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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 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 are Materials Stocks?

Companies in the Materials sector have business interests in raw materials, such as steel, aluminum, and iron ore. The companies are generally involved in the discovery, processing, or sale of these raw materials. Materials companies rely on economic growth and infrastructure build-outs to thrive, so tend to perform better early in economic expansion cycles. Materials companies are categorically ‘cyclical’ stocks. Continue reading...

What is Directional Movement Index (DMI)?

The Directional Movement Index (DMI) combines the average directional index (ADX), plus directional indicator (+DI), and minus directional indicator (-DI) into one graph that depicts the strength of positive or negative market forces. By plotting the directional indicators together with the ADX line, traders can get a sense of overall movement and determine a trend’s strength and direction. The DMI is a useful illustration of a key point: the ADX is most useful when combined with other indicators to determine whether it makes sense to trade with a trend. The ADX normally depicts three lines in order to give traders an accurate depiction of both the strength and direction of trends: the Plus Directional Indicator (+DI) and Minus Directional Indicator (-DI), as well as the ADX lines. The DIs indicate trend direction, while the ADX depicts trend strength. Continue reading...

How to use the average directional index in trading?

Trend traders can use the Average Directional Index (ADX) technical indicator to spot and confirm the strength of a trend in a security, then combine the ADX reading with other indicators to determine whether it makes sense to trade with the trend. Click here to view the current news with the use of other Technical Indicators Technical Indicators are charting tools that appear as lines on charts, or as other kinds of graphical information, and serve as guidelines for buying and selling opportunities. Traders use technical indicators like the ADX to make predictions about future prices. They verify how well a specific indicator works for a particular security, often by calculating the odds of success under similar market conditions to guide their actions. Continue reading...

What kind of hedge funds exist?

Hedge funds can employ many strategies and focus on virtually any kind of investing style or market. They also have the flexibility to change their strategy as they see fit. Morningstar and other services will group hedge funds into categories and provide benchmarks based on their average performances. As of 2016, there are over 12,000 hedge funds, and over half of those are required to report to the SEC. Continue reading...

What is Investment Property?

Investment property is real estate that an individual or entity owns without the intention to directly use it, but rather to benefit from its ownership. Investment property is not directly used or inhabited by the owner. Its purpose is to provide income through rental or lease, or to be sold at a later time after the property has appreciated. Sometimes this involved building upon the property, or otherwise renovating or improving it. The property might be commercial or residential, with multiple tenants or a single one. Continue reading...

What is Maturity?

Maturity is the amount of time an investment exists - once the security matures, it is paid off to the investor and concludes the transaction. Maturities are most commonly used in the fixed income context, with bonds having maturities consistent with when their principal is paid back to the investor. What is Yield to Maturity? How Do I Structure My Bond Portfolio? Continue reading...

What is Private Equity?

In the world of finance, private equity is a relatively new industry whereby private companies finance other businesses through direct investment, often in exchange for equity in the company and in some cases, decision-making capabilities. Private equity companies generally use capital of the principals or of high net worth investors to strategically invest in growing companies that need growth capital or seed capital to expand operations. 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 is a Market Maker?

A market maker is a broker-dealer firm or a registered individual that will hold a certain number of shares of a security in order to facilitate trading. There could be as many as 50 market makers for one particular security, and they compete for customer order flows by displaying buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares. The market maker spread refers to the difference between the amount a market maker is willing to pay for a security and the amount that the other party is willing to sell it. Continue reading...

What is Yield to Maturity?

The payments remaining on an interest-paying bond or instrument, plus principal, are totaled up and then annualized, and this annual rate is the yield to maturity. Yield to maturity is a calculation that helps an investor decide if he or she is getting a good deal. If yield to maturity is greater than the coupon rate, the bond is trading a a discount. If yield to maturity is less than the coupon rate, it is selling at a premium. If they are equal the bond is trading at par value. Continue reading...

What Investment Choices Do I Have in My IRA?

