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What is a Certificate of Deposit?

A Certificate of Deposit, commonly referred to as a CD, is a financial product that essentially pays risk-free interest (though typically at very low rates). CDs are typically offered by banks and credit unions, and usually span in duration from one month to 5 or 10 years. They are FDIC guaranteed up to $250,000, so customers may generally consider them risk-free. But because there is very little risk to purchasing a CD, they also typically pay very low annual interest rates. Continue reading...

What are Marketable Securities?

Marketable securities is a term referring to assets / securities that can be converted to cash easily, at least within a year. Examples of marketable securities are stocks, bonds, or CDs you might buy at the bank. What makes an asset a marketable security is its ability to be redeemed for cash quickly at a known market price. What is a Broker-Dealer? What is an Illiquid Security? Continue reading...

What is a Federal Credit Union?

Federal Credit Unions are essentially banks that are owned by their clients instead of publicly traded or what-have-you. Instead of being part of the FDIC, they have the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). They tend to be able to offer higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans than banks can, due to their mutual-ownership structure. Credit Unions operate as non-for-profit businesses, which can allow their management to use 457 retirement plans, but they are not associated with the Federal government. They do, however, charter under federal regulations, as opposed to state banks. Continue reading...

What Should My First Savings Vehicle Be?

Start basic, and just open a savings account at a bank or create a brokerage account at a major custodian (Charles Schwab, Fidelity, for example). As a rule of thumb, you should have six months’ worth of living expenses in this account. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid touching this money at all costs, and never invest this money in risky assets like stocks. It’s better to keep the money as liquid as possible, so even buying Certificates of Deposit (CDs) may not be the best idea. The purpose of this money is not to make you rich – this is your safety net. Continue reading...

What is Cash and Cash Equivalents?

Cash and cash equivalents are negotiable instruments which have a stable value and are highly liquid. Cash and Cash Equivalents is a phrase used often in the financial world. Generally money market accounts are the most used cash equivalent. They are invested in currency, and their goal is to preserve the value of the the investor’s dollars. Money market accounts are basically completely liquid, and investors can even write checks and make ATM withdrawals from their money market accounts. Continue reading...

What are Bank Deposits?

Deposits are cash, checks, and electronic transfers that banking customers put into their personal or corporate bank accounts. Deposits will increase the balance, or pay off a debt, within a bank account. Deposits may not show up on an account balance until they have cleared from the institution or account from which the check is written or the electronic transfer was requested. The types of accounts that can receive bank deposits include but are not limited to checking, savings, and money market accounts. Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs) can be purchased with an initial deposit that satisfied minimum amount. Deposits are considered liabilities on the balance sheet of the bank, since they are obligated to pay that money out when a customer requests it. Continue reading...

What Investment Choices Do I Have in My IRA?

Every institution that can be your IRA trustee will offer different options within the IRA. IRA is a tax designation which can be placed on an account at various institutions that offer a compliant list of investment options. Some can be as simple as a CD characterized as an IRA at a bank or credit union. Investment institutions can offer a wide variety of investment choices in an IRA: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, annuities, and so on. Margin trading is not allowed in IRA accounts, so you might not be able to use options or other hedging strategies in your IRA. Continue reading...

What are foreign deposits?

Foreign deposits are taken in by international branch locations of US-based banking institutions. Banks are not obligated to pay FDIC premiums on these deposits. Foreign deposits are placed by customers into a US-based bank branch which is located in international locations. Because it is outside of Federal jurisdiction, banks are not subject to the same capital reserve requirements and do not have to pay FDIC insurance on the deposits. Continue reading...

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a financial advisor capable of investment and insurance/estate planning. For an advisor that wants the “CFP” designation, they must complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements, which include extensive exams in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning and retirement. They must also complete continuing education courses. Continue reading...

What is Yield?

Yield is a term which describes the cash return on a security investment, and does not include appreciation. Yield is the cash paid out of an investment in the form of dividends and interest received. The term does not encompass the appreciation of the investment, and it may be evaluated in different ways for different types of investments, so comparisons of yield across asset types is not standardized or recommended. Continue reading...

