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What is Lifetime Cost?

Lifetime cost is the total amount of money that a good will cost a consumer over the entire course of ownership. This included related, add-on costs such as maintenance, fuel, insurance and so on. These costs can dwarf the actual purchase price of the item. Lifetime cost is also known as total cost of ownership (TCO), and it is a budgetary way to look at the expenses that go along with the purchase of an item. Continue reading...

What is Total Return?

Total Return is the measure of all appreciation and interest as well as dividends and other distributions from an investment. Often computations of return will only consider appreciation, and it can be an easy mistake to make when looking at performance data at times. When a stock pays significant and consistent dividends, it needs to be factored in to the computation of total return. This adds a significant compounding effect to the investment’s overall performance, but if you just looked at the sheets that said it had a 4% return and a 2% dividend yield, you would be missing the most important part. Total return can be calculated for different kinds of investments or an entire portfolio, and is often done on an annual basis once all distributions have been made. Continue reading...

What is Cost of Debt?

The cost of debt is a calculation that determines the actual cost of a company’s debt financing. Since interest payments are generally tax deductible, the cost of debt may not be as simple as just adding up all of the interest paid on a loan. It would have to be adjusted for the tax savings, such that it is total interest paid less the tax savings. Continue reading...

What is a Variable Cost?

When budgeting for companies, some expenses are fixed overhead and some are variable, which depend on the amount of work being done. The direct cost of materials and labor are a good example of variable costs that will fluctuate with production levels. There may be an equation that the company can use to reliably predict these variable costs, but they are not fixed costs. From an accounting perspective, of course, these costs would be in separate sections. Fixed costs include warehousing, depreciation, insurances, rent, taxes, salaries, and so forth. These can be put into the budget before anything else happens or any orders have been taken for the year. The variable costs must be taken into account on the fly. Continue reading...

What is a No-Cost Mortgage?

No-Cost Mortgages waive the initial closing costs by making a repayment structure for those costs into the interest payments on a mortgage loan. Closing costs can range from 2%-5% of the total cost of the home, and include attorney fees, underwriting fees, application fees, and so on. These costs are deferred and are paid in the form of additional interest on the loan. Closing costs are separate from down-payments of equity, and are a miscellaneous hodgepodge of a wide range of fees associated with closing a mortgage deal. These costs are sometimes covered by the seller, but most often they are paid by the buyer. Continue reading...

What is Adjusted Cost Basis?

Adjusted Cost Basis (ABC) is the value of an item for tax purposes, adjusted for depreciation and expenditures. Sometimes abbreviated ABC, adjusted cost basis is the valuation of an item for tax purposes; that is, if it is to be bought or sold, what gains or losses would be assigned to it? Some business assets are depreciated on a set schedule, such as equipment. For equipment sold or taken as part of an acquisition a few years after it was purchased, the depreciation factor would reduce the value of the item for tax purposes by perhaps as much as 20% per year. If a company spent significant amounts of money improving a facility, the cost basis of the facility would go up by that amount. Continue reading...

What is a hedge fund?

Hedge funds are private investment groups that attract high net worth individuals (and in some cases institutions), and use investment strategies that may be riskier than would be suitable for the average investor. While the name "hedge" implies that the fund serves a defensive purpose, today’s hedge funds use wide array strategies, and more often than not the goal is total return. The strategies used are often speculative, contrarian, or alternative compared to most investment options in say mutual funds or traditional long-only asset managers. Continue reading...

What is the Debt Ratio?

The debt ratio measures a company’s total debt to total assets. It is the simplest calculation available for determining how indebted a company is on a relative basis. The debt ratio is crucial for determining a company’s financial standing, and should be considered by potential investors. To calculate the debt ratio, one only needs to divide total liabilities (i.e. long-term and short-term liabilities) by total assets. Continue reading...

What is Cost of Capital?

The Cost of Capital is the hurdle over which a business must get to generate positive cash flow. It is what it will cost companies to get capital from investors. Companies sometimes use debts or equities to finance their business operations. The service paid on debt and the operating expenses are lines over which the revenue must get to be saved as retained earnings or distributed as dividends. The yield expected by investors on debt is the cost of capital for the company taking on those loans. Continue reading...

What is Abatement Cost?

Environmental regulations or lawsuits occasionally force companies to comply by taking measures or acquiring technologies to abate their environmental impact, and the overhead of such projects is called Abatement Cost. Increasingly over the last 20 years or so more countries and states have begun imposing laws on companies to reduce their carbon emissions, noise pollution, and various other environmental impacts. The costs of enacting measures or technologies to help them comply with such regulations is known as abatement cost. Continue reading...

