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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


Hard times embolden identity thieves

Unfortunately, as people become increasingly desperate during tough economic times, crime rates rise. What's worse – those being targeted are often in dire financial straits themselves. One of the most financially devastating ways people are victimized is identity theft, where someone...

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Don't skip vacation; just watch the costs

One of the first things many people trim from their budget during economic downturns is vacation. That's unfortunate because stressful times are when we most need to recharge our batteries. Taking on additional debt to finance a vacation is itself stressful,...

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New credit scoring formula rolls out

In the old days, if you paid cash for everything and carried no debt, you were considered a great prospect for a mortgage or car loan. Fast forward a few decades and the rules have changed considerably.Today, your ability to borrow...

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Stimulus bill helps pay for college

Financing college is becoming a little easier, thanks to the 2009 economic stimulus bill. For 2009 and 2010 – perhaps longer, pending Congressional approval – several education assistance programs are being expanded by hundreds of millions of dollars.Here are highlights:Pell Grant...

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Senior prom sticker shock

Forget college – just paying for your kid's senior year in high school can break the bank if you haven't planned carefully. While it's always a challenge to deny your kids enjoyable experiences, today's tough economy is forcing many families to...

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Consider hidden costs before buying a new car

These are interesting times for potential car buyers. Because so many people have become wary of the faltering economy and are avoiding auto showrooms, nervous car manufacturers have been slashing prices, issuing rebates and offering extremely competitive financing terms – at...

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For Mother's Day, help mom get organized

With Mother's Day just around the corner, wouldn't you like to show your appreciation in a way that's more meaningful than buying your mom a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers?Here's a thought: Offer to spend a few hours...

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Global economy gets personal

By simply flapping its wings, a butterfly in the Amazon rainforest can set off an atmospheric chain reaction that will eventually trigger a tornado in Texas – or so says a popular, if highly implausible, explanation for how small actions can...

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New tax breaks for retirees in 2009

It's no news flash that people who invest in the stock market saw their account values drop significantly in the last six months. For those already retired or fast approaching, the impact was especially painful, since it will be much more...

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What the government's stimulus bill means to you

The 2009 economic stimulus bill President Barak Obama signed into law on February 17, 2009, is a whopper, not only in cost ($787 billion) and length (1,070 pages), but also in terms of the vast number of spending and tax-relief programs...

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Insurance coverage you shouldn't do without

Some people looking to reduce expenses drop or trim their insurance coverage, gambling that they won't become sick, have a car accident or suffer a fire or other catastrophe. Unless you've got unlimited savings, however, forgoing adequate insurance could place you...

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Use your tax refund wisely

More and more Americans are filing, and paying, their taxes electronically. The IRS projects the number of individual tax returns filed electronically in 2009 to exceed last year's record of nearly 90 million taxpayers.On the flip side, they'll also receive any...

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Money-saving tips for seniors

Thanks to the rocky economy, most people's retirement savings have taken a beating in the past year. In fact, many folks have been forced to postpone retirement because of their shrinking nest eggs. And, those who've already retired no doubt have...

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Avoid costly penalties for late tax filing

Be forewarned: Income tax season is upon us. Procrastination is probably never a good thing, but when it comes to the IRS, it can be downright expensive. To help keep you on track, I've compiled a few suggestions that can save...

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Military families targets of predatory lending

You've got to hand it to our military personnel: Not only are they often put in harm's way, but they must contend with a host of issues that would be tough under the best of circumstances, including low pay scales and...

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Use children's allowance to teach valuable money skills

When it comes to children's allowances, many parents struggle with which approach to take. Some link allowances to completion of chores; others feel they shouldn't be tied to completing tasks, but rather, be an opportunity for kids to begin to learn...

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Spend less so you can save more

We all know we should set aside money for a rainy day, a house down payment or retirement, but there are always a million reasons why we can't. If this sounds familiar, remember this: To get ahead, you either need to...

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Save money using energy-efficiency tax credits

One of the few bright spots in the current financial crisis is that the government has reinstated federal tax credits for a variety of energy-efficient home improvements you make in They also extended deadlines for solar energy systems and fuel cell...

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Help your parents stay on track financially

In many families, personal financial details aren't always shared freely, especially between generations. But if you're not familiar with your parents' financial situation, you may be doing them – and yourself – a disservice. Even with parents currently in good health,...

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