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Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA
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Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is Long-Term Debt?

Long-term debt refers to the duration of a liability/amount owed, and to qualify it must be due at least 12 months out. The period is in reference to 12+ months from the date of the balance sheet. A company will typically take on long-term debt in the form of a mortgage for property owned, or as capital for growth raised through bond sales or other debentures. Continue reading...

What is Real Rate of Return?

Real rate of return is a notion that takes factors such as inflation and taxation into account before reporting a realized rate of interest on an investment. Economic theorist Irving Fisher first popularized the idea that there is a difference between a nominal interest rate and a real interest rate. Consider a bond that pays a steady coupon rate of 2% for the next 10 years. If inflation is more than 2%, the real rate of return on that investment is negative. If the investor got taxed on the nominal gains, the real rate of return is pushed further into negative territory. Continue reading...

What will Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?

What will Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?

Long-term care insurance is designed to pay benefits for the elderly in need of daily medical services, such as an at-home nurse, room and board in an assisted living facility, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, and/or medical supplies needed for daily living. Depending on the insurance company offering the services and the policy selected, the menu of benefits will vary. The more benefits offered the higher the premium for the policy. Continue reading...

How Much Will Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

How Much Will Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

The cost of long-term care insurance varies depending on the policy and the age of the insured. Generally speaking, however, the insured can expect to pay between a hundred to several hundred dollars a month. Typically the total cost adds up to at least a few thousand dollars per year. Furthermore, you will be required to continue paying the premium through your retirement (until you begin using the insurance), and if you fail to pay the annual fee, you might lose some or all of your coverage (regardless of how much you have paid up to that point). Continue reading...

What Provisions Should a Long-Term Care Policy Contain?

What Provisions Should a Long-Term Care Policy Contain?

Long-term care insurance policies can be structured in any number of ways, depending on your desired coverage. More coverage equals more premium cost, but may save you money later in life if you use your policy for a number of years. There are a variety of provisions (also known as riders) to consider, including but not limited to the dollar amount of your daily benefit (usually $200 - $500), whether it is a reimbursement or paid in full, which facilities qualify for coverage, what kind of assistance you’ll provided, whether or not it includes a nurse on duty 24 hours a day, access to a doctor, whether you’ll have a room to yourself or not, and so on. Continue reading...

At What Age Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

At What Age Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Generally speaking, the earlier you purchase long-term care insurance the less expensive it will be in terms of monthly premium. Investors in good health should start thinking about long-term care insurance as part of their overall financial plan around their late 40’s/early 50’s. Medical history also plays a role. If your parents needed daily medical care later in life, then you should consider purchasing a long-term care policy sooner than later. Continue reading...

What if My Long-Term Care Insurance Doesn’t Pay for My Expenses?

What if My Long-Term Care Insurance Doesn’t Pay for My Expenses?

Most long-term care insurance policies are designed to mitigate the cost of long-term assisted living care, not to cover the entire daily cost. Retirees should plan to absorb some of the cost themselves, assuming that daily supervised care is needed. That being said, if you own a long-term care insurance policy and the insurance company is refusing to pay benefits for the care you need, then you may have a fight ahead of you. Continue reading...

Should I Buy a Long-Term Care Policy?

Should I Buy a Long-Term Care Policy?

Whether you should own a long-term care insurance policy depends on a myriad of factors, including but not limited to affordability, family medical history, your liquid net worth and your cash flow needs in retirement. It also depends on your ability to make consistent premium payments to ensure your policy stays in force over time. Since a Long-Term Care plan requires you to keep paying the (steep) premium until you actually start to use the coverage – or you’ll lose it, it may not be a great idea to buy the policy if you have financial insecurities in the near (or even distant) future. Continue reading...

What is passive investing?

What is passive investing?

Passive investing relies on market indices and unmanaged approaches to investing, with the idea being that attempting to beat the market is futile, especially if such attempts involve fees and speculation. Passive investing favors buy-and-hold strategies using no-load, low-fee index funds and other securities meant to be held long-term, in a portfolio allocation suiting the investor that will usually be rebalanced over time to prevent overweighting anything. Continue reading...

What are Accelerated Benefits?

What are Accelerated Benefits?

