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What are Bond Ratings?

The possibility of a company or municipal government defaulting on their bond obligations, usually by going bankrupt, is a real one. For this reason, all bonds are rated according to the financial stability of the issuer. A look at the history of corporate and municipal debt will illuminate the fact that the possibility of the issuer being unable to pay its obligations to bondholders is a very real one. There is an established system of bond ratings that gives a rough estimate of the bond's reliability. Continue reading...

What is Profit Margin?

Profit margin is a profitability ratio that measures, as a percentage, how much a company keeps per sale. Profit margin can be calculated by dividing net income by sales. A higher profit margin means a company keeps high percentage of each dollar sold as profit. For example, a 50% profit margin means that for every dollar earned, a company retains $0.50. It is often helpful for an analyst to look at how a company’s profit margins have changed over time, to measure whether it is becoming more efficient in the sales of goods. Continue reading...

What is a Jumbo Loan?

A jumbo loan is a mortgage loan that exceeds the conforming loan limits set by the Office of Federal Enterprise Housing Oversight. For borrowers with low debt to income ratios and good credit scores, jumbo loans are often utilized for purchases of larger or luxury homes. Often times jumbo loans are too large in size to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and are securitized in other ways. Continue reading...

What is Systematic Risk?

Systematic risk is the broad risk of fluctuations and downturns in the market as a whole, which it is said cannot be eliminated through diversification. Systematic risk is also known as market risk, which is the exposure of all investors to the broad movements and downturns of the market as a whole. Theoretically it cannot be controlled for through simple diversification, since that would only bring a portfolio closer to the broad market performance, with a Beta closer to 1. Continue reading...

What is Monetary Policy?

Monetary policy is the stance of the central bank at any given time regarding the tightening or loosening of rates, or the issuance of new currency denominations, that will affect the money supply in the country. Monetary policy is the prerogative of the central bank but may be influenced by congress as well as private banking institutions and the central banks of other countries. The goal of monetary policy is to keep the Federal Funds Rate or the LIBOR, or whatever it might be depending on the country, at just the right level to keep the economy going in the direction that will be most helpful. Continue reading...

What is a Calendar Spread?

A calendar spread is a strategy also known as a horizontal spread or time spread, in which the investor uses two options contracts, with the same strike price, on the same underlying security, but with different expiration dates. The trader will “write” (sell) the near-term one (front month) and hold the one with the more distant expiration date (back month) long. This is a debit spread, since the investor will pay more to establish this position than is received from the short sale of the near-term option: longer-term options have a greater time value than short-term options. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant?

The Federal Government will give college students who have filled out a FAFSA and are found to be in dire financial need a grant of up to $4,000 a year. The grant does not have to be repaid. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant provides funding for educational expenses to students with expected family contributions (EFCs). The maximum annual amount that can be received in a SEOG is $4,000 per student. Continue reading...

What is Total Enterprise Value?

Enterprise value is an amount that would have to be paid for a company to acquire all of its equity and debt. It is notable that cash and cash equivalents are left out of this equation since that amount is netted out of a cash purchase. The basic formula for enterprise value is market capitalization + debt obligations and any minority interests or preferred shares. This regularly appears in the numerator position in the EV/EBITDA ratio. Often investors can just look at the market capitalization of a company to get an estimation of the size of the company. Continue reading...

What is Life Insurance?

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance is one of the oldest financial products in existence, with roots going back beyond the ancient Roman Empire. Today, there are many different kinds of life insurance available, most representing variations on the main categories of term life, whole life, and universal life. It can be written in a private contract, but most often it is offered as packaged products to the public. Life Insurance’s main purpose is to ensure that dependents of a deceased provider or caretaker will have some financial resources to fall back on, but it can also be used as a means to create a guaranteed legacy or a tax-advantaged pool of money. Continue reading...

What are Blockchain’s Issues and Limitations?

What are Blockchain’s Issues and Limitations?

Blockchain is an emerging technology and arguably one of the next “big things.” As with anything so big and impactful, it comes with a few issues and limitations. Before even diving into the technology behind blockchain and potential issues, perhaps one of the broadest issues facing blockchain is gaining the public’s trust. Blockchain is not only a new technology, it also comes with its own language, literally. There are numerous terms and definitions that accompany a person’s grasp of blockchain, and it can take some commitment of reading and learning to figure out. Not everyone is willing or able to do that. Continue reading...