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What is an Account Balance?

An account balance is the amount either credited to or owed on a ledger assigned to a particular entity or line-item. The balance of an account is the net debit or credit assigned to it after all transactions have been documented for a current period. Transactions might be deposits, withdrawals, interest credited, fees, or other activity. The account in question could be a personal savings or checking account, or a ledger account at a business or institution, or another form of account, such as the macroeconomic concept of current national account. Accounts are said to be “in the red” when there is a net debit (negative) amount, and “in the black” when there is a net positive balance (net credit). Continue reading...

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

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...

What are Required Minimum Distributions?

RMDs are withdrawals that are mandatory for an individual to take from an IRA or 401(k) after the person has reached 70 ½. The government created laws that help and encourage people to save for their retirement by deferring taxes on the growth on certain qualified retirement investment accounts. On Traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, they are only waiting to get the tax revenue from distributions/withdrawals that are fully taxable as income. Continue reading...

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a 401(k)-style plan for Federal employees. A Thrift Savings Plan functions the same way a 401(k) does – you can elect to contribute a portion of your salary, known as an employee deferral or employee contribution, and the money will be allowed to grow in the account tax-deferred. The TSP is only available to Federal Employees and United States military personnel. There is a flat contribution of 1% from the employer, and, depending on the type of Federal job, employees may be eligible for a matching contribution from the employer. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Withdraw Money from My Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs, which means you aren’t forced to make withdrawals. In most retirement accounts, Required Minimum Distributions will be mandatory once the account holder turns 70 ½ years old. This does not apply to Roth IRAs. They are basically the only tax-advantaged retirement account that does not have to take RMDs. This is partially because the IRS wants to make sure they get some of the taxes out of the money that was invested on a pretax basis. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

Withdrawal rules for Keoghs will be essentially the same as rules for IRAs and 401(k)s. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw, similar to a traditional IRA. If you decide to withdraw money before age 59½, you may have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception for most qualified plans is for employees who separate from service at or after age 55: this is the early retirement exception, and the 10% penalty will not apply. Keoghs will technically use the early withdrawal rules for 401(k)s and not IRAs, which differ slightly. Continue reading...

How is a Roth 401(k) Different From a Regular 401(k)?

How is a Roth 401(k) Different From a Regular 401(k)?

The main difference is that Roth contributions go in after tax and are not taxed on withdrawal. People sometimes don’t realize that Roth 401(k)s only exist as extensions of Traditional 401(k) plans. Some plans have been designed to also permit after-tax contributions, which become that employee’s Roth 401(k) account. This Roth side account has all of the same investment options as the rest of the plan on the traditional side. In fact, an employee can contribute to both the traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) with each payroll cycle. Continue reading...

How Do I Take Money From My 401(k) After I Retire?

Different 401(k) custodians will have different distribution options available to participants in retirement. After you retire, you have at least two disbursement options: lump-sum distribution and periodic distribution. If you take a lump-sum distribution that is not bound for an IRA, you will incur a significant tax bill, since all 401(k) distributions are taxable. Periodic distributions may mean that every so often you can choose an amount to be paid out to you on a quarterly basis, for example, while your investments remain intact and you attempt to accrue more interest on your money. Continue reading...

What Happens to My Annuity After I Die?

Annuities allow you to designate beneficiaries, but the payouts or benefits they receive depend on the wording in the contract, and can vary greatly. Annuities, even if they are designated as Individual IRAs or qualified accounts, can have joint annuitants. This way, if an income stream has been elected that is joint-life, then your beneficiary, whether a spouse or even a younger family member, will continue to receive payments for life. These options can all be elected at purchase. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Money Purchase or Profit Sharing Plan?

The standard withdrawal rules for 401(k) accounts apply to these plans. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw. If you decide to take out money before age 59½, you will have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions that would allow you to avoid this early withdrawal fee. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRAs have the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs, with one notable exception. SIMPLE IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are certain penalties that apply. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. If the early withdrawal occurs within two years of receiving your first employer contribution, the 10% penalty is increased to 25%. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Start Taking Money Out of My IRA?

The IRS requires IRA owners to take distributions starting at age 70 ½. By April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 ½, the IRS needs to see a distribution from your IRA that satisfies the Required Minimum Distribution rule. The RMD is calculated using a table published by the IRS, and each age is assigned a different “factor.” The factor is a number, and you divide the balance of your IRA or 401(k) by that number to reveal the amount that will satisfy your RMD obligation. The factor decreases incrementally as the ages increase. Continue reading...

