Definitions in One Spot to Make This Whole Thing Easier Because We Get It: You Don’t Get It.

Zero-Coupon Bond

A bond that does not pay interest during its life. Zero-coupon bonds are purchased at a discount from their face value. When a zero-coupon bond matures, the investor receives the face value of the bond. The market value of a bond will fluctuate with changes in interest rates. As rates rise, the value of existing bonds typically falls. If an investor sells a bond before maturity, it may be worth more or less that the initial purchase price. By holding a bond to maturity, an investor will receive the interest payments due plus his or her original principal, barring default by the issuer. Investments seeking to achieve higher yields also involve a higher degree of risk. Bond prices rise and fall daily. Bonds are subject to a variety of risks, including adjustments in interest rates, call risk, market conditions, and default risk. When interest rates rise, bond prices generally will fall. Certain municipal bonds may be difficult to sell. A bond issuer may be unable to make interest or principal payments, which may lead to the issuer defaulting on the bond. If this occurs, the bond may have little or no value. If a bond is purchased at a premium, it may result in realized losses. It’s possible that the interest on a municipal bond may be determined to be taxable after purchase.

Yield

A measure of the performance of an investment. Yield is calculated by dividing the income received from an investment by the investment’s initial cost. Yield differs from rate of return in that it accounts only for income; rate of return also includes appreciation or depreciation in the value of the investment.

Withholding

The process by which an employer holds back part of an employee’s compensation to pay his or her share of income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Amounts withheld are paid to the IRS in the employee’s name.

Will

A legal document by which an individual or a couple identifies their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after death as well as the guardianship of any minor children.

Whole Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance with fixed premiums and death benefit. Whole life insurance policies accumulate cash value which grows tax deferred. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Volatility

A measure of the range of potential fluctuations in a security’s value. A higher volatility means the security’s value can potentially fluctuate over a larger range of potential outcomes—up and down.

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance that allows the policyholder to vary the amount and timing of premiums and, by extension, the death benefit. Universal life insurance policies accumulate cash value which grows tax deferred. Within certain limits, policyholders can direct how this cash value will be allocated among subaccounts offered within the policy. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Variable Interest Rate

An interest rate that moves up and down with a specific measure or index, such as current money market rates or a lender’s cost of funds.

Unlimited Marital Deduction

A provision of the tax code that allows an individual to transfer an unlimited amount of assets to his or her spouse at any time—including upon the individual’s death—without triggering a tax liability.

Universal Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance that allows the policyholder to vary the amount and timing of premiums and, by extension, the death benefit. Universal life insurance policies accumulate cash value which grows tax deferred. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA)

An act available in some states that allows assets to be held in a custodian’s name for the benefit of a minor without the need to set up a trust. Once the child to whom the assets have been gifted reaches the age of maturity in his or her state, the assets become his or her property and can be used for any purpose.

Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer

A means for transferring assets from one qualified retirement program to another without triggering a taxable event.

Trustee

An individual, corporation, or other entity that manages property held in a trust.

Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement that creates a separate entity which can own property and is managed for the benefit of a beneficiary. A living trust is created while its grantor is still alive. A testamentary trust is created upon the grantor’s death—usually by another trust or by a will. Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

Treasuries

Debt securities issued by the United States government. Treasury bills normally have maturities of less than one year, while Treasury notes have maturities between one and 10 years, and Treasury bonds have maturities between 10 and 30 years. U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury security prior to maturity, it could be worth more or less than the original price paid.

Total Return

The total of all earnings from an investment or portfolio, including both capital appreciation and any income received.

Title

A legal document that serves as evidence of ownership of an asset or security.

Time Horizon

The amount of time an investor plans to hold an investment or portfolio of investments.

Testamentary Trust

A trust created by a will or trust that is established on the death of the trustor. Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

Term Insurance

Life insurance that provides coverage for a specific period. If the policyholder dies during that time, his or her beneficiaries receive the benefit from the policy. If the policyholder outlives the term of the policy, it is no longer in effect. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.