What Does Opportunity Cost Mean?

Opportunity cost is a fundamental concept in economics and decision-making. It refers to the potential loss of choosing one option over another and helps individuals and organizations make informed decisions by considering the potential benefits and costs of each option. Opportunity cost also plays a significant role in macroeconomics, trade, and determining the price of goods and services. Understanding opportunity cost is essential for making trade-offs, allocating resources, and achieving long-term success. Continue reading...

Should I buy physical gold instead of gold ETFs?

There are probably more important things you can do with your time than find a place to store your suitcase full of gold and hover over it like a mother hen. But it may be worth it to you, since owning shares of a gold ETF is not the same as owning actual gold. Gold ETFs work by holding some amount of gold in trust and then selling shares of the fund that owns it. There is a significant discrepancy between the dollar value of the gold which is held and the total value of the shares which are sold, however, and if there were ever a “run” on the fund, no one would be able to actually get gold bricks out of fund managers. Continue reading...

What is dollar cost averaging?

Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is a method of hedging against the risk of investing a lump sum at high market prices. With DCA, the investor deploys money at set intervals, hoping to get the best average price per share. If you use the same amount of money to buy shares at set intervals, you will acquire more shares when the market is down, and fewer shares when the market is up, so theoretically you would have acquired more of the advantageously-priced shares overall and will be in a better position in the long run. Continue reading...

What are ICOs?

ICO is an acronym for Initial Coin Offering, and it is the primary way that new companies can use blockchains to raise capital. Many entrepreneurs have gotten their start in the last decade through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, where anyone can contribute funds to help an idea get off the ground. Obviously, such funding methods were bound to reach new heights when peer-to-peer blockchains came onto the scene. Blockchains allow transfers of value anywhere in the world without regulatory... Continue reading...

How fast should my portfolio grow?

The assumed rate of return on an investment is an important consideration, especially since assuming a rate of return that is too high might cause the individual to under-invest. You should understand the difference between an assumed rate of return that is optimal and one that is going to give you the highest probability of reaching your goals. In a perfect world, your portfolio would average 15-20% per year, forever, but this is really not feasible. Continue reading...

What is Contribution Margin?

Contribution margin measures how efficiently a company can produce a good relative to its variable cost. Goods with high contribution margins are the most profitable. The contribution margin can be helpful in deciding what goods can go on sale and for how much, and it allows management to decipher how to improve efficiency in production while keeping variable costs low. Additionally, if there is a bottleneck in the supply chain for an input that is used to produce two different products, management could use contribution margin to decide which product takes takes priority. Continue reading...

What is the Cost of Goods Sold?

The Cost of Goods Sold, or COGS, represents the overhead associated with the materials and labor, which were needed to produce the goods sold during a given period. The COGS calculation is only concerned with the production costs of a good, and does not take distribution and sales force costs into account. It will always include the direct materials cost and direct labor cost for each item, but indirect overhead associated with production, such facility costs, are distributed between Inventory and COGS, according to Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP). Continue reading...

What is a No-Fee Mortgage?

No-fee mortgages are synonymous with no-cost mortgages, which might apply to first mortgages or refinancing arrangements where the closing costs are paid by the lender, broker, or bank, but a higher interest rate is charged on the loan as a means of recouping those waived fees. Closing costs and fees are calculated based on the total amount being loaned, and might be about 3% for a first mortgage and 1.5% for a refinanced mortgage. When the fees and closing costs associated with a mortgage loan are waived for the borrower, they are usually baked in to a higher interest rate on the loan. Continue reading...

What is Future Value?

Future Value is the hypothetical value of an investment at a specific date in the future. The future value (FV) of an investment or business is a calculation used in several types of planning and accounting. In a Time Value of Money (TVM) calculation, the Future Value is often the starting point, and the interest rate that will be earned in the meantime is called Discount Rate, and is discounted by the number of years of periods back to the present time. This allows investors to see the Present Value (PV), which is a lesser, discounted amount from the future value, and gives us the premise for the Time Value of Money, which is that “a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” Continue reading...

Why do ICOs Matter to Ethereum and Bitcoin?

ICOs can help the market and developers test the waters for new concepts using blockchain technology. When a new idea succeeds or fails after using an ICO, it could be said that the company had made use of every advantage at its disposal and that it had the best chance at success in that environment as it could have had anywhere else. It could have done so more cheaply, and with less interference, than in the “real world,” generally speaking. Continue reading...