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

Which is Better for Me – a Roth or Regular 401(k)?

Some 401(k)s give participants the ability to make after-tax contributions, which raises the question of which fits better into a person’s retirement plan. One advantage to Roth 401(k)s is that they do not have income limits which may have barred certain high earners from contributing to a Roth IRA in the past. Down the road in retirement, it may be advantageous for someone with significant savings to be able to take some withdrawals that do not increase his or her income tax bracket. Continue reading...

What is present value?

The price in today's dollars for an asset which will appreciate or depreciate to an amount which may be known at a specific date in the future. One simple example of Present Value is the amount that needs to be invested in order to grow to a specific amount later, if the rate of return and length of time are known. So if someone wanted to have $50,000 to buy a boat in 5 years, and they could get 5% on a guaranteed investment, they would need a lump sum investment of about $39,000 to get them there. Continue reading...

What is Net Present Value?

Net Present Value (NPV) is the difference between present value of net inflows versus the present value of outflows (expenses). The net present value is a good analyst tool for measuring the profitability of a company’s project or new undertaking, like expansion into a new market. It measures the anticipated cash inflows (revenues) from the undertaking versus the anticipated costs of the new project (also in present value terms). Continue reading...

How do Advisors Charge and How Much Should I Pay?

It depends. There are three commonly used fee structures: fee-only, fee-based, and commission-based, Advisors can be compensated in three ways: It’s impossible to say exactly how much you will end up paying for an advisor – it really depends on the type of advisor you decide to hire, the amount of trading or planning you will be using them for, and the size of your portfolio. In some transactions with commission-based planners, you may not see any out-of-pocket cost; their commissions are built into the products in such a way that it may not appear that there is any direct cost for their services. Continue reading...

What is a "spread"?

Spread has several meanings in finance, but the most general usage is to describe the difference between the bid and the ask prices for a security, where a narrower spread would indicate high trading volume and liquidity. It also might refer to a type of options strategy in which an investor purchases two calls or two puts on the same underlying security but with different expiration dates or strike prices. Continue reading...

What is Future Value?

Future Value is the hypothetical value of an investment at a specific date in the future. The future value (FV) of an investment or business is a calculation used in several types of planning and accounting. In a Time Value of Money (TVM) calculation, the Future Value is often the starting point, and the interest rate that will be earned in the meantime is called Discount Rate, and is discounted by the number of years of periods back to the present time. This allows investors to see the Present Value (PV), which is a lesser, discounted amount from the future value, and gives us the premise for the Time Value of Money, which is that “a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” Continue reading...

What is the gordon growth model?

The Gordon Growth Model is also known as the dividend discount model (DDM). It is a model for pricing a stock that was developed by professor Myron J. Gordon in the 1960s. The model uses a stock’s present value relative to the present value of its future dividends to provide an intrinsic value for the stock. The model is a shaky one at best, especially given that companies these days often change the course of dividend payments, and many (particularly in the tech world) don’t pay any dividends at all. Continue reading...

What are Some of the Applications of Blockchains?

The overarching theme of blockchains is that they can provide security and asset verification in a decentralized system, which is perhaps the best-known method for preventing fraud. Blockchains are a technological revolution that provides an opportunity to establish strong systems for digital identity. Here are some of the applications and uses for it: A user can authenticate a unique physical item by pairing them with a corresponding digital token. In that sense, these tokens serve to connect the physical and digital worlds. With a token assigned to each physical good, that can revolutionize supply chain management, managing intellectual property to prevent counterfeiting and fraud detection. Continue reading...

What does Bid Mean?

When you make a ‘buy offer’ on a stock or other security in the financial markets, you are making a Bid. A Bid offer in terms of financial markets is the price offered by an investor or trader for a security. A market maker will try to reconcile Bid offers (the highest prices that buyers are willing to pay) with Ask offers (the lowest price that a seller is willing to accept). Match the Bid and the Ask offers, and you’ve got a trade. Continue reading...

What is the Bid-Ask Spread?

