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What is a REPO?

REPO is shorthand for Repurchase Agreement. It is a money-market practice where two entities agree to buy/sell government securities overnight and reverse the transaction the next day for the sake of providing the selling entity with short-term cash. Repurchase Agreements provide the selling party with short term liquidity, and are considered a money-market instrument. A third party usually acts as a clearing agent. 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 is a Bond Purchase Agreement?

If a municipality or company decides to issue bonds, they will need to form an alliance with an underwriting entity to help them price and distribute the bonds, and the Purchase Agreement outlines their contract. Underwriters on debt issues are normally large investment banks. They help the issuer, which could be a city government or company, structure the bonds and price them in a way that is suitable to their needs, and also agrees to help them distribute them. Continue reading...

What is a Buyback?

When a company decides to use excess cash to purchase its own shares from the market, it is called a buyback or “share repurchase program.” There are only so many things a company can do with earnings in excess of their projections; among these are issuing a dividend, paying off debts, expanding, acquiring another company, or buying back shares of its own stock. Buybacks are also known as Stock Repurchase Agreements. There may be guidelines in state law or the company’s contracts or buy laws that determine what options they have and how many shares can be repurchased. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank. By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks. Continue reading...

What is Annual Percentage Yield (APY)?

APY is an annualization of an interest rate which may be assessed on a different schedule, such as on a monthly basis, and is useful for comparing debt and loan agreements that use different schedules. Annual Percentage Yield is a way to compare products and loans with different interest rates and different schedules for calculating the interest. It is a calculation of the effective annual rate, and it takes into account the effects of compounding interest, which a similar calculation for APR (Annual Percentage Rate) does not do. Continue reading...

What is accommodation trading?

Accommodation Trading is when two traders enter into a non-competitive trade agreement which disregards the current market price for the securities being traded. The primary reason to engage in accommodation trading is for an investor to avoid taxes by harvesting more losses than actually occurred. One investor will buy shares from another investor for a price significantly below the market value so that the selling investor can report more losses. The partners will typically agree to allow the selling party to buy the shares back later at the same price. Continue reading...

What are Articles of Partnership?

Articles of Partnership lay out the nature of the agreement entered into by partners in business entity. Also called a ‘partnership agreement,’ articles of partnership plainly describe the nature of the partnership, which partners are General Partners and which are Limited Partners, and other important details. Partnerships can take the form of Limited Liability Partnerships, General Partnerships, and even S Corporations (but those file articles of incorporation instead). Continue reading...

How do I Invest in commodities?

Commodities can be acquired through brokerage services that can access the commodities markets, or you can buy the stocks of companies that bring commodities to market. Investors can also gain exposure to commodities through mutual funds and ETFs that focus on them. There are a few ways to invest in commodities. One simple way is to purchase the stock of companies that produce commodities. You can also invest through futures contracts, which are agreements to buy a certain amount of a commodity at a certain price at some point in the future; this is the primary way that commodities are traded. They can also trade at spot, which means at the current price, or through the use of other derivative instruments, such as options on futures contracts. Continue reading...

What is a Warrant?

A warrant is an agreement giving the holder the right to buy (or sell) a certain number of shares of a company. Warrants are often requested or granted when a company engages in a loan from private investors - it will give the lenders the opportunity to buy and own shares in the company if its stock appreciates or if the opportunity seems attractive. If the company fails to grow and deliver, the warrants can simply go unused with no financial impact for the holder. Like options, there are warrants that confer the option to buy shares (call warrants) and those that allow the holder to sell (put warrants). Continue reading...

What is Collateral?

Collateral is an asset/property that a borrower commits to a lender in exchange for a loan, which will be forfeited if the borrower defaults. A loan that has collateral attached to it will generally carry a more favorable interest rate, but that is not necessarily always the case. Some examples of collateral are a house when you take out a mortgage, your car when you take out an auto loan, or the stocks in your portfolio if you take your account on margin. Continue reading...

How is a Roth 401(k) Different From a Regular 401(k)?

