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What is the Structure of a Corporation?

Each state has different stipulations concerning what defines a corporation, but there are some commonalities across the country. Businesses must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State in the state of their home office, which detail the proposed structure of the business, before their status as a corporation can be approved. Each corporation is going to be different, of course, and each state has slightly different laws delineating the structure and bylaws that corporations must adopt. Continue reading...

What is a Corporate Bond?

A corporate bond is a debt security issued by a public or private company to raise capital. They are generally issued in multiples of $1,000 or $5,000, and the issuing company must agree to pay a certain interest rate typically determined by their creditworthiness and earning history/potential. Often times the corporation issuing the debt must use their physical assets as collateral, and it is often found that corporations are more likely to issue debt during an environment when interest rates are low, so they can borrow at attractive rates. Corporate debt that matures in less than one year is called ‘commercial paper.’ Continue reading...

What is an S-Corporation?

S-Corporations, also called S-corps, are a cross between a traditional corporation and an LLC. S-Corporations are companies which, as opposed to C-Corporations, do not pay any federal income tax on their earnings, except in a few exceptional cases. Instead, the earnings (or losses) are passed to the shareholders and will appear on their individual income tax reports. The “S” comes from the subchapter of the Internal Revenue Code where the taxation laws are outlined. S-corps can actually be owned and operated by a sole proprietor after incorporating or starting an LLC in the state of residence and filing IRS form 2253 (link to instructions and form — found here). Continue reading...

What is a Corporation?

A corporation is a business entity which has filed articles of incorporation. Unlike a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership, a corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. They are often referred to as C-corporations or C-corps, to distinguish them from S-corps, which are named after the subchapter which describes them in the law (though technically speaking, S-corps are corporations, too). Continue reading...

What is a C-Corporation?

C-corps are generally the larger, more established companies in the country – most publicly-traded companies are C-corps. C-Corporations are companies which, as opposed to S-Corporations, are subject to federal income tax entirely separately from their owners. In addition, the earnings (or losses) are distributed among the shareholders (usually as dividends) and will appear on their individual income tax reports. This is the double-taxation for which C-corps are infamous. Continue reading...

What are Articles of Incorporation?

Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office before a corporation can do business in a state. Articles of Incorporation are legal documents which contain descriptions of the most pertinent information about a company at its formation. This includes a list of board members, the number of shares to be issues, bylaws, business model, facilities and assets, and so forth. Continue reading...

What Types of Bonds Are There?

Bonds are divided into a several categories, and it is possible to get substantial diversification within a bond portfolio alone. Bonds may be categorized into several types. There are investment grade bonds which are conservative and safe, high-yield bonds which are relatively risky and profitable, floating rate bonds whose coupon rate is not fixed, zero coupon bonds which only pay at maturity, and foreign bonds, and so on. Continue reading...

What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) establishes a separate entity from the sole proprietor or partners in a business which shields them from some of the liability associated with the business. An LLC is a business entity that creates a distinction between the business’s assets and liabilities and the assets and liabilities of the owner or partners. Sole proprietors and partnerships who do not file for this distinction leave themselves and all of their personal assets at risk, in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Before Tax (EBT)?

Earnings before tax (EBT) is used to look at cash flows after expenses but before taxes. In a world without tax, this is what earnings would look like. Taking advantage of an advantageous tax-event, or hiring a better CPA, or merging with a company that can reduce the tax implications of some regular transactions, can bring earnings closer to their before-tax amount. Earnings before tax from an accounting standpoint is net income (which is another word for earnings) with taxes added together with it. Continue reading...

What are Risk-Weighted Assets?

International banking regulations set forth in the Basel Accords require that institutions maintain a certain amount of capital relative to the amount of risk-weighted assets (RWA) they have. Conservative investments such a treasury notes have a risk weighting of zero, while corporate bonds have a weighting of .20, and so forth. The exact weighting system is laid out in Basel agreements. The system is designed to reveal a bank’s level of exposure to potential losses, and the capital requirements are there to balance out the risks and to protect the global economy from a meltdown in the financial system. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Center?

