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Financial Advisor

Jun 19, 2020 In a nutshell, a financial advisor helps people manage their money. Typically, there is an investing component to their services, but not always. Some financial advisors - often accountants or lawyers who specialize in trusts and estates - are wealth managers. One of their primary functions is protecting their clients' wealth from the IRS. Other financial advisors are called money managers or investment advisors. They often have business school or finance backgrounds - and maybe previously worked for an investment bank, hedge fund or brokerage. Then there are the financial advisors who bill themselves as financial planners. Generally, their emphasis is on educating clients and they provide risk management, cash flow analysis, retirement planning, education planning, investing and more. As you can see, financial advisors have many different specialties - and it can be easy to end up with an advisor who doesn't suit your needs. To help you find the right advisor for you, SmartAsset created a  free financial advisor matching tool. It will connect you with up to three advisors in your area. For more about what financial advisors do, their certifications and how much they cost, read on. Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you should receive written notification from your school of choice explaining how much aid you qualify for and what type. A financial aid appeal letter is a written request asking your school to increase the size of your aid package when it’s not enough to cover your costs of attendance. Writing a letter to appeal your financial aid package doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your school will make more aid available to you. But it could help you secure more funding to help pay for higher education costs. Here's how to approach this challenge. Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 When working with a financial advisor, it’s important to understand what services they provide and how they’re compensated. Reviewing your advisor’s Form CRS, also known as a client or customer relationship summary, is a good place to start. This form offers an overview of what to expect when working with an advisor. Advisors and other financial professionals are required to provide clients with a copy of their Form CRS and update it regularly. If you’re working with a financial advisor or plan to, it helps to know what’s included in this form and how to read it. Read More...

Nov 20, 2020 A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that couples contemplating marriage use to lay out financial and other obligations that would come into play in the event of divorce or the death of one of the partners. Prenups are primarily intended to protect assets that are owned at the time of the marriage. Any property acquired after the ceremony is typically considered jointly owned marital property. The equitable distribution of joint property will be determined during the divorce proceedings. Prenups can also protect assets one of the signers may acquire in the future. However, the prenuptial agreement needs to be carefully written for that to be the case. Consider enlisting the services of a trusted financial advisor to help you create a prenup that best fits your needs. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Credit card issuers can charge you additional interest for making purchases while carrying balances on your credit card. This fee is known as purchase annual percentage rate, and it varies depending on your provider. In this guide, we tell you everything you need to know about purchase APRs. A financial advisor can help you effectively manage debt while working toward your long-term savings goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Independent contractors are professionals hired by individuals (or companies) to perform a service. Each one has different classifications under the IRS, which also means different tax obligations. However, it can sometimes be difficult to make the distinction between an independent contractor and an employee. In this guide, we take a closer look at what it means to be an independent contractor.  Read More...

Nov 18, 2020 Access to credit lets small business owners acquire inventory and equipment, hire new employees, weather seasonal fluctuations and expand. Establishing and building business credit is an important task for any business that isn’t prepared to pay cash for anything it needs. The job calls for filling out some paperwork and a strong focus on paying back any borrowed funds. Fortunately, becoming creditworthy is within the capability of most small businesses if they approach the job in the right way. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 When planning for a marriage, couples may not consider the possibility of divorce. However, many financial experts recommend that everyone get a prenup in case a divorce occurs. According to the  U.S. Census Bureau, the marriage rate is 16.6 out of every 1,000 women aged 15 or older. Simultaneously, the national divorce rate is 7.7, which is a significant percentage in comparison. Therefore, considering a prenup might help you avoid the financial devastation that comes with divorce. But how much does a prenup cost? The cost of a prenuptial agreement can vary by state, as each state typically has unique laws. Here's a breakdown of the cost you can expect during the prenuptial agreement process. If a prenup seems like something you should pursue, consider matching with a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 Controlling costs is a central task for all businesses, and the job starts with tracking and reporting expenses. A plethora of well-designed expense report apps can help with this essential task. The best simplify collecting data by scanning receipts and importing transactions from debit and credit card statements. They can automate reporting as well as verifying charges and reimbursing employees. Cloud-based apps provide mobile access via smartphones while improving data security. Expense report apps targeting small and midsize businesses are also affordable. Here are the best apps for tracking expenses. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 Figuring out how to pay for college can be one of your biggest financial challenges, whether you're a student or a parent who's preparing to send one of your kids to school. According to CollegeBoard, the average cost of tuition and fees for in-state students attending public four-year universities and colleges was $10,440 for the 2019-20 academic year. The cost for out-of-state students climbed to $26,820, while students attending private colleges paid $36,880 per year on average. With the costs of higher education continuing to climb, researching all the options for covering college expenses can help to ease the financial pressure. Contacting a  financial advisor who understands the ins and outs of paying for college can also ease such financial pressure as well as saving time. Read More...

