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What is Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is offered in a few variations by several third-party carriers. These plans are approved by Medicare and a person must still pay their Part B premiums to get them, but the Medicare Advantage plans are designed to be more appealing with their deductibles and copays than original Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part C, is a private plan that is mandated to be at least equal in coverage to Part A and Part B. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 502 on Medical and Dental Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 502 outlines which types of medical and dental expenses are deductible, who can be included in your considerations, what the limits are on deductions, and more. This publication is primarily meant for individuals but businesses might find it useful as well. Publication 502 is a source of information for all tax information regarding deductions stemming from medical and dental expenses and insurance. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part D?

Part D is prescription drug coverage to supplement the coverage of Medicare Part A and Part B. It can be a standalone policy, or it can be included in a package with Part C. Medicare Part D is purchased through private insurers. While the premiums vary, they tend to range from $15- $150 a month. There was a maximum deductible of $360 for these plans in 2016, after which the insurer would trigger 75/25 coinsurance or something in that range. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers some doctors visits, outpatient care, and many other services not covered by Part A. There is a standard premium which is around $100/month for those receiving social security benefits at the same time. Medicare Part B covers outpatient procedures – visits to the doctor, regular checkups, physical therapy, etc. In other words, it covers medical expenses that don’t involve a hospital stay. Medicare Part A is free (if you’ve contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years), but Part B comes with a price tag. Continue reading...

What is the Interest Coverage Ratio?

Also known as the debt service ratio, The interest coverage ratio is a measure of how many times a company can pay the interest owed on its debt with EBIT. To calculate it, you simply divide EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) by interest expense. A company with a low interest coverage ratio means it has fewer earnings available to make interest payments, which can imply solvency issues and could mean a company would be at risk if interest rates go up. Continue reading...

What is delta hedging?

Delta hedging is the process of reducing exposure to potential loss resulting from price fluctuations in the security underlying his or her options positions by bringing the delta – or price relationship between options and their underlying securities – of a portfolio to zero, or closer to it (a position called ‘delta neutral’ or ‘delta hedged’). This is accomplished by purchasing financial instruments which counterbalance each other's exposure to price fluctuations, often adding short or long positions in other options or the underlying securities themselves. Continue reading...

What is Deflation?

Deflation is an economic term used to describe a trend of broad-based price declines for goods and services. Deflation is generally considered a big negative in the realm of economics. If a country is experiencing deflation, it is usually because demand for goods has fallen substantially, pushing prices down. It can also be tied to falling investment and government spending, both factors that signal weak demand in an economy. Continue reading...

What does Leverage Mean?

Leverage is the use of borrowed capital or debt to try and increase the potential return of an investment. An individual might leverage an investment account by going on margin to purchase additional securities, whereas the amount of debt used to finance a company’s assets is considered to be that company’s level of leverage. A firm with significantly more debt than equity is considered to be highly leveraged. Continue reading...

What is Operating Leverage?

Operating leverage is a measure of how critical each sale of a company is to overall cash flow. If a company has high operating leverage, it means that it relies on fewer sales with very high gross margins, versus a company with low operating leverage that experiences higher levels of sales with lower gross margins. As an example, a convenient store has less operating leverage than a business that sells yachts. Continue reading...

What is a Leveraged Buyout?

A leveraged buyout occurs when members of management use outside borrowed capital to buy a controlling share in the company. Often times, the assets of the company being acquired are used as collateral for the borrowed capital. The purpose of leveraged buyouts is to acquire another company without having to commit a lot of working capital up front. In a typical leveraged buyout, you may see a ratio of 90% debt financing to 10% equity used to acquire the company. Continue reading...

What is a Leveraged Loan?

A leveraged loan is a commercial loan that is generally created by a few participants, and packaged and offered by one or several investment banks. Leveraged loans are typically targeted at companies that already have a significant amount of debt and may be limited in their options to access capital elsewhere. They are considered on the higher end of the risk spectrum. Continue reading...

What does delta mean?

