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Personal FinancePersonal BankingPersonal DebtHome RelatedTax FormsSmall BusinessIncomeInvestmentsIRS Rules and PublicationsPersonal LifeMortgage
Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is Account Reconcilement?

Account reconcilement is the act of comparing and affirming multiple records of the same financial information. To “reconcile the books” is to compare different records of the same accounts to ensure that they match up. One might reconcile all the different record-keeping for the same account, such as copies of checks and receipts, to be sure that they add up to the balance and ledger shown on a bank account statement. It could be that the recipient of a check has not yet cashed it, and it is important to keep all records “synced” with one another. Continue reading...

What is a Home Office Expense?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The home office expense deduction allows people who work from home to take a tax deduction reflecting the loss of square footage in their home for the purpose of doing business there. The space must be used exclusively for doing business on a regular basis and it must be the principal place of business, not just a place to work outside of the actual office. Many people fail to file for the home office expense deduction because they believe it will be more trouble than its worth or that it may even trigger an IRS audit of their reporting. Continue reading...

Should I buy gold coins?

Gold bullion are an asset that will hold value due to their gold content; gold coins which are more numismatic, that is, collector’s items, may not retain the same value. The value of gold coins is twofold: the price of the gold in the coin and the numismatic value of the coin. There is an important distinction to be made, because some gold coins will have a lot of one, and not the other, and, if you want to make sure your investment is an investment in precious metal and not just a collector’s item, you should make sure you’re getting a coin that qualifies as bullion. Continue reading...

What is a support line?

A support line represents an estimation of where a price is likely to stop moving downwards, based on recent data and analysis methods. It is arrived at with different formulas for different indicator methods, but it is generally a line derived from moving averages and standard deviation which represents a lower level at which traders would expect a price to rebound back upwards. Several methods of technical and fundamental analysis plot a support line or two as part of a graphical representation of trends. Theoretically, a price will only deviate so far from its moving average before bouncing back toward the middle. Continue reading...

What is a resistance line?

A resistance line is the inverse of a support line and represents the glass ceiling through which a security price has difficulty breaking through. Resistance lines are calculated as part of analysis methods which use moving averages and standard deviation, or similar calculations, to put a range of probability on the expected movement of a security price, with the resistance line representing the top of that range. Continue reading...

What is the Capital Market Line?

The Capital Market Line is a complex concept, but put simply, it is a calculation meant to give the investor/analyst a range of potential returns for a portfolio, based on the risk free rate and the standard deviation of the portfolio. The Capital Market Line is a part of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) that solves for expected return at various levels of risk. It takes into consideration a portfolio’s risk assets and the risk-free rate. Continue reading...

What is the security market line?

The Security Market Line (SML) is a visualization of the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and shows the theoretical relationship between risk and return between securities and the entire market. The SML is plotted on a graph bound by an x-axis, which represents Beta (volatility above or below the market average), and a y-axis, which represents the rate of return. Beta is a volatility indicator that measures how many changes in price, and by how much, a security experiences over an amount of time. It describes whether the risk associated with a particular security is above or below the average of the market (or a more specific index), where 1 is a correlation with the market, and numbers above or below describe increased or decreased volatility, respectively. Continue reading...

What is Income?

Income is a stream, series, or lump sum of cash or cash equivalents that is paid to an individual or entity based on work performed, goods sold, ownership rights, or by being a creditor to whom interest is paid. It is received when a net result is positive, and is sometimes referred to as the “bottom line.” Income can be viewed from a itemized, current perspective or as a balance sheet item for an entire accounting period, such as a year. It also might be discussed as a gross (pre-tax) or net (post-tax) amount. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal?

Appraisal is a valuation conducted by a certified professional to assess the value of property, especially real estate. Appraisals are an important service in the real estate industry in particular. Where mortgage loans are being taken out from banks, including original mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans and lines of credit, as well as in business and estate valuations, the property appraisal will play an important role. Continue reading...

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a document that dictates your wishes in the event you become incapable of making decisions, whether because of illness or injury. The directives in a living will are almost always related to person's desires regarding their medical treatment in those circumstances of incapacitation, in which they are no longer able to express informed consent. What is Probate? Should I Notarize my Will? Continue reading...

What are Household Expenses?

Household expenses are sometimes also called a family budget. In some cases this can be limited to items purchased such as food and clothing, and services paid for such as utility bills, which only have to do with the livability of the home and the health of the family. This can be extended to included all out of pocket expenses for a family, from health insurance to school tuition. Household expenses are things that people feel that they must pay for to maintain their standard of living, for themselves and their family. You may not have to pay for natural gas to get heat and hot water, but you most likely do, and this is a household expense. The same goes for food and other necessities. Continue reading...

