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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


Teach your kids about interest rates

One of the most valuable financial lessons you can share with your kids before they leave the nest is to explain what interest rates are and how they work. The important financial transactions they'll conduct as adults will likely be affected...

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Having a baby? Get your finances in order

I wouldn't trade the experience of raising my two kids for anything, but I must admit that when my wife and I started planning our family, we had no idea how expensive it would be. According to a Department of Agriculture...

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Smart uses for your tax refund

Each spring, millions of Americans look forward to receiving a hefty income tax refund. And it truly is "hefty" with the average federal refund in 2010 hovering around $3,000. That's a lot of money to be giving the government through what...

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Procrastinators pay

I'm the last person to cast aspersions on anyone who procrastinates, given my own occasional lapses in that area. I'll leave it to the self-help gurus to supply behavior-modification techniques. What I will say, however, is that procrastination can be a...

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Social Security looms for Baby Boomers

Talk about a stampede: The first wave of Baby Boomers begins turning 65 in 2011, which means they'll soon be tapping Social Security retirement benefits, if they haven't already. If you're a Boomer and haven't yet investigated how this program works,...

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Read contracts carefully

How often are you asked to sign something? I don't mean autographs or birthday cards, but legally and financially binding documents – everything from endorsing a check to signing a sales receipt to buying a house. Either way, they're all contracts.In...

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Tax Filing Deadline Looms

Nobody likes being nagged, but I'm going to risk reader displeasure by reminding everyone that there are hefty financial consequences if you owe income taxes and do not file a return on time – or at least request a filing extension....

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Think twice before tapping retirement plans

Before the housing crisis, it wasn't uncommon for people to raid their home-equity piggybanks to pay off bills. Plummeting home values and tougher lending standards helped curb that practice, leading some people to engage in a far more disturbing habit: borrowing...

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Insurance reality check

When it comes to insurance, many people face the Goldilocks dilemma: Am I buying too much coverage, not enough, or just the right amount? How do you determine your proper insurance levels while ensuring you don't waste money on unneeded coverage...

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Transitioning From the Military

Reentering the civilian workforce after a career in the armed forces can be challenging even during the best of times. But with today's economic uncertainty and high unemployment rates, retiring and discharged military personnel may need extra help to develop a...

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Get ready for America Saves Week

So many expenses, so few dollars saved. That's the dilemma faced by millions of Americans – everyone from struggling college students to young families saving for a down payment to baby boomers approaching retirement. During severe recessions, people tend to curtail...

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Don't let a layoff catch you unprepared

Chances are you or someone you know have been laid off recently. Being unemployed is difficult enough, but in a cruel twist, the longer you're out of work, the harder it can be to find a job. And, when work does...

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Understanding Credit Scores

If you've tried to take out a loan or open a new credit account recently, you know that the days of easy credit are long gone. Lenders, insurers and landlords are more diligently scrutinizing your credit history to see if you're...

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Feeling the pinch? Try these belt-tightening tips

Between holiday shopping bills now coming due, increased winter heating bills and the upcoming income tax season, many people are feeling the pinch. Your best bet for getting back on track is probably to trim expenses. Here are several ideas –...

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Get the Most Out of Your Gift Cards

If someone gave you a $50 bill, you probably wouldn't just stick it in a drawer and forget it. But that's essentially what happens to billions of dollars worth of gift cards each year – people either lose or forget about...

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Retirement Contribution Limits Largely Unchanged

You'll probably hate me for bringing this up, but it's time to begin planning for your 2011 taxes – or at least, about the tax implications of your retirement account contributions. For the second year in a row, one widely used...

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Resolve to improve your finances

If you dread making New Year's resolutions because you're afraid you'll fall short, take heart: One minor setback doesn't mean having to write off the rest of the year. You'll probably have more success if you start out with small steps...

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Healthcare Reforms Kick Into Gear

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act President Obama signed on March 23, 2010, set in motion a wide range of healthcare Although many of its more sweeping changes won't be fully activated until 2014, several key elements already went live,...

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Make Sure You Are Cyber Secure

When Ben Franklin famously wrote, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," I'm pretty sure he wasn't warning his readers about the perils of cyber But in today's world of phishing, shoulder-surfing and computer spyware, his advice hits...

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Are your kids ready for a cell phone?

If your preteen child hasn't hit you up yet for a cell phone, you're among a rare breed indeed. Studies have found that roughly 70 percent of 11- to 14-year-olds now use cell phones. Closer to home, our 10-year-old has been...

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