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Can Something Happen to My Defined Benefit Plan?

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will insure benefits up to a point, but it may not replace the full value of a pension if a plan goes belly-up. While the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures thousands of Pensions across the country, the entire benefit of your Defined Benefit Plan is in no way guaranteed. Some corporations can “freeze” your pension, meaning they stop the counter on the number of years you’ve worked, and use that as the number to calculate your monthly payments. Many pensions today are struggling after the long period of low interest rates on fixed instruments like government bonds. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a SIMPLE IRA, Do I Have to Establish One For All Owners of My Business?

Only employees must be included in SIMPLE IRAs. The IRS has about 20 criteria for assessing whether an employee-employer relationship exists. Silent partners and other owners who do not participate in the business or draw wages do not need to be included in the plan. You have to offer SIMPLE IRAs to all of your employees who received at least $5,000 in compensation in the preceding year two years. Unionized employees can be excluded. Continue reading...

Who Offers Defined Benefit Plans?

Any employer can offer a Defined Benefit plan, but not many do anymore. Before the introduction of Defined Contribution Plans, most large corporations such as General Electric, General Motors, etc. offered only Defined Benefit Plans. Over the years, it has put a huge burden on these corporations to guarantee the performance of these plans. If the plan has not performed according to the assumptions, the company would have to contribute the difference, which would have to come from their profits. In order to shift the burden to the employees, most companies now offer Defined Contribution Plans (such as 401(k)s, etc.) instead of Defined Benefit Plans. Continue reading...

What is a Merger?

A merger is the voluntary melding of two companies into one, when the owners believe the change is mutually beneficial. A merger could happen between two companies that were competitors, called a horizontal merger, or between companies who are part of the same supply chain, called a vertical merger. A merger between two companies who are based in the same industry but serve different markets could also be called a market extension. Continue reading...

What is an ABA Routing Transit Number?

Most people recognize this as a “routing number.” The American Bankers Association (ABA) assigns a number to each banking institution registered with them, for the purposes of electronic transfers; this is commonly known as a routing number, and officially an RTN, or Routing Transit Number. Consumers and bank clients are familiar with this number as the 9-digit number that appears beside their account number on the bottom of their personal checks. Every client with a particular bank will have have the same routing number on their checks. Continue reading...

What is Chapter 10?

Chapter 10 is a bankruptcy filing available to smaller corporations where they agree to have their management replaced to oversee a restructuring, and they also agree to have their debts repaid within three years. If a company does not have more than $2.5 million in debt, they may be able to file Chapter 10 bankruptcy. The company and its attorney will put together a plan for reorganization and explain how the plan will ensure that the company meet its obligations in the future. Continue reading...

What is Return on Assets?

Return on Assets, or ROA, is an efficiency ratio which quantifies how much profit a company can generate with the assets it has. Return on Assets is a ratio of the net income of a company divided by the amount of assets it has on the books. It can also be synonymous with Return on Investment (ROI), at least at a corporate level. Theoretically this gives analysts an idea of how much profit a company could generate by buying more equipment or other assets, or how efficiently they use the assets in which they have invested. Comparing companies in a specific industry to their peers with ratios such as this one can be illuminating. Continue reading...

What are Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?

Companies often hold minority interest positions in other companies, but sometimes they decide to merge into one company, maybe by selling-out to a bigger company, or acquiring a smaller one. Very often, small companies are very agile and develop new technologies quickly, but do not have sufficient funds to bring them to the market. Large companies need the technologies and it is cheaper for them to buy smaller companies rather than spending money to develop them on their own. Continue reading...

What Rights Does Owning Shares of Corporation Give You?

Shareholders of a company are part-owners of the company, and they are entitled to two things: voting for board members, and participation in earnings. Owning shares (even one single share!) of a publicly-traded corporation entitles you to the right to vote in elections for the Board of Directors, as well as the right to receive a proportional amount of all the profits of the company. These rights apply to common stock, which is generally the kind of stock traded on exchanges. Of course, you also have the right to sell your shares on the stock exchange at any time, in what is known academically as the Secondary Market. Continue reading...

