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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 Life Settlement?

A life settlement, also known as a viatical settlement, is a lump sum payment that purchases a person’s life insurance contract from them and makes the life settlement company the new beneficiary. These have become more regulated in last 20 years due to the questionable moral dilemma that this presents. They tend to only work for permanent life insurance products like whole life and universal life, since the viatical company will know that it will get a return on its investment. Life insurance companies have some of the most impressive returns, in a risk-adjusted perspective, on the money in their general account. Continue reading...

How Do Deductible and Non-Deductible IRAs Differ?

It is possible to make non-deductible contributions to an IRA, even if you have a qualified plan at work. Traditional IRAs are a good place to stash retirement money because of the tax treatment. Some people will choose to make contributions even when they are not deductible, which gives us two kinds of Traditional IRAs: deductible and non-deductible. Deductible IRAs provide a way to lower your taxes because you can deduct contributions to your IRA from your income. Nondeductible IRAs do not allow you to deduct your contributions, but they still retain their tax-deferred growth. Unlike a Roth, these after-tax contributions will be taxed upon withdrawal as income. Continue reading...

What is a Basis Point?

When percentages being used to describe a security are very small, basis points are often used to describe the numbers. A Basis Point (bp) is 1/100th of a percent, so 1% = 100 bps. This metric is used when discussing financial instruments for which very small changes in percentages can make a difference. For example, rates on single premium immediate annuities change weekly, and generally only by a few basis points. These small changes can make a difference competitively week-to-week, because a few basis points can translate to thousands of dollars of income over time. Other places where basis points are used include: advisory and management fees, moves in indexes and securities, bonds, and so on. 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 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...

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 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 an Unrealized Gain?

Gains and losses are only "real" when shares are sold or withdrawals are made, but up until that point the gains were more of a notional amount, and are said to be "unrealized." A more salient way to understand unrealized gains is to look at the opposite: unrealized losses. If a person makes an investment of $1,000 and the value of the shares drops sharply the next week, has the person lost any money? The answer of course is no, not unless he sells the shares and takes the lower market price for them. Continue reading...

What is Time Value of Money?

The Time Value of Money is a theme for discourse and calculations related to the effect of interest on money over time, and the interrelation between Present Value and Future Value. The Time in the equation of Rate of Return x Time x Present Value = Future Value has a value and an effect on the Future Value (or the Present Value depending on what you're solving for). The Time Value of Money is, at it's simplest, something which nearly everyone has seen but hasn't heard called by that name: turn this amount of money into that amount of money by letting it grow in the market for a length of time. 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 are the Basics of Stocks?

This article and the ones that follow should give you a solid foundation in the knowledge of stocks and their use as financial instruments. We have established the basic structure of a common stock share: a company issues stock to raise capital, the owner of the stock is entitled to participate in the profits of the company, and stocks are traded in the Secondary Market between buyers and sellers who assume the risk and receive any proceeds that arise from price changes. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Businesses can refer to Pub. 535 to get a better grasp on what expenses can help lower their corporate tax bill. Many of the costs required to do business can be deducted or depreciated. The guide addresses employee compensation, inventory, research and development, and much more. Many of the expenses that could fall into the category of “overhead” can be deducted by a business. Continue reading...

How much time should I spend thinking about my investments?

You should give your portfolio some deep thought and keep it in the back of your mind throughout your day-to-day, up to a point. Some investors become somewhat obsessive about their portfolio, and it can cause them to lose focus at their own job, to make impulsive and irrational decisions, and to possibly over-trade. Many other investors need a more consistent system to keep up with it. With some good software on your side, or an advisor giving you updates, you should be able to keep up with what’s important without becoming too involved. The average investor, left to their own devices, will tend to make decisions based on emotion, and will likely underperform the market significantly. 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 a Form 2106: Employee Business Expense?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 2106 is the long-form way to request deductions for unreimbursed business expenses incurred by an employee in the course of work. This can include professional affiliation dues, continuing education, insurances, vehicle mileage and depreciation, and other possible deductions. Often, employees are not reimbursed for every out-of-pocket expense they incur in the course of their work. This might include wear and tear on a vehicle, professional dues, travel expenses, business meals, and many more items. For any amount to go towards a tax deduction, the itemized unreimbursed expenses must be over 2% of adjusted gross income. Continue reading...