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Investment Terminology and InstrumentsBasicsInvestment TerminologyTrading 1 on 1BondsMutual FundsExchange Traded Funds (ETF)StocksAnnuities
Technical Analysis and TradingAnalysis BasicsTechnical IndicatorsTrading ModelsPatternsTrading OptionsTrading ForexTrading CommoditiesSpeculative Investments
Cryptocurrencies and BlockchainBlockchainBitcoinEthereumLitecoinRippleTaxes and Regulation
RetirementSocial Security BenefitsLong-Term Care InsuranceGeneral Retirement InfoHealth InsuranceMedicare and MedicaidLife InsuranceWills and Trusts
Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA
Personal FinancePersonal BankingPersonal DebtHome RelatedTax FormsSmall BusinessIncomeInvestmentsIRS Rules and PublicationsPersonal LifeMortgage
Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is series 63 Examination?

In order to solicit orders for any type of security, a broker or representative must pass the Series 63 examination, in addition to the Series 6 or Series 7. These tests are administered by FINRA, the financial services industry self-regulatory organization (SRO), and serve as licensing requirements for financial services representatives and management in the field. The 6 and 7 deal with product and industry knowledge and theory, while the 63 covers state-specific laws and rules, along with an understanding of ethical and fiduciary responsibility. The Series 63 takes only 75 minutes, with 65 multiple choice questions. Continue reading...

What is the Series 7?

The general securities licensing test required by FINRA is the Series 7 examination. Member firms who are part of the solicitation of securities which are not managed by other parties. If a representative only solicits securities such as mutual funds and variable annuities which are managed elsewhere, a Series 6 and Series 63 combined would fulfill the licensing requirements in that situation. The Series 7 licenses a representative or broker to solicit the sale of individual securities, such as stocks and bonds, as well as options, derivatives, and private placement. The only securities that a Series 7 does not license an individual to solicit are commodities futures, which require a Series 3. Continue reading...

What is Form 8282: Donee Information Return?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Non-cash contributions to a charity which are valued at over $5,000 must be reported on a Form 8282 by the organization receiving the donation. The organization does not have to include publicly traded securities on this form, or items used in the course of the organization’s mission, such as medical supplies. Non-profit organizations must report non-cash contributions that they receive from donors if the value of the item is over $5,000. These items will also need to be reported by the donor or form 8283, Section B. Continue reading...

What is AARP?

One of the largest and most influential groups in the country is the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP. It is a nonprofit organization whose mission is the improvement of the quality of life for its members. The group is one of the largest entities in the country, and it’s free monthly magazine has a higher circulation than any other publication in the United States. Its membership consists of over 40 million American citizens over the age of 50. Members receive many benefits each year, including many discounts and coupons on food, lodging, travel, and so on, for dues around $20 per person per year. Continue reading...

What is 'Pro Forma'?

Pro Forma is a term used frequently in the context of a company’s financial statement, and refers to the manner in which figures are presented. In Latin the term “Pro Forma” means “as a matter of form,” and in the case of a financial statement refers to how figures are presented either in present form or as projections. For publicly traded corporations, statements prepared with the pro forma method are generally made ready ahead of a planned transaction such as an acquisition, merger, or some change in corporate structure based on new investment or capital changes. 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 are the main Accounting Methods?

There are two main kinds of accounting methods: accrual accounting and cash accounting. Depending on who is speaking, accounting “methods” may also extend to the GAAP vs pro-forma distinction. For the most part, accounting methods can be defined based on the year in which the revenues and expenses are put on the books. In cash accounting, only the revenues and expenses which are collected and paid in the current year or period are documented. Continue reading...

What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counselors can negotiate debt management strategies with lenders on behalf of individuals with debt problems, as well as providing behavioral financial habit construction counseling. Debtors seek out credit counselors to find out what their options are to get out of debt and to get some coaching during the process. Credit counselors can be certified through several accredited institutions who are overseen by the Department of Justice in the United States, and they may be part of a non-profit organization, lending institution, or independent financial practice. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Bank?

An investment bank is a financial institution that typically specializes in large, complex transactions, such as underwriting an Initial Public Offering (IPO), mergers and acquisitions, direct investment into start-up firms, or advising large institutional clients on investments/transactions. In short, investment banks help create the bridge between large enterprises and the investor. In that sense, IPOs are one way to accomplish this, but they also help businesses secure financing in other ways, such as through bond issues or derivative products. Continue reading...

How is a 403(b) Different From a 401(k)?

