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What is an Expense Ratio?

Generally associated with mutual funds and exchange traded funds, the expense ratio represents the total annual management fee. The expense ratio is the annual management fee charged to shareholders by ETFs and mutual funds. The annual fee typically comprises the annual management fee, 12b-1 fees (which are associated with research costs), operating costs, and all other administrative type fees that go into the product. The expense ratio encompasses all of these fees as one percentage. Continue reading...

What is an Operating Expense?

Operating expenses are the costs a company incurs as a part of everyday business operations. The goal of most every management team is to figure out how a company can minimize operating expenses while maximizing production and profitability. Operating expenses can involve buying inventory, the cost of running machines, rent, payroll, and so on. What it costs a company to undergo normal business operations and output. It is sometimes referred to as OPEX. Continue reading...

How do I Calculate my Expenses?

Keeping track of your expenses is one of the most important (and basic) steps to leading a responsible financial life. It might be tempting to “eyeball” your expenses and somehow get by without a plan, but in almost all cases, such carelessness will spell financial disaster. Budgeting your money for specific categories of expenses and carefully documenting the actual spending is critical. You should add up amounts spent on monthly mortgage and car payments, rent, groceries, clothing, entertainment, utilities, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses, and try to get as close to possible to a monthly budget. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is the standard, baseline hospital coverage that comes at no cost as part of everyone’s Medicare benefits. It will pay for inpatient stays at hospital and skilled care facilities, but only for a certain number of days. Medicare Part A is hospitalization and inpatient care insurance. It will pay fully for about 20 days of care, but only if there is an inpatient procedure first and the patient appears to be convalescing. If the patient is not gradually recovering, their Medicare benefits will be suspended. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with the Purchase of ETFs?

There may be fees and commissions involved in the purchase of ETFs, and ongoing expenses that reduce earnings over time. Purchasing an ETF will probably involve paying some fees or commissions to the service or broker through which you acquired the shares, but these days those commissions are fairly minimal. These fees will be the same or less than you might pay for using their services to acquire positions in other securities. ETFs are a relatively cheap way to gain an exposure to a particular sector of the market or to take a position that might otherwise be difficult and expensive to research, calculate, and engineer. Continue reading...

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

If you buy and sell securities, you may qualify for tax status as a ‘trader,’ which importantly may qualify you for certain business tax breaks. The rules governing this status can be confusing, however, making it difficult to determine whether you qualify as a trader, investor, or dealer. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for traders as defined by the IRS, as well as how to report income and expenses if qualified. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Businesses can refer to Pub. 535 to get a better grasp on what expenses can help lower their corporate tax bill. Many of the costs required to do business can be deducted or depreciated. The guide addresses employee compensation, inventory, research and development, and much more. Many of the expenses that could fall into the category of “overhead” can be deducted by a business. Continue reading...

What is a Form 2106: Employee Business Expense?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 2106 is the long-form way to request deductions for unreimbursed business expenses incurred by an employee in the course of work. This can include professional affiliation dues, continuing education, insurances, vehicle mileage and depreciation, and other possible deductions. Often, employees are not reimbursed for every out-of-pocket expense they incur in the course of their work. This might include wear and tear on a vehicle, professional dues, travel expenses, business meals, and many more items. For any amount to go towards a tax deduction, the itemized unreimbursed expenses must be over 2% of adjusted gross income. Continue reading...

What is Net Income?

Net income is the amount of earnings left over once expenses have been deducted from sales. In short, it is the net amount of profit or loss. It is calculated by taking total earnings in a period (such as a quarter), and deducting all elements of the cost of doing business (labor, depreciation, fixed expenses, overhead, etc…) Net income is ultimately a measure of a company’s profitability, and its calculation should be scrutinized closely to ensure all expenses are being accounted for accurately. Continue reading...

What is Housing Expense Ratio?

When deciding whether to issue a mortgage loan to a customer, a bank or lender will look at the housing expense ratio, which is the annual cost of the mortgage payments, including all insurance and expenses related to owning the property, divided by the gross income of the individual. Gross income is used because tax deductions can be taken for mortgage payments. If a proposed mortgage leaves the borrower with a housing expense ratio (HER) over 28%, they will usually not be approved for this mortgage loan. The HER is found by dividing all annual costs associated with the new home with the gross annual income of the (proposed) borrower. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with Buying and Owning Mutual Funds?

