What is the Homeowners Protection Act (HPA)?

The HPA was enacted to protect consumers from the unscrupulous practices of some private mortgage insurance companies, which were not informing consumers of the consumer’s right to cancel their mortgage insurance at least by the time the individual had paid off 80% of their home. Consumers may be required to pay for private mortgage insurance to protect the lending institution if the borrower makes an initial payment of less than 20% of the value of the home. By law, lenders cannot require borrowers to have PMI after 80% of the original value of the mortgage has been paid off. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS guide gives taxpayers and businesses an idea of how to calculate the appropriate amount of withholding to do and how to continually estimate tax rate on an ongoing basis for an entire year. It is about 60 pages long and touches on many issues related to tax withholding. Tax withholding applies to payroll needs, self-employed reporting, as well as some retirement planning applications, among other things. Continue reading...

What Does Ripple Do?

What Does Ripple Do?

Ripple does several things, serving as a protocol for decentralized currency exchange and transfers of value, primarily focused on the financial service industry. Ripple’s defining characteristic is probably its interface for inter-ledger payments and settlements, meaning the ledgers of other blockchains and the database systems of banks can be seamlessly integrated to offer validation and record-keeping with a reliability and speed that was heretofore unheard-of. Ripple cuts out as many middlemen as possible and dramatically reduces the transaction costs and time required for cross-border money transfers, while also significantly reducing some of the risks inherent to international trade, like counter-party risk. Continue reading...

What is Ether?

What is Ether?

Ether is the currency that powers the Ethereum network, which is a platform of distributed blockchain computing on which transactions, smart contracts, and distributed applications operate. Ethereum is a blockchain code environment through which distributed applications, smart contracts, and financial transactions using the Ethereum protocol are tested, validated, and added to distributed ledgers by the mining computers acting as nodes in the network. Ether is the currency, or token, in the Ethereum world which is used to pay the miners and transaction fees which are specific to its blockchain. Continue reading...

What is Accelerated Amortization?

Accelerated amortization is the recalculation of an amortization schedule, such as mortgage payments, after the borrower pays off some of the debt ahead of schedule. Amortization describes the accounting practice of giving a one-time expense a retirement schedule or payment plan by which it is to be either deducted for tax purposes, repaid, or paid out. Accelerated amortizations allow for more payments or deductions in the early years rather than later years. Continue reading...

What does it mean to Accept Risk?

The notion of who bears risk for various sorts of failures, circumstances, or losses is a prevalent one in the financial world, and many institutions make all of their money accepting risks. To accept a risk is to bear the burden of loss or replacement if an event occurs that causes an asset to lose value or disappear. There is a bright side to this, however. There is a real and theoretical “risk premium” due to those who accept a risk. Continue reading...

What is Return on Sales?

Also called net operating margin, return on sales can indicate how well a company makes use of its sales revenue. By dividing Operating Profit by Net Sales, we can arrive at the Return on Sales. Essentially what we’ve done is broken down profits on a per sales basis. We can see what percentage of sales ends up as profit, or, on the other side of the coin, how much profit is generated per unit of sales. This can be useful for a comparison of companies of different sizes, because it excludes their assets, capital structures, taxes, and interest. Continue reading...

What is a currency symbol?

What is a currency symbol?

Currency symbols are characters written or typed in a specific arrangement alongside the numerical values of a currency amount, to denote the kind of currency in which the amount of money is held. An example would be the dollar sign ($), which is placed at the beginning of the numbers which describe the amount of currency in question, despite the fact that in most languages the word “dollars” follows the numbers when spoken. Many currencies have their own symbol but not necessarily all do. Continue reading...

How volatile are commodities?

How volatile are commodities?

Commodities are more volatile than most assets. The supply-demand dynamics of commodities are continuously changing, and sometimes very rapidly. Different commodities will have different levels of volatility, of course. Some commodities are extremely volatile. For example, natural gas has had a volatility of almost 45% in some periods, and gold has experienced movements of 20-30% per year lately. Crude oil prices fell some 50% in 2015, as a global supply glut was met with weakening demand, particularly from China. Gold is actually on the less-volatile side of the spectrum for commodities. Silver, Nickel, and crude oil tend to be on the upper end of the spectrum along with exotic metals such as platinum and palladium. Continue reading...

What is Dow Theory?

What is Dow Theory?

Dow Theory is perhaps the longest-standing method of market analysis still used in modern finance. It suggests that markets experience primary trends (which last several years), intermediate trends (which last under a year), and minor trends (which last less than a month). Markets are in an upward trend if an average exceeds certain thresholds, followed by a similar movement from another average. Longer, larger trends are considered more predictive than smaller ones, though correctly reading the primary trend in the main goal. Continue reading...