403(b)s are essentially the same as 401(k)s but there are a few notable differences. A 403(b) is extremely similar to a 401(k); the main difference is the type of employer than can offer each. 403(b)s are offered by public educational institutions, non-profit hospitals, non-profit organizations, religious groups and some government organizations. Due to the negotiating powers of many of those institutions, and their non-profit status, the administrative fees are smaller and they are not subject to some of the administrative oversight imposed on 401(k)s. Most 403(b)s are not subject to ERISA, which means they don’t have to satisfy as many auditing and reporting requirements. Continue reading...

What is a Self-Employed 401(k)?

Self-Employed 401(k)s are one of the best ways for self-employed people to save for retirement. Self-Employed 401(k)s function in exactly the same way traditional 401(k)s do, except for a few tweaks. First of all, Self-Employed 401(k)s can only be opened by a business owner or partnership with no employees, although your spouse may also contribute to the Self-Employed 401(k) if he or she works for the business. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Selling?

If a person buys a stock that pays a dividend on or after the ex-dividend date, where we understand “ex” to mean “after,” it means that the buyer would be buying the shares for the amount that still has a dividend (or some of it) priced-in, but the seller, not the buyer, will get to have the dividend, and the share price will go down immediately after the dividend is paid. Stock prices will tend to go up in anticipation of a dividend, and more so after the declaration date, which might be anywhere from two months to two weeks before the actual dividend is paid, when the company announces when a dividend is to be paid and how much it will be. Continue reading...

What is a Home Office?

People work out of their homes more an more as telecommuting and remote work becomes easier to manage and more affordable for some companies. Some people use the term “home office” to loosely refer to the fact that they work primarily from their home, while other people have an actual office space in their home which is used solely for business purposes. In the latter case, someone can apply for a home office expense deduction on their taxes. Continue reading...

Can I Hold Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies in an IRA?

It is becoming increasingly popular today to have an IRA just for bitcoin. If you create a Self-Directed IRA, you can hold almost anything you want within it, if you can find a custodian and trustee willing to facilitate it. This isn’t overly difficult to do since many new companies are jumping at the opportunity to facilitate bitcoin and cryptocurrency IRAs. Examples of assets that can be held within a self-directed IRA include real estate, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, intellectual property, private businesses, hedge funds, private equity, tax lien certificates, livestock, and more. Continue reading...

What Are the Contribution Limits for my Self-Employed 401(k)?

There is a high possible contribution you can make to your own 401(k), but you still have to pay attention to the limits. As of 2016, you may contribute up to $53,000 annually to your Self-Employed 401(k), plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution if you’re over 50. If your spouse is also on the payroll, you are allowed to have a combined contribution of up to $106,000, or $118,000 if you’re both over 50. Continue reading...

What are the Vesting Rules for My Self-Employed 401(k)?

There is no vesting required for self-employed 401(k) (aka Solo K) plans, since you are the employer and the employee. Vesting is a process in which assets that were completely owned by one party are eventually made the property of another party who has had use of the assets. In retirement plans, employer contributions typically have a vesting schedule, partially to give employees a reason to stick around for a few more years. Continue reading...

What are My Self-Employed 401(k) Investment Options?

As with other retirement plans, this will mostly depend on the options available to you through your custodian. Solo 401(k)s will have an array of asset exposure available to you, but it may come only in the form of mutual funds. This is not unlike many larger 401(k)s. The way these plans are bundled as simple and straightforward products, without so many bells and whistles that they will attract the attention of the IRS, may cause them to be slightly more plain vanilla than the options available in some 401(k)s. Continue reading...

How Can I Establish a Self-Employed 401(k)?

Establishing an Individual 401(k) might only take you a matter of minutes. You can establish a Self-Employed 401(k) by going to an Individual 401(k) provider, or asking your Financial Advisor for help and/or recommendations. However, make sure that you are satisfied with the conditions your provider offers. There are dozens of choices available to you, all with different investment options and fee structures. There are plenty of good ones without annual plan fees, lost cost investment options, and a wide variety of investment choices. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Deadlines for My Self-Employed 401(k)?

Contribution deadlines vary depending on whether it is a salary deferral or contribution based on profits generated. The contributions to a Self-Employed 401(k)s consist of two parts, and the deadlines for these parts are different. The contribution which you as an employee make on your own behalf, which is considered a salary deferral, is 15 days after the close of your fiscal tax year. If you have a regular fiscal year, which ends on December 31, the contribution deadline is January 15th. These contributions include both regular salary deferrals and catch-up contributions. Continue reading...

What does it mean to Accept Risk?

The notion of who bears risk for various sorts of failures, circumstances, or losses is a prevalent one in the financial world, and many institutions make all of their money accepting risks. To accept a risk is to bear the burden of loss or replacement if an event occurs that causes an asset to lose value or disappear. There is a bright side to this, however. There is a real and theoretical “risk premium” due to those who accept a risk. Continue reading...