The main difference is that Roth contributions go in after tax and are not taxed on withdrawal. People sometimes don’t realize that Roth 401(k)s only exist as extensions of Traditional 401(k) plans. Some plans have been designed to also permit after-tax contributions, which become that employee’s Roth 401(k) account. This Roth side account has all of the same investment options as the rest of the plan on the traditional side. In fact, an employee can contribute to both the traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) with each payroll cycle. Continue reading...

What are My SIMPLE IRA Investment Options?

SIMPLE IRAs will have various kinds of investment options, depending on the trustee company that holds the plan assets. SIMPLE IRA investments are determined by the financial institution at which your SIMPLE IRA is established. When opening a SIMPLE IRA, be sure to check what investment options the financial institution offers as well as the fee structure. Standard ERISA rules apply, meaning that all employees must be offered the same thing. SIMPLE IRAs can only be held at trustee companies whose business model is on the IRS’s list of approved SIMPLE Trustees. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

Withdrawal rules for Keoghs will be essentially the same as rules for IRAs and 401(k)s. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw, similar to a traditional IRA. If you decide to withdraw money before age 59½, you may have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception for most qualified plans is for employees who separate from service at or after age 55: this is the early retirement exception, and the 10% penalty will not apply. Keoghs will technically use the early withdrawal rules for 401(k)s and not IRAs, which differ slightly. Continue reading...

What is Investment Property?

Investment property is real estate that an individual or entity owns without the intention to directly use it, but rather to benefit from its ownership. Investment property is not directly used or inhabited by the owner. Its purpose is to provide income through rental or lease, or to be sold at a later time after the property has appreciated. Sometimes this involved building upon the property, or otherwise renovating or improving it. The property might be commercial or residential, with multiple tenants or a single one. Continue reading...

What is 'buying on margin' and margin trading?

A margin trade is one where the trader uses other securities or cash as collateral, for a transaction in which he or she has not purchased the security outright. The broker acts as a lender. If your broker approves you for a margin account, you have the ability to purchase new securities “on margin” by using your current holdings as collateral, or by depositing 50% (or more depending on the broker) of the market price of the security into the margin account. Continue reading...

What’s So Special about an IRA?

When compared to other methods of investing, there are benefits to using an IRA. An IRA provides tax deferred growth of your assets, and the result of such growth, over the years, can be quite remarkable in comparison with a regular savings account. Using an advanced calculator online – or asking an advisor or a CPA to run some calculations for you – can be an eye-opening experience. For most investors, mutual funds will be their best option for cost-efficient diversification. Holding mutual funds outside of an IRA or 401(k) means that the investor will have some taxes, whether long term gains or short term gains, passed on to him or her from the mutual fund company every year that the fund experiences gains. Continue reading...

What does Capital Gain Mean?

A Capital Gain refers to the profits or gains made from selling a security at a higher price than the original purchase price. In stock trading, if an investor sells a stock for more than they bought it for (or the price inherited), the profit realized is a capital gain. The same applies to gains made in real estate. To note, assets held within tax-deferred accounts, like IRAs and 401(k)s, do not trigger capital gains when sold for profits. It only applies to taxable assets, like stocks held in a brokerage account. The capital gains tax is the tax paid on net capital gains in a given year. Continue reading...

Should I buy gold coins?

Gold bullion are an asset that will hold value due to their gold content; gold coins which are more numismatic, that is, collector’s items, may not retain the same value. The value of gold coins is twofold: the price of the gold in the coin and the numismatic value of the coin. There is an important distinction to be made, because some gold coins will have a lot of one, and not the other, and, if you want to make sure your investment is an investment in precious metal and not just a collector’s item, you should make sure you’re getting a coin that qualifies as bullion. Continue reading...

What Does 'Buy to Cover' Mean?

‘Buy to Cover’ is a term that applies when an investor buys shares of a security that they had previously sold short. When an investor sells a security short, it means they are selling shares they do not actually own, in hopes that the price of the stock falls. If the price does fall, an investor could then ‘buy to cover’ at a lower price and then return the shares to the broker that lent them, thus realizing the profit in the price difference. Continue reading...

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