Resources

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

An interim calculation in the computation of income tax liability. It is computed by subtracting certain allowable adjustments from gross income.

Administrator

A person appointed by the court to settle an estate when there is no will.

After-Tax Return

The return from an investment after the effects of taxes have been taken into account.

Aggressive Growth Fund

A mutual fund whose primary investment objective is substantial capital gains. The return and principal value of mutual funds fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investments seeking to achieve higher returns also involve a higher degree of risk. Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

B

Balanced Mutual Fund

A mutual fund whose objective is a balance of stocks and bonds. Balanced funds tend to be less volatile than stock-only funds. The return and principal value of mutual funds fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

Bear Market

When the stock market appears to be declining overall, it is said to be a bear market.

Beneficiary

A person named in a life insurance policy, annuity, will, trust, or other agreement to receive a financial benefit upon the death of the owner. A beneficiary can be an individual, company, organization, and so on.

Aggressive Growth Fund

A mutual fund whose primary investment objective is substantial capital gains. The return and principal value of mutual funds fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investments seeking to achieve higher returns also involve a higher degree of risk. Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

C

Capital Gain or Loss

The difference between the sales price and the purchase price of a capital asset. When that difference is positive, the difference is referred to as a capital gain. When the difference is negative, it is a capital loss.

Cash Alternatives

Short-term investments, such as U.S. Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, and money market fund shares, that can be readily converted into cash.

Cash Surrender Value

The amount that an insurance policyholder is entitled to receive when he or she discontinues coverage. Policyholders are usually able to borrow against the surrender value of a policy from the insurance company. Policy loans that are not repaid will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value by the amount of any outstanding loan balance plus interest.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A professional license granted by a state board of accountancy to an individual who has passed the Uniform CPA Examination (administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and has fulfilled that state’s educational and professional experience requirements for certification.

D

Deduction

An amount that can be subtracted from gross income, from a gross estate, or from a gift, thereby lowering the amount on which tax is assessed.

Defined Benefit Plan

A qualified retirement plan under which a retiring employee will receive a guaranteed retirement fund, usually payable in installments. Annual contributions may be made to the plan by the employer at the level needed to fund the benefit. The annual contributions are limited to a specified amount, indexed to inflation.

Defined Contribution Plan

A retirement plan under which the annual contributions made by the employer or employee are generally stated as a fixed percentage of the employee’s compensation or company profits. The amount of retirement benefits is not guaranteed; rather, it depends upon the investment performance of the employee’s account.

Diversification

Investing in different companies, industries, or asset classes in an attempt to limit overall risk. Of course, diversification does not guarantee against loss; it is a method used to help manage investment risk. Diversification may also mean the participation of a large corporation in a wide range of business activities.

E

Efficient Frontier

A statistical result from the analysis of the risk and return for a given set of assets that indicates the balance of assets that may, under certain assumptions, achieve the best return for a given level of risk.

Enrolled Agent (EA)

An enrolled agent is a person who has passed the appropriate examination in order to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants, are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.

Equity

The value of a person’s ownership in real property or securities; the market value of a property or business, less all claims and liens against it.

ERISA

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a federal law covering all aspects of employee retirement plans. If employers provide plans, they must be adequately funded and provide for vesting, survivor’s rights, and disclosures.

F

Federal Income Tax Bracket

The range of taxable income that is taxable at a certain rate. The brackets for tax years 2018 and 2019 are 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent, and 37 percent.

Fixed Income

Income from investments, such as CDs, Social Security benefits, pension benefits, some annuities, or most bonds, that is the same every month.

Fundamental Analysis

An approach to the stock market in which specific factors – such as the price-to-earnings ratio, yield, or return on equity – are used to determine what stock may be favorable for investment.

G

A federal tax levied on the transfer of property as a gift. This tax is paid by the donor. For 2018 and 2019, the first $15,000 a year from a donor to each recipient is exempt from tax. Most states also impose a gift tax. The gift tax exemption is indexed for inflation.

H

Holographic Will

A will entirely in the handwriting of the testator. Without witnesses, holographic wills are valid and enforceable only in some states.

I

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Contributions to a traditional IRA are deductible from earned income in the calculation of federal and state income taxes if the taxpayer meets certain requirements. The earnings accumulate tax deferred until withdrawn, and then the entire withdrawal is taxed as ordinary income. Individuals not eligible to make deductible contributions may make nondeductible contributions, the earnings on which would be tax deferred.