Every institution that can be your IRA trustee will offer different options within the IRA. IRA is a tax designation which can be placed on an account at various institutions that offer a compliant list of investment options. Some can be as simple as a CD characterized as an IRA at a bank or credit union. Investment institutions can offer a wide variety of investment choices in an IRA: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, annuities, and so on. Margin trading is not allowed in IRA accounts, so you might not be able to use options or other hedging strategies in your IRA. Continue reading...

Can I Hold Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies in an IRA?

It is becoming increasingly popular today to have an IRA just for bitcoin. If you create a Self-Directed IRA, you can hold almost anything you want within it, if you can find a custodian and trustee willing to facilitate it. This isn’t overly difficult to do since many new companies are jumping at the opportunity to facilitate bitcoin and cryptocurrency IRAs. Examples of assets that can be held within a self-directed IRA include real estate, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, intellectual property, private businesses, hedge funds, private equity, tax lien certificates, livestock, and more. Continue reading...

Can I Rollover My 401(k) into an IRA?

Yes, in fact this is what most people do. This is a very popular choice. Because Traditional IRAs receive the same kind of tax treatment as 401(k)s, with pretax contributions, tax-deferred growth, and taxable withdrawals, the IRS allows you to move funds over without creating a taxable event. Of course, you need to have an IRA account to do so, but it can be as easy as opening an account online and telling the custodian company the account information for your old 401(k). Continue reading...

What is Form 706: Estate Tax and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 706 is required not only if there is a tax implication for an estate, but also to claim exclusions. Each person has an exclusion of 5.49 Million as of 2017. For married couples, that goes double, such that heirs to an estate under $11 million probably will not owe any estate taxes. A surviving spouse should still report the inherited portion of the deceased spouse’s estate up to the exclusion amount, otherwise the exclusion will be lost. There are also lines for the lifetime gift exclusion amount and the generation skipping transfer tax. Continue reading...

What is Form 706 GS (D): Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 706 is the Estate Tax return, and it has a section concerning Generation-Skipping Transfers. 706 GS (D), specifically, is the form which 706: GS (D-1) is the corresponding form if the transfer is associated with a trust, which is filed by the trustee. The Generation-Skipping Tax attempts to prevent an estate from transferring too many assets directly to grandchildren instead of children for the purpose of shielding heirs from estate taxes. The form for reporting Generation Skipping Transfers is 706 GS (D), where 706 is the Estate Tax Return filing. Continue reading...

What is Form 1099-R?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Sources of retirement plan income, such as pensions, annuities, and IRAs, will be associated with a 1099-R filing. The form is filed by the company making the distribution. The taxpayer uses the information on it for when filing income taxes. The IRS receives Form 1099-R from the companies making distributions from retirement plans. They have categorized all annuity contracts as retirement plans by default, so those are included, as are pensions, profit sharing plans, other forms of employer-sponsored retirement plans, cash-value life insurance distributions, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). The company making the distribution sends the 1099-R to the IRS and the account owner. Continue reading...

What is a market-maker spread?

The difference between the Bid and Ask prices on a stock or other security are known as the Spread. Designated market makers are traders whose job it is to make a market for securities, by offering to buy or sell shares, and thus creating liquidity, often at the same time. Their money is made on the spread. In highly liquid markets, the spread will shrink. So if everyone is buying and selling the same stock one day, there may be virtually no spread between the Bid and the Ask price, and this is seen as efficient. Continue reading...

What is a Living Will? (in-depth)

A living will is sometimes called an advance directive or a medical directive, and it specifies a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures and other end-of-life issues. If a person is in a coma, for instance, it is intended to provide instructions for their care, including whether or not to use oxygen or “feeding tubes” to keep them alive. This might require a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) waiver of some kind, which tells medical staff not to intervene if the person is dying. The living will is different than the “will” that most people are familiar with, which is a Last Will and Testament, stipulating the person’s wishes for their estate after he or she has died. Continue reading...