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What are the Tax Implications for Taking Money Out of a Roth IRA?

Distributions taken from a Roth during retirement are not subject any income taxes. Interestingly, the “cost basis” or contributions made to a Roth can be taken out at any time, including before age 59 ½, without tax or penalty. Contributions are recorded on IRS form 5498 and a copy is mailed to you, but you need to keep up with your contributions if you might want to tap into your Roth early. The earnings that accumulate must satisfy the 59 ½ requirement and the five year rule, or be used for first-time homebuyers expense, to avoid the 10% penalty and taxation. The five year rule says that the earnings in a Roth may be taxable if the Roth account is under 5 years old. Continue reading...

How are Social Security Benefits Computed?

How are Social Security Benefits Computed?

Social Security retirement benefits are computed by finding the average monthly income of a worker during the highest-earning 35 years of employment, and then it plugs that amount into a formula for to determine their full benefit at Normal Retirement Age (NRA). A person may then choose to take benefits before or after NRA, with applicable reductions or additions. There are different equations for spousal benefits, survivor’s benefits, and maximum family benefits. Continue reading...

What is Yield to Maturity?

The payments remaining on an interest-paying bond or instrument, plus principal, are totaled up and then annualized, and this annual rate is the yield to maturity. Yield to maturity is a calculation that helps an investor decide if he or she is getting a good deal. If yield to maturity is greater than the coupon rate, the bond is trading a a discount. If yield to maturity is less than the coupon rate, it is selling at a premium. If they are equal the bond is trading at par value. Continue reading...

What is a Cash Conversion Cycle?

A business with a fast ‘cash conversion cycle’ can efficiently use funds and resources to fulfill the different needs of the business and to generate more business. In the simplest terms, the ‘cash conversion cycle’ is an accounting and efficiency model which measures how fast a retailer can disburse cash to suppliers and then receive cash from customers. To be more descriptive, the business would use cash from Receivables, to get Inventory (and cover Payables), sell that Inventory, and Receive cash again. Continue reading...

What is the Debt to Capital Ratio?

The debt-to-capital ratio is a measure of a company’s leverage that looks at total debt compared to total capital (shareholder equity + debt). This measure of leverage is not a globally accepted accounting practice, therefore it is important for analysts to learn exactly what is being included by the company as their debt and equity in calculating the ratio. Generally speaking, a higher debt to capital ratio indicates that the company is financing more of its operations and needs through the debt markets versus with equity. Comparing debt-to-capital ratios amongst companies within the same sector or industry can be a useful exercise. Continue reading...

What is a Calendar Spread?

A calendar spread is a strategy also known as a horizontal spread or time spread, in which the investor uses two options contracts, with the same strike price, on the same underlying security, but with different expiration dates. The trader will “write” (sell) the near-term one (front month) and hold the one with the more distant expiration date (back month) long. This is a debit spread, since the investor will pay more to establish this position than is received from the short sale of the near-term option: longer-term options have a greater time value than short-term options. Continue reading...

What are Fibonacci Retracements?

What are Fibonacci Retracements?

Fibonacci Retracements are places where a Fibonacci lines and arcs. If a retracement has a length that proportionally fits within certain parameters in comparison to the uptrend that preceded it, some traders attempt to predict the size of the uptrend that will come afterwards using Fibonacci numbers. The most popular retracement percentages to use are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8%, and 100%. Fibonacci numbers are part of the Fibonacci sequence, where the two previous numbers are added together to calculate the next number in the sequence. The ratio of two Fibonacci numbers is the Golden Ratio, or 1.61803398875, which has been used since ancient times as the perfect proportion in architecture and other design. The Golden Ratio is also known as Phi (pronounced “fee”). Because Fibonacci numbers are found throughout the natural world, they have been integrated into some traders’ strategies for market analysis. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?

Mortgages take a while to process, but a broker or bank can lock in a rate for themselves or their clients. Locking-in rates costs money somewhere along the line, and the longer the rate is locked in, the more it costs. 60 days is generally the longest time frame you will see a rate locked in, due to the cost associated with that risk. Mortgage rates can be locked in for a period of time long enough to underwrite the loan. This might be for a period as short as 20 days or as long as 60 days. Continue reading...

Can Blockchains Reduce Fraud and Failed Payments?

Can Blockchains Reduce Fraud and Failed Payments?

Blockchains can validate, clear, and document transfers of value much faster and more securely than traditional methods. Blockchains offer an extremely efficient and reliable means of processing transactions of any size in a way that reduced the likelihood of fraud and failed payments. If a cryptocurrency wallet says that there is a specific balance present in a specific wallet, then that balance is there; it can be validated using the transaction record held on the thousands of computers on a b... Continue reading...

Be Smart about Planning for Retirement

Be Smart about Planning for Retirement

The key difference between Portfolio Wizards and 401(k) Portfolios is that the latter contains reports. These reports are detailed descriptions of the performance of the existing portfolio. 401(k) Portfolios allow you to purchase existing portfolios, while the former can be used to create new portfolios or add existing ones to your files. The reports are crucial to the understanding of the way that the portfolios are chosen and ranked because they contain a page with a layout of the Diversification Analysis. Continue reading...