Inflation

An increase in the price of products and services over time. The government’s main measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index.

Intestate

A person who dies without leaving a valid will. State law then determines who inherits the property or serves as guardian for any minor children.

Investment Category

A broad class of assets with similar characteristics. The five investment categories include cash alternatives, fixed principal, equity, debt, and tangibles.

J

Joint and Survivor Annuity

Most pension plans must offer this form of pension plan payout that pays over the life of the retiree and his or her spouse after the retiree dies. The retiree and his or her spouse must specifically choose not to accept this payment form.

Joint Tenancy

Co-ownership of property by two or more people in which the survivor(s) automatically assumes ownership of a decedent’s interest.

Jointly Held Property

Property owned by two or more persons under joint tenancy, tenancy in common, or, in some states, community property.

L

Liability

Any claim against the assets of a person or corporation: accounts payable, wages, and salaries payable, dividends declared payable, accrued taxes payable, and fixed or long-term obligations such as mortgages, debentures, and bank loans.

Limited Partnership

Limited partnerships pool the money of investors to develop or purchase income-producing properties. When the partnership subsequently receives income from these properties, it passes the income on to its investors as dividend payments. Limited Partnerships are subject to special risks such as illiquidity and those risks inherent in the underlying investments. There are no assurances that the stated investment objectives will be reached. At redemption, the investor may receive back less than the original investment. Individuals must meet specific suitability standards. These standards, along with the risks and other information concerning the partnership, are set forth in the prospectus, which can be obtained from your financial professional. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

Liquidity

How quickly and easily an asset or security can be converted into cash.

Lump-Sum Distribution

The disbursement of the entire value of an employer-sponsored retirement plan, pension plan, annuity, or similar account to the account owner or beneficiary. Lump-sum distributions may be rolled over into another tax-deferred account.

M

Marginal Tax Rate

The amount of tax paid on an additional dollar of income. As income rises, so does the tax rate.

Marital Deduction

A provision of the tax codes that allows all assets of a deceased spouse to pass to the surviving spouse free of estate taxes. This provision is also referred to as the “unlimited marital deduction.” The marital deduction may not apply in the case of noncitizens.

Market Capitalization

Market Capitalization, or market cap, is the total value of the shares outstanding of a publicly traded company. It is calculated by multiplying a company’s number of shares outstanding by the current market price per share.

Money Market Fund

A mutual fund that specializes in investing in short-term securities and tries to maintain a constant net asset value of $1. Money-market funds are neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any government agency. Although money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money when investing in a money market fund.

N

Net Asset Value

The per-share value of a mutual fund’s current holdings. The net asset value is calculated by dividing the net market value of the fund’s assets by the number of outstanding shares.

P

Pooled Income Fund

A trust created by a charitable organization that combines the contributions of several donors and distributes income to those donors based on the earnings of the trust. The trust is managed by the charitable organization, and contributions are partially deductible for income tax purposes.

Portfolio

All the investments held by an individual or a mutual fund.

Preferred Stock

A class of stock with claim to a company’s earnings, before payment can be made on the common stock, and that is usually entitled to priority over common stock if the company liquidates. Generally, preferred stocks pay dividends at a fixed rate.

Prenuptial Agreement

A legal agreement arranged before marriage stating who owns property acquired before marriage and during marriage and how property will be divided in the event of divorce. ERISA benefits are not affected by prenuptial agreements.

Q

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

At the time of divorce, this order would be issued by a state domestic relations court and would require that an employee’s ERISA retirement plan accrued benefits be divided between the employee and the spouse.

Qualified Retirement Plan

A pension, profit-sharing, or qualified savings plan that is established by an employer for the benefit of the employees. These plans must be established in conformity with IRS rules. Contributions accumulate tax deferred until withdrawn and are deductible to the employer as a current business expense.

R

Revocable Trust

A trust in which the creator reserves the right to modify or terminate the trust.

Risk

The chance that an investor will lose all or part of an investment.

Risk-Averse

Refers to the assumption that rational investors will choose the security with the least risk if they can maintain the same return. As the level of risk goes up, so must the expected return on the investment.

Rollover

A method by which an individual can transfer the assets from one retirement program to another without the recognition of income for tax purposes. The requirements for a rollover depend on the type of program from which the distribution is made and the type of program receiving the distribution.

S

Security

Evidence of an investment, either in direct ownership (as with stocks), creditorship (as with bonds), or indirect ownership (as with options).

