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Balanced Financial Solutions

A unique software developed to help discuss and prepare for your individual goals and objectives. We work with you to create your own personal process for achieving and maintaining your goals.

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Stocks

A kind of financial security granting rights of ownership in a corporation, such as a claim to a portion of the assets and earnings of the corporation and the right to vote for the board of directors. Stock is issued and traded in units called shares.

Brokerage Account

To buy and sell securities through a broker-dealer or other financial services firm, you establish an account, generally known as a brokerage account, with that firm.

Treasury Bills

A debt security backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government with a maturity of one year or less. Very commonly, T bills have a maturity of a few weeks to a few months.

529 Plans

Each 529 college savings plan is sponsored by a particular state or group of states, and while each plan is a little different, they share many basic elements.  When you invest in a 529 savings plan, any earnings in your account accumulate tax free, and you can make federally tax-free withdrawals to pay for qualified educational expenses, such as college tuition, room and board, and books at any accredited college, university, vocational, or technical program in the United States and a number of institutions overseas.

Traditional IRA

An investment retirement account in which a worker makes tax deductible contributions up to a certain limit throughout his/her working life. Unlike Roth IRAs, contributions are tax deductible but withdrawals are taxed, effectively deferring tax on the account until the worker begins making withdrawals in retirement.

Government Securities

A bond (or debt obligation) issued by a government authority, with a promise of repayment upon maturity that is backed by said government. A government security may be issued by the government itself or by one of the government agencies. These securities are considered low-risk, since they are backed by the taxing power of the government.

401 K Rollovers

A transfer of funds from a retirement account into a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. This can occur either through a direct transfer or by a check, which the custodian of the distributing account writes to the account holder who then deposits it into another IRA account.

ROTH IRA

An investment retirement account in which a worker makes non-tax deductible contributions up to a certain limit throughout his/her working life. Unlike traditional IRAs, withdrawals are tax-free but contributions are not deductible.

Treasury Notes

A debt security backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government with a maturity between one and 10 years. They may be purchased directly from the government or from a bank; they have coupon payments payable every six months.

Certificates of Deposit

A deposit at a bank or other financial institution that has a fixed return (usually via an interest rate) and a set maturity. The depositor does not have access to the funds in a certificate of deposit until maturity; in exchange, he/she is usually entitled to a higher interest rate.

SEP IRA

Also called a SEP IRA. A retirement plan designed for persons with self-employed income and their employees. It operates like an IRA: it has contribution limits and may be invested in securities. When an employer sets up an SEP, he/she creates a different account for each employee and puts a certain percentage of each person's income into these accounts. The percentage must be the same for the employer and all employees (although the dollar amounts will differ because of different levels of compensation). The employer makes all contributions, which are tax deductible for him/her; when the employee makes withdrawals upon retirement, the withdrawals are tax-free. SEPs may exist side-by-side with 401(k)s.

Variable Annuities

An annuity that provides the annuitant a small guaranteed return for the life of the annuity along with another return that depends on the performance of a portfolio. Like any annuity, the annuitant buys into a policy, either with a lump sum or premiums over a period of time. When the annuitant reaches a certain age or retirement (whichever is greater), he/she begins to receive payments.

Convertible Bonds

A bond that a bondholder may exchange, at a certain price, for common stock in the company issuing the bond. The number of shares one receives for each bond and the price one pays for those shares are determined when the convertible bond is issued. A convertible bond is a low-risk investment, but it affords the investor a great amount of leeway because he/she can exchange it for another security with higher risk and a higher return. Certain convertible bonds may only be exchanged at certain points in their lives.

SIMPLE IRA

An IRA or 401(k) plan for employees of small businesses, usually with fewer than 100 employees. The employee may make tax deductible contributions, and the employer may contribute in one of two ways. The employer may either match employee contributions up to 3% of the employee's annual salary, or provide a contribution of 2% of the salary regardless of how much the employee contributes. The employee controls the investment of the contributions.

Unit Investment Trusts

An investment company that offers an unmanaged portfolio of stocks and/or bonds, packaging the portfolio as shares that are redeemable from the trust after a certain period of time. Unit investment trusts are designed to give shareholders income from dividends and/or coupons.

Corporate Bonds

Debt securities issued by a for-profit company instead of a government. Corporate bonds are a major way companies raise funds for their operations or for a specific project. The risk of a corporate bond for a bondholder depends on the creditworthiness of the issuing company. As with all bonds, corporate bonds have a maturity, at which time the principal is repaid to bondholders. They also usually have a stated coupon rate. Corporate bonds are taxable.

Life Insurance

An insurance policy where, in exchange for a premium, the insurance company pays a certain benefit to the survivors of the policyholder upon his/her death. Life insurance can help defray costs of the funeral, pay off the estate's debts, and may provide for the survivors' (notably a widow or widower) future. There are two main types of life insurance. Term life insurance lasts only for a certain period of time and pays the death benefit only if the policyholder dies during that time. Whole life insurance lasts as long as the policyholder remains alive and provides a savings component against which the policyholder can borrow under most circumstances.

