What are Double and Triple ETFs?

Double and triple ETFs are also known as leveraged ETFs, and their goal is to magnify the performance of the index they follow. Using futures contracts and other derivative instruments, 2x or 3x ETFs attempt to magnify the performance of an index, with the goal of achieving the result daily. Because they also compound daily, they are not usually held for more than a few days. These are also called leveraged ETFs because they use margin, futures contracts, and other derivative instruments to give an investor this magnified exposure. They give you two or three times (respectively) the profits but also two or three times the losses, so one must be very cautious when dealing with them. Continue reading...

What is a covered call?

What is a covered call?

A covered call is when the writer or seller of a call option either owns the underlying security, or has a guaranteed way to obtain it. Investors are able to open a position for another investor to take. An example of this would be selling a call option. The seller, or “writer,” of the contract is obligated to fulfill the contractual obligation outlined in the call, namely to deliver 100 shares of the underlying stock to the owner of the call option in exchange for the strike price listed in the call contract. Continue reading...

How Does a 401(k) Compare With Other Retirement Plans?

There are several types of retirement plans that employers can provide, but 401(k)s are one of the most popular. Other employer-sponsored retirement plans include SIMPLEs, SEPs, and various kinds of defined benefit plans. SIMPLE IRAs are sometimes called SIMPLE 401(k)s, because they operate under the same laws as Safe Harbor 401(k)s. They both are primarily employee-funded, and have rigid standards for employer contributions. Continue reading...

What is a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)?

What is a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)?

A Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) is an irrevocable trust created for the purpose of donating a fixed percentage of a trust to a charitable organization each year. The fixed percentage must be at least 5% per year but no more than 50%, under current law. At a specified time (usually at the death of the person that established the trust), the remaining assets are distributed to charity. A Charitable Remainder Unitrust is a mechanism that allows you to create tax-advantaged income in your lifetime with the ultimate end of donating a large portion of the principle to charity. Continue reading...

How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will?

How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will?

A simple will can be created for free if a person uses an online template from a trusted source and/or creates the document themselves. Having an attorney create a will may cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the estate. If you opt for an online will, the cost will be extremely cheap compared to hiring a professional (possibly a few hundred dollars or even significantly less). Continue reading...

What are Current Assets?

Current Assets are items on a balance sheet that are either cash or are going to be cash in the near future. The current assets section of a balance sheet is an indication of cash flows and liquidity. The assets are usually listed in order of liquidity, or the amount of time that it will take for them to become cash. This section includes cash, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, inventory, supplies, and temporary investments. (The order given here is not necessarily the order of liquidity found on a balance sheet.) Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Interpretation?

Similar to the practice of law, the standards and practices of accountants will change based on an ongoing interpretation and application of tax law and codes. Accounting interpretations are generally publications from groups like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). These interpretations are not official standards, and do not have to be followed the way a standard does, but they give insight and suggestions for situations which may be new developments. Continue reading...

What is a Pension?

What is a Pension?

Pensions are income streams guaranteed to employees upon their retirement. A Pension is a type of Defined Benefit Plan in which your employer promises to pay you a certain amount every month for the rest of your life. Employers who are part of the pension plans are sometimes called pensioners. An employer retains the funds in a trust, usually, and everyone’s pension assets are pooled together in what’s called a Pension Fund. Continue reading...

Who are Chartists?

Who are Chartists?

Chartists are technical traders, theorists, and experts in charting, with the goal of better representing data and using charts to the greatest effect in trading. They attempt to find parameters and algorithms that can offer efficient trading signals and profits, using only the information present on charts – a type of technical analysis. Technical analysis is a discipline that involves identifying price ranges, trend momentum, and points of possible reversals via graphical representations of the math behind price movements, examining information to the second or third derivative, and using trial-and-error with formulas. Geometry, calculus, physics, and finance all play a part in this methodology. Continue reading...

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

If you buy and sell securities, you may qualify for tax status as a ‘trader,’ which importantly may qualify you for certain business tax breaks. The rules governing this status can be confusing, however, making it difficult to determine whether you qualify as a trader, investor, or dealer. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for traders as defined by the IRS, as well as how to report income and expenses if qualified. Continue reading...