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Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

It’s easy to become drawn in by the financial media, but it’s important not to let them do your thinking for you. Commentators on the most reputable financial channels will always be sharp-looking, smooth-talking, and quoting a barrage of statistics that makes it seem like you didn’t know anything before you tuned in. Is this an indication of being camera-friendly? Without a doubt. Is it an indication of sound financial advice? Absolutely not. Continue reading...

Can I Take a Lump-Sum Distribution From my Cash-Balance Plan?

Absolutely – this is what separates them from traditional pension plans. Yes. Cash balance plans maintain a hypothetical account balance for the participant, and the ending balance is known and guaranteed from the time the contributions occur. Many participants opt to take this lump sum balance and move it into their own IRA, or just to pay the taxes on it and be done with the plan. The other option is to have the balance paid out in the form of a life annuity, with equal payments for the rest of your life like a traditional pension. This option can be more risky simply because it is forfeiting the safety and security of monthly payments for life, in favor of a one-time distribution. 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 a Quick Ratio?

The quick ratio (also known as an “acid test”) is a financial ratio used to measure how well equipped a company is to meet its short-term liquidity needs. It basically measures how much cash (or assets easily and quickly converted to cash) a company has available to meet its short-term liquidity obligations. Since inventories are assets but are not necessarily liquid, they are excluded from the calculation. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow After Taxes?

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is nearly the same thing as EBITDA, but with taxes left in. One way to arrive at Cash Flow After Taxes is to take the net income of the business and add in interest, amortization, depreciation and other non-cash expenses. This is one item away from the formula for EBITDA, which also adds tax back in to arrive at the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Continue reading...

What are Accelerated Benefits?

What are Accelerated Benefits?

Some life insurance policies allow for death benefits to be accelerated as living benefits under certain conditions. Accelerated benefits are often included in life insurance contracts, but it is possible that they can also be added as Riders for an additional fee. Riders are addendum to a contract that contain additional contractual provisions. What an accelerated benefits rider stipulates is that if certain conditions are met, a portion of the death benefits on a life insurance policy can be paid to the insured person during their lifetime. These conditions may be that the insured person has been diagnosed with less than 12 months to live, or that they have another serious health condition which is covered. Sometimes this includes the payment of monthly benefits if a person requires long-term care. Continue reading...

What is Return on Equity?

Return on Equity refers to the return on shareholder’s equity, which is like looking at the compounding effects of profits. Shareholder’s equity, in the standard accounting equation, is the amount of assets and retained earnings in a company over and above the company’s liabilities. Return on Equity is a ratio which divides the net income of a company by the total shareholder’s equity in a company, which is effectively looking at the profitability of the profits of a company. Continue reading...

What is Income Per Capita?

Income for an area or country it totaled up and divided by the total population of the area to give us the Income Per Capita statistic. Per capita is Latin for “by head,” and income per capita takes every man, woman, and child into account. Income per capita is a statistic that divides the total amount of income reported in an area by the total population of the area. This shows us how much income, as a resource, is available on average to each person in the area. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes)?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Owning multiple properties and receiving rent or lease income from those which are not personally used is a common way to increase wealth. Some individuals also own a vacation home which they use some of the time and rent out the rest of the year. Both of these sources of income addressed in Publication 527. Publication 527 describes how to report income from residential property, as well as how to depreciate it, what forms are needed for different situations, and categorizes different types of arrangements where individuals might own or rent only part of a property or only for certain times of the year, as well as not-for-profit rental. Continue reading...

What is a Home Equity Loan?

Home equity loans give a homeowner the ability to borrow a lump sum against their home equity. Homeowners have the ability to use their home equity as collateral on a lump-sum loan from a lending institution. This may be done on a paid-off home or on one with an outstanding first mortgage. People sometimes use these to pay for large expenses such as their children’ s college, or as a debt consolidation tool. When used for debt consolidation, a homeowner will take out a large loan against the equity they have in their home and use it to pay off debts to credit card companies and other creditors. Continue reading...