Nov 17, 2020 About three in four American adults (73%) said they donated money to a charitable organization in the past year, according to an April 2020 Gallup poll. That's a new record low, beneath even the charitable giving rate of the Great Recession era. Though the coronavirus pandemic, with its elevated unemployment, may have made Americans less likely to steer their money toward altruistic causes, the generosity they do spread is something financial advisors strongly recommend to reduce their clients' tax liabilities. Of course, not all places in the U.S. are equally philanthropic, so SmartAsset crunched the numbers to uncover where in the country Americans are most charitable. Read More...

Nov 06, 2020 Mutual funds can offer a streamlined way to build an investment portfolio. Rather than purchasing individual stocks or bonds, you can buy mutual fund shares to gain exposure to multiple investments in a single basket. Evaluating the quality of mutual funds means looking at different factors, including its expense ratio, the fund manager's track record and its past performance. Trailing returns can tell you how a fund has performed over a set time frame, though they aren't a guaranteed indicator of a fund will perform in the future. Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 Several reasons play a role in when and why the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) might temporarily close its markets, but the primary "culprit" behind the closings are national holidays. There are 12 main holidays on which NYSE closes its doors, and the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq also follow these stock market holidays. We take a closer look in this review. Interested in investing but not sure where to begin? A financial advisor can offer guidance on the ins and outs of the stock market. Find a financial advisor today.  Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 Just as there are several states with no income taxes, there are also multiple states forgoing sales taxes. These states don't impose state-level sales taxes, meaning you won't be assessed an additional fee when purchasing a retail good or service. This can make a huge difference in how much you pay for retail items, since rates can range as high as 7.25% in California, according to research from Tax Foundation. The following five states currently have no statewide sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. We take a closer look at those states in this guide.  Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 One of the most important decisions when starting a business is the business structure. The choice of business entity significantly affects matters like liability, taxes, control, financing and regulation, according to the Small Business Administration. While it’s possible to change the business structure after founding a company, doing so could have unintended tax consequences and even require the business to be dissolved. That's just one of the reasons choosing a business structure is something that should be carefully considered, with the help of expert financial advisors. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Running a small business can take up a significant amount of time and energy. You may be wondering if you should hire a business financial advisor to help stay on top of your business and personal finances. A financial advisor can offer advice and guidance on things like succession planning for your business. And he or she can also help you create a financial plan that includes saving, paying down debt and investing for retirement. If you're on the fence about whether to hire a business financial advisor, here's more on what this expert can do. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 The number of times a business sells and replaces its stock over a given time period is its inventory turnover ratio. The inventory turnover ratio, also sometimes called stock turns or inventory turns, helps retailers monitor and manage inventory. The inventory turnover ratio can direct timing and size of reorders, identify slow-selling products to mark down for quick sale and inform individual item purchasing decisions. Here's how to calculate it and interpret the results. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Current liabilities are short-term business debts that are due to be paid before the end of the current fiscal year. These upcoming charges are reported on a company’s balance sheet. Current liabilities include obligations such as accounts payable and amounts due to suppliers, employee wages and payroll tax withholding. Because they describe upcoming requirements that the company’s financial resources will have to fulfill, balance sheet figures for current liabilities draw close attention from business managers, creditors and investors. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Private label products are purchased by a retailer from a manufacturer and sold under the retailer’s own brand. Private label brands, also known as store brands, compete with national name brand products, often primarily on price but also sometimes on features and quality. Sellers of private label items can specify product features in detail. For buyers, private label products offer the opportunity to pay discount prices for items that approximate or equal the quality of name brands. Private label products represent a significant share of sales in physical stores and are becoming more important for online commerce. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 If you need working capital for your small business over a period of three years or less, a short-term business loan could be right for you. Short-term loans help businesses acquire needed equipment, hire new staff and address cash flow challenges. They are available principally from banks and online lenders. Short-term loans generally are easier to apply for than long-term loans and it can take less time to obtain approval. However, they also have higher interest rates and larger monthly payments and may include prepayment penalties. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 Say you have a $10,000 loan and are considering how to pay for it. You have two choices to make. One way would be to increase the amount you pay or the frequency of your payments. However, a second way would be to place your payments into a fund dedicated to paying off the debt once the fund is full. The latter is called a “sinking fund.” Here’s how it works. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 A mixed economy is an economy that incorporates elements of both free market transactions and government control. While a mixed economy generally allows private property and prices, it also will typically have sectors or industries controlled or subsidized to a greater or lesser degree by a central authority. Most, if not all, modern economies are some form of a mixed economy. Read More...

Oct 27, 2020 Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are both legal documents that address what will happen to marital assets if a married couple divorces or one of them dies. Both agreements describe similar matters, including division of financial assets and payment of alimony. In addition, they may also concern retirement benefits. The main difference between the two is that a prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup, is signed before the couple’s marriage; a postnuptial agreement, often referred to as a postnup, is signed after the marriage. However, there are additional differences between the two as well, including some significant pros and cons. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 Some people plan where every dollar of their budget goes. This method is called zero-based budgeting, and it involves allocating every dollar of income to your expenses, debts and savings. In other words, the goal of this method is that your monthly income and your expenditures are equal so that subtracting the latter from the former gives you zero. If you’re looking for a budgeting strategy that gives every cent you earn a "home" or you've been having trouble making a budget then here's what zero-based budgeting is, how it differs from traditional budgeting and why it may work for you. Read More...

