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What was the “Tulip” Bubble?

Markets have been around for much longer than most people think. The Tulip bubble happened in the 1500's! In the last decade of the 1500’s, Tulips were brought to Holland from Constantinople by botanist Carolus Clusius. Within a few years, the Tulips began to spread through Holland like wildfire, becoming luxury goods. As demand rose to astronomical levels, prices skyrocketed along with it. Eventually, people would gain and lose entire fortunes on the beautiful (but not that beautiful) plants. Of course, the actual value of the tulip bulbs was nowhere near the thousands of dollars (if the amounts were converted into today’s standards) that the traders paid for them. Eventually, people began to sell their invaluable tulip bulbs for real cash, and a domino effect ensued. Continue reading...

Should I Hold an Annuity Within My IRA?

An IRA already provides the investor with tax-deferred growth, so an annuity will not provide any additional tax benefits. The investor may be interested, however, in the insurance guarantees provided by the annuity for a cost. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t. One of the biggest benefits of an Annuity is its tax-advantaged status; namely that the earnings on your investment grow tax-free until withdrawal. An IRA, of course, has the same tax treatment. Therefore, having an Annuity within your IRA will not provide you with any additional tax benefits. Continue reading...

What if the Matching Contribution for My 401(k) is in Company Stock?

Employer contributions in the form of company stock can pose some liquidity issues, but it can also be a nice benefit. If the matching contribution to your 401(k) is made in company stock, you have to weigh carefully your overall exposure to the financial well-being of your company. You are already receiving the current income (salary) from your employer. You may also have taken advantage of an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) or Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) outside of the retirement plan. Therefore, you might already have a lot riding on the stability of your company. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a SIMPLE IRA, Do I Have to Establish One for All Employees of My Business?

In general, the answer is “Yes,” but there are a few exceptions. If you decide to establish a SIMPLE IRA, every eligible employee must be offered a SIMPLE IRA account. An employee is eligible if they have earned $5,000 in compensation during any two previous years, and are expected to earn $5,000 the current year. If an employee is unwilling to participate, the employer must open up a SIMPLE IRA on behalf of the employee. Continue reading...

What is the Short Interest Ratio?

The Short Interest Ratio (SIR) measures investor sentiment for a given company and is calculated using the number of shares being shorted divided by the average daily trading volume of the stock. Also called the short ratio or float short, the SIR is a ratio of the number of shares being shorted divided by the average daily trading volume for the stock over the last 30 days. The ratio can be interpreted as the number of days it takes short sellers to repurchase borrowed shares, or an approximation for the number of shares that have been sold short and not yet covered as a percentage of all trading volume. Continue reading...

What is a Zero Coupon Bond?

A Zero Coupon Bond is one that does not make interest payments - the bondholder only receives the face value back at time of maturity. The bond purchaser typically pays a deep discount for the bond, and the gain made over the life of the investment is the difference between the amount paid for the bond and the face value returned to the investor when the bond matures. What is a Bond Coupon? Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Bonds? Continue reading...

What is naked shorting?

What is naked shorting?

In a regular short sale transaction, the seller would locate and borrow the security being sold before the sale. Naked shorting means that the seller has not located or secured the security being short sold, and is in many cases illegal. Naked shorting is illegal because it accompanies an extreme likelihood that the security sold short will be FTD (Fail to Deliver) within the settlement period. Naked shorting is selling something that you do not have, without confirming that you can get the security to deliver, or even that the security exists. Naked short selling has a long history. 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...

How Do I Invest Money in My Pension?

Employees are not able to control investments in a Pension Fund, but you can control a few variables. You cannot direct investments in your pension. Since a pension is a type of Defined Benefit Plan provided by your employer, the company worries about the investments, and you will receive a fixed monthly payment that is calculated based on your age, salary, and number of years worked for the company. Continue reading...

What is a Lifeline Account?

Lifeline accounts are offered by some banks, and are required in some states to be offered by all banks — they give low-income individuals an opportunity to bank without paying fees or observing a minimum balance. This is done in an effort to promote social mobility by giving everyone access to banking services. You are likely to be able to find a bank that offers free checking accounts anyway, but some states have mandated that banks allow for so-called “lifeline accounts,” which have fewer features than other checking accounts but which may be the only banking option available for low-income banking customers. Continue reading...