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What is the Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax, Individuals?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 6251 is used to calculate the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for individuals who may have high income but relatively low taxes due after deductions. The individual first computes his or her adjusted gross income, which does not allow for some deductions that may have been taken for the tax filing. If the AMT is higher than the taxes already paid, the individual will have to pay the difference. Continue reading...

What are Housing Bonds?

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 took several steps to patch up the housing market after the subprime meltdown, one of which was the authorization of states and municipalities to issue mortgage revenue bonds (MRBs) which they could then use to help local lending institutions fund mortgages for lower-income Americans. Housing bonds are issued by state and local governments as a way to raise revenue that can help local banks and lending institutions fund mortgage loans to the community. Continue reading...

What is a Bond Purchase Agreement?

If a municipality or company decides to issue bonds, they will need to form an alliance with an underwriting entity to help them price and distribute the bonds, and the Purchase Agreement outlines their contract. Underwriters on debt issues are normally large investment banks. They help the issuer, which could be a city government or company, structure the bonds and price them in a way that is suitable to their needs, and also agrees to help them distribute them. Continue reading...

What is Minimum Margin?

Minimum margin is the minimum amount needed to open a margin account. The custodian or broker typically sets the minimum margin, but it cannot be for any less than the $2,000 required by the NYSE and NASD. What is 'Buying on Margin' and Margin Trading? What is a Margin Account? Continue reading...

What is an Alternative Trading System (ATS)?

An ATS is a platform separate from an exchange where securities are traded. ATSs provide marketplaces for buyers and sellers to transact in securities, much like a stock exchange. However, they are not available to the entire investment public, and they do not necessarily provide public information on the best prices available to traders within their system. They also do not set rules governing the conduct of subscribers and they perform no self-regulation, while exchanges perform all of these functions. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical hedge fund?

What is the minimum investment in a typical hedge fund?

Hedge funds can require initial investments that are quite large. This may be somewhere between $250,000 to $10,000,000. They will generally only accept Accredited Investors, meaning high net worth individuals that pass SEC standards which exempt the fund from some reporting and disclosure requirements. While the minimum investment varies, most Hedge Funds will accept only so-called accredited investors. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical venture capital fund?

What is the minimum investment in a typical venture capital fund?

Minimum investments in venture capital funds tend to be vast sums of money. They tend to be for $1 million or more but can be as low as $250,000. As with hedge funds, the minimum investment is very steep and suitable only for accredited investors and qualified buyers. A typical minimum investment in a VC fund varies between $1 to $5 million, but it can be over $25 million. Most of the investments in venture capital funds are made in terms of commitments: you commit a certain amount of money, and when a venture capital fund finds an appropriate investment, it makes a “call” on you to deposit the money with them, perhaps in increments over a period of several years. Continue reading...

How Much Should I Withdraw from my Retirement Accounts Once I Retire?

How Much Should I Withdraw from my Retirement Accounts Once I Retire?

A general rule-of-thumb is to withdraw no more than 4% of your retirement savings per year. Since your retirement money has to last you for the rest of your life (and in most cases, your spouse’s), it’s extremely important to carefully calculate how much you can withdraw each year without risking running out of money. Retirees should avoid withdrawing more than 4% of your total retirement assets in any given year, and that’s assuming that your assets are invested for growth over time (with some equity exposure). Continue reading...

What is the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)?

The Federal Unemployment Tax Act was passed in 1939, and it set up trust funds for the purpose of providing unemployment insurance. Businesses, not individuals, are taxed to provide funds for the program. There are 53 state funds (including D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), 4 federal accounts, and 2 associated with railroad retirement. The Federal Unemployment Tax helps states fund their own unemployment programs. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow After Taxes?

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is nearly the same thing as EBITDA, but with taxes left in. One way to arrive at Cash Flow After Taxes is to take the net income of the business and add in interest, amortization, depreciation and other non-cash expenses. This is one item away from the formula for EBITDA, which also adds tax back in to arrive at the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Start Taking Money Out of My IRA?

The IRS requires IRA owners to take distributions starting at age 70 ½. By April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 ½, the IRS needs to see a distribution from your IRA that satisfies the Required Minimum Distribution rule. The RMD is calculated using a table published by the IRS, and each age is assigned a different “factor.” The factor is a number, and you divide the balance of your IRA or 401(k) by that number to reveal the amount that will satisfy your RMD obligation. The factor decreases incrementally as the ages increase. Continue reading...

