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Are Social Security Benefits Taxed?

Are Social Security Benefits Taxed?

Many people do not realize that their Social Security Benefits may be taxed. If you have a taxable income in retirement above a certain threshold, up to 85% of your social security benefits can be taxed. The calculation for the threshold income actually includes half of your social security benefits. Whether or not you trigger taxation on your benefits will depend on your “combined” income, which is a sum of your adjusted gross income (taxable income, which can include taxable sources such as qualified retirement plans), your nontaxable interest (from Muni bonds in particular, Roth IRAs are excludable), and half of your household Social Security benefits. Continue reading...

What is Minimum Margin?

Minimum margin is the minimum amount needed to open a margin account. The custodian or broker typically sets the minimum margin, but it cannot be for any less than the $2,000 required by the NYSE and NASD. What is 'Buying on Margin' and Margin Trading? What is a Margin Account? Continue reading...

What is a Breakeven Price?

There will be a premium paid by investors for the right to establish positions using options. The price of the underlying security must move to a certain point for the options position to become profitable. The strike price of an options contract names the price that an investor can use to buy or sell the underlying security, but the breakeven price will be the strike price plus the amount of the investor’s premium or net debit. Breakeven price can apply to a multi-option strategy such as a spread, or to a single option position. Continue reading...

What is a Bill of Sale?

A Bill of Sale is essentially a trumped-up receipt, unless you are in England. A Bill of Sale is a document affirming that the rights of ownership of an asset have been transferred from one party to another, in exchange for “full consideration,” which is another word for compensation or payment. A receipt from a retail transaction can be considered a Bill of Sale, but a full-fledged bill of sale should accompany large transactions like car sales and so on. The British definition of Bill of Sale, however, is somewhat different. Continue reading...

What is foreign debt?

What is foreign debt?

Foreign Debt is also called International Debt or External debt. It is the amount of debt that is owed by one country to other countries or entities outside of the borrowing country’s borders. A country may find it easy to raise capital for operations and projects by issuing lots of bonds and taking on lots of debt obligations. If this proves to be unsustainable, or if the sheer amount of debt has investors worried, it can have significant detrimental effects and send an economy spiraling out of control. Continue reading...

What is a commodity swap?

What is a commodity swap?

Like a currency or interest rate swap, a commodity swap is a contractual agreement to trade one cash flow for another. Commodity swaps are facilitated by Swap Dealers (SDs) who pair up various companies, mostly in the oil industry, who are looking to trade a floating (market price) cash flow outlay for a fixed one, or vice-versa. Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs) are the agents licensed by the National Futures Association to solicit and broker commodity swaps through Swap Dealers (SDs). (Requirements — found here) 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 was the “Dot Com” Bubble?

The late 1990’s saw a huge uptick in the number of tech startups, as the age of the Internet took hold and new companies scrambled for a share of the action. As more and more people began to access the world (wide web) of information, new technology companies became more and more abundant in an effort to tap the commercial potential of having a global customer base. This led to excessive valuations of companies that didn't even yet have earnings, as investors poured money in hoping for the "next big thing." Continue reading...

What can I do to make my portfolio grow faster?

What can I do to make my portfolio grow faster?

If your portfolio isn’t growing enough for your liking, you might need to take on more risk or change your active management company. The answer is surprisingly simple: find good managers, fill your portfolio with more risky assets, and rebalance it regularly. The last point has more of a long-term focus, since harvesting and redistributing the gains of successful investments may stunt the growth, but it could also prevent you from losing as much when the winners experience a corrective downturn. Continue reading...

What is the Hindenburg omen and is there any merit to it?

What is the Hindenburg omen and is there any merit to it?

The Hindenburg Omen is technical indicator meant to predict bear markets, sell-offs, and declines. It is named after the famous tragedy of the Hindenburg Zeppelin in Germany on May 6th, 1937. The “Omen” identifies several very complex technical patterns in the behavior of the NYSE, such as the number of new highs, new lows, and some other indicators. It claims to predict market crashes within a very short period of time (about 40 days). Continue reading...