Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC

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  1. Options & Futures

    What is an Iron Butterfly Option Strategy?

    This relatively simple strategy is designed to provide a profit for investors who believe that there will be minimal price movement in the underlying security until expiration.
  2. Taxes

    Need To Enroll In Obamacare? File Your Taxes

    Taxpayers who need to obtain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act can now do so easily and conveniently when they file their taxes through an eligible preparer.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Introduction to Leveraged ETFs

    Leveraged exchange-traded funds have appeared that are designed to move either conversely or inversely to their underlying benchmark, which may be either a financial index or a specific segment or sub-segment ...
  4. Budgeting

    Money Habits Of The Millennials

    Millennials are facing the bleakest financial future of any generation in decades, and are not likely to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents did. Their spending and investing habits are ...
  5. Taxes

    Tax Issues For Same-Sex Spouses

    The tax rules for same-sex spouses are largely the same as for traditional filers, but there are a few special considerations that apply.
  6. Options & Futures

    How Restricted Stock And RSUs Are Taxed

    This form of executive compensation limits how these stocks can be sold. Find out more here.
  7. Retirement

    America's Frozen Pension Dilemma

    Unfortunately, there are several factors that have eroded the presence of pension plans in America, and workers need to be prepared to replace that expected income for their retirement years.
  8. Investing Basics

    Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks

    Oil and gas investments can provide unmatched deduction potential for accredited investors.
  9. Taxes

    Major Tax Credits Expiring In 2013

    Here are the major changes and tips that you need to know before filing your taxes for 2013.
  10. Investing News

    Janet Yellen: Background And Philosophy

    Janet Yellen's nomination as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board will mark the first time that a woman has served as head of the board. Her previous experience and credentials won support for her in ...
  11. Active Trading Fundamentals

    How To Read The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

    The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index has provided a key leading indicator for investors and economists for decades. This respected index is published monthly from the results of random telephone surveys. ...
  12. Retirement

    Introduction To Retirement Money Market Accounts

    Money market funds are used in retirement plans and accounts because they are liquid, stable and pay competitive rates of interest.
  13. Investing Basics

    The Difference Between Emerging And Frontier Markets

    Emerging and frontier markets offer investors global diversification in return for higher risk. These sectors have performed well over the past few years, but do your homework before you venture into them.
  14. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Which Order To Use? Stop-Loss Or Stop-Limit Orders

    Stop-loss and stop-limit orders can provide different types of protection for investors seeking to lock in profits or limit losses. Investors need to know how each type of order works to know when to use ...
  15. Options & Futures

    Should You Offer Alternative Investments?

    Find out what problems arise for financial representatives when they start to diversify their client offerings.
  16. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Introduction To STRIPS

    STRIPS provide an alternative form of bond for fixed-income investors who need definite cash flows at specific times. Read the article to find out how.
  17. Economics

    Understanding Interest Rates: Nominal, Real And Effective

    Interest rates can be broken down into several subcategories that incorporate various factors such as inflation. Smart investors know to look beyond the nominal or coupon rate of a bond or loan to see ...
  18. Entrepreneurship

    Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home

    You don't have to go to an office to make a great salary in the financial sector. Here are the top four highest paying financial jobs you can do from home.
  19. Investing Basics

    Income, Value and Growth Stocks

    Investors who buy stocks generally seek one of three criteria: undervalued holdings, growth potential or steady income. The characteristics of stocks in each of these categories differs accordingly.
  20. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Introduction to Treasury Securities

    Purchasing bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government can provide steady guaranteed income and peace of mind. Knowing the characteristics of each type of treasury security ...
  21. Taxes

    Tax Forms Every Investor Must Understand

    Recent legislation has added a few new items to the list of tax forms that taxpayers must use to report their investment income. Know which forms you will need to file your taxes this year.
  22. Bonds & Fixed Income

    The Basics Of The T-Bill

    The U.S. government has two primary methods of raising capital. One is by taxing individuals, businesses, trusts and estates; and the other is by issuing fixed-income securities that are backed by the ...
  23. Professionals

    Why Financial Advisors Need To Earn The CFP Mark

    The CFP designation is heavily favored by both the finanical and the mainstream media and offers a wealth of benefits for certificants.
  24. Retirement

    The Pros And Cons Of Pension Maximization

    Pension maximization can be an effective solution to the single versus joint life payout dilemma that many retirees face. But, there are several factors, such as tax and investment matters, that will decide ...
  25. Taxes

