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What is an Income Annuity?

Income annuities are used by people in retirement to give them a steady, dependable stream of income until they die. It is a financial product sold by a life insurance company, which serves as a kind of longevity insurance, so that people cannot outlive their money. People often roll lump sums from 401(k)s into these plans. Though inflexible, the income payout rate is designed to be appealing when compared to most retirement investments. 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 a commodity pool?

Commodity pools are like the REITs of the commodity world, and some of them can be categorized as hedge funds or managed futures accounts (MFAs). Accredited investors, who meet qualifying requirements regarding income and total net worth, pool their money to be managed by a commodity pool operator (CPO) or commodity trading advisor (CTA) for the purpose of investing in commodities and commodity derivative instruments. Continue reading...

What is Life Expectancy?

Life Expectancy at Birth Statistics — Found Here Life expectancy may be different for each subset of the population, based on risk factors and age. It is most commonly discussed as the average for an entire population or a specific age group, without regard for specific health risks that may be present. Life expectancy may come into play in discussions of the economy, the health of a population, or for individual planning purposes. Actuarial tables with life expectancy are published by government entities and private companies. The most basic variable will be age. Continue reading...

What are Bitcoin Mining Pools?

Individuals who do not have the computing power to compete with large bitcoin mining operations can join a mining pool and split the rewards. Mining pools allow individuals with insufficient computing power to join a mining pool and split the rewards proportionally to the amount of computer power that they contributed. If a user contributes 3% of the computing power that it took for the pool to solve a block, that user will receive 3% of the reward. Continue reading...

What are “Dark Pools” of Money?

Large institutional investors sometimes trade on “Electronic Trading Crossing Networks," which allow them to conduct trades without publicly exposing them. They are used by financial institutions to move large blocks of shares without public investors even knowing about such transactions. Such examples of networks are “Liquidnet,” “Pipeline,” “SIGMA X,” and many others. It might be difficult to fathom the size of the transactions conducted over these networks, but the ownership of dark pools involves almost every institutional trading house. This is a huge business and regulators are carefully looking into their activities. Continue reading...

What are REITs?

REITs are pooled investments similar to mutual funds, but, like mutual funds, they can take many shapes. They invest in different kinds of real estate and real estate-oriented assets, depending on the REIT, and sell ownership shares to investors. REIT is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. REITs are similar to mutual funds, except that they only invest in real estate properties and related companies and assets such as mortgages. REITs will define the scope of their investments and strategies in their prospectus, which may read something like “We invest only in commercial Real Estate” or “Only in residential houses in Las Vegas” while other REITs are very general. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Manager?

An investment manager’s job is to adhere to the guidelines set forth in a prospectus while directing the decision-making process for a pooled investment company such as a mutual fund. He must remain accountable to the shareholders and observe SEC regulations while attempting to generate the best returns possible. Investment managers direct the flow of assets and trading in an investment account, usually a pooled investment using the funds of various numbers of investors, while seeking to serve the best interests of the investors whom he serves. Continue reading...

How Do You Set Up a Bitcoin Miner?

Setting up a bitcoin miner can be as simple as downloading a mining client program, or as complicated as building a custom rig. Bitcoin mining used to be cheaper and easier to do than it is today, but it can still be relatively simple to execute. In the past, a computer with a CPU could crunch through enough hashes to solve a few blocks and turn a profit. Now, a good GPU, that is, a Graphics Processing Unit card connected to the motherboard of a computer, or a series of GPUs, is par for the course because they can perform many times as many hashes per second than a CPU can alone. This is the case even if the CPU has several cores, and it just has to do with the way that GPUs handle their work. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trading advisor (CTA)?

A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) to manage client funds in a managed futures account (MFA) or other pooled investment such as a hedge fund or commodity pool in which the primary instruments being used are commodity futures, swaps, and other commodities derivatives. CTAs are a particular type of money manager specializing in commodities. Commodities Trading Advisors (CTAs) are licensed to manage commodity pools, managed futures accounts, and commodity-based hedge funds on behalf of clients. Continue reading...

What is Bitcoin lending?

The cryptocurrency community has opened up creative options for making money in the form of lending platforms. A few forms of lending exist for cryptocurrencies at the time of this writing. One way to do it is to make your funds available in a lending market facilitated by an exchange, such as Poloniex, where you can name your interest rate and allow other traders to use your funds for trading on margin. Continue reading...

