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Investment Terminology and Instruments
Technical Analysis and Trading
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Retirement
Retirement Accounts
Personal Finance
Corporate Basics
Do I Need Professional Help to Prepare a Will?

Do I Need Professional Help to Prepare a Will?

Whether you need professional help depends on the size of your estate and the complexity of your wishes for how to distribute your assets. Generally speaking, however, it makes sense to hire legal help to create your last will and any related trusts, as often times the cost to doing so is less than the cost of probate court and duress to your heirs in settling the estate themselves. What is a Living Will? What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust? How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will? Continue reading...

How Do I Become a Millionaire?

Even people who only make an average salary (teachers, janitors) can easily become millionaires. Doing so boils down to following a very basic formula: work, save, and invest. Let's look for instance at three different scenarios where a person invests $100/month, $500/month, and $1,000/month (very realistic goals), and let's also assume a reasonable growth rate of 6% per year. For $100/month, it will take you roughly 66 years. For $500/month, it will take you about 40 years, and for $1,000/month, it will take you approximately 30 years. Continue reading...

What is a Swap?

What is a Swap?

A swap is an over-the-counter agreement between institutions to "swap" one thing for another, usually the cash flow related to interest-bearing instruments. Given the negotiable and over-the-counter nature of swaps, there are many permutations and manifestations of this concept. The most common is the interest rate swap, in which the counter-parties agree to pay the interest due on principal amounts which are not exchanged. Continue reading...

What is a Zero Coupon Bond?

A Zero Coupon Bond is one that does not make interest payments - the bondholder only receives the face value back at time of maturity. The bond purchaser typically pays a deep discount for the bond, and the gain made over the life of the investment is the difference between the amount paid for the bond and the face value returned to the investor when the bond matures. What is a Bond Coupon? Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Bonds? Continue reading...

What is the Debt Ratio?

The debt ratio measures a company’s total debt to total assets. It is the simplest calculation available for determining how indebted a company is on a relative basis. The debt ratio is crucial for determining a company’s financial standing, and should be considered by potential investors. To calculate the debt ratio, one only needs to divide total liabilities (i.e. long-term and short-term liabilities) by total assets. Continue reading...

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage is normally offered as a rider on health or regular life insurance policies, or as a part of voluntary deduction supplemental insurance offered to an employee group. AD&D policies provide separate coverage and terms for the instance of death by accident and the loss of limbs or specific functionality of body parts. The main attraction to this insurance is that it is very affordable, and many employees check to box to have it deducted from their pay because it is such a negligible amount. Continue reading...

What is a Dividends Received Deduction?

A Dividends Received Deduction (DRD) is a tax deduction available to corporations when they are paid dividends from another corporation. This is a provision to reduce the number of times an amount of earnings can be taxed: company A, which is paying the dividend, will have already been taxed on it, and the shareholders of company B will be taxed as well, so the Dividends Received Deduction alleviates taxes at the intermediary stage when Company B receives it. Continue reading...

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers a variety of risks to a homeowner, including damage to the property and the belongings within it, as well as liability coverage in the event that someone else is injured on the property. It does not include coverage for flood or earthquake damage, so people living in areas where that might be a problem will need to find a separate policy for those coverages. Homeowners insurance is highly advisable for any homeowner, and most mortgage lenders will require it. Continue reading...

What is Income Property?

An income property is also called an investment property, which is a piece of developed commercial or residential real estate that is used by a third party tenant who makes rental or lease payments for the use of it. Income property can be a good source of income for an individual or business. It can include single- or multi-family residential or commercial properties. Sometimes people co-own income properties together, and receive a proportionate share of the proceeds according to the amount of the start-up capital they paid in. Continue reading...

What is Form 4563: Exclusion of Income for Bona-Fide Residents of American Samoa?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Residents of US Territories will sometimes have to file their taxes with their resident territory as well as the US Department of Revenue. For those who are bona-fide citizens, they are more likely to be able to exclude their income from US taxation. Bona-fide residency of a territory is most easily defined by the 183-day rule: if the person is physically present and living in the territory for 183 days out of the year, he or she is a bona-fide resident of the territory (in most cases). Beginning or ending bona-fide residency requires form 8898. American Samoa is the only place that can exercise the “possession exclusion,” as defined in IRC Section 931. Continue reading...