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What is Income Inequality?

Income inequality is the difference in the average income of the lower/middle class and the upper class. Naturally the high income of very rich people in the country, which constitute a very small percentage of the population, will dwarf the average income of those who are not very rich. The worrisome thing is when the gap between them widens at an accelerating rate and the lower classes are not able to break through to the upper classes. Continue reading...

Should I invest in private placements?

Different opportunities to invest in private placements may present themselves to wealthy individuals over time. Unless the opportunity comes from someone that you know and trust, and you have the ability to research the opportunity, it is probably something you should avoid. Private Placements are sometimes complex deals that cost people a lot of money. You should definitely have your guard up if one is pitched to you. In general, the company or partnership seeking the private placement will not have to register with the SEC or report their books accurately on a public record. Continue reading...

Can I Purchase Individual Health Insurance?

Yes, you can purchase individual health insurance if you are not covered by an employer-sponsored plan, or if you are too old to be on your parent’s plan. You can start your search at www.healthcare.gov, though you may end up finding the best plan on your state’s exchange (if your state has a health insurance exchange. Financial aid is also available for health plans if you are below a certain income threshold. Continue reading...

How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost?

There are many factors that determine how much you pay for health coverage, such as age, income level, and the type of plan you want. The least expensive plans will be for young people (age 30 or under) who just want catastrophic coverage – this type of coverage is high deductible and does not cover frequent visits to the doctor or even check-ups. It is designed to provide coverage only in the event of a major accident. Continue reading...

How Much Will Health Insurance Cost in Retirement?

It is difficult to forecast how much health care will cost in retirement, but J.P. Morgan research indicates that it’s a few thousand dollars a year. According to their research, the median amount spent each year on health care by 65 year old’s is $4,660. For those age 85 and older, the average amount spent each year is $18,030. At age 65, you can get covered by Medicare, but there are separate costs there, as well as in the optional Medigap policy. Continue reading...

What is COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that mandates employers to keep you covered under your current employer-provided health plan for up to 18 months after you leave. Of course, COBRA doesn’t apply to all employers, so you have to check in your specific case (there generally has to be over 20 employees). In some cases, you might have to pay the entire premium for the insurance, plus some sort of administrative fee (and this can be more expensive than purchasing an individual plan). Continue reading...

Keywords: health insurance, COBRA,

How Can I Keep My Health Costs Down in Retirement?

You can keep your health costs down in retirement by frequently using preventative care, and working hard to stay healthy. You can also tame the costs by saving diligently in your retirement years, so that you have funds set aside for medical expenses. There is also the ability to purchase long-term care insurance, which can kick-in later in life when you have daily care needs. The insurance is often designed to pay out a certain dollar amount each day to pay for your care. Continue reading...

If I Retire, Can I Keep the Health Plan My Employer Offered?

Some employers will offer legacy employees continued health care coverage even after retirement, but it is not very common these days. The costs of health care are rising too quickly for most corporations to keep up. Some corporations will continue to pay a percentage of premiums for their retirees, but more often than not it is up to the retiree to obtain their own health care. Following employment, most people are eligible for COBRA, and then later in life you can purchase plans through Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading...

Does My Spouse Need Separate Health Insurance When I Retire?

You and your spouse could be on the same health plan, especially if it is offered through your employer, COBRA, or Medicare and Medicaid. If you are purchasing long-term care insurance, you would generally get a separate policy for each person. Do I need Life Insurance for My Spouse? Will My Spouse and Children Receive Social Security Benefits if I Die? Continue reading...

What Health Insurance Do I Need if I Don't Have a Job?

Unemployed people are still required to have health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you will likely qualify for a federal subsidy to help you pay for it. Younger people can buy a catastrophic policy, which offers minimal coverage but can still help prevent eroding all of your savings in the event of a major accident. How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost? What is Medicare Part D? Continue reading...