Oct 22, 2020 A “K-shaped” recovery is when different sections of an economy rebound from a recession at different rates. This can apply to many different forms of economic analysis, but in practice, it most often means that low-income households lag behind high-income households in regaining lost wealth and earning power. Here's what you need to know about these kind of recoveries and some examples of the phenomenon. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Choosing the right investment strategy matters when trying to build wealth in your portfolio. Some investors favor growth, for instance, while others look for value in the markets. If the latter approach sounds like your style then investing in a value fund could make sense. Value funds invest in companies that have the potential to generate returns for investors long-term. Knowing how they work can help with choosing the right value funds for your portfolio. If you want expert guidance in selecting value funds that fit into your overall portfolio, consider matching with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Target-date funds can offer a streamlined solution for retirement investing. These mutual funds feature an asset allocation that automatically shifts over time as you get closer to your target retirement date. Each target date fund's allocation shift is determined by its glide path. This track is different for every target-date fund, and it can determine how much or how little risk your portfolio is exposed to over time. When investing in target-date funds, it's helpful to understand how the glide path works to make sure it aligns with your retirement goals. Read More...

Oct 12, 2020 Trade credit is an arrangement that allows a business to acquire goods or services from another business without making immediate payment. This ability to buy now and pay later is an important financing tool for businesses, especially those too new or small to obtain bank loans. Trade credit is essentially a short-term loan without interest. When discounts for faster payment and penalties for late payments are taken into consideration, however, trade credit can still cost the buyer more than other kinds of financing. Read More...

Oct 12, 2020 Accounting rate of return is a tool used to decide whether it makes financial sense to proceed with a costly equipment purchase, acquisition of another company or another sizable business investment. It is the average annual net income the investment will produce, divided by its average capital cost. If the result is more than the minimum rate of return the business requires, that is an indication the investment may be worthwhile. If the accounting rate of return is below the benchmark, the investment won’t be considered. Read More...

Oct 12, 2020 Interest coverage ratio, or ICR, is used to evaluate a company’s ability to pay the interest it owes on its debts. There is no generally agreed upon standard for what makes a healthy ICR across all industries. A higher value is generally better, however, and a value of less than 1 suggests a company may have difficulty meeting its interest obligations. Lenders and bond investors may be particularly interested in assessing companies’ ICR. Read More...

Oct 08, 2020 SmartAsset’s editorial content has been recognized as a winner at the 2020 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards! Our COVID-19 series, “Helping Consumers and Businesses Weather Economic Changes,” won the award in the Consumer, News/General Interest category. Additionally, the content series was an honorable mention in the Consumer News Coverage category, alongside coverage from Popular Science and Harvard Business Review. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 The strength of a company isn’t just about how much money it makes. Investors also want to know how efficiently a company uses its assets, over a set period of time, based on its size and compared to its peers. While investors expect larger companies to generate higher net income or profit than smaller companies, the same revenue stream for a smaller firm may show a business that can do more with less. Something called "return on assets," or ROA, is how investors figure that out. Here's what you need to know about this key metric. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 National economies can be run from the top down, so to speak, in what is sometimes called a command economy or they can be run from the bottom up in what is sometimes called a free market. In the former, a centralized authority, typically the government, decides what should be produced, what services should be offered and what the prices should be; in the latter, pricing and production decisions emerge from a myriad of interactions between individual consumers and businesses. While these two are indeed opposites, some economies feature a mix of central command and free markets. Here’s how a command economy works and how it differs from the alternative. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 Maintaining a budget is one of the first steps in achieving good financial health. There are different ways to make and keep a monthly budget, including writing it out by hand, using a spreadsheet or logging your expenses in a budgeting app. Going the mobile app route can save you time and make budgeting easier if you're automatically tracking how money moves in and out of your bank account. But what's the best low-cost or free budget app to use? Here are some of the best budgeting apps to help you manage your money in 2020 and beyond. Be sure to work with an expert financial advisor to see how you can maximize growth for your savings. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 Running a business or pursuing certain professional career paths often means having the right insurance in place to protect yourself against liability claims. Indemnity insurance is one type of business and professional insurance you may consider purchasing. This type of coverage is similar to other insurance products in that you pay premiums into the policy and the policy pays out money when someone successfully files a claim. If you've never heard of indemnity insurance or you're unsure whether you need it, here's a closer look at how it works. An expert financial advisor in your area can also help you determine whether indemnity insurance fits into your overall financial plan. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 Capital budgeting aims to highlight the risks and rewards of a business's major investment proposals to determine if the ideas are really worth it. To do this, capital budgeting attempts to quantify the anticipated costs and benefits of each acquisition or project under consideration. Often, when two or more capital investments are being considered, capital "budgeters" assign a numerical value to each option and rank them in order of preference. Here's how the process works. Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 When you need professional advice on how to manage your investments or create a financial plan, there are numerous experts who can help. Financial analysts, for example, spend their time diving into economic and stock market data to help create reports and recommendations about what to invest in. You may work with an analyst directly if the person is also an investment advisor or financial advisor. Or you may work with a financial analyst indirectly if the person is employed by the bank, wealth management firm or investment advisory firm that manages your money.  Read More...

