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What if My Life Insurance Doesn’t Pay the Death Benefit to My Survivors?

What if My Life Insurance Doesn’t Pay the Death Benefit to My Survivors?

Generally a life insurance company will have to pay a death benefit once the contestability period of two years has passed. Policies may have certain exclusions, such as suicide or death while committing a felony, but these will appear in the contract language. Even if it turns out that an insured person lied about smoking or their age, the insurance company will have to pay a death benefit that will simply be reduced to account for the premiums paid and what should have been the correct risk rating for the person. Most life insurance will pay out a death claim if death occurs for any reason after the contestability period has passed. Continue reading...

What is an Abandonment Clause?

An Abandonment Clause primarily refers to maritime insurance contracts in which a lost vessel can be replaced without the expectation of recovery or salvage, or the terms by which a construction contract or lease agreement can be dissolved. This is not to be confused with an Abandonment Option contract between a financial advisor and his or her client. It can also refer to a frequently used clause in construction law, in which the contractors define an abandoned project and give their counter-parties the right to move on and find another contractor to finish the job. Continue reading...

What is an asset mix?

What is an asset mix?

An asset mix is the blend of major asset classes in a portfolio, which should be constructed based on the risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals of the investor. A common example of an asset mix is the 70/30 stock-bond mix, where 70% of the assets are invested in stocks and 30% in bonds. “Mix” is one way of describing the asset allocation of a portfolio, but it also describes the practice of diversifying among asset classes. The core asset classes that most people consider are stocks, bonds, cash equivalents, real estate, and commodities. Continue reading...

What is asset allocation?

What is asset allocation?

Asset allocation is theoretically the best way to control the return you experience, through diversification and rebalancing. Asset allocation theories provide you with mechanisms to diversify your money among various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, etc. The benefit of asset allocation is twofold: first, nobody knows which asset class will perform better at any given time, and second, various asset classes are not entirely correlated or have a negative correlation, which provides a hedge. If one asset class appreciates significantly, the other might not, but, if the allocation is done correctly, this may be exactly what the investor was looking for. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with Buying and Owning Mutual Funds?

Several forms of fees and expenses may be charged to those who own, buy, or even sell mutual funds. With mutual funds, there two types of charges that might be paid by the investor: expenses and fees. Different types of share classes may have different types structures to their fees and expenses. Expenses are the operating costs of the fund company, essentially, and these show up in all mutual funds, usually labeled as expense ratios. The returns reported by the fund will be after expenses. Continue reading...

What is the right mix of assets for me?

What is the right mix of assets for me?

Arriving at the appropriate asset allocation is not very easy to do by guesswork, so we’re here to help. There is no such thing as a mix of assets that is right for everyone. It depends on your age, employment situation, the size of your investment portfolio, your objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance, income requirement from your investment portfolio, tax bracket, and many other factors. Programs and algorithms can help you significantly when you plug some of these variables in, but it is still wise to apply some scrutiny and a human touch. Continue reading...

What Are the Basics of Mutual Funds?

What Are the Basics of Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds come in many varieties, but here are some basics to keep in mind to help you find your way. While most people have definitely heard the term mutual fund, many people do not understand how they work and how to use them. With over 10,000 mutual funds available in the marketplace today, the average person may have a hard time selecting appropriate mutual funds for his or her portfolio, determining a good asset mix, and understanding all of the charges associated with buying, owning, and selling mutual funds. Continue reading...

What does asset allocation mean?

What does asset allocation mean?

At the highest level, Asset Allocation refers to an investor’s decision of what percentage to allocate to stocks, versus bonds, versus cash (and cash equivalents), versus any other asset class (commodities, alternatives, real estate, etc…). It is believed that the asset allocation decision is responsible for the majority of an investor’s returns. In other words, there is a direct correlation between an investor’s long-term return and how long - and to what percent - they owned stocks over their lifetime. Continue reading...

How do I determine the right mix of assets?

How do I determine the right mix of assets?

Asset allocation tools and Monte Carlo simulators are available through broker-dealers and online services. You may wish to construct your own asset allocation, but there are asset allocation programs available which can take a lot of the uncertainty out of the process. The most famous method for analyzing and testing an allocation involves the so-called Monte Carlo simulation. This simulator helps you determine what would have happened with your portfolio if you were invested according to a particular mix of assets. Three main parameters you should consider for each asset class are: the asset’s historical performance, its volatility, and its correlation to other asset classes. Continue reading...

What is the difference between active and passive money management?

What is the difference between active and passive money management?

