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What are Articles of Incorporation?

Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office before a corporation can do business in a state. Articles of Incorporation are legal documents which contain descriptions of the most pertinent information about a company at its formation. This includes a list of board members, the number of shares to be issues, bylaws, business model, facilities and assets, and so forth. Continue reading...

What is a Home, Legally-Speaking?

The laws concerning a legal residence or primary residence may come into play for purposes of insurance, state taxes, and business matters. Some people have secondary residences, some people choose to remain legal residents of one state while they inhabit another. It can be quite complicated and various statutes may apply, depending on the situation. It can matter for a mortgage loan, for local voting, for healthcare and for business: what is a home? Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 54 is a guide for those earning income in a foreign country. There are several tax deductions which might be available and several forms and filing practices that one will need to be familiar with when taking employment elsewhere. US Citizens and long term resident green card holders will need to let the IRS know how much they are making even if they are employed in a foreign country. Continue reading...

What is residual income?

Residual income is a stream of income that persists from one work project or investment. Residual income is also known as passive income, and is income which comes from an investment of money or work in the past, where minimal or no additional money, work, or maintenance is required. Residual income could come from investments such income-generating real estate, or work completed such as a published book or acting in a commercial. Continue reading...

How Do I Know that Life Insurance Companies are Reliable?

Life insurance companies that have not been around more than 20 years may not be reliable. Even the ones that have been around 30 years or so need to have very good credit ratings and business models for you to expect them to be around in 30 years or so to pay a possible death claim. To determine whether an insurance company is reliable, it is necessary to look at their financial strength rating. A financial strength rating is a letter-grade provided by major rating services, such as Moody’s Investor Services, Fitch Ratings, and others. For example, Moody’s Investor Services ratings are as follows: AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, etc. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 513, Tax Information for Visitors to the United States?

IRS Link to Reporting Guidelines — Found Here Despite how it sounds, this publication is not meant for tourists to the US, but rather for non-US-citizen workers who might be considered either resident aliens or nonresident aliens, or dual-status if they can be considered both within the same year. Non resident aliens do not have to file a return if they did not earn more than the standard annual deduction amount. This guide is relatively short by IRS Publication standards, at only about 20 pages. Continue reading...

Where Do I Buy Life Insurance?

There is no clear-cut answer this question. There are many companies that offer life insurance and countless salespeople and brokers anxious to sell an insurance policy. You should buy your Life Insurance from a company that is reliable, financially stable, and reputable. You can find a policy yourself online or through an agent or advisor. Of course, you must do research and analyze the companies which you are considering very carefully. It is of utmost importance to be sure that your insurance company has policies that suit your needs and are not a scam, especially since this may be some of the most important insurance you can own. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Home Loan Bank Act?

The Federal Home Loan Bank Act was signed into law by President Hoover in 1932. The goal of the legislation was to make liquidity more accessible to banks for the purpose of making home loans, so that more Americans could acquire permanent residences. The bill established the FHL Bank system, which now consists of 11 FHL banks. The Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 established the FHL Bank system, which is a co-operative banking network for banks and other lending institutions who make home loans. The FHL banks are owned by their member institutions, who purchase stock in the bank and are then permitted to take loans out from it, using that money to provide loans to customers. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good “Lease or Buy a Car” calculator?

Calculators are available to help you decide whether to lease or buy a car. Despite the advice of our older family members, many financial decisions will benefit from the use of math and technology, instead of just “rules of thumb,” and they will depend on the circumstances present at the time of the decision. Despite the fact that you may have purchased a vehicle or two in the past, you might benefit from using an online calculator that can help you compare whether it might be in your best interest to lease the vehicle this time or buy it. Continue reading...

Who is a Bill Collector?

Collections companies are known as Bill Collectors, and their jobs are to extract as much payment from those who are past-due on payment obligations as they can to settle an account or to bring it current. When people do not pay their credit card companies back within about 150 days, the card company will pass the debt off to a collections company. Other businesses who do their own billing will also sometimes find it necessary to pass off the obligation to the collections company. Continue reading...

What is Form 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Sometimes individuals need representation to argue their case to the IRS or the tax court. To this end, there is an IRS form, the 2848, which designates an individual to represent the taxpayer on tax matters. The person receiving agency must be qualified and certified to perform such work. CPAs, Enrolled Agents (EAs), tax attorneys, and a few other professionals are qualified to represent taxpayers (or non-taxpayers, as the case may be) on tax matters in a tax court or IRS audit. To give one of these registered tax advisors the authority to serve as your agent and proxy for such matters before the IRS and tax courts, you must file a Form 2848. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal Fraud?