Oct 07, 2020 The section of the Internal Revenue Service code that describes the requirements for nonprofit entities, including public charities and private foundations, is known as 501(c)3. This section explains the benefits of nonprofit status, including most notably the ability to deduct contributions to a charity from an individual's or business's federal income tax return. Section 501(c)3 specifies that nonprofits must engage only in certain sorts of activities and can’t steer financial or other benefits to private individuals. Organizations recognized as charitable organizations under this section of the tax code are also restricted from political activities and lobbying. Read More...

Oct 06, 2020 A SWOT analysis, which is an acronym for a business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, helps business managers think in new ways, sometimes about things they would prefer to avoid considering, such as the business’s weaknesses. When performed before starting a venture or as part of regular strategy development in an existing enterprise, SWOT analysis helps business owners develop effective strategies. Read More...

Oct 06, 2020 Liens are bad news, at least if you’re on the receiving end. A lien is a legal claim placed on someone’s property, whether personal or business. It’s issued to settle a debt or enforce a judgment, or as a guarantee to secure payment on the same. Courts will often issue liens when the debtor either can’t or won’t pay in cash. Here’s what you need to know about liens, whether you're a lender or a debtor, and how they work. Read More...

Oct 06, 2020 A free market economy is one in which prices and earnings are set between private actors and determined by market forces such as supply and demand. These economies can have greater or lesser degrees of government regulation, but it is uncommon for a government or other third party to impose predetermined values on services, goods or labor. Here's what you need to know about free market economies. Read More...

Oct 05, 2020 If you’ve ever wondered how you would make your life insurance premiums if you were unable to earn an income, then you need to know about the waiver of premium rider. When an insurance policy features a waiver of premium rider, premium payments will be waived if you become disabled or seriously ill. The waiver of premium rider can help protect your family’s financial future if you become unable to work. Consider working with an expert financial advisor to determine if a waiver of premium rider makes sense for you and to chart out how your insurance strategy fits into your holistic financial plan. Read More...

Oct 05, 2020 In life insurance, insurable interest refers to what level of loss you'd experience should a specific person become incapacitated or die. It's important because it helps prevent insurance fraud. If you aren’t sure whether you have insurable interest in someone, this article will cover what insurable interest is, how to prove it and examples of when insurable interest does and does not exist. Read More...

Oct 05, 2020 The financial independence, retire early (FIRE) movement has grown in popularity as more people seek a way to escape the rate race well before normal retirement age. Financial independence can look different to everyone, depending on what it means to you and what kind of lifestyle you're hoping to achieve. If you're interested in becoming financially independent, then creating a plan is the first step. If you want hands-on assistance doing so, consider enlisting the help of an expert financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 30, 2020 Filing taxes may not be your favorite chore, but it's a necessary one to ensure that you stay in the good graces of the IRS. Deciding which tax filing status to choose matters for determining which tax breaks you might be eligible for and ensuring that you're paying the right amount in taxes. There are five tax filing status options to choose from but picking the appropriate one isn't always clear cut. If you're filing taxes for the first time or you think your filing status may be different this year because of a life change, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Sep 30, 2020 The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced a deduction for qualified businss income (QBI) that provides a significant tax break to many business owners. The newly created  Section 199A of the federal tax code lets certain owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, trusts and estates – but not C corporations -- deduct up to 20% of QBI on their individual tax returns. Here's what you need to know about this deduction. Read More...

Sep 30, 2020 Operating cash flow, or OCF, refers to the amount of cash a company generates from normal business operations over a specific period of time. It's widely used to evaluate a company’s performance and prospects. Lenders and investors often consider OCF a better gauge of profitability than indicators such as net income. Here's what goes into this gauge, two ways it is calculated and why it matters. Read More...

Sep 30, 2020 Financial advisors in the U.S. tend to be on the older side. About 29% of financial advice professionals are between the ages 55 and 64, and another 12% are older than 65, according to market research firm Cerulli Associates. By contrast, only 16% of advisors are between the ages 35 and 44, and just 10% are younger than 35. Read More...

Sep 29, 2020 Tax exemptions let individuals and organizations avoid paying taxes on some or all of their income. Exemptions were once available to almost all tax filers in the form of the personal exemption. However, in 2017 the personal tax exemption was eliminated as part of the Trump tax plan. Still, exemptions are still important tax saving tools. What's more, President Donald Trump’s curiously small tax payments over the years, as reported by the New York Times, have directed public attention to the number and value of federal tax breaks in the form of deductions, credits and exemptions. Here's what you need to know about tax exemptions and how they differ from tax deductions and tax credits. Read More...

