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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


Who's Afraid of the Alternative Minimum Tax?

Year after year, Congress keeps kicking meaningful income tax reform down the road. Consequently, taxpayers continue to be stuck with an archaic, overly complicated mess that pleases no one – except perhaps some tax accountants who charge by the hour.A prime...

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Over 70 ½? Don't Forget Mandatory IRA Withdrawals

With final holiday preparations looming, the last thing anyone wants to think about is next April's tax bill. But if you're over 70 ½ and have any tax-deferred retirement accounts (like an IRA), put down the wrapping paper and listen up:...

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Watch Out for Potholes in Your Car Insurance

Would you be surprised to learn that if your laptop gets stolen during a car break-in, your automobile insurance probably won't reimburse you for the loss? Don't be. Many people have only a vague idea of things like: what their car...

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Don't Let Cyber Grinches Ruin Your Holidays

I'm usually in too much of a Thanksgiving food coma to hit the sales on Black Friday, but millions of other Americans somehow find the Last year, 89 million people took advantage of Black Friday sales (57 million of them online),...

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Understanding the 'Kiddie Tax'

For something whose nickname sounds so innocent, the "kiddie tax" certainly can wreak havoc on unprepared taxpayers' yearly returns. Congress first introduced the kiddie tax as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to discourage wealthy parents from sheltering their...

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Choosing the Right Home Alarm System

Although I take a certain amount of comfort from statistics that show major declines in most types of crime throughout the U.S., I also know that burglaries have increased in areas surrounding my neighborhood over the last few years. I was...

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GI Bill Eases College Costs for Military Families

As Veteran's Day approaches, this is a good time to remind our active duty service members and veterans about the many education assistance benefits available to them through the G.I. Bill and other government programs. Here's a rundown of a few...

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Don't Ignore Tax Deduction for Moving Expenses

Whether you're relocating across town or across the country, moving is expensive. By the time you've paid to have your household goods packed and moved, cancelled and reconnected utilities and racked up storage fees, you could easily be out thousands of...

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Don't Leave Tax Breaks on the Table

If someone told you there's a way for you to potentially save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars on your income taxes by simply spending a few minutes reviewing your benefits and tax paperwork, would you think it sounds...

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Reevaluate Your Benefits Needs During Open Enrollment

If you're among the 170 million Americans who receive health insurance through an employer-provided plan, you'll probably receive your 2014 open enrollment materials shortly. Although it's a pain to wade through all that information, simply opting for your current coverage could...

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Lower Income? Don't Pass up the Saver's Credit

In 2002, Congress passed legislation to create an income tax credit designed to encourage lower- and middle-income people to save money for retirement. The saver's credit, worth up to $1,000 a year for individuals ($2,000 for couples filing jointly), rewards people...

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Seniors: Be on High Alert for Scams

I look forward to the day when we no longer need to warn senior citizens about scams designed to separate them from their hard-earned money. I'm not holding my breath, however. According to the FBI, senior citizens make attractive targets for...

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Don't Dawdle on Student Loan Search

Millions of young Americans recently began their senior year of high If your kid is among them, he or she is probably busy juggling homework, extracurricular activities and maybe a part-time job – all while trying to savor the last official...

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How to Survive an IRS Audit

Few events inspire more dread than an IRS tax audit. Even if you're confident you've accounted for every cent of income and only taken legitimate deductions, it's hard not to worry what a close examination of your tax returns might uncover...

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Beware of the Pitfalls of Public Wi-Fi

Ever notice how many people walk down the street completely engrossed in their smartphones and tablets? I fully expect to see one of them to walk into a light post one Although it's great having access to email, social networking and...

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Traffic Tickets Can Ruin More Than Your Day

We all know that sinking feeling when you get pulled over for a traffic violation. If you're lucky, you might just get a "fix-it" ticket for a broken tail light. But what if it was a more serious offense, like speeding...

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Honoring Grandparents Who Raise Their Grandkids

In 1978, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. Presidents since Jimmy Carter have issued proclamations urging citizens to, in the words of President Barack Obama, "honor those who have helped shape the character...

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Should You Become Executor of Someone's Estate?

One of the most important decisions you'll make when writing your will is determining who should be named executor of your estate. Even if you're just leaving behind household goods and a small savings account, someone – whether appointed by you...

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Coping with Expensive Kids' Extracurricular Activities

When budgeting for back-to-school expenses, parents generally include routine fare like clothes, school supplies and maybe a new backpack. But if your kids participate in extracurricular activities, whether it's sports, music lessons or art classes, you could be on the hook...

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Steer Clear of Auto Repair Scams

If you feel frustrated or intimidated whenever you take your car in for repairs, you're not alone. According to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau, auto repair fraud consistently ranks among the top consumer complaints they receive.Although most...

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