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What are some Key Numbers Related to the World Capital Markets?

As of 2014, global GDP was $77 trillion. The total market capitalization of all world stock markets is approximately $70 trillion, and about a fourth of that amount is the U.S. market. The U.S. economy is the largest by GDP, which for 'fiscal year' (FY) 2016 was approximately $19 trillion. The total value of notional derivatives fell to $18.1 trillion. How Many Dollars do We Have in Circulation? What is Currency in Circulation? Continue reading...

What are the basics of options?

What are the basics of options?

Options are contracts used by investors to take a speculative position – or a hedge – based on expected future price movements of the underlying securities. Many investors are scared when they heard the word "option" and perceive it as a risky, speculative investment. Options certainly can be risky, but they don’t have to be. In fact, certain options strategies are far more conservative than many available investments in the marketplace. Continue reading...

What is a bull call spread?

What is a bull call spread?

A bull call spread is a vertical spread that buys and sells calls in a way that benefits from upward price movement but limits the risk of the short position. Using calls options of the same expiration date but different prices, a bull call spread seeks to maximize profits for moderate price movements upward. A long position is taken in a call contract (meaning it is bought and held) that has a strike price near the current market price of the security or is at least lower than the other call contract used in this strategy. Continue reading...

What is a Cash-Balance Plan?

Cash balance plans are a type of pension in which the benefit is stated as a future account balance rather than an income stream. A Cash-Balance Plan is very similar to a normal Pension Plan. You do not technically contribute anything to the plan (unless you are an owner-employee), and you don’t have any control over the assets which are managed on your behalf. In a normal pension, the benefit waiting for you in retirement is a monthly income stream, but in a Cash Balance plan, your future benefit is stated as an account balance, which you will be able to take as either a lump sum or an income stream. Continue reading...

How Do I Invest Money in My Cash-Balance Plan?

How Do I Invest Money in My Cash-Balance Plan?

Employees do not have control of their own accounts in a Cash Balance plan, but they can possibly influence how much is contributed each year. Contributions to a Cash Balance plan should not be adjusted more than once every few years, but they can be adjusted. In small partnerships without many, or any, employees, there is likely to be more flexibility, or willingness for the owners of the business to jump through the hoops required to have the plan re-worked. Such changes could require a new plan document. Continue reading...

What is a Treasury Note?

Treasury notes are government-issued coupon bonds with maturities between 1 and 10 years. A large secondary market exists for Treasury Notes, and they can be acquired at issue in a competitive bid or a noncompetitive bid auction. They are extremely popular for their marketability and six-month interest payment schedule. They do have interest rate risk, since treasuries issued with higher interest rates will make the ones already issued with lower rates less valuable. Continue reading...

What are Telecom Stocks?

Telecom is short for telecommunication, and it includes companies involved in the ever-important business of communication. These companies created the infrastructure that allows data to be sent anywhere in the world, which now includes wireless operators, satellite companies, cable companies and Internet service providers. Companies in the wireless business are perhaps the most relevant and competitive today. Continue reading...

What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

A bankruptcy trustee is appointed to oversee the liquidation of a debtor’s estate. A bankruptcy trustee has an obligation to do all he or she can to maximize the amount that a bankrupt entity’s estate can pay to the debtor’s unsecured creditors. The trustee must also challenge the claims of a creditor where appropriate. The estate is constituted of all of the bankrupt entity’s nonexempt assets. The trustee will oversee the “341” meeting, in the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Home Loan Bank Act?

The Federal Home Loan Bank Act was signed into law by President Hoover in 1932. The goal of the legislation was to make liquidity more accessible to banks for the purpose of making home loans, so that more Americans could acquire permanent residences. The bill established the FHL Bank system, which now consists of 11 FHL banks. The Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 established the FHL Bank system, which is a co-operative banking network for banks and other lending institutions who make home loans. The FHL banks are owned by their member institutions, who purchase stock in the bank and are then permitted to take loans out from it, using that money to provide loans to customers. Continue reading...

What is the Difference Between a Blockchain and a Database?

What is the Difference Between a Blockchain and a Database?

Blockchains use distributed ledgers, which are decentralized and do not rely on centralized databases. Databases are the traditional way to store information and to keep it secure. When companies store information about their customers, or about the business itself, it is usually kept in a database connected to servers that handle requests for the information. The design for such a system tends to look like a wagon wheel:  a central hub with numerous spokes connecting it to the outer wheel.  Layers of security are heaped onto centralized servers and permit access to various levels of information is given to specific users. Continue reading...