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What Happens to My Annuity After I Die?

Annuities allow you to designate beneficiaries, but the payouts or benefits they receive depend on the wording in the contract, and can vary greatly. Annuities, even if they are designated as Individual IRAs or qualified accounts, can have joint annuitants. This way, if an income stream has been elected that is joint-life, then your beneficiary, whether a spouse or even a younger family member, will continue to receive payments for life. These options can all be elected at purchase. Continue reading...

What Amount of Life Insurance Should I Have?

What Amount of Life Insurance Should I Have?

You may hear different things about the amount of life insurance that you need. An easy way some suggest is to take your annual income and multiply it by 10. But that doesn’t take everything into account, such as debts, specific things you want the money to do, or a safe withdrawal rate to give your beneficiaries an income that you want them to have if something happens to you. The right number could be more like 20 times your annual income, but it all depends on the purpose of the money and your financial situation. Continue reading...

What is an Accidental Death Benefit?

What is an Accidental Death Benefit?

Accidental Death Benefits are paid only if the cause of death is deemed to be an accident. Sometimes a regular life insurance or health insurance contract will offer an Accidental Death rider. The rider is appended to the contract for a relatively inexpensive additional premium and will pay a specified death benefit if the insured’s cause of death results from an accident. There are several exclusions to the definition of accident, and usually these are things like dangerous activities (sky diving, cave diving), acts of violence and war, and accidents resulting from driving under the influence or other examples where the insured has willfully put themselves in danger, or committed a crime, will usually not be covered. Continue reading...

What Kinds of Social Security Benefits Exist?

What Kinds of Social Security Benefits Exist?

Social Security benefits are streams of income available for retired workers, their spouses, children and dependents, and survivors. It provides insurance against longevity, disability, and, to some extent, the death of the primary contributor. Social Security benefits are available to a worker and their dependents if the worker has triggered eligibility, which usually calculated as earning over $5,040 for 10 years, but is modified if the worker dies or is disabled at a young age. Benefits can be paid to multiple people within a household (and an ex-spouse) based on one worker’s contributions to the system, up to a Maximum Family Limit, which is somewhere between 150-180% of a worker’s full benefit amount. Continue reading...

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Death Cross?

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Death Cross?

The Death Cross is the inverse of a Golden Cross: a chart pattern occurring when a security’s short-term moving average crosses underneath its long-term counterpart, typically followed by an increase in trading volume. A death cross, which like a golden cross most commonly uses long-term 50-day and 200-day moving averages to detect the pattern, usually signifies an incoming bear market to traders. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerative Endowment?

What is an Accelerative Endowment?

Cash-value life policies can be structured for certain endowment ages, and dividends from the company can accelerate the endowment age. Traditional life insurance policies, especially older ones always had an “endowment age,” which meant that if the insured reached that age, their death benefit would be paid out in one lump sum, to be used however the insured wanted. The endowment age used to be about 95 or 100 years old, but in the last few years most companies have moved the age of endowment back to about age 120, since people are living longer and longer, and it looked like they were going to be paying out too many contracts at endowment age instead of at time of death in the future. Continue reading...

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage is normally offered as a rider on health or regular life insurance policies, or as a part of voluntary deduction supplemental insurance offered to an employee group. AD&D policies provide separate coverage and terms for the instance of death by accident and the loss of limbs or specific functionality of body parts. The main attraction to this insurance is that it is very affordable, and many employees check to box to have it deducted from their pay because it is such a negligible amount. Continue reading...

What is a Moving Average Ribbon?

What is a Moving Average Ribbon?

A moving average ribbon is created by plotting many incremental moving average lines on top of the same price chart. The visual relationship of the moving averages can help reveal crossover points, which traders can use as trade signals. As with other crossover indicators, the shorter-term moving average lines will tend to move more than the longer-term ones, and the degree of momentum that the crossovers imply increases for moving average lines of lengthier look-back periods. Continue reading...

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Golden Cross?

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Golden Cross?

The Golden Cross is a breakout candlestick pattern formed when the short term 50-day moving average for a security exceeds its long term 200-day average, backed by high trading volumes. Investors typically interpret this crossover as a harbinger of a bull market, and its impact can reverberate throughout index sectors. The longer time horizons tend to increase the predictive power of the Golden Cross. As seen in the chart in this example, a trader may view the moment when a 50-day moving average (blue line) crosses above a 100-day or 200-day moving average (red line) as a bullish sign for the stock or security. A trader may consider taking a long position in the security, or perhaps explore call options to take advantage of the potential upside. Continue reading...

What is Dilution?

Dilution is the disassociation of value from current common stock shares due to the issuance or conversion of additional shares of the same company into the market, causing value to be reallocated. If a company issues a follow-on (aka Secondary) issue of shares, or if many holders of convertible shares decide to use their conversion privilege, the share price will be diluted. Each share’s value will decrease because there are now an increased number of shares dividing up the same amount of earnings that the company generates. Continue reading...

