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What are the contribution limits for my Roth 401(k)?

Roth 401(k) contributions have the same limits as regular 401(k) contributions. The contribution limits for your Roth 401(k) are the same as the contribution limits for a traditional 401(k), which, in 2016, is $18,000, but these limits are adjusted upwards to account for inflation. If you’re over 50, you can add a catch-up contribution of $6,000 on top of the $18,000 for a total contribution of $24,000. Continue reading...

What is FICA?

What is FICA?

FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes are handled by the Social Security Administration, as they are payroll withholdings that go toward Social Security and Medicare funds. Most people will have half of their FICA paid by their employer, but self-employed people must pay it all on their own, which is called the “Self-Employment Tax.” FICA is a tax on employees and employers that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs of the United States. Continue reading...

What is a Debenture?

A debenture is a non-secured loan, meaning that it is not backed by collateral or other assets. In other words, it is a loan backed by general credit. Corporations and governments issue debentures regularly, and an example of a government debenture would be a U.S. Treasury. Continue reading...

What is Abandonment Value?

The Abandonment Value is the salvage value left if a capital project is stopped short at an unknown time. Authors Robichek and Van Horne (1967) offered a very concise argument for the importance of including an Abandonment Value in the calculations leading to a company decision to undertake a long-term capital project. The calculation is useful for risk assessment, and tries to find the value at which project assets could be liquidated if the project could not be continued for some reason. Continue reading...

What is Cash Collateral?

Cash collateral is liquid cash and cash equivalents designated as collateral for loans and debts of various sorts. One frequently used example of cash collateral is cash used in short selling of securities in a brokerage account. While securities equal to significantly more than the required cash margin can be substituted for cash, the most cost-effective and least risky way to maintain margin requirements is with cash and cash equivalents. Continue reading...

What is the FHFA?

The Federal Housing Finance Association is the Conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since the 2008 meltdown. The FHFA was established as an independent government entity to oversee the secondary mortgage market. The FHFA is a regulatory agency which took over for the Federal Housing Finance Board and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). It was created in 2008 by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), and it oversees the operations of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the 11 federal home loan (FHL) banks. If you’ll recall, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide liquidity to banks and transfer risk from them by buying their mortgage cash flows from them. Continue reading...

What is Federal Debt?

What is Federal Debt?

Federal debt is the money owed by the government. The primary source of this debt is Treasury Bonds (Notes), which constitute debt obligations. About 25% of the current national debt is owed internally between different government agencies, mostly to the Social Security Trust Funds. The Federal Debt is also, and perhaps more commonly, referred to as the National Debt. Currently the debt is approximately $19 Trillion. Continue reading...

What is the commodity channel index (CCI)?

What is the commodity channel index (CCI)?

The Commodity Channel Index is an oscillator introduced in 1980 in Commodities magazine, but it can be used for indexes, ETFs, stocks, and so on. It basically displays the relative daily difference above or below a simple moving average. It can be used to identify overbought and oversold conditions and to confirm trends. The CCI averages out the prices of a commodity (or security) for a day, calling it the Typical Price, and compares it to the simple moving average for a time period (usually 20 days). Continue reading...

What is a Consolidated Tax Return?

A consolidated tax return is a single filing that covers several subsidiary companies and their parent company. One of the advantages of doing so is that the capital gains of one can be offset by the capital losses of another. It can also allow a profit sharing plan for the parent corporation to use profits from the subsidiaries. Corporations with subsidiaries can file a consolidated tax return that covers all of the affiliated companies. Continue reading...

What is Publication 17 for Individual Federal Income Taxes?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here The Publication 17 is a very large and detailed guide to help individuals correctly file their federal income tax returns. Form 1040, 1040-A, and 1040-EZ are the return forms used by individuals for federal income tax, but most people won’t know which one to use without either consulting a tax professional or reading this handy 290-some-odd page document. There are many ins-and-outs when it comes to filing federal income tax returns, and Publication 17 is robust enough to clear up many of the questions that might be asked by non-professional filers and CPAs alike. Issues such as filing status, charitable contributions, and a list of instructions for deductions individuals can take, are all listed, among other things. Continue reading...