Several forms of fees and expenses may be charged to those who own, buy, or even sell mutual funds. With mutual funds, there two types of charges that might be paid by the investor: expenses and fees. Different types of share classes may have different types structures to their fees and expenses. Expenses are the operating costs of the fund company, essentially, and these show up in all mutual funds, usually labeled as expense ratios. The returns reported by the fund will be after expenses. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with Buying and Holding an Annuity?

Annuities are generally the most costly financial product, because the investor has to pay fees/expenses in order to secure the insurance guarantees offered. Investors should take care to examine and understand all of the fees and expenses associated with annuities before purchasing. Many annuities are sold by insurance salesmen or commission-based advisors who will receive a commission around 5% or more. These charges are not always apparent to you up front, as they do not usually come out of your actual principal according to your account balance. Continue reading...

At What Age Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Generally speaking, the earlier you purchase long-term care insurance the less expensive it will be in terms of monthly premium. Investors in good health should start thinking about long-term care insurance as part of their overall financial plan around their late 40’s/early 50’s. Medical history also plays a role. If your parents needed daily medical care later in life, then you should consider purchasing a long-term care policy sooner than later. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 463 on Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 463 discusses common business-related deductions such as travel, entertainment, gift, and vehicle expenses. The guide is meant to explain which expenses are deductible, how to report them, how to prove them, and what to do if you get reimbursed. Business expenses are commonly paid for out-of-pocket by employees and business owners, and many of them are unsure exactly which expenses are tax-deductible. Continue reading...

What is a 529 Plan?

529 plans are accounts designed to help families save for the future college expenses of young family members. A 529 Plan is designed to help you save money now to pay your child’s college expenses later. Investment companies who design a plan, which looks similar to a retail mutual fund account or IRA, will partner with state governments to offer the state’s official 529 plan. Families can invest in a 529 and gain access to an array of mutual funds. Continue reading...

What if My Long-Term Care Insurance Doesn’t Pay for My Expenses?

Most long-term care insurance policies are designed to mitigate the cost of long-term assisted living care, not to cover the entire daily cost. Retirees should plan to absorb some of the cost themselves, assuming that daily supervised care is needed. That being said, if you own a long-term care insurance policy and the insurance company is refusing to pay benefits for the care you need, then you may have a fight ahead of you. Continue reading...

ETFs vs Mutual Funds -- What's the Difference?

The better choice might be different for each investor. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, since it will depend on an investor’s unique situation and what’s being offered. If you intend to trade actively, ETFs might be a better choice since they have prices that update minute-to-minute during the day and their trades settle more quickly. If you are just buying and holding an index (see ‘index investing’), an ETF will give you the cost effective means for doing so. You may be able to buy into an ETF with lower initial requirements than a mutual fund, since you can buy one share instead of possibly having to meet a $1,000 minimum initial investment requirement for a mutual fund. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers some doctors visits, outpatient care, and many other services not covered by Part A. There is a standard premium which is around $100/month for those receiving social security benefits at the same time. Medicare Part B covers outpatient procedures – visits to the doctor, regular checkups, physical therapy, etc. In other words, it covers medical expenses that don’t involve a hospital stay. Medicare Part A is free (if you’ve contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years), but Part B comes with a price tag. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 529 on Miscellaneous Deductions?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 529 describes the possible deductions which can be taken in an itemized way on an individual’s tax return. Miscellaneous deductions can be filed using Schedule A of Form 1040. Someone should only take the time to fill out this form if they believe their total deductions will exceed the standard deduction amount, which is nearly $13,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Continue reading...

How Much Will Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

The cost of long-term care insurance varies depending on the policy and the age of the insured. Generally speaking, however, the insured can expect to pay between a hundred to several hundred dollars a month. Typically the total cost adds up to at least a few thousand dollars per year. Furthermore, you will be required to continue paying the premium through your retirement (until you begin using the insurance), and if you fail to pay the annual fee, you might lose some or all of your coverage (regardless of how much you have paid up to that point). Continue reading...