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What is Mortgage Suitability?

Mortgage suitability is a standard that does not technically exist in a regulatory way at this point, even though some legislators and consumer protection groups have sought such a standard. Some financial services representatives, for instance, operate under a suitability standard that takes the financial situation and goals of the individual into account when making investment recommendations. This protects consumers to the extent that it deters some professionals from taking advantage of the consumer and being possibly subject to fines, sanctions, and suspension or loss of license due to violations of the standard. Continue reading...

What is a 10-k?

A 10-k is an annual filing required by the SEC for companies over a certain size, which provides the regulators with more detail than can be found in an Annual Report. If a company has over $10 Million in assets and equity shares divided among 500 or more people, it must file a 10-K within 60 days of the end of the fiscal year, as well as 10-Q filings quarterly, whether it is publicly or privately traded. The 10-K will include specific details that companies may not have put in their Annual Report to shareholders, such as executive compensation, subsidiaries, audited financial statements, lawsuits, and so on. Continue reading...

What is backtesting?

Analytical financial theories and trading strategies can be “backtested” by applying them to historical data. Backtesting is to simulate what it would have been like to use a certain strategy or indicator in the past. Because markets are more complicated than a simple algorithm, such as an assumed future rate of return, it is preferable and somewhat more dramatic to use actual historical data for testing. There is an abundance of historical market data available to those who would like to use it for backtesting a theory, strategy, or indicator. Continue reading...

What is Accountant Responsibility?

Accountants and companies have responsibilities for maintaining accurate records of financial transactions and accounts. Companies must maintain accurate records and accounts, for the sake of reporting to investors, regulatory agencies, and the IRS. Accountants are the professionals trained in the appropriate methods for maintaining these records. They must make every effort to impartially adhere to the law and to accounting standards with regards to the records and documents for which they are responsible. Continue reading...

What is Due Diligence?

Due diligence is the responsibility of the investor and broker to research all pertinent information about the individual's, investments, and companies involved prior to doing business. Due diligence is a responsibility and also a legal defense. If a fiduciary person or company is accused of negligent or criminal behavior, it may be a good defense to show a document trail of research about the people, companies, and investments involved in a transaction. Continue reading...

What is a Billing Cycle?

A billing cycle is the frequency with which a company creates and sends invoices for the goods or services rendered during a time period. A billing cycle is usually a month long, and may begin at the first day of the month and end on the last day. This varies depending on the structure of the business and the systems they have in place to regulate their cash cycle. A bill or invoice will be sent out to customers or debtors from whom the business can expect payment for goods or services rendered during a specific time period. 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...

Should I invest in private placements?

Different opportunities to invest in private placements may present themselves to wealthy individuals over time. Unless the opportunity comes from someone that you know and trust, and you have the ability to research the opportunity, it is probably something you should avoid. Private Placements are sometimes complex deals that cost people a lot of money. You should definitely have your guard up if one is pitched to you. In general, the company or partnership seeking the private placement will not have to register with the SEC or report their books accurately on a public record. Continue reading...

What does Investment Grade Mean?

Investment grade refers to the highest quality of debt available, and usually means the bond has little risk of default. Determining a bond’s credit rating is typically handled by ratings agencies, which is far from a perfect process. Ratings agencies like Moody’s and S&P notoriously failed to rate mortgage backed securities as high risk in the months/years leading into the 2008 financial crisis, instead keeping them as investment grade even as the crisis took hold. Continue reading...

What is a Leveraged Buyout?

A leveraged buyout occurs when members of management use outside borrowed capital to buy a controlling share in the company. Often times, the assets of the company being acquired are used as collateral for the borrowed capital. The purpose of leveraged buyouts is to acquire another company without having to commit a lot of working capital up front. In a typical leveraged buyout, you may see a ratio of 90% debt financing to 10% equity used to acquire the company. Continue reading...

Where can I find information about hedge funds and their performance?

Not all hedge funds are obligated to disclose their holdings, trades, or performance. About half of them are, however, and their performance can be found online through Morningstar and other sources. This information may not be as detailed as you would like, and you may try other means. Since the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, more information about hedge funds is available to the public. This does not mean that all the information you seek will be readily available, however, and there are many hedge funds that do not make their information public. Continue reading...

What Does M&A Mean?

A stands for Mergers and Acquisitions, and refers to the consolidation of companies or assets for strategic purposes. It does not necessarily have to imply that one company wholly takes over another — there are a number of different transactions that can fall under the M&A umbrella, which can include purchase of key assets or management acquisitions. In nearly all cases, however, there are two companies involved - the buyer of capital and the seller. Continue reading...

What are Mortgage-Backed Securities?

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are products that bundle mortgages together and are traded like securities for sale on the markets. Typically investment banks build these products by bundling mortgages with different interest rates and risk premiums, with the hope of the investor gaining a higher yield than can be found from traditional risk-free products, like U.S. Treasuries. Mortgage-backed securities got an infamous name during the 2008 financial crisis, as many of the packaged loans were subprime in nature. Many MBS products lost incredible value during the crisis, particularly following ruling FAS 157, which required banks to mark their value to market. Continue reading...

What is the Suitability Standard?

The suitability standard states that a broker-dealer is obliged to, in the very least, make investment recommendations that are suitable for their clients. The SEC defines a broker as someone who acts as an agent for someone else, and a dealer as someone who acts as a principal for their own account. The suitability standard only details that the broker-dealer has to reasonably believe that any recommendations made are suitable for clients (in terms of the client’s financial needs, objectives and unique circumstances) instead of having to place his/her interests below that of the client. An example would be a broker recommending a proprietary bond fund for a client looking for a fixed income solution. Continue reading...

What is a Zero Coupon Bond?

A Zero Coupon Bond is one that does not make interest payments - the bondholder only receives the face value back at time of maturity. The bond purchaser typically pays a deep discount for the bond, and the gain made over the life of the investment is the difference between the amount paid for the bond and the face value returned to the investor when the bond matures. What is a Bond Coupon? Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Bonds? Continue reading...

How Do I Find the Best Mutual Fund?

It requires a great deal of due diligence, but investors should understand that past performance is not indicative of future performance. Focus on experience. In the stock market, as with most things in life, hindsight is 20/20. There are countless lists on the internet with titles like “The Best Mutual Fund Families” and “50 Winning Mutual Funds.” It is important to understand that the names on those lists are a function of hindsight and not foresight. Continue reading...

What are the key tips to consider when purchasing a HUD home?

Unlock the secrets to successful HUD home buying! Discover how to prep your finances, assemble your dream team, and win competitive bids. Explore financing options and weigh the pros and cons. Make informed decisions in the competitive real estate market. Your dream home awaits! #HUDHomeTips 🏠🔑 Continue reading...

Unlocking Value in Real Estate: A Financial Analysis of Top REIT Stocks

Unlock the potential of real estate investment without the hassle of property management. Discover the top REIT stocks that are shaping the market, offering investors a blend of steady dividends and growth opportunities. Dive into our latest financial analysis for exclusive insights! Continue reading...

Where can I get information about private placements?

The short answer is, you can’t. Private placements have no reporting or registration requirements with the SEC or other entities. Sometimes this can be good for investors who enjoy the discretion. But it can also be a shield for unethical business people who prefer to avoid regulatory oversight. There is no source for detailed information about private placements unless you personally know a general partner who can describe to you his project, or who comes highly recommended with a lot of references. If an offering seeks to raise over $2 million in the capital in a year’s time, they are obligated under Regulation D to provide audited financial statements to the investors. Continue reading...

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...