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Can I Withdraw Money From My Cash-Balance Plan?

It’s not likely that a cash-balance plan will allow for early withdrawals. Generally speaking, you can’t withdraw money from a Cash-Balance Plan before you retire unless it is to roll over assets to a new employer’s plan or a personal IRA. Once the money is in another account, you could potentially have full access to it, minus the 10% IRS penalty if you’re under 59 ½. Loans from a cash balance plan may be permitted if they abide by the same rules as 401(k) loans — and if the IRS and the DOL will allow you to consider your vested amount in your hypothetical account as adequate collateral. Continue reading...

What is a leading indicator?

Leading indicators are economic or price data which have some degree of correlation with a movement in the market or a stock price. Leading indicators tend to happen before the market or price movement occurs. Traders and economists use leading indicators frequently to prepare for what’s next; they are based on theory as well as empirical historical evidence but like all indicators, they do not have a 100% accuracy rate – past performance does not guarantee future results. Continue reading...

What is Dow Theory?

Dow Theory is perhaps the longest-standing method of market analysis still used in modern finance. It suggests that markets experience primary trends (which last several years), intermediate trends (which last under a year), and minor trends (which last less than a month). Markets are in an upward trend if an average exceeds certain thresholds, followed by a similar movement from another average. Longer, larger trends are considered more predictive than smaller ones, though correctly reading the primary trend in the main goal. Continue reading...

Is there any merit to the “dow theory?”

The Dow Theory may not always be accurate, but it has been part of the foundation of modern market analysis. The Dow Theory was formulated by the famous economist Charles Dow. What is important is that the Dow Theory concerns itself with the movements of very broad markets, rather than individual stocks. In particular, the Dow Theory, which was named post-mortem and summarized the editorials Dow wrote during his life, focuses on the movement of the Industrials (DJIA) relative to the Transportation index (DJTA) and theorizes that if one moves the other should follow, and if there is discord a reversal is probably coming. Continue reading...

What is divergence analysis?

The analysis of convergence and divergence between indexes and other data seeks to find leading indicators where there is confirmation or non-confirmation of trends. Dow Theory was one of the first examples of such thinking. Charles Dow would watch the movements of Industrials and the Rail and compare the uptrend or downtrend of each. Where trends do not line up (e.g., one is trending downward with lower troughs and the other has “higher lows”) there is “divergence”, and non-confirmation of what was thought to be a trend in one index. Continue reading...

What is technical analysis in trading?

Technical analysis is a method of evaluating the worth and probable future direction of security prices using charts and data concerning prices and volume. This is the counterpart to fundamental analysis, which looks at the physical operations of a company and their place in the market to determine value. Those who practice technical analysis are sometimes called “quants” or chartists because they believe that the most important information about a security will be found in the data on the price, volume, and the moving averages and volatility associated with them. Continue reading...

What are market indicators?

Market indicators are quantitative tools for the analysis of market information, which may hint or confirm that a trend or reversal is about to happen (leading indicator) or has begun (lagging indicator). Indicators are technical analysis algorithms which give investors signals that may be used as the guidelines for trading. Indicators might be called oscillators or have various other proper names, since some of them are quite well-known, but there are general conventions or instructions for how to use an indicator, how it can be tweaked to suit the scope of your analysis, and what is considered a trade signal. Continue reading...

What is the foreign corrupt practices act?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act attempts to reduce the possibility that a corporation with American affiliations will engage in the bribery of foreign officials. The act was created in 1977 and has since been amended and expanded several times. The SEC and the Department of Justice are both responsible for enforcing the FCPA, which is a law designed to prevent US-based companies from engaging in corrupt practices abroad. Continue reading...

What is Form 1045: Application for a Tentative Refund?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 1045 can be used to apply for a refund that might carry-back of up to 5 years, if an individual or trust has overpaid on their taxes, finds Net Operating Losses (NOL), or has section 1256 losses to carry-back. The 1045 is meant to be the quickest way to get a carry-back refund. Net Operating Losses from a pass-through entity or business can be carried back up to 5 years now, according to updates to IRC 172(h). Section 1256, which applies to futures contract investing, will allow a carry-back of losses in a 3-year time frame. For such carry-backs, the standard filing is IRS Form 1045. Continue reading...