What is a Life Income Fund?

What is a Life Income Fund?

Life Income Funds (LIFs) are available to Canadians who have left a job before retirement and who are entitled to a sum of money in their pension plan. LIFs offer some flexibility, more than some other alternatives, but the amount that can be withdrawn at a time is limited to a minimum and maximum. The former employee could choose to leave the funds in the pension plan, or to use one of the alternatives to LIFs, which include a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), which is provincially-regulated, or a Locked-In Retirement Savings Plan (LRSP), which is federally regulated. LIRAs and LRSPs do not permit regular withdrawals, and are seen as savings vehicles rather than income vehicles. Continue reading...

What is Income Property?

An income property is also called an investment property, which is a piece of developed commercial or residential real estate that is used by a third party tenant who makes rental or lease payments for the use of it. Income property can be a good source of income for an individual or business. It can include single- or multi-family residential or commercial properties. Sometimes people co-own income properties together, and receive a proportionate share of the proceeds according to the amount of the start-up capital they paid in. Continue reading...

What are Required Minimum Distributions?

RMDs are withdrawals that are mandatory for an individual to take from an IRA or 401(k) after the person has reached 70 ½. The government created laws that help and encourage people to save for their retirement by deferring taxes on the growth on certain qualified retirement investment accounts. On Traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, they are only waiting to get the tax revenue from distributions/withdrawals that are fully taxable as income. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Limits for a Roth IRA?

If you are eligible to make Roth IRA contributions, you can fund an account for yourself and a non-working spouse, up to the contribution limits. As of 2016, if you are under 50 years old, you are allowed to contribute $5,500 a year to your Roth IRA. If you have a spouse, even if he or she does not work, you can make contributions into an account for him or her, up to the full limit. For two people, that means $11,000 a year can be set aside each year. Continue reading...

How can I invest in hedge funds?

How can I invest in hedge funds?

Fund managers are allowed to accept up to 35 non-accredited investors, but for the most part you will either need to satisfy the “accredited investor” requirement of the SEC to invest directly in a hedge fund. Otherwise, there are now hedge fund indexes and ETFs that track and mimic hedge fund strategies that are accessible to everyone. You should know now that the minimum initial investment requirement to participate in a hedge fund can be quite large, such as upwards of $1 million. Continue reading...

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a 401(k)-style plan for Federal employees. A Thrift Savings Plan functions the same way a 401(k) does – you can elect to contribute a portion of your salary, known as an employee deferral or employee contribution, and the money will be allowed to grow in the account tax-deferred. The TSP is only available to Federal Employees and United States military personnel. There is a flat contribution of 1% from the employer, and, depending on the type of Federal job, employees may be eligible for a matching contribution from the employer. Continue reading...

How is a 403(b) Different From a 401(k)?

403(b)s are essentially the same as 401(k)s but there are a few notable differences. A 403(b) is extremely similar to a 401(k); the main difference is the type of employer than can offer each. 403(b)s are offered by public educational institutions, non-profit hospitals, non-profit organizations, religious groups and some government organizations. Due to the negotiating powers of many of those institutions, and their non-profit status, the administrative fees are smaller and they are not subject to some of the administrative oversight imposed on 401(k)s. Most 403(b)s are not subject to ERISA, which means they don’t have to satisfy as many auditing and reporting requirements. Continue reading...

How Do I Invest Money in My 403(b)?

Investing in a 403(b) is done by making contributions via payroll deductions and selecting investment options from among the available choices with your custodian. Payroll deductions on a pretax basis are routed into your 403(b) account with your consent. This can be done by telling the payroll department what percentage of your compensation you would like to send there, or by telling the plan custodian company, who tells your payroll department. Continue reading...

What are the pros and cons of hedge fund investing?

What are the pros and cons of hedge fund investing?

Hedge funds are sometimes the highest-earning investment vehicles, and sometimes they do that much worse than everything else. They have a high buy-in, low transparency, and limited liquidity. There are also other advantages and disadvantages worth mentioning. A good hedge fund can provide you with an excellent diversification of your investable assets and give you exposure to the best and brightest money managers in the world. Continue reading...