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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


Accidents happen: Get your affairs in order

Recently, a man stepping off a curb near my office was struck and killed by a passing bus. Only 49, he clearly had many productive years ahead. Reading about it reminded me how quickly unexpected accidents can turn your family upside...

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Federal Student Loan Program Changes

My wife recently enrolled in graduate school, so like millions of other Americans we've paid close attention to news about student loan programs. One recent example: A key component of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act will result in several...

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Financial help for seniors

Senior citizens and others living on a fixed or low income know how difficult it is to make ends meet, especially when costs for essentials like health care, food and energy increase faster than their sources of income. Here are a...

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When does home remodeling make financial sense?

My wife and I survived two major home remodeling projects and we've got the battle scars to prove it. Like most people feeling cramped for space – thanks to two growing children in our case – we weighed the plusses and...

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Know when to claim tax credits, deductions

Tax credits and tax deductions are two common ways people lower their income tax bills. Although similar in intention, these two tax-reduction methods have fundamental differences and are not interchangeable. Knowing the difference can have a big impact on your bottom...

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Tackling your kids' summer boredom

With millions of American schoolchildren starting summer vacation, cries of "I'm bored" will soon ring out across the nation. Swimming lessons and trips to the mall can fill only so many hours. Before you give up and hand over the TV...

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Understanding Roth 401(k) plans

Ever since Individual Retirement Accounts were introduced in the 1970s, the numbers of tax-advantaged retirement savings options – and participants – have continued to grow. One relatively new alternative that's gaining popularity is the Roth 401(k) plan.401(k)s are retirement savings plans...

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Online job search tools

For those reentering the job market after decades of employment, you should know that the rules have changed considerably since you were last looking for a job. Fifteen years ago, online job sites were in their infancy; now thousands of sites...

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Before 'I do,' take these financial vows

With wedding season right around the corner, a lot of soon-to-be brides and grooms are frantically nailing down their wedding and honeymoon plans. Before you marry and mingle your finances, be sure to carve out time for some candid conversations about...

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Protect your personal information on vacation

This is the time of year when many people finalize their summer vacation plans – confirming travel and lodging reservations, dusting off suitcases and looking for games to occupy the kids on long road trips. Just be sure that when your...

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Help mom get her finances on track

Mother's Day provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate your love and appreciation for the moms in your life. So buys flowers and make dinner reservations, or whatever your custom is. But before too many days pass, schedule a "reality check" conversation...

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Is the government holding your unclaimed money?

Considering how frequently many people move, switch jobs and change their names, it's not surprising that state treasuries and other agencies are sitting on more than $33 billion in unclaimed assets. That doesn't even include billions of dollars in unredeemed U.S....

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Financial etiquette in the new economy

For many people, 2009 was a bumpy ride. Although the economy is slowly rebounding, times are still tough for those dealing with significant financial issues such as unemployment, lack of health insurance or foreclosure. We all want to offer friends emotional...

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Big tax refunds can be costly

This is the season for income taxes – and income tax refunds. According to the IRS, nearly 78 million people received federal tax refunds in 2009 averaging $2,705. If you're one of those folks, it may be tempting to think of...

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Financial aid for special needs children

Raising a family is challenging, even under the best circumstances. For those with special needs children, however, the emotional – and financial – stakes are raised dramatically. Medical bills and specialized care often far outweigh normal costs. Fortunately, many government programs...

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Wealth Watchers

Anyone who's ever tried to lose a few pounds knows that not every diet works for every person. Similarly, it may take a few tries to find a system for managing your personal finances that you can stick to. For many...

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Understanding Medicare

Most people are somewhat familiar with Medicare, since it's likely they or a family member are already covered by the government-provided health insurance program. But with its alphabet soup of options and complex rules, Medicare can be daunting to the uninitiated.If...

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Identity thieves' latest scams

If the financial consequences weren't so damaging, you might almost find humor in how identity theft has butchered the English language in recent "Phishing," "pharming" and "vishing" are just a few ways criminals access personal information they'll use to open illicit...

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Diversify your investments

Unless you raise chickens, the literal meaning of “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” probably doesn’t apply. But we all know what the phrase implies: Don’t deposit all your money in one investment vehicle or you may risk losing...

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