What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is an index comprised of 30 'significant' U.S. stocks, typically the biggest and most frequently traded. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was created in 1896 by Charles Dow, as a way to track the general trend of U.S. stocks. The index is price-weighted versus cap-weighted, meaning that if a company splits 2 for 1 its contribution to the index will drop by half (even though the company's value did not change). Continue reading...

What is a market index?

Market indexes attempt to give an overall picture of the behavior of the market by tracking the performance of a representative sample of stocks. Different indexes have different focuses. The Russell 3000 samples more of the smaller companies than the S&P 500. Index mutual funds and ETFs track specific indexes but, as you’ll notice in their disclosures, it is impossible to invest directly in an index; they only follow the index by investing in as many of the companies as possible and minimizing lag as much as they can. Indexes give numerical values for the progressive fluctuations in the price action for specific sets of stocks. Continue reading...

What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counselors can negotiate debt management strategies with lenders on behalf of individuals with debt problems, as well as providing behavioral financial habit construction counseling. Debtors seek out credit counselors to find out what their options are to get out of debt and to get some coaching during the process. Credit counselors can be certified through several accredited institutions who are overseen by the Department of Justice in the United States, and they may be part of a non-profit organization, lending institution, or independent financial practice. Continue reading...

What is Form 1040-X?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 1040-X is the amendment form used to change previously submitted information from the 1040, 1040-A, or 1040-EZ tax filing form. The taxpayer has 3 years to file the 1040-X to make changes. The 1040-A and EZ are simpler versions of the 1040 which can be used by individuals who have relatively simple filings to do, and have modest household income. The 1040-X requires a line-by-line amendment request and explanation of why the changes are being requested. You will also need to attach supporting documents that provide more information about the changes being requested. Continue reading...

What is Net Operating Income?

Net Operating Income (NOI) is a measure of profitability most often used with income producing real estate businesses. In the real estate world, net operating income is calculated by taking all revenues generated by a property (rent, parking, etc…) from all of the operating expenses needed to upkeep the property, which can include insurances, taxes, maintenance, utilities, and so on. Net Operating Income is a before tax figure, so does not include principal and interest payments on loans, depreciation and amortization. If the NOI figure is negative, it is referred to as a net operating loss (NOL). Continue reading...

What is a price-weighted index?

When creating an index, it must be decided what criteria will affect the value of the index, and in the case of a price-weighted index, the only consideration is the price of shares. A price-weighted index is created by adding up the individual price per share of the companies included in the index and dividing by the number of companies. Essentially what you've done is arrived at the average price per share of the companies included in the index. Continue reading...

What is Weighted Average Market Capitalization?

Indexes track markets in different ways, and Weighted Average Market Capitalization is a method which gives market cap, or the cumulative value of outstanding shares for a company, greater weight. Market Capitalization is the sum total value of all outstanding shares and is one way to judge the size of a company or at least its size in the market. Indexes such as the S&P 500 are Cap-Weighted indexes, which means they give greater emphasis the to the largest companies, and the dramatic price movements of only a few of the largest companies would mean that the index would swing disproportionately for large-cap companies. 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 is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was originally created to encourage market competition and to protect consumers by breaking up monopolies and monitoring mergers and acquisition activity. It has now branched out into more areas in the pursuit of consumer protection and fair markets. The FTC is now comprised of three bureaus: Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. They protect consumers from fraudulent business activity and monopolistic business practices. Continue reading...

What is a Living Will? (in-depth)

A living will is sometimes called an advance directive or a medical directive, and it specifies a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures and other end-of-life issues. If a person is in a coma, for instance, it is intended to provide instructions for their care, including whether or not to use oxygen or “feeding tubes” to keep them alive. This might require a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) waiver of some kind, which tells medical staff not to intervene if the person is dying. The living will is different than the “will” that most people are familiar with, which is a Last Will and Testament, stipulating the person’s wishes for their estate after he or she has died. 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...