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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

To Smartphone, or Not to Smartphone?

My wife decided to upgrade her dinosaur cell phone to a "smartphone" and enlisted my Initially, we ran into the brick wall of decisions smartphone shoppers frequently face: How to choose among hundreds of available phones, pick the right service provider...

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Avoid a holiday spending hangover

At this time of year, many people overindulge, whether it's overeating or drinking too much at holiday parties or spending too much on gifts and decorations. You'll regret the former the next morning; but with overspending you may not feel the...

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Choose your charities carefully

Today's tough economy has been doubly hard on non-profit organizations that rely on charitable contributions. Many people feeling the pinch have had to cut back on their donations; and because so many are out of work, charities that assist low-income families...

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Cut Your Taxes

For many, mid-November through New Year's Day is a blur of activity when important tasks get ignored. Who has time to review their benefits and tax paperwork when holiday planning looms overhead? But what if spending a few minutes on such...

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Super Bowl MVP tackles financial illiteracy

Drew Brees' list of accomplishments is long and impressive: New Orleans Saints quarterback. Super Bowl XLIV MVP. Devoted family man. And now, financial literacy champion.Brees cites a personal experience for opening his eyes to the importance of money management."In my NFL...

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Feds strengthen debt settlement rules

When faced with overwhelming debt, many people don't know where to turn: Should they file for bankruptcy, consolidate their debts into one loan or try to settle with creditors for less than they owe? Each approach can be fraught with difficulties...

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Watch out for taxes in retirement

Wouldn't it be nice if, after decades of hard work and saving, you could retire without worrying about paying taxes? Alas, that'll probably never happen.Even if your income drops significantly post-retirement, chances are you'll still be taxed on a portion of...

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Financial responsibilities for the self-employed

Some people go into business for themselves so they can call their own shots; others turn to self-employment after falling victim to today's chronic unemployment rates. But before hanging out your shingle, recognize that you'll be responsible for many things your...

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Be careful when choosing 2011 benefits

In the coming weeks, millions of Americans will receive 2011 employee benefit open enrollment materials. Yes, it's a pain to wade through all that information, but simply opting for your current coverage could prove to be a costly mistake. Here's why:Plan...

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Navigating marriage's financial minefields

As with all challenges in a marriage, often what starts as a small issue can fester and grow into a large problem, given enough time. It's not surprising that after being together a few years, some couples realize that the financial...

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Not a millionaire? Better study gift tax rules

Millionaires can probably skip this column. Most likely they've already got a team of financial professionals advising them about the best ways to pass along their wealth. For the rest of us, however, a quick refresher course on how the IRS...

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When elderly parents need financial guidance

A friend of mine recently realized his mother needed help managing her finances when he found her closets filled with oddball purchases like jalapeno jelly beans and Betty Boop bobblehead dolls. "It was pretty clear that telemarketers were taking advantage of...

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Slash your phone bills

Sometimes I miss the days before cell phones, email and voicemail. Sure, they've simplified our lives in many ways – remember how frustrating it was trying to reach people before answering machines? On the downside, though, not only do we often...

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The financial challenges of divorce

Even in a strong economy, divorce is often difficult and costly; but in a prolonged recession, it can be financially For example, suppose that: Neither spouse can afford to buy out the other and you're forced to sell the house at...

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Final credit card law provisions go live

If you've ever paid a penalty for sending in your credit card payment late, the following news might spark your interest: On August 22, 2010, the Federal Reserve Board implemented the third and final stage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility...

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The high cost of dying

In the past few recessionary years, most of us have gotten used to closely watching our expenses for everything from child rearing to college to retirement funding. Another important area where comparison shopping makes sense is funerals. Yes, funerals. While it...

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Turn the Tooth Fairy into a Teachable Moment

Thanks to cherished family traditions like birthday celebrations and presents from Santa and the Tooth Fairy, today's children are often bombarded with gifts from an early age. In fact, many kids begin cashing in on their baby teeth before they've even...

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Can you afford a new car?

When I was growing up, car manufacturers made a big deal each fall about unveiling next year's models, literally shrouding them in secrecy under tarps in print and TV ads until the launch date. Car-crazy dads would then rush down to...

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Credit 101 for your college freshman

If you've got teenagers heading off to college soon, I hope you've done a good job educating them about the importance of personal financial responsibility and how to build a strong credit history. If not, better do it now. College freshmen...

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Stretch your back-to-school budget

State and local government budget cuts have taken their toll on practically every public service, including school districts. As parents, you're probably already being asked to contribute more and more to fund your children's classroom and extracurricular activities. That means when...

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