or join the workforce, let me share a few lessons I learned the hard way about managing personal finances that you can pass along to...

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Social Security Statements Now Available Online

Until last year, Social Security sent taxpayers an annual personalized statement showing a complete record of their taxable earnings as well as estimated retirement, disability and survivor benefits based on those earnings. Unfortunately, budget constraints brought put an end to those...

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When you should file an amended tax return

Not every interaction with the IRS must necessarily induce flop sweat. Case in point: A few years ago a friend of mine decided his income taxes had become sufficiently complicated to merit hiring an accountant. After examining previous tax returns, the...

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How to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

On the fun-o-meter, I'd probably rank back-to-school shopping right above getting a flu shot and preparing income taxes. Never mind the hassle of figuring out what our kids need for the coming school year and dragging them to the mall, it's...

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How to stop annoying telemarketing calls

When the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003 was passed, it was supposed to herald a new era of silence – as in, no more annoying dinner-time telemarketing calls. Based on the number of unsolicited calls our household still receives nearly a...

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What healthcare reform means to you

Much was made of the size and complexity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when President Obama signed it into law in But now that the Supreme Court has upheld much of the act's constitutionality, it's a good time...

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Is the IRS' 'marriage penalty' real?

If your spouse-to-be is considering postponing the wedding because of fears about the so-called "marriage penalty," you two probably have bigger issues than whether you'll have to pay higher taxes as a married couple than when you were single. Having said...

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What happens when you can't pay your medical bills?

It's no secret that health care costs have been spiraling out of control for years. To fight back, your best bet is to be a well-informed consumer: Know the true costs of medical procedures, supplies and medications so you can bargain...

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Why You Need a Social Media Will

By most estimates, over half of adult Americans haven't written a will stating how their assets should be distributed after death. Fewer still have bothered to appoint someone to make financial and health care decisions on their behalf should they become...

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LGBT couples often face additional financial hurdles

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples – and individuals – often face significant financial hurdles compared to their heterosexual counterparts. According to Chris Kollaja, a certified public accountant and partner at A.L. Nella & Company in San Francisco, California, LGBT...

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How to catch a 'Phish'

Their names may sound funny but their financial consequences are not: "Phishing," "smishing," "vishing" and "pharming" are just a few of the ways criminals gain access to personal information via your computer or smartphone. If you're not careful, identity thieves can...

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'Innocent Spouse Relief' protects against tax fraud

I'll wager that when most brides and grooms utter the phrase, ":For better or for worse,": the ":worse": they're imagining probably involves situations like getting laid off or a prolonged family illness – not being the victim of tax fraud perpetrated...

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Improving financial literacy, here and abroad

Would you be surprised to learn that parents in many poorer countries often spend considerably more time talking with their children about money management than in wealthier countries like the United States? I was. That's just one interesting nugget revealed at...

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