What is GDP?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the production of all industries within a country, to get a picture of how the national economy is doing. GDP is one of the most important number to economists, and it is calculated every quarter. Growth for the current quarter compared to the previous quarter is a good sign. Two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP are an indication of a recession, but it is not the only metric used to make that call. Continue reading...

What is Nominal GDP?

Nominal GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in a country, without adjustments for inflation. GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time, and is usually expressed quarterly. Nominal GDP is primarily used to compare quarters in the same year, and does not contain an inflation adjustment as with Real GDP, which is more useful for comparisons across years. Continue reading...

How Does a Health Savings Account Work?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) allows the owner to save (and invest) money in an account, which can be used to pay for health expenses on a tax advantaged basis. Generally speaking, your contributions to a HSA are tax deductible, the earnings grow on a tax deferred basis, and you can withdraw the money tax free if used for a qualified health expense. As 2016, you are allowed to contribute $3,350 (for individuals) and $6,750 (for families) to the account, plus an additional $1,000 if you’re over 55. Continue reading...

What if I Cannot Get Individual Coverage?

Under current law (the Affordable Care Act), everyone is eligible to receive health insurance coverage. However, not everyone may be able to afford health insurance. There are subsidies provided by the federal government for those who cannot afford it, but cost may still be an issue for many. How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost? Can I Purchase Individual Health Insurance? What Health Insurance Do I Need if I Don't Have a Job? Continue reading...

What are Small Cap Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds that invest heavily in companies that are small, but not micro-size, can be described as small cap funds. A small capitalization mutual fund primarily invests in small companies. Small companies are usually defined as companies with market capitalization of under $2 billion. The companies in this category are larger than those in the “micro” and “nano” cap categories. A mutual fund investing in small cap companies will generally experience higher price volatility than both mid cap and large cap mutual funds. Over time, small cap companies as a group have tended to outperform the broader market, so the higher risk is associated with higher return. Continue reading...

What are All-Cap Mutual Funds?

All-cap mutual funds invest in companies of all sizes. All-capitalization mutual funds invest in companies without a bias towards the capitalization of the company. In every mutual fund’s prospectus, the stated objective of the fund will be outlined, as well as the agreed-upon asset allocation guidelines. Deviation from these parameters can put fund managers in hot water with regulatory groups like the SEC. Continue reading...

What are Large Cap Mutual Funds?

Large Cap mutual funds primarily invest in companies with the highest market capitalizations. Large capitalization mutual funds, also called “large cap funds,” invest primarily in large companies with market capitalization of over $10 billion. Some examples include Microsoft, General Electric, Google, and other well-known companies. Some large cap mutual funds invest in all of the companies in an index (therefore closely following the performance of that index), and some pick and choose which large companies to select in an attempt to outperform the index. For more information about indices, see “What is Index Investing?” Continue reading...

What are Mid-Cap Mutual Funds?

Mid-cap mutual funds invest in medium-size companies. A middle capitalization mutual fund invests mostly in medium-size companies. While the definition of “medium-size company” varies, most professionals define it as a company with a market capitalization from $2 billion to $10 billion. Companies you may have heard of within this size range are Eaton Vance, Guess, and others. In general, mid cap companies are more volatile than large cap companies, and the choice of the right fund managers becomes more important. Continue reading...

How to Trade Moving Averages: The Death Cross?

The Death Cross is the inverse of a Golden Cross: a chart pattern occurring when a security’s short-term moving average crosses underneath its long-term counterpart, typically followed by an increase in trading volume. A death cross, which like a golden cross most commonly uses long-term 50-day and 200-day moving averages to detect the pattern, usually signifies an incoming bear market to traders. Continue reading...

What is GAAP?

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored company which purchases mortgages from banks and securitizes them for sales to investment banks or individuals. Freddie Mac is not a government organization, but was established by a congressional mandate in the 1970’s. It’s proper name is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The company’s purpose is to make mortgage debts into marketable securities by purchasing the mortgage risk and cash flow from banks and dividing into tranches which are sold to or through investment banking institutions. The securitized mortgages are known as Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMO’s. Continue reading...