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What are Bond Ratings?

The possibility of a company or municipal government defaulting on their bond obligations, usually by going bankrupt, is a real one. For this reason, all bonds are rated according to the financial stability of the issuer. A look at the history of corporate and municipal debt will illuminate the fact that the possibility of the issuer being unable to pay its obligations to bondholders is a very real one. There is an established system of bond ratings that gives a rough estimate of the bond's reliability. Continue reading...

What is Form 8891?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 8891 was previously used by individuals with retirement plans held in Canada when they were living in America, each time they took distributions. The process proved to be cumbersome for many good-natured Canadians, and caused the IRS a lot of trouble as well. This form has been retired in favor of an acknowledgement on the IRS Form 1040. Form 8891 is no longer used, which came as a relief to many Canadian-Americans who had retirement plans from work they did in Canada. Certain filing requirements still exist, such as a new form replacing the FBAR, for foreign bank accounts, now called the FinCEN Form 114. Continue reading...

What is the foreign credit insurance association?

The Foreign Credit Insurance Association protects American businesses from non-payment in international trade deals where goods were sold on credit. The Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA) is a group of insurance companies which underwrite the foreign credit insurance sold by the Export-Import Bank of Washington DC. The Export – Import Bank, also known as the Ex/Im Bank, is an independent government entity that facilitates and encourages some international trade activity of American companies. Continue reading...

What are International Equity Funds?

International equity funds hold stocks of corporations based outside of the United States. International equity funds invest mostly in the stock of overseas companies. People purchase shares of such funds as a means of globally diversifying their portfolio. There is some degree of currency risk involved in international investments, which may necessitate a currency hedging strategy if an investor is heavily invested across the globe. Continue reading...

What is Publication 15-b on Fringe Benefits?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here IRS Publication 15-b outlines the different types of fringe benefits available to employees and describes which ones are taxable to the employee and which ones are not. Fringe benefits might include anything from the use of a company car to an employee life insurance policy paid for by the employer. Fringe benefits may be provided to regular employees or independent contractors (1099 employees). Some examples of fringe benefits include tuition reduction, group disability and cafeteria plans, and childcare benefits. Continue reading...

What is a foreign fund?

A foreign fund is a mutual fund that invests solely in companies abroad and does not invest in corporations owned in the US. Owning foreign companies can be a very good diversification strategy and is considered a core holding in the portfolio of most investors. Foreign exposure means that if the US economy hits a rough patch, you may have a hedge in the foreign fund if the companies or markets in other parts of the world are not entirely correlated. Continue reading...

What Does Ripple Do?

Ripple does several things, serving as a protocol for decentralized currency exchange and transfers of value, primarily focused on the financial service industry. Ripple’s defining characteristic is probably its interface for inter-ledger payments and settlements, meaning the ledgers of other blockchains and the database systems of banks can be seamlessly integrated to offer validation and record-keeping with a reliability and speed that was heretofore unheard-of. Ripple cuts out as many middlemen as possible and dramatically reduces the transaction costs and time required for cross-border money transfers, while also significantly reducing some of the risks inherent to international trade, like counter-party risk. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Guarantee?

When a lending institution offers a Bank Guarantee, they are reducing the risk involved in a transaction by guaranteeing payment to the seller. Bank Guarantees often come into play with deals made internationally, where the participants in the deal prefer to have some assurances before they do business. The guarantee acts as insurance to protect the parties involved in transactions where they are not fully able to assess the strength and reliability of the other, such as when small companies bid for projects or when bids for a job come-in from around the world. Continue reading...

What are foreign currency effects?

Companies with significant operations or sales abroad will be affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates. If the dollar strengthens relative to a foreign currency, the price paid for the goods in the country will not be worth as much domestically when the company converts their profits back to dollars. Some foreign currencies fluctuate much more than the US dollar does, but even the dollar can behave unpredictably. This can have a tremendous effect on the bottom line of companies engaged in significant amounts of business abroad. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...

What is the Black-Scholes formula?

The Black-Scholes formula is a formula and market model for explaining or determining the price of European-style options. It was developed in 1973 by two world-renowned economists, Fischer Black and Myron Scholes, and it led to a Nobel Prize in 1997. As opposed to the American-style of options, which can be exercised at any time, European-style options can only be exercised on their expiration date, they are not exposed to dividends, and they have no commission structure to consider. Some are content to use Black-Scholes for quick applications to American-style, but It is not as accurate as it should be. Continue reading...

