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Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

Should I Trust an Article Such as “Five Awesome Value Stocks?”

Articles that list “great value” buys should be food for thought, but may not put food on your table. Value stocks are those with low Price to Earnings ratios. To say that a particular Value Stock has an “Awesome” value is to say that it has been significantly undervalued by the market. While sometimes the market is ignorant of the growth potential and strong fundamentals of a particular company, the author of such an article would have you believe there is a great big crystal ball in his office. Continue reading...

What is a Variable Annuity?

Variable annuities generally provide investors with downside protection for a fee (the insurance guarantee), while also providing market exposure that may give the investor upside potential. A variable annuity is characterized by offering market exposure, and the risk and upside potential that comes with it, in the form of “separate accounts” which are institutional-level mirrors of retail mutual funds. Typically a variable annuity will not deplete the amount of your initial investment with sales charges, and may even credit your annuity with an initial bonus amount of several percent. Continue reading...

What is “efficient market hypothesis”?

What is “efficient market hypothesis”?

The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) states that it is impossible to beat the market consistently over time, since all available information is priced efficiently into stock prices. But what the EMH misses is the impact that sentiment can have on price discrepancies in the short-term. Emotions can lead to gross mis-valuations (as we saw with the tech bubble in 2000), and market corrections can see stocks selling off dramatically for no fundamental reason. Continue reading...

What does Bid Mean?

When you make a ‘buy offer’ on a stock or other security in the financial markets, you are making a Bid. A Bid offer in terms of financial markets is the price offered by an investor or trader for a security. A market maker will try to reconcile Bid offers (the highest prices that buyers are willing to pay) with Ask offers (the lowest price that a seller is willing to accept). Match the Bid and the Ask offers, and you’ve got a trade. Continue reading...

What is the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index?

The Lehman Aggregate Bond Index is a broad bond index, widely considered the best total bond market index to track performance across various types of bonds. The index includes government bonds, mortgage backed securities, corporate bonds, and asset backed securities with maturities greater than a year. It is used by many money managers as a measuring stick for tracking the relative performance of a managed bond portfolio. Continue reading...

What is Accommodative Monetary Policy?

Accommodative monetary policy is when a central bank makes it easier for banks and consumers to borrow money by lowering the interbank exchange rate. A central bank, such as the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, can influence the economy by loosening or tightening the money supply. Loosening the money supply is known as accommodative policy, because it give the businesses and individuals in the country access to a higher degree of liquidity. Continue reading...

What is Cash Accounting?

Cash Accounting is the accounting method where only finalized transactions are documented. Larger, publicly traded companies are actually not allowed to use Cash Accounting because it can’t keep up with all the Payable, Receivables, and so forth that large companies have to keep on their books. Instead, larger companies are required by the SEC to use Accrual Accounting, which makes ledger entries for cash that has not yet be paid or received, among other things. Continue reading...

What is the Broadening Top (Bearish) Pattern?

What is the Broadening Top (Bearish) Pattern?

The Broadening Top pattern forms when a security price makes higher highs (1, 3, 5) and lower lows (2, 4) following two widening trend lines. The price is expected to move up or down past the pattern depending on which line is broken first. What distinguishes a Broadening Top from a Broadening Bottom is that the price of the security is rising prior to entering the pattern formation. This type of formation happens when volatility is high or increasing, and when a security’s price is moving with high volatility but little or no direction. It indicates growing investor nervousness and indecisiveness. Continue reading...

Who Created Ethereum?

Who Created Ethereum?

Who would have thought that a 19-year-old from Toronto could write a whitepaper nearly as influential as Satoshi Nakamoto’s (Bitcoin founder)? A few years after Bitcoin’s launch, a young programmer and student of blockchain technology named Vitalik Buterin wrote a whitepaper imagining the Ethereum platform. While Bitcoin’s blockchain was primarily designed to handle transaction information, Ethereum is designed to offer a blockchain protocol for anything that can be programmed, which includes wh... Continue reading...