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust describes a trust designed to transfer assets to beneficiaries upon the death of the owner/grantor, which is established during the life of the grantor. They can take several forms, but most common ones are categorized as either revocable or irrevocable. Living trusts have a similar effect to a Last Will and Testament, both being legal documents that stipulate how the decedent would like property to be divided amongst beneficiaries upon the death of the owner or grantor of the trust. Continue reading...

What is a Living Will? (in-depth)

A living will is sometimes called an advance directive or a medical directive, and it specifies a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures and other end-of-life issues. If a person is in a coma, for instance, it is intended to provide instructions for their care, including whether or not to use oxygen or “feeding tubes” to keep them alive. This might require a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) waiver of some kind, which tells medical staff not to intervene if the person is dying. The living will is different than the “will” that most people are familiar with, which is a Last Will and Testament, stipulating the person’s wishes for their estate after he or she has died. Continue reading...

What is a Home Lien?

A lien is a legal filing through which a third party lays claim to certain assets, such as a person’s home, until an amount owed to them is paid. There are mechanic’s liens, judgment liens, and tax liens, any of which could be applied to a person’s home. A lien is a document serving as notice that a significant amount of money is owed to a third party and that certain assets of the debtor may be used to cover the obligation, becoming the property of the lien-holder if the debt is not paid in time. Continue reading...

What are Fibonacci Fans?

Fibonacci Fans are a charting technique that combines traditional Fibonacci lines and Fibonacci channels. They use the Fibonacci levels in a radial way, drawing trendlines from a point of primary importance, such as a low or peak, to identify future points of retracement or extension. Some investors believe that, like many naturally occurring systems in nature, market behavior will exhibit some fractal-like forms that can be measured with Fibonacci sequence numbers and the Golden Ratio. Modern computing power has uncovered plentiful examples of the Golden Ratio in nature, from Nautilus shells to musical harmonics, as well as mathematical fractal patterns. Fibonacci numbers are related to the study of chaos theory, which seeks to find order in complex systems. Since the markets have so many variables, but no lack of data, they are an excellent place to search for Fibonacci patterns. Continue reading...

What is a Life Estate?

A life estate is often created by an older parent when they sign over the house to their adult children but stipulate that the parent can remain in the house until they pass away. In some estate planning cases, this is the easiest and most advantageous way to transfer property. The resident is called the Life Tenant and the beneficiary is the Remainder Owner. One of the most daunting threats to elderly people is the risk an extended care need. Continue reading...

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

Much like a Reverse Mortgage or Second Mortgage, a HELOC gives homeowners the ability to convert their home equity into cash. A HELOC is a line of credit secured by the equity in your home. Homeowners can choose when to use the funds, and there are repayments due according to a schedule in the contract. It functions as a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card with large limits. Some people find themselves interested in a HELOC if they have a large balloon payment due on a loan, perhaps even their home mortgage loan. They are also sometimes used as a debt consolidation tool to pay off credit cards and other outstanding debts (but, for this, fixed-rate home equity loans are more popular). Continue reading...

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance is one of the oldest financial products in existence, with roots going back beyond the ancient Roman Empire. Today, there are many different kinds of life insurance available, most representing variations on the main categories of term life, whole life, and universal life. It can be written in a private contract, but most often it is offered as packaged products to the public. Life Insurance’s main purpose is to ensure that dependents of a deceased provider or caretaker will have some financial resources to fall back on, but it can also be used as a means to create a guaranteed legacy or a tax-advantaged pool of money. Continue reading...

What is a Life Annuity?

Annuities are primarily designed to pay a substantially similar sum at regular intervals until the annuitant dies. Life insurance companies write these contracts since they are designed as a kind of longevity insurance. A lifetime income annuity, sometimes called a life annuity, is a stream of guaranteed payments for the duration of the annuitant’s life, based on the sum used to purchase the lifetime income and the age of the annuitant at the time of purchase. Life annuities can also be joint-life, meaning the contract will pay an amount to either of two people as long as one is alive. Continue reading...

What is Whole Life Insurance?

Whole Life Insurance provides lifelong death benefit coverage as well as a tax-deferred savings account. A large portion of your premium goes into the general account of the insurance company, and this increases the cash value available to the policy holder at a growth rate dependent on the investment and sales experience of the company. Every dollar and amount of interest which is credited to the policy cash value is vested with the policy-owner and will not decrease. Continue reading...