Some life insurance policies allow for death benefits to be accelerated as living benefits under certain conditions. Accelerated benefits are often included in life insurance contracts, but it is possible that they can also be added as Riders for an additional fee. Riders are addendum to a contract that contain additional contractual provisions. What an accelerated benefits rider stipulates is that if certain conditions are met, a portion of the death benefits on a life insurance policy can be paid to the insured person during their lifetime. These conditions may be that the insured person has been diagnosed with less than 12 months to live, or that they have another serious health condition which is covered. Sometimes this includes the payment of monthly benefits if a person requires long-term care. Continue reading...

What is the Capitalization Ratio?

The capitalization ratio measures a company’s leverage, or the amount of long-term debt it holds relative to long-term debt + shareholder equity. Essentially, it is a measure of how capitalized a company is to support operations and growth. Continue reading...

What are the Basics of Annuities?

Annuities are financial products/contracts generally sold by insurance companies to protect an investor’s assets against downside market risk and long life expectancies. Investors have to pay premiums/fees in order to secure the guarantees. Annuities are very important investment instruments, and can be an indispensable part of your overall investment portfolio. Keep in mind that annuities are very aggressively marketed, and it is very important to understand exactly how they work. Continue reading...

What is Form 6781: Gains and Losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 6781 is used to calculate and report gains and losses due from Section 1256 contracts, which covers futures on commodities and indexes, as well as their derivatives, and from straddles, which are options strategies defined under Section 1092. 6781 is used to report positions in futures and options at the end of the year even if no gains or losses were realized through trades. The value of the positions will be marked-to-market at the end of the year, and these will serve to compute the gains and losses for these purposes. Continue reading...

What are Lifetime Reserve Days?

Lifetime Reserve Days are part of the structure of Medicare Part A benefits. Medicare will cover up to 90 days in a hospital or skilled nursing facility per event, and each event is called a benefit period. After the benefit period has been used up, the client will then dip into a pool of lifetime reserve days if the insured requires additional inpatient care. There are only 60 additional days in the Reserve pool, and a person cannot reuse them. Continue reading...

Should I pay for financial planning services?

Should I pay for financial planning services?

Any professional that you work with for financial planning is going to be compensated for the work they do, but there are different ways they earn their pay. Whether it’s worth it to you is another question. If you have enough knowledge and time on your hands, and your investment portfolio is not very complicated, you may be able to manage it on your own. This can save you some money on financial advisor fees. Continue reading...

Where do I find a good CPA?

Where do I find a good CPA?

A good CPA can be a valuable ally. You should find one who works with clients similar to you and who is easy to talk to. Taxes and accounting are a part of nearly every financial instrument and consideration that people will be confronted with in their life. It can be very beneficial to work with a CPA who can advise you properly on the issues that affect you. It can also be detrimental to place too much trust in a CPA who isn’t really an expert in the areas he claims to be. Continue reading...

How Can I Keep My Health Costs Down in Retirement?

How Can I Keep My Health Costs Down in Retirement?

You can keep your health costs down in retirement by frequently using preventative care, and working hard to stay healthy. You can also tame the costs by saving diligently in your retirement years, so that you have funds set aside for medical expenses. There is also the ability to purchase long-term care insurance, which can kick-in later in life when you have daily care needs. The insurance is often designed to pay out a certain dollar amount each day to pay for your care. Continue reading...

What Websites and Apps Can Help Me With Personal Budgeting?

What Websites and Apps Can Help Me With Personal Budgeting?

There is a thriving industry committed to helping people plan and maintain a personal budget through online tools and apps. Perhaps the most-used personal budgeting tool as of this writing is Mint, which allows a user to link their bank accounts into the budgeting software, and then sends the information right into a tax filing after the new year. A list such as this is almost definitely going to be outdated by the time you read it; your favorite search engine or app store may turn up more relevant results than this. Continue reading...

What Does Having a Long Position Mean?

A long position in a security means owning shares and having a positive investment balance in a stock, bond, commodity, etc. This is done by simply buying and owning the investment. An investor with a long position in a stock will benefit financially when the price of the stock rises. What is a Short Position? What is Short Selling? Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part A?

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is the standard, baseline hospital coverage that comes at no cost as part of everyone’s Medicare benefits. It will pay for inpatient stays at hospital and skilled care facilities, but only for a certain number of days. Medicare Part A is hospitalization and inpatient care insurance. It will pay fully for about 20 days of care, but only if there is an inpatient procedure first and the patient appears to be convalescing. If the patient is not gradually recovering, their Medicare benefits will be suspended. Continue reading...