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Should I invest in commodities?

Should I invest in commodities?

Investing in commodities has lately become accessible to even small retail investors via ETFs. There are now literally hundreds of different commodity ETFs, linked to various individual commodities and baskets (such as agricultural baskets, commodity indices, etc.) These instruments are very complex and sometimes do not reflect the behavior of the underlying commodity. While investing in commodities may significantly diversify your portfolio, it requires profound knowledge of the behavior of the underlying assets. Continue reading...

What can I find out about hedge funds?

What can I find out about hedge funds?

Hedge funds have historically been very secretive. They still mainly fall under Regulation D and private-placement laws, but their reporting requirements have been slightly expanded after the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. Now, they are a little more transparent, but not fully. Up until the Dodd-Frank Act, it was basically impossible to know what hedge funds were investing in and who was involved. Hedge fund managers and their investment banks were under no obligation to report the holdings, and they generally avoided leaking any information about their market positions for fear of damaging their advantages. 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 is Sharpe Ratio?

What is Sharpe Ratio?

The Sharpe Ratio is a risk-weighted metric for returns on investment. It measures whether an investment offers a good return for the amount of risk assumed by the investor. The risk/return trade-off is a positive linear relationship in most theoretical depictions – if an investor seeks greater returns, they will have to take on greater risk. For more stability and less risk, an investor will have to sacrifice some potential returns. Continue reading...

What are Profitability Ratios?

Profitability ratios are useful analytical tools to evaluate a company’s ability to generate profits relative to all costs and expenses. A company that has high profitability ratios relative to competitors/peers, or a company that has demonstrated to improve their profitability ratios over time, is generally viewed as a healthy and attractive company from an ownership perspective. Some examples of profitability ratios are profit margin, return on assets, and return on equity. Continue reading...

Who is a Bond Trustee?

A bond trustee is an institution which has the fiduciary responsibility of administering and enforcing the terms of the bond indenture. A bond indenture is the contract between the bond issuer and the bondholder. A trustee has the resources to manage the distribution of the funds to the bondholders, to keep up with and distribute the required bookkeeping and statement information to the interested parties as well as regulators like the SEC. If there is a violation of the contract, the trustee must report it and act in the best interest of the wronged party. Continue reading...

What is the Accounting Cycle?

The Accounting Cycle includes all of the documentation that is collected and all of the controls and systems in place to ensure accurate accounting. The Accounting Cycle begins with the point of sale, with documentation for the transaction (invoice or receipt) and the internal expenses and inventory. There are conventions, controls and systems in place to account for and control the flow of information in a company at each stage of the process to ensure that accounts are as accurate as possible. The Accounting Cycle may refer to the length of time between trial balances, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually. Continue reading...

What is a foreign transaction fee?

What is a foreign transaction fee?

Credit card companies and banks generally charge an additional percentage for all purchases made with a card in a foreign country. If you’re traveling abroad, you may want to find another way to pay. Most credit card companies and bank debit cards will charge an additional percentage on transactions made abroad, to help them pay the cost of clearing the transaction with international institutions. This is sometimes called a currency conversion fee. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Drag?

When an ETF is not able to offer a quick, automatic dividend reinvestment option to clients, it can sometimes take a week or more to get the dividends back into the market. In a rising market, this lag can cause the reinvested amounts to purchase higher-priced shares than they would have been otherwise. This drags the performance of the fund down, compared to an index or more efficient fund. The structure of ETFs prevents them from immediately reinvesting dividends, and they often do not offer what is known as a DRIP, or dividend reinvestment plan, which is built into many pooled investments like mutual funds (and other ETFs). Continue reading...

What is the Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax, Individuals?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 6251 is used to calculate the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for individuals who may have high income but relatively low taxes due after deductions. The individual first computes his or her adjusted gross income, which does not allow for some deductions that may have been taken for the tax filing. If the AMT is higher than the taxes already paid, the individual will have to pay the difference. Continue reading...