The Bid-Ask Spread is the difference between an offer made on a security and the price a seller is willing to accept. The Bid-Ask Spread is the amount by which the ask price exceeds the bid. For example, if the bid price is $50 and the ask price is $51 then the "bid-ask spread" is $1. The larger the bid-ask spread, the less liquid the market for that particular security - buyers and sellers are too far apart for trades to occur easily. When trading, investors have to pay attention to the bid-ask spread, because it is ultimately an additional cost to investing in or trading stocks. Continue reading...

What is Discounted Cash Flow?

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) uses an estimated future cash flow amount and a Discount Rate to determine the Present Value (PV). An investor or business executive might project an estimated future cash flow for a business based on recent growth rates, industry information, futurism, estimated inflation, etc. The most common future cash flow to use is free cash flow, which takes out capital expenditures. Continue reading...

How are Social Security Benefits Computed?

Social Security retirement benefits are computed by finding the average monthly income of a worker during the highest-earning 35 years of employment, and then it plugs that amount into a formula for to determine their full benefit at Normal Retirement Age (NRA). A person may then choose to take benefits before or after NRA, with applicable reductions or additions. There are different equations for spousal benefits, survivor’s benefits, and maximum family benefits. Continue reading...

How Much Does (and Will) Social Security Pay?

Social Security uses a formula that applies a factor to your average monthly income from the 35 years in which you earned the most. The benefit will be calculated for your Normal Retirement Age (67 for most people today), and you should receive statements in the mail keeping you updated on your projected or actual Social Security Retirement Benefits. Every year, you should get a statement from the Social Security Administration that provides you with exact numbers. The amount depends on the age at which you retire, and the contributions you made to Social Security over the years. The formula uses the 35 years in which you earned the most, and divides it by the total number of months in 35 years, which is 420, which leads to your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). Continue reading...

What is the High-Low Index?

Often referred to in the media as “New Highs and New Lows,” the High-Low Index is an observation of the number of stocks which hit 52-week highs or lows in the current day. The High-Low Index is usually expressed as a simple moving average (10-day or longer) of the Record High Percent. A Simple Moving Average (SMA) is a technical indicator that can help traders determine whether a bull or bear trend will continue or reverse course. It typically adds up closing prices for a given time period, then divides that figure by the number of time periods used for the average. Simple moving averages are effective in their simplicity, but their efficacy is most closely tied to how they are used. By giving equal weight to each data point, SMAs can limit bias towards any specific point in a specific time period. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Records?

Accounting records are the supporting documents that verify the history of transactions, audits, and reports. Accounting documents are sometimes required to be kept on file for a certain number of years. They may be paper or electronic records. Records may include point-of-sale documents such as receipts and invoices, as well as inventory delivery and audit records, and the results of internal and third-party audits from various periods. Continue reading...

What is market efficiency?

Market efficiency describes the degree to which relevant information is integrated into the price of a security. With the prevalence of information technology today, markets are considered highly efficient; most investors have access to the same information with prices and industry news, updated instantaneously. The Efficient Market Hypothesis stems from this idea. Efficient markets are said to have all relevant information priced-in to the securities almost immediately. High trading volume also makes a market more efficient, as there is a high degree of liquidity for buyers and sellers, and the spread between bid and ask prices narrows. Continue reading...

What is trading psychology, and why is it important?

📊 Uncover the Secrets of Sustainable Trading Success 🚀 Master the art of Trading Psychology to conquer cognitive and emotional biases. Learn how to make rational decisions, manage risk, and enhance your chances of long-term profitability in the world of finance. #TradingPsychology #Finance 📈📉 Continue reading...

What is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was originally created to encourage market competition and to protect consumers by breaking up monopolies and monitoring mergers and acquisition activity. It has now branched out into more areas in the pursuit of consumer protection and fair markets. The FTC is now comprised of three bureaus: Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. They protect consumers from fraudulent business activity and monopolistic business practices. Continue reading...

What does Ask Mean?

In the financial markets, “Ask” is the price that a seller is willing to accept for a security. It is also known as the offer price. Given the market is constantly changing, Ask prices are rarely set in stone for long. What’s more, the Ask price on a security may not necessarily be the best going price available for it. It merely represents what that particular seller is willing to accept for it. What is a “Spread”? What is a Market-Maker Spread? 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...