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Is there any merit to fundamental analysis of the markets?

Is there any merit to fundamental analysis of the markets?

Fundamental analysis has been around for a long time, and will probably always remain relevant. Fundamental Analysis is the oldest and most well-established market theory. Fundamental analysis is to take all the real-world information about a company into account when evaluating securities and to acknowledge that the shares are what they are: partial ownership in a company. It follows that someone should know about the company and its earnings potential. Continue reading...

What is a call time spread?

What is a call time spread?

A time spread using call options is a strategy that buys and sells the same number of options with the same strike prices, but different expirations. Time spreads are sometimes called calendar spreads or horizontal spreads. They make money based on the time decay of the options being shorted. Two calls are used: one is shorted and one is purchased, and both have the same strike price and same underlying security. Continue reading...

Can I Make Early Withdrawals From My 401(k)?

Can I Make Early Withdrawals From My 401(k)?

It depends on the 401(k) plan, but in general the answer would be “yes,” if you’re willing to pay the penalty. It is generally a pretty bad idea to withdraw 401(k) money early. If you withdraw the money before age 59½, the money will be subject to a 10% penalty in addition to regular income taxes. There are exemptions from the penalty, but there fewer exemptions in a 401(k) than an IRA. In an IRA the penalty can be waived for first-time homebuyer’s expenses up to $10,000, or even for educational expenses, but in a 401(k) the 10% penalty will still be levied if withdrawals are made for these reasons — and a plan may not even permit such withdrawals. Continue reading...

Can I Take a Periodic Distribution From My Cash-Balance Plan?

Periodic distributions are one of the main ways that former employees enjoy the benefits of a Cash Balance plan. Yes, you can take periodic distributions from your cash-balance plan. As opposed to the other option (lump-sum distribution), opting for the periodic distribution can help you sleep better at night, knowing that you have a fixed stream of income for the rest of your life. This Life Annuity option is mandated by law to be an option to participants of a cash balance plan. Continue reading...

What is a price-weighted index?

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 Amortization?

Amortization is like giving a life span to a financial obligation, over a set number of years, and gradually killing-off the obligation with set payments. Amortization is the calculation of a fixed payment schedule over a set number of years to allow the repayment of a loan, such as a home mortgage. From an accounting standpoint, it can refer to the practice of spreading-out the cost of any intangible asset over time. For example, the IRS will allow a taxpayer to amortize the premium of a bond for deductions. Continue reading...

What is an ABA Routing Transit Number?

What is an ABA Routing Transit Number?

Most people recognize this as a “routing number.” The American Bankers Association (ABA) assigns a number to each banking institution registered with them, for the purposes of electronic transfers; this is commonly known as a routing number, and officially an RTN, or Routing Transit Number. Consumers and bank clients are familiar with this number as the 9-digit number that appears beside their account number on the bottom of their personal checks. Every client with a particular bank will have have the same routing number on their checks. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Earnings?

Earnings that are reported in a given year may differ for the same company if different accounting methods were used. Earnings are the revenues of the company minus the cost of good sold, expenses, and investment losses. If that seems like something that’s pretty cut-and-dried, and will look the same no matter who is doing the accounting… well, that’s not entirely correct. Earnings can be made to look different if different non-GAAP or pro-forma methods are used. If non-recurring expenses are ignored or amortized in a pro-forma accounting method, then earnings will not match up to the GAAP-based books. Continue reading...

Can I Withdraw Money From My Pension Plan?

This is rarely an option, but the IRS does allow it. In general, you can’t withdraw money from a Pension Plan before you retire. You also may not be able to make non-recurring withdrawals after retirement, unless it is a lump-sum settlement. If your plan allowed it, the IRS would treat it just like withdrawals from a 401(k). Withdrawals before 59 ½ would be penalized with a 10% early withdrawal tax. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Capture?

Dividend capture is a strategy similar to dividend arbitrage that seeks to reap incremental gains somewhat reliably around the ex-dividend date of a stock. The investor seeks to benefit from the fact that stock prices don’t always go down as much as they should on the ex-dividend date, so by selling quickly at that point, the investor may still get a small gain from the dividend that will still be paid to him or her. Dividend capture is a strategy that plays on slight inefficiencies in prices around the ex-dividend date. Continue reading...