Archive for April 27th, 2018

Investing in Volatility: Understanding the VIX

If you follow the stock market coverage on CNBC or Bloomberg, or read the Wall Street Journal, you’ve probably seen references to the VIX, especially in politically and economically volatile times like the 2008 financial crisis or last year’s election.

While it appears in charts and tickers like a stock or exchange-traded fund, the VIX itself is not an investment product. Calculated by the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE), the VIX Volatility IndeX is a measurement of the implied volatility across the options trading market — in other words, the higher the VIX, the more options are being bought at larger distances from a stock’s current share price. Learn more…

Multi Level Marketing: Too Good To Be True?

You’ve probably seen the advertisements: “Start your own business!” “Be your own boss!” “Become a part of something great!” Or the bumper stickers and even vehicle wraps advertising Mary Kay or Herbalife. Maybe you’ve gone to a friend’s house for a dinner that turned into a sales pitch, or noticed the catalogue in the office break room. But chances are, even if you didn’t know exactly how it works, you’ve seen multilevel marketing in action.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) is a system where, instead of participating in direct sales, companies set up a pyramid of affiliates to sell for them. In theory, this should create a self sustaining sales force, with the minimum possible effort from the top so the headquarters can focus on product quality and innovation.

As a “business owner” in an MLM, one would have two main responsibilities delegated to them: selling the product directly and, more importantly, recruiting others to sell for them in exchange for a slice of the commissions. Again, theoretically this makes sense — it isn’t too different from a typical dealership model — however, the problem starts to arise from the product itself. Learn more…

Are Futures In Your Future?

The idea seems simple enough at first: anyone can become a member of the merchant class, without ever having to physically even see their product.

Commodity futures originally developed as a way of making the market more stable, guaranteeing future prices (hence the name) for staples like wheat, corn and cattle.

Every futures contract required three pieces of information: the agreed upon type and grade of the product (corn, dried, off the cob), a quantity offered per contract (5000 bushels), and a delivery date (November 15th). At first, this contract would be retained, and on the designated date, the product would actually be sent to you from Chicago. Read more…

Why Everyone Needs A Living Will

According to a recent survey conducted by LegalZoom, just 41% of Americans had a last will and testament, and only 9% had a living will.

Death isn’t something anyone particularly wants to think about or plan for, but it’s essential for your loved ones to know what to do if the inconceivable does happen sooner than expected.

Both a last will and testament (often referred to simply as a will) and a living will serve as a final plan for financial and other details at the end of life. The key difference is that while a will doesn’t take effect until the subject’s death, a living will takes effect when the subject is medically incompetent to manage their own affairs, including medical care and personal finances. Read more…

Don’t Fear The Repo: How To Rebuild

It’s every car owner’s worst nightmare: you wake up one morning, ready to go to work, and there’s one less car in the driveway than you expected. You call the police to see if it’s been found stolen, but they let you know it’s being held at Bubba’s Towing and Wrecking, three months delinquent on its loan. Maybe you were falling behind on your payments but you still thought you could catch up… but now it’s too late. Maybe it was a technicality, some issue with your registration or insurance that you didn’t even realize you had until the car went missing. Either way, it’s Time to ask the tough questions and figure out how to rebuild. Read more…

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