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What is Publication 504, Divorced and Separated individuals?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Divorce can be a hard thing on a personal level, and the tax returns can become more difficult to sort through as well. Publication 504 walks through the various choices available to those who are divorced or separated and who may need to adjust how their dependents are claimed, how property is divided up or sold, and who pays the taxes due at the time of divorce. Publication 504 gives detailed instructions concerning how to correctly report and file the proceeds of divorce. 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...

What is a Settlement Date?

The length of time after a trade is executed that the securities are due delivered and the payment is due paid varies for different types of transactions, but the date on which this occurs is the settlement date. Most exchange-traded corporate securities in the United States are required to be settled three days after the trade order is entered, which is called T+3. That date is the settlement date, and is the final date on which the transaction must be finalized by both parties involved. Continue reading...

What is Account Settlement?

Settling an account is laying all outstanding business on an account to rest. Account settlement is an idea that can take a few forms. Settlement is when acceptable “consideration” (compensation or pay) has been provided and both parties agree that the matter is settled, resolved, and no further debts or obligations exist for that item of business. Many people have heard the term “settlement” with regards to legal matters, in which the defendant pays off the plaintiff before an actual trial and usually can avoid officially admitting guilt. Continue reading...

Can I settle my debts for less than I owe?

It is possible to get a settlement arrangement that allows you to settle your debts for less than you owe, but there are consequences. An individual can personally seek a settlement with the credit card company or other creditor that they may owe, or they can enlist the help of a debt settlement company. People should only seek to settle when they have no other option, because their credit score will be badly damaged for many years. Continue reading...

Should I consolidate my debt?

This seems to be a better choice than debt settlement, and it may make payments easier. Debt consolidation allows people to pay one bill a month towards their debt obligation, rather than many, and it may also give them a lower interest rate payment. A debt consolidation company or bank can settle the outstanding debts of the individual; this settlement amount plus fees becomes the principal loan amount or a new loan, which will probably be designed to have lower payments than the individual was paying before consolidation. Continue reading...

What is a short position?

A short position is a sale made by an investor for a security which he or she will deliver to the buyer in the near future, but which he or she is hoping will go down in price in the near future so that a profit can be retained from the price collected in the short sale. A short position is a bearish play on a security which an investor believes will decrease in price in the near future. The investor offers shares for sale, and collects the current market price for the shares from the buyer. Continue reading...

What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counselors can negotiate debt management strategies with lenders on behalf of individuals with debt problems, as well as providing behavioral financial habit construction counseling. Debtors seek out credit counselors to find out what their options are to get out of debt and to get some coaching during the process. Credit counselors can be certified through several accredited institutions who are overseen by the Department of Justice in the United States, and they may be part of a non-profit organization, lending institution, or independent financial practice. Continue reading...

Who is a Bill Collector?

Collections companies are known as Bill Collectors, and their jobs are to extract as much payment from those who are past-due on payment obligations as they can to settle an account or to bring it current. When people do not pay their credit card companies back within about 150 days, the card company will pass the debt off to a collections company. Other businesses who do their own billing will also sometimes find it necessary to pass off the obligation to the collections company. 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...

Can I Withdraw Money From My Pension Plan?

This is rarely an option, but the IRS does allow it. In general, you can’t withdraw money from a Pension Plan before you retire. You also may not be able to make non-recurring withdrawals after retirement, unless it is a lump-sum settlement. If your plan allowed it, the IRS would treat it just like withdrawals from a 401(k). Withdrawals before 59 ½ would be penalized with a 10% early withdrawal tax. Continue reading...

What is an Account Freeze?

An account freeze stops all pending transactions and does not honor new transaction requests for a financial depository account. A checking or savings account might be frozen at the prerogative of the banking institution or at the request of the account owner or government agency. Similarly an investment account might be frozen for breaking the terms of the account agreement with regards to trading activity or margin requirements, in addition to illegal activity or court order for another reason. Continue reading...

What is Chapter 7?

Chapter 7 is a type of bankruptcy filing that allows an individual to liquidate enough assets to repay their debts and to then be free and clear of debt obligations. This can help get a credit rating back on track sooner than another type of filing such as Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is for people with incomes below their state’s median income. By liquidating enough assets to pay off creditors, a debtor can use Chapter 7 to take care of all debts at once, or to have some of the debts forgiven if the debtor does not have adequate assets for liquidation. Continue reading...

What is the commodity channel index (CCI)?

The Commodity Channel Index is an oscillator introduced in 1980 in Commodities magazine, but it can be used for indexes, ETFs, stocks, and so on. It basically displays the relative daily difference above or below a simple moving average. It can be used to identify overbought and oversold conditions and to confirm trends. The CCI averages out the prices of a commodity (or security) for a day, calling it the Typical Price, and compares it to the simple moving average for a time period (usually 20 days). Continue reading...

How to use the Relative Strength Index (RSI) in trading

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) was developed by J. Welles Wilder Jr. to measure asset momentum using price changes and the speed of those changes. Like stochastics, the RSI is an oscillator that reads between 0 and 100; in this case, the RSI calculation determines the ratio of upward and downward movement using 14 periods of data, then smooths it out so only strong trends approach 0 or 100. Traders traditionally interpret RSI values of 70 or greater as an indicator of an overbought asset, while values 30 or below indicate an asset has been oversold; higher or lower values (like 80 and 20) can be used to minimize the number of bought or sold readings. Continue reading...

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...

How to use Stochastics in trading

Stochastic oscillators are a popular momentum indicator used in technical analysis and prized for their accuracy and clarity. They can provide overbought or oversold signals to traders and even be combined with other indicators, like moving averages or the Relative Strength Index (RSI), to unearth insights that support profit-maximizing trades. Stochastics gauge an asset’s closing price in comparison to a range (measured 0-100) of closing prices over a mutable (though most often 14-day) time period, creating overbought (readings of 80-plus) and oversold (readings of 20 or under) trading signals. Continue reading...

What Should I Do With a Lump-Sum Distribution From My Pension Plan?

We encourage you to be responsible and keep the future in mind. The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s very easy to spend a lump sum right away without thinking about the consequences. While the monthly payment option protects your money from overspending, a lump sum should be handled with frugality and practicality in mind. A large portion of this amount should be invested safely and wisely, particularly if you are very near to your own retirement age, and you do not have time to ride out market fluctuations. When investing, you should consider a conservative estimate of you and your spouse’s life expectancies weighed against your annual income needs, adjusted for rising healthcare costs. Continue reading...

What is Receivables Turnover Ratio?

Receivables Turnover Ratio gives a snapshot of how well a company does by extending credit. The ratio is computed by putting the number of credit sales over the total amount of outstanding receivables. If a company is not able to efficiently collect on credit that it has extended to its customers or debtors, it will have a low Receivables Turnover Ratio. The top number is the amount of new receivable accounts opened during a period, and the lower number is the total number of outstanding receivable accounts. A much larger bottom number suggests that they are not able to efficiently collect on and close their receivables. Continue reading...

What is a Debt Settlement Company?

A debt settlement company is a company who specializes in helping people with overwhelming debt settle with their creditors. Debt settlement companies can help individuals with debt issues settle with their creditors for less than they owe. Of course, this will give the individual’s credit score a significant dent that stays on public record for seven years, but at least it gets people out from under their crushing debt. A settlement company will attempt to negotiate a settlement deal on your behalf with one or all of your creditors. Continue reading...