Sep 28, 2020 The U.S. government offers American taxpayers hundreds of tax exemptions, credits, deductions and reduced rates. State and local governments also offer tax breaks. These tax breaks are available to people of all income levels so it pays - literally - to understand what you are entitled to on April 15. President Donald Trump's curiously minuscule tax payments over the years, as reported by the New York Times, have directed public attention to the number and value of federal tax breaks. Learn here about the most valuable federal tax exemptions and whether you can take advantage of any of them. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A proportional tax, also known as a flat tax, is a type of tax system that levies the same tax rate on everyone, no matter their income level. This system is in contrast to the progressive or marginal tax system that exists in the U.S., which is one in which the higher your income is, the more you're taxed. Proportional tax systems aren't very common, though some supporters believe it can encourage people to work more. Managing your taxes should be a major part of your long-term financial plan. Talk to a local financial advisor about your plans today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 Before a company has an initial public offering (IPO), it typically sets aside a handful of shares that are available for purchase. Since these shares tend to be offered in large quantities, pre-IPO investing is usually done by hedge funds, private equity firms, investment banks and other major entities. However, there are a few retail investors that are able to invest in these shares as well. Pre-IPO investments are risky, as the stock price post-IPO may be volatile. As a result, pre-IPO share prices are usually offered at a discount. Do you have general questions about investing? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A certificate of deposit, more commonly known as a CD, is a type of bank account that pays interest in exchange for the depositor leaving their funds in the account until it matures. A jumbo CD functions in the same way, though they require a higher minimum balance to open. Interest rates are usually fixed, though some accounts offer variable rates or "bump-up" features. Jumbo CDs tend to pay higher interest rates than their standard counterparts. Although you can technically withdraw your money before the maturity date, there's typically a hefty penalty associated with doing so. Do you have questions about how to integrate a jumbo CD into your investment portfolio? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 In general terms, your income is typically the money you earn from jobs that you work. But accessible income accounts for more than just your paycheck, as it includes most of the money you receive over a year. This definition of income is typically relevant on  credit card applications. In turn, getting your accessible income estimation as high as possible will open up more opportunities for better credit cards. Make sure you have a strong financial plan in place before you apply for too many credit cards. Talk to a financial advisor about your plans today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A co-applicant is an additional person involved in the application of a loan besides the original applicant. They are equally considered alongside the applicant throughout the whole application process, including during the approval and underwriting. A co-applicant's credit history can also have a positive or negative effect on the interest rate of the loan. Their circumstances may also improve the terms of the loan simply because they add an extra source of income and assets. Do you have questions about how your loan will affect your overall financial life? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 Life insurance rates are constantly changing, and each person's life insurance policy is different. For instance, rates can vary by age, gender, health, employment, weight and family health history, as well as whether or not the insured smokes, does drugs or drinks alcohol. While typical economic indicators are less likely to affect life insurance rates, general trends like your country's life expectancy may affect the price of your policy. Your life insurance policies should be a part of your financial plan. Talk to a local financial advisor about your long-term plans. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 It's long been said that if you check your credit score, it may experience a drop. But in reality, if you yourself are checking your score through a free website or app, you can check as many times as you like without any damage to your score. However, if a lender checks your credit score, there's a good chance your score may drop, at least temporarily. These changes are usually reverted once the hard inquiry goes through. Don't forget about your long-term financial goals while you work on your credit. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 Errors on your credit report aren't as uncommon as you might think. These issues, whether big or small, can negatively alter your credit score, making it harder to get approved for new lines of credit or loans. An error could even impact your ability to rent an apartment or get a job. So if you happen to spot an error when reviewing your credit report, it's important to act quickly to remedy the mistake. Most errors can be resolved by contacting the appropriate credit bureau. Need help juggling your financial plans, credit and debt? A local financial advisor can help. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A 700  credit score is often seen as the barometer for what constitutes a good credit score. But while each credit scoring agency has slightly different criteria for determining where scores rank, a 700 score typically resides in the "good" category. Other common credit score categories include "poor," "fair," "very good" and "excellent." Across the five major credit score categories, most Americans have a "good" score or better. A financial advisor can help you improve your credit score, manage your investments and save for retirement. Connect with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A bankruptcy can seriously hurt your credit score, making it difficult to get approved for new lines of credit and lower loan interest rates. While bankruptcies are undoubtedly harmful, they won't stay on your credit report forever. How long they remain on there, though, depends on which type of bankruptcy you filed for. Generally speaking, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Do you have some money to invest or save for retirement while you rebuild your credit? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A tender offer allows a company or entity to do a public takeover of a business by buying many of its shareholders' stock shares. Tender offers are typically public, as they literally ask shareholders to sell their shares for a certain price. These sale requests must be agreed to within a certain period of time, and often a minimum number of shares must be sold for it to officially go through. Need help with investing in the current economy? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 The rule of 70 is used to determine about how long it will take an investment to double in size while growing at a consistent rate of return. The rule is far from exact, but it can nonetheless help you figure out the approximate future value of an investment or compare the potential value of two investments with different rates of return. You may also see the rule of 70 called the "doubling time" of an investment. Do you have questions about investing? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, otherwise known as the FDIC, is a federal regulatory body in the U.S. Its primary purpose is to  insure deposits made at banks and other financial institutions in the event that they go under and are unable to pay customers their money back. If you've ever made a deposit at a bank, chances are you've seen that it is FDIC-insured up to a certain amount. However, that isn't all the organization does to protect Americans' money. Do you need help building your savings for retirement or another financial goal? Try SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 Having a good credit score is beneficial, and an excellent score is even better. But what if you could achieve the perfect credit score? To attain the highest credit score there is, you'll need to have outstanding credit practices, meet all the credit scoring criteria perfectly and get a little lucky. However, if your score is anywhere near perfect, you really don't have much to worry about. Consider matching your strong credit score with a long-term financial plan. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 Having good credit is an important factor in whether you'll be approved for new lines of credit or lower interest rates on loans.  Credit scoring agencies use many different factors from your credit history to determine your credit score. While having a good credit score is beneficial in many ways, there are higher ranges you can reach. To make it to them, improving your payment history and overall credit report is crucial. Are you looking to improve your credit situation? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 23, 2020 Life insurance is a contract through which a policyholder pays an insurer in exchange for a payout when the insured dies. Most adults have heard of life insurance, and many have been told that they should have it. However, conversations around life insurance often leave people wondering what types of life insurance are available, what the various industry terms mean and whether such policies are worthwhile. Here’s what you need to know about the types of life insurance and how it works. Read More...

