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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


Credit card reform goes live

One major piece of legislation President Obama signed last year was the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which made fundamental changes to credit card agreements. Some provisions were adopted last summer, but the bulk of them took effect...

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Tax deadline approaches

April 15 is right around the corner. If a chill just went down your spine, chances are you haven't yet organized your income tax paperwork, let alone filed your return. Even if you can't file or pay your taxes by April...

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Don't count on an inheritance

Earlier this decade, headlines blared that trillions of dollars soon would begin changing hands in the largest wealth transfer in history, as depression-era parents began passing along their nest eggs to Baby Boomer offspring. Fast forward a few years and all...

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Credit score damage control

Although not as unique as fingerprints or snowflakes, credit scores are highly individualized – and often mysterious. Many factors determine your score, which can change overnight depending on everything from last month’s credit card balances, to opening a new account, to...

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Earning higher interest – with a checking account

People stash their money in safe havens such as savings accounts, Treasury Bills and Certificates of Deposit for a variety of reasons. It could be fear of losing money in the stock market, the security of knowing their deposits are government-insured...

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Home weatherproofing aid for low-income families

If you’re plagued by winter drafts and high heating bills but can’t afford to weatherproof your home, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) just might be able to help. Since 1976, WAP has helped protect more than...

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First-time homebuyer tax credit expanded

A key feature in last year’s economic stimulus bill was the federal income tax credit designed to help first-time homebuyers. Now, as part of legislation signed by President Obama in November 2009, that tax credit has been extended – as well...

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New Roth retirement account options in 2010

When deciding whether to save for retirement using a traditional or Roth IRA, many people wrestle with the question, “When I retire, will my tax rate be higher or lower than it is today?” This is a crucial distinction because with...

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New Roth retirement account options in 2010

When deciding whether to save for retirement using a traditional or Roth IRA, many people wrestle with the question, “When I retire, will my tax rate be higher or lower than it is today?” This is a crucial distinction because with...

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Low inflation leaves tax deductions mostly unchanged

When it comes to inflation, 2009 was a good news/bad news kind of year – with a few mixed messages thrown in for good measure.According to one widely used inflation measurement, the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for urban consumers...

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Avoiding deceptive 'opt-out' online scams

Proverbs survive because of their universality. Take the adage, “One bad apple spoils the barrel.” It teaches us that good people (or good businesses) can be tainted by association with those whose actions are perceived as unscrupulous, even if they themselves...

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New program eases student loan repayments

For many professions, the price of admission is higher Unfortunately, college degree costs have skyrocketed, so people often to enter the workforce saddled with massive student loans and monthly loan payments that strain their starting response, the Obama Administration recently launched...

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Financial resolutions you can live with

At this time of year, many people pause to reflect on what they’d like to change about their lives going forward – lose a few pounds, take a class, spend more time with the kids. Often, these goals revolve around personal...

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Rebuilding after bankruptcy

No one takes the decision to declare bankruptcy lightly. Besides being an expensive, time-consuming and awkward process, bankruptcy can have serious and long-lasting impacts on your credit score, which in turn may affect your ability to borrow money, rent an apartment...

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New twist on reverse mortgages

Reverse mortgages have become an increasingly popular way for seniors to keep pace with rising expenses. Typically, people borrow against their home equity and continue to live in the home with no monthly mortgage payment until they move out permanently, sell...

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Make charitable contributions carefully

Getting the most bang for your buck is a badge of honor these days, whether you're car shopping, choosing a college or just comparing loaves of bread. One area where you really don't want to misspend your hard-earned dollars is charitable...

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Be realistic about holiday expenses

When I was a kid, Christmas club savings accounts were quite common. Like their close cousin, the layaway plan, these accounts encouraged people to start saving far in advance for expenses they knew were coming. In these tough economic times, a...

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Don't leave valuable tax breaks on the table

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, try to carve out a few moments for some year-end financial housekeeping. You may be able to save enough money using available tax breaks to pay for all your holiday needs –...

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Choosing the right Medicare drug plan

Prescription drug costs can take a double toll on retirees, who often live on fixed incomes and are also likely to need more – and more costly – medications as they get older. That's why the government created Medicare Part D,...

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Chose employee benefits carefully

Many employers will soon be offering open enrollment for next year's employee benefit coverage. Wading through all that paperwork is a sure-fire cure for insomnia, but considering how much is at stake, you may want to pour another cup of coffee...

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