What is Diluted Earnings Per Share?

If all the convertible securities a company had issued were converted at once to common stock, the stock would be diluted; Diluted EPS reveals by how much. Companies will sometimes entice investors to buy bonds or preferred stock by giving them an option to convert them into shares of common stock. If a bond is converted, shareholders equity increases on the balance sheet and liabilities go down, since a debt liability is being retired. Continue reading...

What are the Basics of Life Insurance?

Life insurance guarantees that a death benefit is paid if an insured person dies while the policy is in effect. Various kinds of life insurance exist, and people buy various amounts of coverage for different purposes, most often to provide for the insured’s dependents if the insured dies prematurely. Life insurance represents a contractual obligation by a company to pay a death benefit to an insured person’s designated beneficiaries if the person dies while the policy is in force. Continue reading...

Will My Spouse and Children Receive Social Security Benefits if I Die?

Will My Spouse and Children Receive Social Security Benefits if I Die?

Spouses and children can and do receive social security benefits upon the death of a person who paid into the system. A spouse who is older than 60 will always be able to receive either a majority of the benefit that was (or would have been) paid to you, using their own age against the full benefit amount that was part of your benefit equation. Children, including dependent grandchildren, can receive a payment equal to 75% of your full benefit amount until they are about 18. Continue reading...

Who Offers Defined Benefit Plans?

Who Offers Defined Benefit Plans?

Any employer can offer a Defined Benefit plan, but not many do anymore. Before the introduction of Defined Contribution Plans, most large corporations such as General Electric, General Motors, etc. offered only Defined Benefit Plans. Over the years, it has put a huge burden on these corporations to guarantee the performance of these plans. If the plan has not performed according to the assumptions, the company would have to contribute the difference, which would have to come from their profits. In order to shift the burden to the employees, most companies now offer Defined Contribution Plans (such as 401(k)s, etc.) instead of Defined Benefit Plans. Continue reading...

How are Social Security Benefits Computed?

How are Social Security Benefits Computed?

Social Security retirement benefits are computed by finding the average monthly income of a worker during the highest-earning 35 years of employment, and then it plugs that amount into a formula for to determine their full benefit at Normal Retirement Age (NRA). A person may then choose to take benefits before or after NRA, with applicable reductions or additions. There are different equations for spousal benefits, survivor’s benefits, and maximum family benefits. Continue reading...

What is Publication 15-b on Fringe Benefits?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here IRS Publication 15-b outlines the different types of fringe benefits available to employees and describes which ones are taxable to the employee and which ones are not. Fringe benefits might include anything from the use of a company car to an employee life insurance policy paid for by the employer. Fringe benefits may be provided to regular employees or independent contractors (1099 employees). Some examples of fringe benefits include tuition reduction, group disability and cafeteria plans, and childcare benefits. Continue reading...

What is the Best Age to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?

What is the Best Age to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?

Generally speaking, the closer you are to age 70, the better. But everyone will need to take all of their options into account and use some planning tools or the assistance of a professional planner to arrive at an ideal cash flow scenario for retirement. All assets should be brought into consideration, as well as the possible social security benefits of both spouses and their spousal benefits. There is no one “best age” to start receiving the Social Security benefits. Everyone has a Normal Retirement Age (NRA), which determines the age at which you can receive your “full” Social Security benefits, but you can defer your benefits past this point to receive an 8% increase for every additional year you deferred your benefit. Note that benefits cannot be deferred past age 70. Continue reading...

For How Long Will I Receive My Social Security Benefits?

For How Long Will I Receive My Social Security Benefits?

After the payments begin, you'll receive Social Security benefits for the rest of your life. People worry that the Social Security system will run out of money, but as long as there are some workers paying into the system, it will be able to pay at least a reduced benefit to retirees. The system can be tweaked easily enough for full benefits to continue to all those to whom it is owed, barring some reductions for taxation on benefits and possible reductions based on income from other sources. After the payments begin, you’ll receive Social Security benefits for the rest of your life. It works like a pension. Continue reading...

How are My Retirement Benefits Computed?

How are My Retirement Benefits Computed?

Each Defined Benefit Plan has its own formula and therefore its own calculations. These formulas need to be arranged by an enrolled actuary to insure that they’ll work over time and will hold up to IRS scrutiny. In general, however, the calculations are strongly based on factors such as your age, your salary, and the number of years you have spent working for the company. For every bit of salary you collect, or length of time you add to your tenure, you add incremental amounts to the set benefit waiting for you in retirement. Continue reading...

What’s the Difference between a Defined Benefit Plan and a Defined Contribution Plan?

Defined Benefit plans and Defined Contribution plans can sometimes look similar, but the main difference is what is certain and defined. In a Defined Benefit Plan, your employer guarantees you a certain fixed monthly payment for the rest of your life, so the benefit is said to be defined. A Defined Contribution Plan’s only certainty is the amount that went into the employee account, so the contributions are defined. Continue reading...