Sep 21, 2020 When building an investment portfolio there are certain types of risk you have to factor in, including inflation risk. You may know that inflation means a trend of rising prices over time but you may not understand how this can be a threat to your investment returns. The good news is that there are things you can do to manage inflation risk while investing to minimize its impacts on your portfolio and boost total return. Consider linking up with a trusted financial advisor to minimize the impact of inflation on your portfolio. Read More...

Sep 21, 2020 A term life insurance policy provides a death benefit or lump sum payment to a beneficiary if the policyholder dies during a specific "term" or period of time. Often called pure life insurance, term life insurance is known for being one of the least expensive life insurance options, therefore making it attractive to young families. To understand if this policy is right for you, learn the pros and cons of term life insurance as well as everything you need to know before making a decision about whether to buy it or not. Read More...

Sep 20, 2020 Credit is one of the most important aspects of a person's financial life. Your credit score affects your ability to get loans, credit cards, apartments and more. There are several components to credit that have an impact on you and your financial situation. You can check these factors by looking at your credit score and credit report. In this article we'll discuss the different types of credit, how credit scores work, how you can use the system of credit and more. To get your credit and overall financial life in order, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 20, 2020 Bankruptcy is a way for an individual or business to have their debts legally discharged in the event that they cannot pay them. For example, if your home is being foreclosed upon or your debts have built up to the point that they're unmanageable, bankruptcy may be a good option. While bankruptcy has advantages, it will trigger serious consequences, such as long-term damage to your credit score. There are different kinds of bankruptcy, and some alternatives to filing for bankruptcy, so be sure to pick the option that's best for you. Read More...

Sep 18, 2020 A non-recourse loan is a type of debt that's secured by collateral, such as an individual's car, house or another typically illiquid asset. By securing a non-recourse loan, the lender won't have the ability to pursue the borrower's other assets if they are unable to repay the full loan amount after the collateral has been sold. However, this makes non-recourse loans riskier, which in turn means lenders may be less likely to give them out. Need help managing your debt and planning for the future? Consult with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 18, 2020 The New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE for short, is the world's largest and most famous  stock exchange. The total market capitalization of all of its listed securities totals over $25 trillion. The NYSE is located in downtown New York at 11 Wall Street, and it is owned by Intercontinental Exchange as a public entity. The trading floor facilitates the trading of billions of dollars in securities every day. Do you have questions about investing? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 18, 2020 If you're a contractor, freelancer or another type of self-employed individual, you'll likely need to file IRS Form 1099-MISC. This form is used to report non-employee compensation, and it is part of the 1099 family of IRS tax forms. In fact, it's one of the most commonly used 1099 forms. As its name suggests, the form is used to report miscellaneous income, which is why "MISC" is included in its title. Note that starting in the 2020 tax year, Form 1099-MISC will be changing to Form 1099-NEC. A financial advisor can provide much needed help during tax season. Use SmartAsset's free matching tool to find an advisor near you. Read More...