Appraisal Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of the value of a home using an appraiser’s statement. Appraisals are necessary for large loans and real estate transactions, and appraisal fraud is common. Fraud can be committed in this manner by the appraiser or by a person falsifying an appraiser’s statement. A common example would be overstating the value of a home so that a borrower can get a larger home equity loan. Continue reading...

AAA/Aaa — credit rating

AAA — S&P / Fitch Aaa — Moody’s AAA/Aaa rated bond issues have an almost nonexistent chance of defaulting, according to the major ratings institutions that issue the ratings. AAA/Aaa is the highest rating a bond issue or company can get. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, many companies, and the US Government itself, were downgraded from AAA to AA+. Only two companies in the US still retain the AAA rating: Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. Continue reading...

What is an Agent and How Do They Operate Across Different Domains?

In the intricate tapestry of business, sports, real estate, and more, agents stand as the linchpins, bridging gaps and navigating complexities. Rooted in legal foundations, agents are empowered individuals, representing and acting on behalf of another entity or person. From negotiating star-studded sports contracts to facilitating seamless property transactions, their roles are as diverse as they are crucial. But what truly defines an agent? Delve into the world of universal, general, and special agents, each with their unique mandates and domains. Beyond their roles, agents shoulder a spectrum of responsibilities, bound by fiduciary duties that prioritize their principal's interests. Whether it's the duty of transparency, care, or obedience, these responsibilities ensure that agents act with utmost integrity and diligence. Dive deeper to understand the dynamic between agents and principals, a relationship built on trust, clarity, and expertise, driving success across various landscapes. Continue reading...

What is the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA)?

HERA was passed in 2008 in response to the subprime mortgage crisis that rocked the entire economy and left many Americans underwater on their mortgages. People would need to refinance their mortgages and this bill approved the funding to help that happen. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act did several things, all aiming to help American consumers and lending institutions get out of the recession left by the subprime mortgage bubble in 2008. Continue reading...

What is Abnormal Earnings Valuation?

The abnormal earnings valuation method is one in which the future cash flows of a business are given significant weight in a valuation, especially when there are not many hard assets to use for valuation purposes. If a company is rich in human capital or has significant cash flows, whether or not it has many hard asset or book value, the Abnormal Earnings Valuation Model can be the most useful method for arriving at an accurate valuation of a business and its stock. Continue reading...

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is given to a company or debt issue after a disinterested third party evaluates the strength of the business or cash flow and rates its ability to pay all of its liabilities. Third-party institutions such as Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch will conduct research in order to give investors an idea of how likely a business, bond issue, or insurance company can pay all of its obligations. Continue reading...

BB+/Ba1 — credit rating

BB+ — S&P / Fitch Ba1 — Moody’s This rating is the highest non-investment grade category that the ratings agencies will give to a bond. When rating bond issues based on their risk of default, investment grade bonds will range from AAA/Aaa to BBB-/Baa3, in the parlance of Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Below this level, starting with the BB+/Ba1 rating, are High Yield Bonds, also known as Junk Bonds. If an investor chooses wisely, high yield bonds can be some of the best investments in his or her portfolio. The further down the ratings scale a bond appears, the higher the yield; but there is also a higher risk of default. The higher yield paid out on higher-risk bonds is known as the “risk premium,” which is a concept present throughout the investment world. Continue reading...

BB-/Ba3 — Credit Rating

BB- — S&P / Fitch Ba3 — Moody’s The BB-/Ba3 rating is given to bonds and companies who have a moderate risk of default, and this rating appears around the middle of a scale with over 20 ratings. There are two symbols in this example which are the same rating: Fitch and S&P use BB-, and Moody’s uses Ba3. These are the Big Three of the Credit Ratings Agencies (CRAs) that the SEC has sanctioned to issue ratings which can be used for internal regulation within industry groups. Continue reading...

What is Unsystematic Risk?

Unsystematic risk is idiosyncratic or unique risk that does not reflect a direct correlation with the risk present in the market, or systematic risk. Most securities and portfolios experience risk and variations which are not attributable to the market as a whole, and this is known as unsystematic risk. Systematic risk, on the other hand, is the risk borne by all investors in the market, where broad changes in the market cannot be avoided through diversification of a portfolio. Continue reading...

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