What is a vertical spread?

A Vertical Spread involves the strategy of buying and selling an equal number of options on the same underlying security with the same expiration date, but different strike prices. Vertical Spreads can be both bullish and bearish, depending on your view of the underlying security. If you use calls, you are constructing a Vertical Bull Spread, and if you’re using puts, you’re constructing a Vertical Bear Spread. Continue reading...

Are Certificates of Deposit a Secure Avenue for Your Savings?

Looking for a low-risk investment option with guaranteed returns? Certificates of Deposit (CDs) might be your answer. Delve into the intricacies of CDs, understand how they stand apart from regular savings accounts, and learn how to navigate their benefits and risks to enhance your financial stability. Continue reading...

What is the “Life with Period Certain” Option?

In a “life with period certain” annuity payout option, the insurance company will pay the annuitant a set income for as long as the annuitant lives. If the annuitant dies before the “period certain” expires, the company will continue to pay the income to the beneficiaries until the period certain expires. If the period certain is 20 years, it would be called a “Life with 20 Years Certain” payout option. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Draft?

The truest definition of a Bank Draft is a check written with the certification of a customer’s bank. Bank Drafts are checks also known as Bank Checks and Cashier’s Checks. They have already been cleared at the writing institution and they provide an extra endorsement that the payment is good. Regular personal checks do not need to be co-signed or verified before they are used as payment, whether or not there is enough money in an account to cover it. Continue reading...

What is a Monopoly?

A monopoly is an unhealthy situation in the market in which a single company is the only option in a specific sector or area, which undermines the principals of a free market. In a free market, there is competition which keeps the prices and the quality of products as good as they can be for the consumer. The consumer will therefore receive the most value, and society will be in its best possible position, when the needs and demands of consumers are being addressed by several companies attempting to outdo each other to earn the consumer’s business. Continue reading...

What is a Financial Advisor?

The term "Financial Advisor" applies to professionals who are compensated for helping to implement investment strategies, but it is a broad and non-specific term. There are thousands of people who are called “Financial Advisors” – but within this category are various professions with different specialties and compensation structures. There are Financial Advisors, Financial Planners, Investment Managers, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and at times even CPAs, insurance agents, and lawyers are included in this umbrella term. Continue reading...

What is a currency certificate?

A currency certificate is also called a foreign exchange (Forex) certificate (FEC), and it validates that the bearer is entitled to a certain amount of foreign currency upon the redemption of the certificate, or that a certain amount of foreign currency was exchanged for it. This is not to be confused with a certificate of currency, which is proof that some types of insurance are currently in effect. Currency certificates have been historically used in countries with closed or controlled economies, such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China. Continue reading...

What is a short position?

A short position is a sale made by an investor for a security which he or she will deliver to the buyer in the near future, but which he or she is hoping will go down in price in the near future so that a profit can be retained from the price collected in the short sale. A short position is a bearish play on a security which an investor believes will decrease in price in the near future. The investor offers shares for sale, and collects the current market price for the shares from the buyer. Continue reading...

What is a Long Position?

A long position - or to be “long a stock” - means that an investor has share ownership and will receive an economic benefit if the share price rises, and vice versa. Creating and maintaining a long position is simple: an investor just buys and owns the investment. A “long-only” strategy refers to an asset manager that only buys and sells securities in the portfolio as a management strategy - they will not use options or shorting strategies as a result. Continue reading...

Do I Need a more Specialized Financial Advisor?

Some advisors have practices that focus on specific types of investments or niche markets. If your investment portfolio seems to be lacking a particular area and you are not confident that your current advisor or you yourself can take on the challenge of incorporating the changes you desire, then you may want to speak with a more specialized advisor in that particular area. Similarly, some advisors focus on specific types of clients, such as medical professionals, and if such a category suites you then you may find that your needs are best met by someone who deals with people like you most often. There are some designations and certifications that advisors can earn beyond the standard ones, which may cause them to be sought out on certain topics or investments. Continue reading...

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