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Is there any merit to technical analysis of the markets?

Is there any merit to technical analysis of the markets?

Securities in the market can be analyzed on technical levels or fundamental ones, and it is generally best to take both into account, despite the fact that some theories dispute the merits of technical analysis. Some might say that fundamental analysis is all that you need to make wise investment decisions, and to some extent that is actually correct: at a minimal level, if all you had were fundamentals, you could make wise investment decisions. That does not mean, however, that all technical analysis is superfluous. Continue reading...

Can I Make Early Withdrawals From My 401(k)?

Can I Make Early Withdrawals From My 401(k)?

It depends on the 401(k) plan, but in general the answer would be “yes,” if you’re willing to pay the penalty. It is generally a pretty bad idea to withdraw 401(k) money early. If you withdraw the money before age 59½, the money will be subject to a 10% penalty in addition to regular income taxes. There are exemptions from the penalty, but there fewer exemptions in a 401(k) than an IRA. In an IRA the penalty can be waived for first-time homebuyer’s expenses up to $10,000, or even for educational expenses, but in a 401(k) the 10% penalty will still be levied if withdrawals are made for these reasons — and a plan may not even permit such withdrawals. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Deadlines for My Keogh Plan?

What are the Contribution Deadlines for My Keogh Plan?

Generally the deadline for contributions is the tax filing deadline, with extensions. In order to deduct your contributions to a Keogh Plan from your taxable income, the Keogh Plan has to be set up by the last day of that year (December 31). The deadline to make contributions to your Keogh Plan is the same as the due date for Federal Income Taxes for your business. This includes extensions, so you may be able to make contributions until October of the following year. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Limits For My 529 Plan?

Parents and family members, or actually anyone, can contribute up to the annual gift tax exclusion limits, and beyond. Several people can fund 529 plans for the same person or child, and any one person can maintain as many 529 plans as they would like. Each person can contribute up to the annual gift tax exclusion amount, which in 2016 is $14,000, per beneficiary. 529 plans have a special provision that allows the owner of the account to exceed the gift tax exclusion by contributing up to $70,000 at once – but no contributions can be made for 5 years after that, because this provision is really just allowing you to accelerate the contributions. Continue reading...

Can I Start Collecting My Social Security Benefits If I’m Still Working?

Can I Start Collecting My Social Security Benefits If I’m Still Working?

Yes, you can start receiving social security benefits before you actually stop working, and your benefit amount will not be affected if you have attained normal retirement age, or NRA, which is determined based on the year of your birth. NRA is 67 for most people today. If you start to take benefits while working and before the normal retirement age, your benefit will be reduced. But there are a few caveats to consider if you start to receive the benefits before your normal retirement age. Continue reading...

Is there a Benefit to Self-Managing?

An investor may be able to save money in management fees self-managing, but there are also limitations and risks. Perhaps the biggest risk is the role that emotion can play in investing. Even the most skilled professionals are tempted by emotions in the market - big declines like the financial crisis can make one second-guess whether the market has hope of recovering, and big gains can create confidence that leads to less prudent risk-taking. Continue reading...

How to use the Advance/Decline Ratio in trading

How to use the Advance/Decline Ratio in trading

The Advance/Decline Ratio (AD Ratio) is a market breadth indicator, calculated by placing the number of advancing stocks over the number of declining stocks for a day or time period in order to view the direction of the market. It is one way of viewing the daily breadth, or difference in the number of advancing issues and declining issues. The Advance/Decline Ratio uses the same numbers as the Advance/Decline Line but presents them as a ratio instead. The AD Ratio is sometimes more useful than an AD Line, including in instances where comparing AD for different indexes which have different metrics; the ratio is the standardization with which comparisons can be made. Continue reading...

What are Subprime Loans?

Subprime loans are loans made by institutions to individuals who do not meet the industry standards for a desirable loan client. Lenders such as banks and mortgage companies are able to shift much of the risk of loans they make by selling the debt off to investors and investment banks in the form of collateralized mortgage obligations and other forms of securitized debt. This paves the way for lenders to adopt more liberal guidelines around who can receive a loan for their home purchase and so forth. A thorough banker who is preserving the financial stability of his employing institution will perform due diligence to prove that a client can meet the repayment schedule for the loan by showing adequate cash flow and credit history. Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Interpretation?

Similar to the practice of law, the standards and practices of accountants will change based on an ongoing interpretation and application of tax law and codes. Accounting interpretations are generally publications from groups like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). These interpretations are not official standards, and do not have to be followed the way a standard does, but they give insight and suggestions for situations which may be new developments. Continue reading...

What is the Ascending Triangle (Bullish) Pattern?

The Ascending Triangle pattern forms when the price of a pair tests a resistance level and creates a horizontal top line (1, 3, 5), with an upward­-sloping bottom line (2, 4) formed by a rising support level. The breakout can either be up or down, and it will determine whether the target price is higher or lower. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets, since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. When the price of a pair consolidates around a certain level, it may indicate growing investor confidence for a significant uptrend. Continue reading...