Sep 18, 2020 A credit score of 800 or above typically falls into the "excellent" category. There are many benefits associated with this tier of credit score. For example, an excellent credit score means you're more likely to gain approval for new lines of credit, such as a credit card. It also usually means you'll have access to lower interest rates on certain loans. There are a number of requirements you must meet to attain an excellent score, though. Need help managing your finances? Speak with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 Investing is naturally a risky proposition, and there are specific types of risk to be aware of when deciding where to put your money. Liquidity risk is one of them. Broadly speaking, it refers to how easily an asset can be converted to cash and sold. Understanding this type of risk is important because it can directly affect how easily you're able to move securities in and out of your portfolio. For guidance in evaluating the liquidity risk of a particular investment or the liquidity profile of your overall portfolio, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 When deciding which companies to invest in, you can use several ratios to gauge their financial health. Debt-to-capital ratio is a way to measure a company's ability to withstand downturns based on how its debt obligations and available capital compare. This can be a useful metric for avoiding companies that may run into solvency or liquidity issues, which could pose more of a risk to your portfolio. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 Insurance fraud can occur during any stage of the insurance transaction by any party involved. This means that applicants, policyholders, third-party claimants, professionals who provide services to claimants, insurance brokers or agents - even companies - may attempt to commit some type of insurance fraud. Insurance fraudsters have found many ways to take advantage of people. Learning the different types of fraud and understanding life insurance terminology can help you avoid them or know how to report them properly. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 Owner's equity is the value of a business that the owner can claim, and it consists of the firm's total assets minus its total liabilities. Both the amount of owner's equity and how much it has changed from one accounting period to another offer insights into a business’s financial condition. This term is used with sole proprietors and partnerships. Learn what comprises this important element in a firm's balance sheet and how to calculate the metric. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 A vesting period is the time an employee must work for an employer in order to own outright employee stock options, shares of company stock or employer contributions to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. Vesting periods come in a variety of durations. For retirement contributions, they are limited by government rules, while share and option vesting periods are generally negotiated between employer and employee.  Read More...

Sep 15, 2020 Term life insurance offers coverage for a specific amount of time, while whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage and the potential for a cash value accumulation. When you pass away, your family can use the proceeds from both types of policies to pay for your funeral costs, handle mortgage payments or cover other financial obligations. Although both are designed to provide a financial safety net for your loved ones, there are a few key differences that set them apart. So, to see how they each stack up, here’s what you need to know about term vs whole life insurance. And if you need extra guidance determining how life insurance fits into your overall financial plan, consider enlisting the help of an expert financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 When it comes to your personal finances, knowing about your credit profile is extremely important. It can determine whether you're accepted for a home loan, an auto loan, a credit card, rentals, insurance policies or even jobs. Luckily, it's now easy to get a copy of your credit report. Due to the economic effects of COVID-19, every American is entitled to at least one free copy of their report from each of the three major credit bureaus every month through April 2021. Even if you've already used up your free report, there are other ways to stay up to date on your credit profile. Do you need help fixing your credit or consolidating debt? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 Public benefit corporations, also known as benefit corporations, are for-profit businesses whose charters commit them to social or environmental missions, not just maximizing shareholder value. These corporations take into account how other stakeholders such as communities and the environment will be affected by their actions. Organizing as a public benefit corporation is seen as a way to help corporations adhere to these kinds of missions long-term, through changes in leadership and ownership. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 EDGAR, which is short for Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system, is a massive U.S. government database on the finances of publicly traded corporations that is free to the public. Overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it holds millions of filings, not just from corporations but also from mutual funds, money market funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and variable annuities issued by insurance companies. Here's what you need to know about using this resource to make better financial decisions. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 Social Security benefits can serve as an additional income stream for retirement, but they can also be paid out under other circumstances. For instance, Social Security survivor benefits can be paid to the widows, widowers and dependents of eligible workers who have died. So if you're married and have young children, for example, you may be able to receive survivor benefits if your spouse passes away unexpectedly, even if retirement is still decades off. While Social Security survivor benefits are not a substitute for cash savings or life insurance, they can provide some financial relief to loved ones who are left behind. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 If you've ever applied for a credit card or completed a job application, you've probably been asked for your Social Security number. This unique nine-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration is one of your most important pieces of identifying information. There are various ways your Social Security number is used and several important reasons why you need to have one. If you've ever wondered what the purpose of these numbers is,  how they're assigned or how to make the most of your Social Security number, here's a closer look at how they work. Read More...

Sep 14, 2020 Seed capital refers to funds raised to start a business. Also referred to as seed money, seed funding or startup capital, it enables entrepreneurs to transform a viable business idea into a new product or service. While there are other types of funding that businesses get after they have become profitable or are clearly on their way to profitability, seed capital is an enterprise's initial funding. Providers of this money typically get an equity stake in the new company. However, there are sometimes other types of consideration that people or groups receive for providing initial funding.  Read More...

Sep 03, 2020 Self, formerly known as Self Lender, is a financial services company that offers two different products aimed at helping customers with bad or little credit. Its premier offering, called the Credit Builder Account, allows you to receive a credit-building loan in the form of a  certificate of deposit (CD) that matures once you complete your payments. The company also offers a credit-building credit card. These products are offered along with robust mobile and online account management services. Do you have financial questions that go beyond your credit score? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 09, 2020 A cup-and-handle pattern is the name of a chart pattern used in  technical analysis that describes a bullish continuation trend in the price of a security, typically a stock. Traders sometimes use this pattern as a signal about when to buy the stock. As with all forms of technical analysis, this pattern essentially tracks investor behavior, not the underlying strength or weakness of a company's business. Here's what it is, how to use it and a caution. Read More...