An investment center is an almost autonomous division of a company whose purpose is to generate returns on invested money. Cost center and profit center are terms used for various kinds of business divisions when observed from a solely financial, instead of operational, standpoint. These categories help a business to identify and group its similar assets for evaluation. A cost center can be turned into a profit center if it manages to reduce costs enough to generate a profit. Continue reading...

What are Municipal Bond Funds?

Municipal bonds funds invest exclusively in tax-advantaged municipal bond issues. Municipal Bond Funds invest in issues of municipal debt, often with the intention of using its tax advantages. Bonds held in a ‘muni fund’ might be state or local issues of general obligation or revenue bonds. Gains on muni funds are not taxable at the federal level, and if a person resides in the state in which the bond was issued, they can most likely avoid state or local taxes on gains as well. Continue reading...

What is EBITDA?

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, and is used as a ballpark figure for where the company’s earnings are without these expenses. It gives a picture of the total operating revenue of a company with the expenses that are related to financing decision and the tax environment left out. Accountants can calculate EBITDA by taking net income (earnings, or operational earnings) and adding interest payments, tax obligation, depreciation of hard assets, and amortization of intangibles back into it. Continue reading...

What is Income Risk?

Income risk is the chance that an investment which is used for income will fluctuate in an unfavorable way if the interest rate environment or market conditions change. Some mutual funds and ETFs are branded as income funds when they use lots of corporate bonds that generate regular income payments, but they are often sensitive to interest rate changes. The Federal Reserve Board and the market can affect changes in the interest rate environment as times goes on. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Before Interest Depreciation and Amortization (EBIDA)?

EBIDA is one of the family of earnings metrics which give the analyst, investor, or accountant an opportunity to view earnings, which is synonymous with net income, with a few factors added back into it. In this case, interest payments on debt, depreciation of hard assets on the standard IRS schedules, and amortization of principal debts are all added back into the earnings of the company for the current period. Not to be confused with EBITDA, its more popular counterpart. Continue reading...

What is 'Pro Forma'?

Pro Forma is a term used frequently in the context of a company’s financial statement, and refers to the manner in which figures are presented. In Latin the term “Pro Forma” means “as a matter of form,” and in the case of a financial statement refers to how figures are presented either in present form or as projections. For publicly traded corporations, statements prepared with the pro forma method are generally made ready ahead of a planned transaction such as an acquisition, merger, or some change in corporate structure based on new investment or capital changes. Continue reading...

What is a Bond Coupon?

A bond coupon is the interest rate that a bond issuer agrees to pay to the bondholder, representing the interest earned from owning the bond. Bond coupons are fixed at the time the bond is issued and remain constant throughout the bond's life. The fixed nature of bond coupons makes them an attractive investment for investors seeking predictable income streams. Continue reading...

What is a Bond?

A bond is a contract which “binds” the lender to the debtor, where an individual investor is generally the lender and the debtor is the company or government which has borrowed funds. When a company or government entity needs more capital, whether to fund operations or a specific project, it can borrow money from investors instead of from a banking institution. Where there is a risk of the investor not being repaid, the interest rate will be proportionally higher. The simplest way a bond works is with set payments at set intervals that gradually repay the debt and interest owed to the investor over a set amount of time. Continue reading...

What is a Dividends Received Deduction?

A Dividends Received Deduction (DRD) is a tax deduction available to corporations when they are paid dividends from another corporation. This is a provision to reduce the number of times an amount of earnings can be taxed: company A, which is paying the dividend, will have already been taxed on it, and the shareholders of company B will be taxed as well, so the Dividends Received Deduction alleviates taxes at the intermediary stage when Company B receives it. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Tax Credit?

In Canada, the dividend tax credit eliminates tax liability for eligible dividends. Eligible dividends can come from public companies, foreign-owned companies operating in Canada, and many privately owned companies. It allows Canadian citizens to avoid having their dividends double-taxed. Canada offers a dividend tax credit that allows investors to eliminate their taxes on dividends paid from eligible companies. Continue reading...