The debate on whether active or passive management is better for investors has polarized many advisors and theorists for years. There are two schools of thought when it comes to long-term investing. One basically states that you should determine a proper allocation of asset classes for yourself, buy index funds to reflect each particular asset class, and possibly rebalance the portfolio periodically. This basically means “set it and forget it,” and the investor must be willing to ignore fluctuations in the markets and maintain a faith in an Efficient Market. Continue reading...

What is a Bond Purchase Agreement?

If a municipality or company decides to issue bonds, they will need to form an alliance with an underwriting entity to help them price and distribute the bonds, and the Purchase Agreement outlines their contract. Underwriters on debt issues are normally large investment banks. They help the issuer, which could be a city government or company, structure the bonds and price them in a way that is suitable to their needs, and also agrees to help them distribute them. Continue reading...

What is the role of asset allocation in my investments?

What is the role of asset allocation in my investments?

The single best control mechanism over the performance of your investments is the maintenance of an asset allocation strategy. When testing various methods of predicting and controlling returns in a portfolio, researchers found that having and maintaining an asset allocation strategy was the method that reaped the most predictable returns – with 80-90% accuracy. Asset allocation is the distribution of various asset classes and investments into a portfolio mix in a deliberate way to gain specific amounts of exposure to each investment. It is a practice used to diversify and manage risk. Asset Allocation is a dynamic process; it’s not something you do once and forget about. Continue reading...

How can I check if my portfolio is diversified?

How can I check if my portfolio is diversified?

There aren’t many easy-to-find tools on the web or elsewhere to help an investor check how well diversified a portfolio is. Tickeron is setting out to change that. With our proprietary Diversification Score® tool, an investor can input each of their portfolio holdings, and our Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will provide a score indicating how well diversified the portfolio is. An investor generally wants to make sure that they do not have too many assets allocated to one region, style, or sector, and that they have sufficient exposure across asset classes if that is their goal. Continue reading...

What does net long mean?

What does net long mean?

Investors are net long when they own more long positions than short positions in a security, derivative, or fund. It could mean that a fund manager, for instance, is net long on all of the holdings in the funds, i.e., the fund holds more long positions than short positions. Some funds could be the opposite and be net short. A long position - or to be “long a stock” - means that an investor has share ownership and will receive economic benefit if the share price rises, and vice versa. Creating and maintaining a long position is simple: an investor buys and owns the investment. Some asset managers will employ a “long-only” strategy, only buying and selling securities in the portfolio as a management strategy - they will not use options or shorting strategies as a result. Continue reading...

Who is the best custodian for my investments?

Who is the best custodian for my investments?

Custodians are the institutions which hold your securities for you and provide some related services. Some will have various arrangements and relationships with exchanges and broker-dealers, and some may do everything in-house; such things have bearing on what your investment options are, how much equity you must have for margin, what kind of fees you pay for various services, and so on. Different custodians tend to structure their fees and services to a particular type of clientele or a particular account size. You may outgrow the custodian you have, or you may discover that there is a better, more affordable option for an account like yours. Continue reading...

Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

What is absolute frequency?

What is absolute frequency?

In statistics, the number of times that a specific value shows up in a data set is the absolute frequency of that value. The absolute frequency can then be used to find the relative frequency, which is the probability that the specific value is observed in a given number of trials. The relative frequency (empirical probability) takes the absolute frequency and divides it by the total number of trials (cumulative frequency), and can be expressed as a ratio or percentage. Continue reading...

How many investment choices should I have in my portfolio?

How many investment choices should I have in my portfolio?

You can get substantial diversification through mutual funds and ETFs, but it is good to have increasing amounts of diversification the larger a portfolio is. Here are some general guidelines: If your portfolio is less than $50,000, probably 4-5 Mutual Funds will suffice. If your portfolio is from $50,000-$100,000, you might consider adding a few more exotic Mutual Funds or buying a couple of ETFs. Continue reading...

What’s a Defined Benefit Plan?

Defined Benefit plans guarantee a certain amount of retirement income to an employee based on the employee’s current salary, years at the employer, and other factors. A Defined Benefit Plan involves a promise made to you by your employer to pay you a certain monthly “benefit” for the rest of your life, or for a certain number of years after retirement. The amount of the payment is pre-calculated using a formula which typically involves your age, your salary, the number of years you’ve worked for your employer, along with other factors. Continue reading...

What are asset classes?

What are asset classes?

Asset classes are types of appreciable investments that can be grouped and distinguished from one another based on the correlation of their price movements and the structure of their cash flows. Some of the most common asset classes are stocks, bonds, cash (and cash equivalents), commodities, and real estate. Many individual securities and sub-classes will fall into each of these. Asset classes are a large consideration when creating a well-diversified portfolio. Continue reading...