Municipal Bonds

A bond issued by a local or state government. Municipal bonds are usually used to raise capital for improvements in infrastructure or other aspects of the municipality. For example, a city or school district may issue a bond to build a new school or a new playground. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes from state and local taxes as well. Municipals usually pay lower coupons than corporate bonds, but because the yield is tax-free, the after-tax basis may be higher for a municipal bond. Risk varies with the municipality and the particular type of municipal bond. It is sometimes called a municipal improvement certificate.

Annuities

A product offered by an insurance company or an employer to which one makes contribution(s) and immediately or later begins receiving payments, which usually last the remainder of the annuitant's life. An annuity usually refers to a retirement account into which the annuitant makes payments over his/her working life. The payments are then invested and the annuitant begins to receive the principal plus earnings after retirement. A qualifying retirement account is an annuity that allows for either contributions or withdrawals to be tax-exempt up to a certain amount.

Zero Coupon Bonds

A bond that pays no interest. It is sold at a discount from par and matures at par. These are fairly illiquid investments because they do not benefit from changes in interest rates. However, they tend to be low-risk. Zero-coupon bonds fluctuate in price, sometimes dramatically, with changes in interest rates. Sometimes zero-coupon bonds are issued as such; other times they are bonds stripped of their coupons by a financial institution and resold as zero-coupon bonds. A zero-coupon bond is less formally known as a zero

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are pools of money that are managed by an investment company. They offer investors a variety of goals, depending on the fund and its investment charter. Some funds, for example, seek to generate income on a regular basis. Others seek to preserve an investor's money. Still others seek to invest in companies that are growing at a rapid pace. Funds can impose a sales charge, or load, on investors when they buy or sell shares. Many funds these days are no load and impose no sales charge.

Mortgage-Backed securities

A derivative whose value is derived from unpaid mortgages. This entitles the owner to a claim on the principal and interest payments on the particular mortgages backing the security. MBSs pay an interest rate that is usually related to the interest rates the homeowners are paying on their mortgages. The equivalent of the coupon on a mortgage-backed security is a percentage of the interest and principal paid on the mortgages backing the security. An obvious risk to an MBS is the possibility that interest rates may decline, causing homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

Money Market Funds

A mutual fund that invests exclusively in short-term, low-risk securities. Examples of investments in money market funds are certificates of deposit and U.S. Treasury securities. Money market funds attempt to keep their net asset values at $1 per share, such that only the yield changes. Money market funds are usually not federally insured, but the risk is so low that they very rarely lose principal for the investor.

Long Term Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a policy designed to cover at least some of your expenses if you have a chronic but not life-threatening illness, long-term disability, or you are unable to live independently because you can't perform a number of the activities of daily living.

Those activities typically include bathing, dressing, feeding yourself, taking medication, using the bathroom, and being able to move from a sitting to a standing position. Most contracts also cover cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Under the terms of most long-term care contracts, you can be cared for in a nursing home or at home. The insurance pays for custodial rather than skilled care, which must be provided by licensed professionals. Skilled care is covered in part by Medicare and Medigap.

Short Term Disability

Short-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled, meaning that you are not able to work for a short period of time due to sickness or injury (excluding on-the-job injuries, which are covered by workers compensation insurance).

Long Term Disability

Long-term disability insurance, or LTD, provides payments if the insured becomes too injured or sick to work. Policies can be bought to provide coverage for different lengths of time. LTD plans come with different features and riders that benefit policy owners. These plans can be bought individually, or employers can sponsor coverage for their workers.

Disability Income

An insurance product that provides supplementary income in the event of an illness or accident resulting in a disability that prevents the insured from working at their regular employment. Benefits are usually provided on a monthly basis so that the individual can maintain their standard of living and continue to pay their regular expenses.

Life Insurance

A protection against the loss of income that would result if the insured passed away. The named beneficiary receives the proceeds and is thereby safeguarded from the financial impact of the death of the insured.

Long Term Care Insurance

Coverage that provides nursing-home care, home-health care, personal or adult day care for individuals above the age of 65 or with a chronic or disabling condition that needs constant supervision. LTC insurance offers more flexibility and options than many public assistance programs.

Tax Free Municipal Bonds

A debt security issued by a state, municipality or county to finance its capital expenditures. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal taxes and from most state and local taxes, especially if you live in the state in which the bond is issued.

Tax Deferred Annuities

Annuity in which income tax on the invested income is not charged during the investment period, but is postponed until the annuitant begins to receive the periodic payments. Such annuities are sold usually by insurance companies.

Tax Planning

Logical analysis of a financial situation or plan from a tax perspective, to align financial goals with tax efficiency planning. The purpose of tax planning is to discover how to accomplish all of the other elements of a financial plan in the most tax-efficient manner possible. Tax planning thus allows the other elements of a financial plan to interact more effectively by minimizing tax liability.

Retirement Plans

The process of determining retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve those goals. Retirement planning includes identifying sources of income, estimating expenses, implementing a savings program and managing assets. Future cash flows are estimated to determine if the retirement income goal will be achieved.

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