What is Accountant Responsibility?

Accountants and companies have responsibilities for maintaining accurate records of financial transactions and accounts. Companies must maintain accurate records and accounts, for the sake of reporting to investors, regulatory agencies, and the IRS. Accountants are the professionals trained in the appropriate methods for maintaining these records. They must make every effort to impartially adhere to the law and to accounting standards with regards to the records and documents for which they are responsible. Continue reading...

What are Tangible Assets?

Tangible assets are the property of a company that are tangible and can be quickly liquidated. This includes current-period accounts receivable and money in checking, savings, and money-market accounts. Buildings, land, equipment and inventory are all tangible assets as well. Tangible assets are an important part of a company’s book value. For most valuations, intangible assets such as patents, other intellectual property, and goodwill are not included. Continue reading...

What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?

The Lifetime Learning Credit is a federal tax credit to offset expenses associated with higher education. There is no age limit and the credit can be applied to part-time student courses, even if it is only one class. The credit is for 20% of the related expenses up to a maximum of a $2,000 credit per household. Tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes due. The Lifetime Learning Credit can be used for higher education expenses, regardless of the age of the student, but there is a household limit per year. 20% of educational expenses up to a household maximum of $2,000 can be applied as an income tax credit. The credit exists to make it easier for Americans to increase their skill-set and education. Continue reading...

What is the foreign earned income exclusion?

Americans working abroad must report their earnings to the IRS, but they are allowed to avoid paying federal income taxes on an amount adjusted for inflation, which is just over $100,000 as of 2016. Americans working abroad often enjoy a few tax advantages. One of which is the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. The reasoning is that they are probably paying some form of tax in the county in which they are working, even though this is sometimes not the case. Continue reading...

What is a Global Depository Receipt (GDR)?

A Global Depository Receipt is a security which represents ownership in shares of a foreign corporation. Investment banks in the United States and elsewhere purchase shares in foreign corporations and sell the equity in the form of a Global Depository Receipt, also called an International Depository Receipt, and formerly known as an American Depository Receipt. They allow foreign companies to find investors in other countries, and vice versa, and the Americans and other foreigners can pay for the GDRs in American currency. They are typically sold in lots such that 1 GDR equals 10 shares of the underlying foreign company, but other ratios can be used. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Reconciliation Statement?

It is a useful practice to compare the balance reported by the bank and your internal accounting, in the form of a Bank Reconciliation Statement. Bank Reconciliation is the useful practice of comparing the records of the bank and a business's internal accounting for a specific accounting period. Many businesses produce Bank Reconciliation Statements (BRS) on a monthly basis. There may be pending transactions that have not settled yet, such as outstanding checks to vendors, which have shown up on the business’s books but are not represented in the bank account balance. It can be important to identify which transactions have shown up on the bank’s ledger and which ones have not. Continue reading...

What is the Nikkei 225?

The “Nikkei” is the most referenced index for measuring Japanese stocks. The Nikkei 225 - often just referred to as “the Nikkei” - is an index that tracks the performance of Japan’s top 225 publicly-traded companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It is to Japan what the Dow Jones Industrial Average is to the United States. The Nikkei is a price-weighted index. What is a Bear Straddle? What is Foreign Exchange? Continue reading...

What are the trading hours of the world's major stock exchanges?

Explore the fascinating world of stock exchange trading hours in our latest article! From the NYSE to Tadawul, we unravel the global time zones and holiday quirks affecting your investments. Don't miss these essential insights for informed trading decisions! #StockMarket #TradingHours #Investing Continue reading...

Top Stocks Analysis: "Too Big to Fail" Financial Giants

In the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the term "Too Big to Fail" emerged as a defining phrase in the world of finance. It referred to institutions so massive and intertwined with the global economy that their failure posed a systemic risk. Today, the landscape of these financial behemoths has evolved, shaped by regulations like the Dodd-Frank Act and ongoing financial "stress tests" by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. In this article, we'll delve into some of the top stocks within this group, assessing their market positions, financial health, and potential for future growth. Continue reading...

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