Glossary | Personal Capital
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1099 Form

A 1099 form is a record that an entity, person or institution other than your employer paid you money during the year. The deadline is January 31.

401k Hardship Withdrawal

401k hardship withdrawals allow those facing financial hardship to withdraw their retirement funds early. Taxes and penalties make this a last resort.

401k Matching

401k matching is when your employer “matches” your contribution to your own 401k. Your contribution can be matched partially or in full.

401k Plan

A 401k is a tax-advantaged, employer-sponsored plan that allows you to save for retirement. This investment plan is only offered through employers.

401k Rollover

A 401k rollover is when you move money from your former employer-sponsored retirement plan into a new financial account.

401k Vesting

401k vesting is the transfer of ownership with your company-sponsored 401k. Employers can choose to gradually vest their matching contributions.

457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans

A 457(b) plan is a non-qualified, tax-advantaged defined-contribution retirement plan. You must work for a non-federal government in order to qualify.

529 Plan

A 529 plan is a popular tool used to save for college expenses. You can choose a prepaid tuition plan or an investment savings plan.

A

Adjusted Gross Income

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is your gross income minus certain adjustments. The lower your AGI, the lower your tax bill.

Advisory Shares

Advisory shares, also called advisor shares, are stock alternatives given to company advisors, commonly as a reward for chipping in to help with a company’s growth.

American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is available to those who paid for a dependent’s higher education expenses. The student must be pursuing a degree.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

APR, or annual percentage rate, is the cost to borrow money. The higher your APR, the more expensive your debt.

B

Backdoor Roth IRA

A Backdoor Roth Conversion lets you convert your nondeductible traditional IRA contribution to a Roth IRA. Find out how you can benefit from this savvy strategy.

Bear Market

A bear market is a decline of 20% or more in stock prices, usually over a sustained period of time (typically two months or more).

C

Cash Balance Pension Plan

A cash balance plan is an employer-sponsored plan that guarantees a certain account balance in retirement, based on years of service and salary.

Comprehensive Financial Planning

Comprehensive financial planning is the process of creating a detailed and holistic plan to help you address each area of your financial life.

Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)

A Coverdell ESA is a college savings plan investment option. The money saved in this account is kept strictly for educational purposes.

D

Debt Management

Debt management is any system used to pay off debt and regain control of your finances. It can also refer to credit counseling services.

Dividend Yield

A dividend yield measures a company’s annual distributions, relative to the market. This ratio helps investors compare investments across companies.

Dollar-Cost Averaging

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy that takes advantage of the market by investing a set amount each month, regardless of the price of investments.

E

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps workers with low to moderate income reduce their federal tax bill.

F

Fiduciary Advisor

A fiduciary is an individual or organization that has a legal duty of care and loyalty to another person (or persons).

Financial Analysis

Financial analysis is used to help identify the stability, and profitability of a business. It can also be used by individuals to plan investments.

G

Generational Wealth

Generational wealth includes financial assets — such as property, investments, money, or anything with a monetary value — that you pass down from one generation to the next. Intangibles like financial education, values, and habits are an equally important part of the equation.

Gift Tax

Gift tax is assessed on transfers of cash or property valued above a certain threshold. The gift tax is paid by the giver of the gift.

Grantor Trust

A grantor trust offers numerous benefits, namely the ability of the grantor to continue to pay income taxes on trust assets removed from the estate, to allow these assets to grow without an income tax burden.

H

High Net Worth Individual (HNWI)

A high net worth individual is someone who has a minimum level of net worth, which is measured by subtracting your total liabilities from your assets.

I

Independent Financial Advisor

An independent financial advisor is a professional who isn’t tied to any financial institution. This allows them to give unbiased recommendations.

Inverted Yield Curve

An inverted yield curve happens when short-term bonds are paying higher yields than long-term bonds. On a graph, the line slopes downward.

IPO

An IPO (Initial Public Offering) marks a private company’s transition to a public company. You invest in IPO once shares begin trading on an exchange.

L

Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit is a tax credit that helps lessen college education expenses for qualifying individuals and families.

M

Meme Stock

A “meme stock” is a stock that receives interest from investors after gaining popularity in Internet forums and on blogs, often due to nostalgia associated with a brand or a desire to bring a struggling company back to life.

