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Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

Who Can Put Money into an IRA?

There are some income limits and contribution limits on who can contribute to an IRA. Generally speaking, as long as you or your spouse is earning taxable income, you can contribute money to an IRA, be it a Roth or a Traditional IRA. There are limits at which you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA (in 2016, the limit is $132,000 for a single filer and $194,000 for a married couple). There are also income limits at which you are no longer able to deduct contributions to a Traditional IRA, but these are only applicable if you or your spouse has a qualified retirement plan at work. Continue reading...

What is the difference between Common Stock and Preferred Stock?

A preferred stock is higher up the equity chain than a common stock - preferred stockholders receive dividends first and will be paid out first in the event of liquidation. The primary difference between a preferred stock and a common stock is that preferred stockholders have a greater claim to assets of the company. This can come in two forms: preferred shareholders being paid dividends first, and also having a higher claim to being paid out in the event a company goes bankrupt or liquidate assets. Continue reading...

What is Consensus?

What is Consensus?

Consensus in investing is a measure of how in line investor beliefs are with one another. It describes strong trends in both trading and investor sentiment, often manifesting as bullish or bearish outlooks on a security or market. Bullish or bearish outlooks can be misleading, however. Opinions are not facts, and the noise of opinions from news sources and pundits can make opinions seem more factual than they are. Many investors require time to develop and form opinions, or form opinions for the wrong reasons, and can succumb to a herd mentality Continue reading...

What is a Breakeven Price?

There will be a premium paid by investors for the right to establish positions using options. The price of the underlying security must move to a certain point for the options position to become profitable. The strike price of an options contract names the price that an investor can use to buy or sell the underlying security, but the breakeven price will be the strike price plus the amount of the investor’s premium or net debit. Breakeven price can apply to a multi-option strategy such as a spread, or to a single option position. Continue reading...

B-/B3 — credit rating

B-/B3 — credit rating

B- — S&P / Fitch B3 — Moody’s In the world of junk bonds, a B3/B- rating is about as low of a rating as most investors will venture to explore. Bonds are rated by independent ratings institutions known as the Big Three: Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P. Two companies, S&P and Fitch, use the same symbols, and the B- in this example belongs to them. Moody’s has its own system, and the B3 in this example is theirs. Continue reading...

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is basically an annuity paid for with home equity. In a reverse mortgage, instead of paying to for your home, you’re getting paid for your home. It is considered a loan, but it does not have to be repaid, except by the proceeds from selling the home. Older Americans who need the income and aren’t concerned about their heirs getting their house might apply for a reverse mortgage. It is also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Continue reading...

What is a Run Rate?

What is a Run Rate?

Run rate is a term that can be applied to a certain type of accounting and management estimation or to the depletion of equity options. The first kind is when a current metric (such as sales revenue for a quarter) is assumed to extend out to the end of the year or accounting period for estimation or valuation purposes. The second kind uses the average dilution from the past three years, generally, to show the effect that convertible securities are having on the share price of a company. Continue reading...

What is Chapter 13?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one of the most often used. It is similar to a Chapter 7, but it does not have income limits. It involves liquidating the assets of the debtor and making payment arrangements over a longer period of time than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to propose a schedule for repaying debts that seems reasonable to the bankruptcy judge. It is for individuals who can prove steady income. Often Chapter 7 is filed by people who are impoverished, while Chapter 13 is the middle-to-upper class equivalent. Continue reading...

What is the Inverted Cup-and-Handle (Bearish) Pattern?

The Inverted Cup­-and-­Handle (sometimes called Inverted Cup­-and-­Holder) pattern forms when prices rise then decline to create an upside-­down “U”­like shape (1, 2, 3, also known as the Cup), followed by a shorter relatively straight price increase that bounces from the right lip (from 3 to 4, creating the Handle). The rising handle forms as a result of mounting buying pressure created when the pair retests a low at the right lip of the cup. Once the buyers give up, sellers take over and the pair has the potential to decline rapidly. Continue reading...