What is Private Equity?

In the world of finance, private equity is a relatively new industry whereby private companies finance other businesses through direct investment, often in exchange for equity in the company and in some cases, decision-making capabilities. Private equity companies generally use capital of the principals or of high net worth investors to strategically invest in growing companies that need growth capital or seed capital to expand operations. Continue reading...

What is the definition of Credit Unions, and how do their membership requirements compare to those of banks?

Credit Unions vs. Banks: Discover the Differences 🏦💳 Explore the unique world of credit unions and banks. Learn about membership requirements, advantages, and disadvantages. Make informed choices for your financial future. 💰🤝 #Finance #Banking Continue reading...

What is a Federal Credit Union?

Federal Credit Unions are essentially banks that are owned by their clients instead of publicly traded or what-have-you. Instead of being part of the FDIC, they have the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). They tend to be able to offer higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans than banks can, due to their mutual-ownership structure. Credit Unions operate as non-for-profit businesses, which can allow their management to use 457 retirement plans, but they are not associated with the Federal government. They do, however, charter under federal regulations, as opposed to state banks. Continue reading...

Who is an activist investor?

Activist investors buy enough voting shares to influence the decisions of a company, sometimes for political or moral reasons, sometimes for purely financial reasons. Activist investors can act alone or in groups, but their goal is to acquire enough shares of a company’s equity to influence the company’s decisions. Activist shareholders may need as little as 10% of shares to sway corporate governance. Continue reading...

Why Do You Want to Own the Shares of a Publicly Traded Corporation?

The idea is that a shareholder’s interest in a growing publicly traded company will become more valuable over time. The simplest answer is: to make money! Owning shares of a company’s stock is known as taking a long position, and this is done in the belief that the company is going to increase its earnings and profit margin into the future, or will at least remain steady. There are three ways to make money on stocks: 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 defined as a market correction?

Sometimes a stock or index will reflect prices that have become inflated or overvalued in the short-term as a result of bullish conditions. In some cases, due to shift in sentiment or a negative news story in the headlines, stocks may retreat suddenly and without notice. A market correction is a sharp, sudden decline in stock prices, where they fall in value by around 10% - 20% over a short period, usually no longer than 6 months. Corrections are frequent occurrences (typically an average of once a year) and are a normal and healthy part of equity investing. Continue reading...

What Does M&A Mean?

A stands for Mergers and Acquisitions, and refers to the consolidation of companies or assets for strategic purposes. It does not necessarily have to imply that one company wholly takes over another — there are a number of different transactions that can fall under the M&A umbrella, which can include purchase of key assets or management acquisitions. In nearly all cases, however, there are two companies involved - the buyer of capital and the seller. Continue reading...

What is an Abandonment Option?

An Abandonment Option can be worked into a contract for a capital project at a business, for example, or between an investment advisor and his or her clients. An abandonment option outlines the terms by which either party in an agreement can choose to cease their involvement in the project or a working relationship without penalty. This may be worked into the contract on a business partnership agreement, a capital project, or even something as simple as the relationship between a financial planner and his or her clients. Continue reading...

What is Acquisition Accounting?

Also known as Business Combination Accounting, there are specific guidelines and bits of information that must be documented on the books during an acquisition. Acquisition Accounting is a standardized way to account for the assets and liabilities of companies who are part of a merger or acquisition. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) stipulate that even in a merger where a new company is formed, one company must play the role of acquirer and the other of acquiree, but that rule really only applies outside of the US. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend?

A dividend is an income-like payment to an investor who holds stock. Dividends tend to be paid by companies who are well established and are not retaining their earnings for capital projects. There are several kinds of dividends, but the most common is the cash dividend. You are not likely to see dividends paid by companies whose stocks are categorized as Growth stocks. Growing companies are going to be ploughing money back into their company for years. Well-established companies tend to distribute some of their profits as dividends because it allows them to retain loyal shareholders and keep the price of the stock fairly steady. Continue reading...