Sep 02, 2020 A stock warrant is a type of derivative that gives the holder the right to buy a share of a company for a specific price within a set window of time or on a specific date. Companies will often issue them to raise capital, or as an employee benefits, recruitment or retention package. While a stock warrant is in many respects similar to a stock option, there are key differences in what they do, who can get them and how they are taxed. Learn the ins and outs of stock warrants and how you might benefit from them. And consider consulting with a financial advisor as you go about deciding whether to act upon a stock warrant. Read More...

Sep 02, 2020 One of the most important principles  in options trading is known as put-call parity. The term describes a functional equivalence between a put option and a call option for the same asset, over the same time frame and on the same expiration date. When the prices of otherwise equivalent put and call options are not in parity it creates an opportunity for arbitrage. In other words, traders can profit off nothing more than the imparity (misalignment) of the contracts. This makes put-call parity an essential concept in options trading. To refine your understanding of put-call parity and how it can play into your overall options investment strategy, consider consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 When analysts talk about changes to market prices, interest rates or other financial metrics, they often do so in terms of “basis points.” A basis point is equal to a change of 0.01%, useful shorthand in an industry where fortunes can change on fractions of a percent. The prevalence of the term underscores just how massive financial transactions have become and, thus, why even seemingly microscopic changes in yield can render or ruin fortunes. Here's what you need to know to better understand - and be able to use - a key Wall Street term, something that's especially useful as you talk to your financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 Investors have two primary emotions, fear and greed, according to CNN Money. The news service believes in this so much that it has created a metric around the idea. The Fear and Greed Index measures how investors across the entire stock market are feeling at any given point. When they’re fearful, expect selloffs and retrenched positions; when they’re greedy, expect buyers to snap up securities. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 A covered call is an investment strategy designed to manage risk. In it, investors take two positions: First, they buy a number of shares in a given company. Then, they sell an equal number of call options on that stock. This position then protects the investor against some losses if the stock’s price declines while also generating income in the short term. Here's what you need to know to start taking advantage of this technique to lower your portfolio's risk. Consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor as you strategize your investment options. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 Social Security benefits can be garnished depending on the type of payments and debt you owe. These deductions are usually carried out for financial liabilities such as back taxes, student loans, child support payments and more. But there are limitations on how much a creditor can take. Financial advisors can offer a holistic approach to helping you meet your long-term and retirement savings goals. Find a financial advisor today.  Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 If you're paying less in taxes as your taxable income increases, you're likely following a regressive tax system. Regressive taxes offer an inverse relationship between income levels and tax rates; that is, a lower income will typically earn you a higher tax rate. A higher income, however, will earn you a lower tax rate. In this guide we take a closer look at how regressive taxes work. A financial advisor can help you map out strategic tax planning moves that supplement both your short- and long-term goals. Find a financial advisor today.  Read More...

Aug 31, 2020 Small business investment companies (SBICs) are Small Business Administration-licensed and regulated companies that provide funding to small businesses in certain sectors. These companies rely on both internal funds and government funds to invest in small businesses, but they have to follow several regulations in order to maintain their SBA status.  Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 You're probably adhering to a progressive tax system if you're paying more in taxes as your taxable income increases. With progressive taxes, there's a direct correlation between income level and tax rate. This means that lower-income filers will pay less in taxes than higher-income earners. In this guide, we take a closer look at the progressive tax system. Financial advisors can offer professional tax planning advice to help you manage your expenses. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Aug 31, 2020 If you're planning on financing a home through a mortgage, you'll have to go through the underwriting process. The underwriting process helps mortgage lenders and loan officers review your credit and financial history before approving you for financing. But for  mortgages, the length of the process varies depending on multiple factors. In this guide, we explore the underwriting process and give you an estimate of how long it will last. Financial advisors can offer ways to manage debt while building your financial situation. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 Open enrollment represents the yearly period where employees enroll in employer-sponsored insurance and healthcare plans. During this period, employees typically have the power to select new coverage, change their current benefit and coverage elections or maintain the same coverage they had prior to open enrollment. The healthcare open enrollment period typically lasts from November 1 to December 18, but some states offer extended deadlines. We take a closer look in this guide.  Read More...

Aug 28, 2020 A merchant cash advance (MCA) is an alternative form of financing for companies that need cash fast but lack credit and, thus, access to conventional business loans. Although credit rating and collateral requirements for MCAs are much looser than other types of business loans, they are also much more expensive. A business that gets an MCA is selling its future credit card receivables. The company providing the financing will get repaid by taking a fixed percentage of the business’s daily credit card sales. Here's what you need to know to determine if your business needs this kind of loan. Read More...

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