How Do You Calculate Mining Profitability?

Mining for cryptocurrency may or may not be profitable for you, but the good news is that you can easily run the numbers. Mining profitability is will primarily depend on the hashrate (mining speed) of your mining hardware, and the amount of energy it takes to run the hardware. Mining software usually comes with system monitors that will tell you with a fair degree of accuracy what the numbers are, and several online calculators exist to help as well. The cost of energy is the main concern, many miners will seek to be near the cheapest sources of energy, such as a hydroelectric plant in Sweden or countries with energy subsidies such as China. Continue reading...

What are Bond Ratings?

The possibility of a company or municipal government defaulting on their bond obligations, usually by going bankrupt, is a real one. For this reason, all bonds are rated according to the financial stability of the issuer. A look at the history of corporate and municipal debt will illuminate the fact that the possibility of the issuer being unable to pay its obligations to bondholders is a very real one. There is an established system of bond ratings that gives a rough estimate of the bond's reliability. Continue reading...

What is After-Hours Trading?

After-Hours Trading on the Nasdaq can take place after market close from 4-8pm EST or in the pre-market hours from 4-9:30am EST. Pre- and Post-market trading used to be reserved for large institutional investors or high net worth individuals, but is now made possible through the improvements to electronic trading networks and the demand from individuals trading from their computers at home. Interestingly, institutional investors can trade anonymously on the after-hours Nasdaq market, such that virtually no one knows what positions they take during that time. This is called trading in “dark pools of liquidity.” Traders on the after-hours Nasdaq cannot make certain kinds of trades or use certain instruments. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage?

When a mortgage loan is made to a consumer, the bank or loan institution is the mortgagee, while the consumer is the mortgagor. Mortgages are long term loans secured by the real property of the individual borrowing the money, and they are generally used for homes, called home mortgages. The lending institution, which might be a bank or a mortgage company, is the mortgagee, lending money to the homebuyer, who is the mortgagor. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Life Insurance?

Mortgage life insurance is any life insurance policy which covers the life of the borrower in a mortgage loan and assigns the mortgage lender as a creditor-beneficiary entitled to recoup their losses from the life insurance policy. The bank or lender will be designated as the assignee for the collateral of the life policy. Historically speaking, mortgage life insurance was a term policy with a decreasing death benefit, also called a face amount, that equaled the remaining amount due on the mortgage loan. As the home was paid off, the amount of life insurance required would decrease, and, in most cases, the premium with it. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Forbearance Agreement?

In the event that a borrower is having issues making mortgage payments on time, they may try to seek a mortgage forbearance agreement to delay the foreclosure process. The mortgage forbearance agreement would specify the plan for resuming mortgage payments on time, and is designed to be a temporary solution to an unforeseen issue with the borrower (unemployment, health issues). Continue reading...

What is a No-Cost Mortgage?

No-Cost Mortgages waive the initial closing costs by making a repayment structure for those costs into the interest payments on a mortgage loan. Closing costs can range from 2%-5% of the total cost of the home, and include attorney fees, underwriting fees, application fees, and so on. These costs are deferred and are paid in the form of additional interest on the loan. Closing costs are separate from down-payments of equity, and are a miscellaneous hodgepodge of a wide range of fees associated with closing a mortgage deal. These costs are sometimes covered by the seller, but most often they are paid by the buyer. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers act as agents for consumers looking for the best deal possible on a home mortgage loan. Lenders at banks may not be able to find the most competitive interest rates out there. Mortgage brokers can help consumers become more educated about the various kinds of loans out there, some of which are subsidized by the government. Mortgage brokers find and place mortgage loans with consumers who need it to buy a house. Continue reading...

What is a No-Fee Mortgage?

No-fee mortgages are synonymous with no-cost mortgages, which might apply to first mortgages or refinancing arrangements where the closing costs are paid by the lender, broker, or bank, but a higher interest rate is charged on the loan as a means of recouping those waived fees. Closing costs and fees are calculated based on the total amount being loaned, and might be about 3% for a first mortgage and 1.5% for a refinanced mortgage. When the fees and closing costs associated with a mortgage loan are waived for the borrower, they are usually baked in to a higher interest rate on the loan. Continue reading...