    The Basics Of A 401(k) Retirement Plan

    This plan has become one of the most popular retirement options. Find out why.
  26. Credit & Loans

    How Your VantageScore Credit Report Is Calculated

    Deficiencies in the FICO credit report have led to the creation of a new credit scoring system - the Vantagescore. Find out what factors determine this credit score, and how the model can benefit you. ...
  27. Professionals

    Breaking Down Financial Securities Licenses

    Find out which exam you need to begin your career as an investment professional.
  28. Investing Basics

    OTCBB and OTC Markets Group

    The majority of larger companies that trade publicly choose to list their stocks on one of the major exchanges - the NYSE or Nasdaq. However, many companies are unable to meet the financial or other listing ...
  29. Taxes

    New Tax Rules Target The Top Tax Bracket

    The American Taxpayer Relief Act brings about new tax rules for the wealthy that people such as Warren Buffett have been calling for over the last few years.
  30. Professionals

    The Basics Of CFP Designation Maintenance

    The workload doesn't end with your exam. Find out how to keep up your CFP credential.
  31. Investing Basics

    Capital Losses and Tax

    Capital losses are never fun to incur, but they can reduce your taxable income. Knowing the rules for capital losses can help you maximize your deductions and make better choices about when to buy and ...
  32. Investing Basics

    Investing In Stock Rights And Warrants

    Many companies choose to issue rights or warrants as an alternative means of generating capital to avoid dilution of existing share value.
  33. Professionals

    The Key To CFP Exam Success

    Up to 60 of the questions on this test are case studies. Are you up for the challenge?
  34. Professionals

    Find The Right School To Upgrade Your Skills

    Financial planners and professionals who wish to upgrade their skills in today's market have more options than ever.
  35. Professionals

    Studying For The CFP Exam

    Learn the tips and tricks of the trade before heading into this test.
  36. Investing Basics

    Investing In Property Tax Liens

    Property tax liens can be a viable investment alternative for experienced investors that are familiar with the real estate market.
  37. Professionals

    Steps For Adding New Services To Your Finance Business

    Advisors who seek to add additional lines of business to their practices need to carefully consider all the factors involved.
  38. Investing Basics

    Breaking Down The TSP Investment Funds

    For investors seeking growth, income AND capital preservation, the Thrift Savings Plan offered by the U.S. government is a great option to consider. In this article, we examine the five core funds offered ...
  39. Professionals

    CFP, CLU Or ChFC - Which Is Best?

    The designation you choose will depend on which areas of financial planning you want as your focus.
  40. Professionals

    Be A Financial Planner From Home

    Now may be a good time to explore the possibility of working as a finanical planner from your home.
  41. Retirement

    How Baby Boomers Will Change The Way Others Retire

    Generation X and Generation Y still have many lessons to learn from their elders, including how to make the most of retirement in the 21st century. Find out what retirement trends baby boomers are setting ...
  42. Professionals

    Becoming A Registered Investment Advisor

    To become a registered investment advisor requires specific licensing, qualifications and regulations, but the greater freedom may be worth it.
  43. Professionals

    Is A Stockbroker Career For You?

    Discover what you need to become a stockbroker and the variety of opportunities that are now available to you.
  44. Professionals

    Should You Add A Securities License To Your Qualifications?

    Clients love planners who sell securities, but a securities license takes a lot of work. Learn if the stress and study are worth it.
  45. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Best ETFs For Your 401k

    ETFs can be a good alternative to traditional retirement fund options because of their low cost, superior performance and liquidity.
  46. Taxes

    Government Could Limit Chartiable Tax Deductions

    The desperate search for revenue by the U.S. government means one of the key deductions that may be up for either reduction or elimination is for charitable giving.
  47. Taxes

    8 Little-Known Tax Deductions And Credits

    These little-known tax deductions can lead you to finding your own unique expenses that you didn't know you could claim.
  48. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Why You Should Invest In Municipal Bond ETFs

    These versatile instruments have become popular with investors in higher tax brackets and fill a specific niche in the wide selection of fixed-income offerings.
  49. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Introduction To Blackrock ETFs

    Blackrock's line of offerings can provide liquidity, diversity and transparency for both sophisticated and novice buyers.
  50. Taxes

    Taxable Rewards To Be Aware Of

    Find which benefits from reward programs count as income in the eyes of the IRS.
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