Self-Employed Retirement Plans

In the past, the terms “Keogh plan” and “H.R. 10 plan” were used to distinguish a retirement plan established by a self-employed individual from a plan established by a corporation or other entity. However, self-employed retirement plans are now generally referred to by the name of the particular type of plan used, such as SEP IRA, SIMPLE 401(k), or self-employed 401(k). The contribution amount is indexed annually for inflation.

Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)

A type of plan under which the employer contributes to an employee’s IRA. Contributions may be made up to a certain limit and are immediately vested.

Single-Life Annuity

An insurance-based contract that provides future payments at regular intervals in exchange for current premiums. Generally used as a supplement to retirement income and pays over the life of one individual, usually the retiree, with no rights of payment to any survivor.

T

Tax Credit

Tax credits, the most appealing type of tax deductions, are subtracted directly, dollar for dollar, from your income tax bill.

Tax Deferred

Interest, dividends, or capital gains that grow untaxed in certain accounts or plans until they are withdrawn.

Tax-Exempt Bonds

Under certain conditions, the interest from bonds issued by states, cities, and certain other government agencies is exempt from federal income taxes. In many states, the interest from tax-exempt bonds will also be exempt from state and local income taxes. If you sell a tax-exempt bond at a profit, you could incur capital gains taxes. Some tax-exempt bond interest could be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. The principal value of bonds fluctuates with market conditions. Bonds sold prior to maturity may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Taxable Income

The amount of income used to compute tax liability. It is determined by subtracting adjustments, itemized deductions or the standard deduction, and personal exemptions from gross income.

U

Universal Life Insurance

A type of life insurance that combines a death benefit with a savings element that accumulates tax deferred at current interest rates, subject to change, but with a guaranteed minimum. Under a universal life insurance policy, the policyholder can increase or decrease his or her coverage, with limitations, without purchasing a new policy.Universal life is also referred to as “flexible premium” life insurance. Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance that the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured. Policy loans or withdrawals will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit. Additional out-of-pocket payments may be needed if actual dividends or investment returns decrease, if you withdraw policy values, if you take out a loan, or if current charges increase. There may be surrender charges at the time of surrender or withdrawal and are taxable if you withdraw more than your basis in the policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased.

V

Variable Universal Life Insurance

A type of life insurance that combines a death benefit with an investment element that accumulates tax deferred. The account value can be allocated into a variety of investment subaccounts. The investment return and principal value of the variable subaccounts will fluctuate; thus, the policy’s account value, and possibly the death benefit, will be determined by the performance of the chosen subaccounts and is not guaranteed. Withdrawals may be subject to surrender charges and are taxable if the account owner withdraws more than his or her basis in the policy. Policy loans or withdrawals will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and may require additional premium payments to keep the policy in force. There may also be additional fees and charges associated with a VUL policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Variable universal life is sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and your need for death-benefit coverage carefully before investing. The prospectuses, which contains this and other information about the variable universal life policy and the underlying investment options, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

Volatility

The range of price swings of a security or market over time.

W

Welfare Benefit Plan

An employee benefit plan that provides such benefits as medical, sickness, accident, disability, death, or unemployment benefits.

Whole Life Insurance

A type of life insurance that offers a death benefit and also accumulates cash value tax deferred at fixed interest rates. Whole life insurance policies generally have a fixed annual premium that does not rise over the duration of the policy. Whole life insurance is also referred to as “ordinary” or “straight” life insurance. Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance that the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured. Policy loans or withdrawals will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit. Additional out-of-pocket payments may be needed if actual dividends or investment returns decrease, if you withdraw policy values, if you take out a loan, or if current charges increase. There may be surrender charges at the time of surrender or withdrawal and are taxable if you withdraw more than your basis in the policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased.

Will

A legal document that declares a person’s wishes concerning the disposition of property, the guardianship of his or her children, and the administration of the estate after his or her death.

Y

Yield

Generally, the yield is the amount of current income provided by an investment. For stocks, the yield is calculated by dividing the total of the annual dividends by the current price. For bonds, the yield is calculated by dividing the annual interest by the current price. The yield is distinguished from the return, which includes price appreciation or depreciation.

Z

Zero-Coupon Bond

This type of bond makes no periodic interest payments but instead is sold at a steep discount from its face value. Because these bonds do not pay interest until maturity, their prices tend to be more volatile than bonds that pay interest regularly. Interest income is subject to ordinary income tax each year, even though the investor does not receive any income payments. Bonds sold prior to maturity may be worth more or less than their original cost.