What does overbought mean?

What does overbought mean?

Overbought is a term used when analysis indicates demand seems to have been escalated by investor emotion or media hype, beyond the point where it can be sustained or supported by fundamentals. The increased demand drives the price of the security up for a short time, before the overbought security likely experiences an eventual sell-off and price decline. It is hard to determine when a security is overbought, but the Relative Strength Index (RSI), an momentum oscillator developed by Welles Wilder, is one tool that can help make a determination. In the RSI, the average gains and average losses over a specific time period (such as 14 days) are divided to calculate the Relative Strength, then normalized into the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which is range bound between 0 and 100. The RSI typically fluctuates between values of 70 and 30, with higher numbers indicating more momentum. According to this indicator, a security with an RSI over 70 (out of 100) can be considered overbought. Continue reading...

Day trading with RSI

Day trading with RSI

Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum oscillator developed by Welles Wilder. In the RSI, the average gains and average losses over a specific time period (such as 14 days) are divided to calculate the Relative Strength, then normalized into the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which is range bound between 0 and 100. The RSI typically fluctuates between values of 70 and 30, with higher numbers indicating more momentum. According to this indicator, a security with an RSI over 70 (out of 100) can be considered overbought, while a security with an RSI under 30 (out of 100) can be considered oversold. Continue reading...

What does Oversold mean?

What does Oversold mean?

Oversold describes a situation in which a security has an inherent value greater than its price, which has decreased due to low demand. It is hard to determine when a security is oversold, but the Relative Strength Index (RSI), an momentum oscillator developed by Welles Wilder, is one tool that can help make a determination. In the RSI, the average gains and average losses over a specific time period (such as 14 days) are divided to calculate the Relative Strength, then normalized into the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which is range bound between 0 and 100. The RSI typically fluctuates between values of 70 and 30, with higher numbers indicating more momentum. According to this indicator, a security with an RSI under 30 (out of 100) can be considered oversold Continue reading...

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Golden Cross?

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Golden Cross?

The Golden Cross is a breakout candlestick pattern formed when the short term 50-day moving average for a security exceeds its long term 200-day average, backed by high trading volumes. Investors typically interpret this crossover as a harbinger of a bull market, and its impact can reverberate throughout index sectors. The longer time horizons tend to increase the predictive power of the Golden Cross. As seen in the chart in this example, a trader may view the moment when a 50-day moving average (blue line) crosses above a 100-day or 200-day moving average (red line) as a bullish sign for the stock or security. A trader may consider taking a long position in the security, or perhaps explore call options to take advantage of the potential upside. Continue reading...

How Does a 401(k) Work?

You may know that a 401(k) allows you to make payroll-deducted contributions to a retirement account before taxes are taken out, but how does it work? Employees can either become participants in a 401(k) by voluntary enrollment or by automatic enrollment with the ability to opt-out. Contributions go in before taxes are taken out, and this can reduce an individual’s taxable income or even income bracket for the year. Continue reading...

What is absolute frequency?

What is absolute frequency?

In statistics, the number of times that a specific value shows up in a data set is the absolute frequency of that value. The absolute frequency can then be used to find the relative frequency, which is the probability that the specific value is observed in a given number of trials. The relative frequency (empirical probability) takes the absolute frequency and divides it by the total number of trials (cumulative frequency), and can be expressed as a ratio or percentage. Continue reading...

What is Bank-Owned Property?

If a bank forecloses on a home, and it does not sell at auction, it becomes bank-owned-property. Bank-owned property, also known as real estate owned (REO) property, was taken over by a bank because the owners did not pay their mortgage obligations, and it did not sell at auction. After a foreclosure, an auction is announced in the paper, and a company who contracts with the fe to sell the property money and recoup some of the lost to bad debt. If no one buys it at auction, it sits on the bank’s books as REO. Continue reading...

What is a momentum trading system?

What is a momentum trading system?

Momentum trading usually involves long positions in a security that has been experiencing an uptrend and has a high volume of trading, and dropping positions that have lost momentum. Several systems exist to help take the emotion out of trading and to stick to a theory with rules. Momentum trading is such a system, and it can be automated with help from algorithm. Some indicators that can be used are Rate of Change and Relative Strength Index. Some would identify high momentum as steady price increases bolstered by high trading volume. Continue reading...