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What is a Market Maker?

A market maker is a broker-dealer firm or a registered individual that will hold a certain number of shares of a security in order to facilitate trading. There could be as many as 50 market makers for one particular security, and they compete for customer order flows by displaying buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares. The market maker spread refers to the difference between the amount a market maker is willing to pay for a security and the amount that the other party is willing to sell it. Continue reading...

What is a Merger?

A merger is the voluntary melding of two companies into one, when the owners believe the change is mutually beneficial. A merger could happen between two companies that were competitors, called a horizontal merger, or between companies who are part of the same supply chain, called a vertical merger. A merger between two companies who are based in the same industry but serve different markets could also be called a market extension. Continue reading...

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 is a market-maker spread?

The difference between the Bid and Ask prices on a stock or other security are known as the Spread. Designated market makers are traders whose job it is to make a market for securities, by offering to buy or sell shares, and thus creating liquidity, often at the same time. Their money is made on the spread. In highly liquid markets, the spread will shrink. So if everyone is buying and selling the same stock one day, there may be virtually no spread between the Bid and the Ask price, and this is seen as efficient. Continue reading...

What is an Expense Ratio?

Generally associated with mutual funds and exchange traded funds, the expense ratio represents the total annual management fee. The expense ratio is the annual management fee charged to shareholders by ETFs and mutual funds. The annual fee typically comprises the annual management fee, 12b-1 fees (which are associated with research costs), operating costs, and all other administrative type fees that go into the product. The expense ratio encompasses all of these fees as one percentage. Continue reading...

What is an Operating Expense?

Operating expenses are the costs a company incurs as a part of everyday business operations. The goal of most every management team is to figure out how a company can minimize operating expenses while maximizing production and profitability. Operating expenses can involve buying inventory, the cost of running machines, rent, payroll, and so on. What it costs a company to undergo normal business operations and output. It is sometimes referred to as OPEX. Continue reading...

How do I Calculate my Expenses?

Keeping track of your expenses is one of the most important (and basic) steps to leading a responsible financial life. It might be tempting to “eyeball” your expenses and somehow get by without a plan, but in almost all cases, such carelessness will spell financial disaster. Budgeting your money for specific categories of expenses and carefully documenting the actual spending is critical. You should add up amounts spent on monthly mortgage and car payments, rent, groceries, clothing, entertainment, utilities, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses, and try to get as close to possible to a monthly budget. Continue reading...

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...

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...

What Does Mark to Market (MTM) Mean?

Mark to Market (MTM) is an accounting method meant to price an asset by its most recent market price. An example would be mutual funds, whose “NAV” price is a mark to market price of how much the mutual fund closed for at the end of a trading session. The mark to market accounting method has some pros and cons. On the pro side, if an asset is very liquid, then MTM will provide an accurate reflection of its current value. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with the Purchase of ETFs?

There may be fees and commissions involved in the purchase of ETFs, and ongoing expenses that reduce earnings over time. Purchasing an ETF will probably involve paying some fees or commissions to the service or broker through which you acquired the shares, but these days those commissions are fairly minimal. These fees will be the same or less than you might pay for using their services to acquire positions in other securities. ETFs are a relatively cheap way to gain an exposure to a particular sector of the market or to take a position that might otherwise be difficult and expensive to research, calculate, and engineer. Continue reading...

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

If you buy and sell securities, you may qualify for tax status as a ‘trader,’ which importantly may qualify you for certain business tax breaks. The rules governing this status can be confusing, however, making it difficult to determine whether you qualify as a trader, investor, or dealer. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for traders as defined by the IRS, as well as how to report income and expenses if qualified. Continue reading...

What is a Form 2106: Employee Business Expense?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 2106 is the long-form way to request deductions for unreimbursed business expenses incurred by an employee in the course of work. This can include professional affiliation dues, continuing education, insurances, vehicle mileage and depreciation, and other possible deductions. Often, employees are not reimbursed for every out-of-pocket expense they incur in the course of their work. This might include wear and tear on a vehicle, professional dues, travel expenses, business meals, and many more items. For any amount to go towards a tax deduction, the itemized unreimbursed expenses must be over 2% of adjusted gross income. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Businesses can refer to Pub. 535 to get a better grasp on what expenses can help lower their corporate tax bill. Many of the costs required to do business can be deducted or depreciated. The guide addresses employee compensation, inventory, research and development, and much more. Many of the expenses that could fall into the category of “overhead” can be deducted by a business. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers some doctors visits, outpatient care, and many other services not covered by Part A. There is a standard premium which is around $100/month for those receiving social security benefits at the same time. Medicare Part B covers outpatient procedures – visits to the doctor, regular checkups, physical therapy, etc. In other words, it covers medical expenses that don’t involve a hospital stay. Medicare Part A is free (if you’ve contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years), but Part B comes with a price tag. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with Buying and Owning Mutual Funds?

Several forms of fees and expenses may be charged to those who own, buy, or even sell mutual funds. With mutual funds, there two types of charges that might be paid by the investor: expenses and fees. Different types of share classes may have different types structures to their fees and expenses. Expenses are the operating costs of the fund company, essentially, and these show up in all mutual funds, usually labeled as expense ratios. The returns reported by the fund will be after expenses. Continue reading...

What was the “Tulip” Bubble?

Markets have been around for much longer than most people think. The Tulip bubble happened in the 1500's! In the last decade of the 1500’s, Tulips were brought to Holland from Constantinople by botanist Carolus Clusius. Within a few years, the Tulips began to spread through Holland like wildfire, becoming luxury goods. As demand rose to astronomical levels, prices skyrocketed along with it. Eventually, people would gain and lose entire fortunes on the beautiful (but not that beautiful) plants. Of course, the actual value of the tulip bulbs was nowhere near the thousands of dollars (if the amounts were converted into today’s standards) that the traders paid for them. Eventually, people began to sell their invaluable tulip bulbs for real cash, and a domino effect ensued. Continue reading...

What is market research?

Market research is the process of evaluating a possible opportunity for entering into a market with a new product or company, or for evaluating the effectiveness of a product or company in a market that they are already invested in. Market research can also be important for decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions. It may involve surveys and market study groups. Sometimes a company will conduct its own market research, but often third-party companies are hired for the task. These companies may specialize in sampling and surveying methods for consumer groups, and/or statistical analysis of a business model or product’s chance of success in a given market. Companies may look to such analysts if they are considering a merger or acquisition, or of launching a new product. Continue reading...

ETFs vs Mutual Funds -- What's the Difference?

The better choice might be different for each investor. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, since it will depend on an investor’s unique situation and what’s being offered. If you intend to trade actively, ETFs might be a better choice since they have prices that update minute-to-minute during the day and their trades settle more quickly. If you are just buying and holding an index (see ‘index investing’), an ETF will give you the cost effective means for doing so. You may be able to buy into an ETF with lower initial requirements than a mutual fund, since you can buy one share instead of possibly having to meet a $1,000 minimum initial investment requirement for a mutual fund. Continue reading...

What is Net Income?

Net income is the amount of earnings left over once expenses have been deducted from sales. In short, it is the net amount of profit or loss. It is calculated by taking total earnings in a period (such as a quarter), and deducting all elements of the cost of doing business (labor, depreciation, fixed expenses, overhead, etc…) Net income is ultimately a measure of a company’s profitability, and its calculation should be scrutinized closely to ensure all expenses are being accounted for accurately. Continue reading...