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What is Earnings Season?

Earnings season describes not one, but four times in a year, when corporations release their quarterly earnings reports. Investors look forward to this time because they are able to get an update about how the year is going, compared to projections. After each fiscal quarter ends, there are a few weeks in which companies file their quarterly reports with the SEC and announce their current earnings and sales numbers. Each of these periods is known as earnings season. Continue reading...

What are Earnings per Share (EPS)?

EPS is derived by taking the net income of a company and dividing it by the share price. That gives an individual investor an idea of how much growth was captured by their shares. Earnings per share is one of the main articles that is announced by the quarterly reports given by companies to their investors. Earnings per share does not mean that each share has appreciated a certain amount, but if the quarterly reports in earnings seasons stir up demand for the shares based on solid fundamentals at a company, it can result in a higher price per share. Continue reading...

How often do I check the performance of my portfolio?

You don’t want to overdo it, but it’s important to stay on top of things. Generally speaking, if your portfolio is run by professional investment managers, you should check the performance quarterly; otherwise, you may not give them enough room to do their jobs. If you run your own portfolio, it is entirely up to you how often you check the performance, but be aware that the closer and more short-term your focus gets, the higher the chance you have of losing sight of the bigger picture. Continue reading...

What is GDP?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the production of all industries within a country, to get a picture of how the national economy is doing. GDP is one of the most important number to economists, and it is calculated every quarter. Growth for the current quarter compared to the previous quarter is a good sign. Two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP are an indication of a recession, but it is not the only metric used to make that call. Continue reading...

How often should I call my financial advisor?

While a client should be involved in communication efforts as well, it’s really the advisor that should be reaching out with information and scheduling appointments at least once a year. You should definitely discuss your investment portfolio with your Financial Advisor at least annually. Even if nothing has changed, it’s important to keep communication lines open. On the other hand, doing that more than once a quarter without a pressing need to do so might lead you to make poor decisions based on emotions and shortsightedness, rather than on investment discipline. Continue reading...

What is an Earnings Call?

An earnings call is when a company opens up a teleconference line or webcast that the public can join to hear the company management talk about how the company performed recently, their plans for the future, and the market forces that exist in the current environment. Most publicly traded companies today have adopted this practice. Earnings calls may take place once a year or during earnings seasons after the quarterly earnings have been announced in a press release. Companies often have one executive whose job is to interface with the shareholders in such settings, but various executives are often given a chance to present some thoughts. Continue reading...

What is an Earnings Surprise?

Earnings surprises occur when the reported quarterly or annual earnings of a company are different than they were projected to be. This could be a good surprise or a bad surprise. The price of a stock will change quickly with this new information. Positive or negative earnings surprises occur when the earnings estimates for a company in a given quarter or year turn out to be better or worse than expected. Positive surprises will naturally cause the stock price to jump up, while negative surprises will cause the price to fall. Continue reading...

How often do I need to rebalance my portfolio?

There are different methods and theories about rebalancing, and the answer is basically “it depends.” There is no set rule for the frequency of rebalancing your portfolio, and any generic rules that exist do not necessarily apply to or predict the performance of your particular portfolio. If you’re not very familiar with it, rebalancing is the redistribution of gains from the winning areas of your portfolio to the other areas. Continue reading...

What is Nominal GDP?

Nominal GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in a country, without adjustments for inflation. GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time, and is usually expressed quarterly. Nominal GDP is primarily used to compare quarters in the same year, and does not contain an inflation adjustment as with Real GDP, which is more useful for comparisons across years. Continue reading...

What is the House Price Index (HPI)?

The House Price Index (HPI) tracks average prices of homes using data from sales and refinancing, tracking the data for the same residential properties over many years. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) publishes it quarterly and relies on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The HPI is an important index for the real estate and mortgage industry, as well as the economy as a whole. It uses information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about home sale prices and the refinancing value of homes, tracking the sales and refinancing prices of homes in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac databases, all the way back to 1978. They do this using a weighted repeat-sales method. It is published quarterly by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS guide gives taxpayers and businesses an idea of how to calculate the appropriate amount of withholding to do and how to continually estimate tax rate on an ongoing basis for an entire year. It is about 60 pages long and touches on many issues related to tax withholding. Tax withholding applies to payroll needs, self-employed reporting, as well as some retirement planning applications, among other things. Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Convention?

An accounting convention is an established an agreed-upon method of documenting specific items on a company’s books. The most widely-used accounting conventions are part of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP), which is the only accounting methodology accepted for quarterly 10-Q filings with the SEC in the United States, and has also become the basis for regulatory accounting practices in other countries. Continue reading...

What is Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement?

A Profit and Loss Statement, also referred to as an “income statement,” is a corporate statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred by a company during a specific time period, such as a quarter or a fiscal year. The main difference between a P&L statement and a balance sheet is that the P&L is designed to show changes in line items over the period analyzed, versus a balance sheet which simply shows a comprehensive snapshot of a company’s asset and liabilities on a set date. Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Period?

An accounting period is a specific time frame from which documents and records have been used by accountants to arrive at reported balances and statements. An accounting period can be a fiscal year, quarter, or month, or any other time frame for which reporting is being done. At any given time, there may be different accounting periods running. Books are kept and reports are made for different tiers of accounting periods. Continue reading...

How Are Fiscal Quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) Defined and Explained?

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Should I consolidate my debt?

This seems to be a better choice than debt settlement, and it may make payments easier. Debt consolidation allows people to pay one bill a month towards their debt obligation, rather than many, and it may also give them a lower interest rate payment. A debt consolidation company or bank can settle the outstanding debts of the individual; this settlement amount plus fees becomes the principal loan amount or a new loan, which will probably be designed to have lower payments than the individual was paying before consolidation. Continue reading...

What is the Year-over-Year (YOY) Analysis?

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What is IRS Notice 433 – Interest and Penalty Information?

IRS Link to Notice — Found Here Notice 433 describes penalties and the applicable interest rates for various years of non-payment when corporate taxes are not paid in a timely manner. This does not apply to individuals unless they are incorporated, and is not to be confused with Forms 433-A, -B, -D, or -F which are for individual purposes and concern applications for a Compromise Notice 746 updates the interest rates for more recent years. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is Investment Income?

Also referred to as passive income, investment income is money paid to an investor from the dividends, premiums sold, or sale of assets in their portfolio. Some investors treat it like a part-time job, such that there is nothing passive about it. In retirement, investors often receive income from bonds, preferred stock, and dividend-paying common shares. Income can be pulled from several kinds of investments, including real estate, and it is likely to be taxed at ordinary income tax rates. Continue reading...