Delta is a ratio which measures the degree of correlation between changes in price for the underlying security and changes in the price of the option. Put another way, Delta indicates the amount of price change in a derivative by comparing changes between asset and derivative prices. Delta is a multiple that applies to options positions; it, along with Gamma, Theta, and Vega, helps options investors calculate risk and potential return for an investment. Delta can quickly tell an options investor how much the price of their option will change per share relative to the price change in the underlying security. Delta is represented by a number between 1 and -1, with a negative Delta value sometimes written in accounting notation, like: (1). Continue reading...

What is Monetary Policy?

Monetary policy is the stance of the central bank at any given time regarding the tightening or loosening of rates, or the issuance of new currency denominations, that will affect the money supply in the country. Monetary policy is the prerogative of the central bank but may be influenced by congress as well as private banking institutions and the central banks of other countries. The goal of monetary policy is to keep the Federal Funds Rate or the LIBOR, or whatever it might be depending on the country, at just the right level to keep the economy going in the direction that will be most helpful. Continue reading...

What is Accommodative Monetary Policy?

Accommodative monetary policy is when a central bank makes it easier for banks and consumers to borrow money by lowering the interbank exchange rate. A central bank, such as the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, can influence the economy by loosening or tightening the money supply. Loosening the money supply is known as accommodative policy, because it give the businesses and individuals in the country access to a higher degree of liquidity. Continue reading...

What Is a Business Plan?

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What is a Credit Crunch?

A credit crunch is when access to liquidity dries up dramatically in rapid fashion, or becomes less accessible due to a spike in borrowing rates. Central banks will often step-in to try and curb the lack of liquidity by offering the markets access to cash at lower than market rates, in the event of a crisis. Perhaps the most famous credit crunch in history occurred in late 2007 and early 2008, when bank balance sheets became highly leveraged overnight due to mark-to-market accounting rules that were applied to the mortgage backed security portfolios on their balance sheets. Continue reading...

What is foreign exchange intervention?

If a central bank takes actions that intentionally and artificially affect the value of a currency, particularly its own, it is engaging in what is known as a Foreign Exchange Intervention, or an interventionist policy. Central banks occasionally use interventions in foreign exchange markets to achieve a desirable end. The banks will intentionally make trades and hold certain amounts of currencies or derivatives with the sole purpose of manipulating the value of their domestic currency. The reasons for that manipulation might be to slow down inflation or to make their county’s exports look more attractive by pushing the value of their currency lower. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Reserve Bank?

The Federal Reserve banking system was created in 1913, the same year that income taxes were added to the US Constitution. 12 regional Fed banks were established, each of which plays a role in monitoring and implementing interventions to the flow of money in the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank is a 12-bank system in the United States that plays the role of the country’s central bank. Central banks in other countries are typically part of the government and print the actual currency, but in this case the Fed is independent of the actual US government, and the Treasury Department technically prints the money. Continue reading...

What is Weighted Average?

A weighted average is a calculation considers the relative importance or relevance of a piece of data. Weighted averages multiply numbers in the average by a predetermined factor, like time, that enhances the relevance given to the number. One example of a weighted average is the Exponential Moving Average (EMA), an alternative to the Simple Moving Average (SMA) line which gives greater weight to the more recent data. SMAs are effective in their simplicity, but their efficacy is most closely tied to how they are used. Continue reading...

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Golden Cross?

The Golden Cross is a breakout candlestick pattern formed when the short term 50-day moving average for a security exceeds its long term 200-day average, backed by high trading volumes. Investors typically interpret this crossover as a harbinger of a bull market, and its impact can reverberate throughout index sectors. The longer time horizons tend to increase the predictive power of the Golden Cross. As seen in the chart in this example, a trader may view the moment when a 50-day moving average (blue line) crosses above a 100-day or 200-day moving average (red line) as a bullish sign for the stock or security. A trader may consider taking a long position in the security, or perhaps explore call options to take advantage of the potential upside. Continue reading...