Modern Portfolio Theory

Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) is a tool that helps you diversify your investment portfolio. That way, you can minimize risk and maximize return.

Money Personality

Your money personality type is defined by your money habits – what you choose to spend or save. Knowing your type can help you better plan financially.

N

Non-Deductible IRA

A non-deductible IRA is a retirement savings strategy for those who are not eligible to make tax-deductible contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA.

O

Owner’s Equity

Owner’s equity is the amount of a company owned by shareholders. Owner’s equity can be calculated by this equation: assets = liabilities + equity.

P

Pension Plan

Pension plans are benefits that guarantee employee income in retirement. While no longer popular, they are still largely used by government workers.

Phantom Stock

Phantom stock (also shadow or synthetic shock) allows employees to reap the benefits of stock ownership without shares actually being transferred.

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance

PITI (Principle, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance) is what makes up your monthly mortgage payment. Your PITI number helps determine your housing budget.

Private Asset Management

Private asset management is a service that advisory firms offer to individual clients. It usually includes financial advice and portfolio management.

Private Equity

Private equity is an investment class made up of non-liquid investments in private companies. The most common way to invest is through a fund.

Profit Margin 

Profit margin is one of the commonly used ratios to gauge the degree to which a company or a business activity makes money.

Profit-Sharing Plan

A profit-sharing plan is a type of retirement plan that allows companies of all sizes to pass along profits in a tax-advantaged way.

Q

Qualified Charitable Distribution

A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) is a charitable donation using funds directly from an IRA. Participants must be at least 70½ years old.

Qualified Retirement Plan

A qualified retirement plan allows assets to grow tax-free until withdrawals begin in retirement. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis.

R

Recency Bias

Recency bias is a cognitive error that uses recent trends to predict the near future. Following this bias could hurt your long-term financial health.

Regressive Tax

Regressive tax is one of two main types of tax systems utilized by a country. Under a regressive tax system, taxes are assessed uniformly on everyone regardless of their income.

Repo Market

The repo market (short for repurchase agreements) is vital to financial markets and is often referred to as the plumbing for the entire financial system.

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows those 65 years or older to borrow against the equity in their home. The borrowed money is repaid in a lump sum.

Revocable Trusts

A revocable trust is a flexible estate planning tool that can help you protect yourself and your loved ones. Discover the pros and cons of revocable trusts. 

Robo Advisor

Robo-advisors are digital wealth and investing platforms that automatically balance your portfolio. They offer a low-cost option for you to invest.

Roth 401(k)

A Roth 401(k) is an employer-sponsored after-tax contribution retirement account that blends characteristics of a Roth IRA and a 401(k).

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is a type of individual retirement account that allows you to make post-tax contributions in exchange for tax-free withdrawals later.

Rule of 72

The Rule of 72 is a formula that helps determine how long it takes for your money to double. It emphasizes the power of compound interest over time.

S

Safe Harbor 401k

A safe harbor 401k ensures employees equitable contributions, regardless of compensation. Many small businesses sponsor this retirement plan.

SEP IRA

SEP (Simplified Employee Pension plan) IRA is a retirement plan for the self-employed. You can contribute to your SEP IRA and receive tax deductions.

SIMPLE IRA

A SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRA is a type of retirement account that allows both employers and employees to contribute.

Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing (SRI) allows investors to curate their portfolio by investing in companies that do good for the environment.

Stock Market Correction

A stock market correction is classically defined as being down 10%+ from recent highs. Corrections are typically shorter-term.

Sunk Cost

A sunk cost is an investment that has already been made and cannot be recovered. The concept of a sunk cost can have many applications across business, investing, and even your personal life.

T

Tax Credits

Tax credits reduce the amount you owe in taxes. The government typically creates credits to encourage certain behavior among citizens or to provide support for certain types of situations.

Trust

A trust is a legal entity you set up to hold, safeguard, distribute, and control the assets you place into it. It is a popular legacy planning tool.

V

Volcker Rule

The Volcker Rule was established in 2014 to prevent banks from engaging in high-consequence activities again, after the 2008 financial crisis.

Y

Yield Curve

A yield curve is a graphical representation of prevailing interest rates from short to long term maturities. In normal environments it is upward-sloping.

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