Types of Different Degree Levels

Hundreds of different degree programs are available for students who wish 9 continue their education after high school. Universities and community colleges award degrees at varying levels, from associate degrees to doctoral degrees. When comparing different degrees, students can consider which program best fits their career goals and academic interests.

Types of Different Degree Levels Available

There are four major categories of degrees available for postsecondary students: associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Earning one of these degrees can take 2-8 years, depending on the level of the degree and field of study. Graduate-level programs may require students to complete one or more undergraduate programs prior to enrollment.

Associate Degrees

Associate-level programs offer different degrees for a variety of careers. These 2-year programs may provide the necessary training to prepare students for entry-level positions in fields like nursing, graphic design and other vocational areas. Associate degree programs are most commonly available from community colleges and technical schools.

Completing an associate degree program may qualify graduates to enter the workforce. Transferable associate degree programs cover the general education requirements needed to continue a student's education at a 4-year university. The most popular degrees available at the associate level include these:

  • Associate of Arts (A.A.)
  • Associate of Science (A.S.)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Bachelor's Degrees

A bachelor's degree program is an undergraduate program that usually takes four years to complete. Enrolling in a bachelor's degree program requires that students choose a major area of study, such as finance, history, communications or biology. Graduates from a bachelor's degree program are qualified to work in entry- or management-level positions, depending on the field.

A bachelor's degree is also usually required for admittance into a graduate program. Different types of degrees available in a bachelor's degree program include the following:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Master's Degrees

Master's degree programs are graduate programs that let students specialize in an area of study and typically take 1-2 years to complete. Along with an undergraduate degree, enrolling in a master's degree program usually requires a minimum GPA and an acceptance score on a graduate entrance exam, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Many master's degree programs require a thesis or capstone project for graduation.

Earning a master's degree may qualify graduates to work in advanced or executive-level positions. A master's degree is also required for entrance into some doctoral programs. Different degree programs available at the master's-level include the following:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degree programs are the most advanced type of degree program available. Admittance into a doctoral degree program usually requires a master's degree. Completing the Ph.D. usually takes several years, involving the completion of a dissertation and a major research project.

Ph.D. graduates are qualified to work as experts in areas of business or research, as well as professors at the university level. Common types of doctoral degrees include those listed below:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)


Different Types of Home Loans And The Importance of Interest Rates

Thank you for reading this article on home loans and interest rates. When you are in the market for a home and more importantly a home loan there are several things that you must take into consideration. These things that you must take into consideration will be the difference between qualifying for a loan and getting a loan with good terms that you will be happy with. These things that you must do are not fun but they are necessary to get you into the best financial shape so that you can qualify for a good loan from Nil - Mortgages loan online.

What really makes a loan good or bad? In general, a good loan is one with a low interest rate, low payments and one that you can easily pay off. There are loans that are bad that can easily masquerade as a good loan, these loans are the ones that nearly crippled the economy. Adjustable rate loans and interest only loans have really low monthly payments but the interest rate is variable and can be really high. Not only do you get an awful interest rate with these loans you also get a balloon payment which can cause people to lose their home when they can not come up with this large payment.

Back to interest rates, they are the most important thing in a loan. The lower the interest rate the better. A low interest rate means that it costs you less money to borrow from the bank. All of this means that you pay less money per month and have a smaller loan size. To get such a loan, your credit score must be good and you must have employment. Credit score is the one thing that trips up most people but there are ways that you can improve your credit.

Improving your credit score is easy and all you have to do are the following things: Pay your bills each month, never use more than 20% of your available credit, work with collectors to remove charge offs and other negatives, do not open any new credit while you are in the building process. If you are able to do these things for the next six months, then you will be able to qualify for a low interest home loan. You must dedicate yourself to achieving this goal so that you can qualify for a low interest rate loan.

Home Buying

Buying a home is amazing. I remember buying my home and how happy I was when everything was over. I also remembered how stressful it was and all the things that I needed to learn and get together. I especially remembered how I had to put off buying my home for a few months while I worked on improving my credit score. It was well worth the wait because I was able to qualify for more loans and get a lower interest rate like Nil - Home loan refinance. One thing that also helped was getting together with a broker who educated me on all the different types of loans. I bought my home during the sub-prime real estate boom and I could have been one of those people who got trapped in an interest only loan but I educated myself on the different types of loans so I wasn't enticed by such a loan.

One of the smartest things that anyone can do is to educated themselves on the loan process, interest rates and the various types of mortgages. Realizing what you want in a home loan takes learning about the different types of loans. Do you want a 30 year mortgage or a 15? How fast do you want to pay off your home? Do you qualify for a VA or FHA loan? Will any of the new buyer programs work for you? Do you qualify for a low income program? As you can see, there are so many questions and things that you need to know about loans. Don't stress out because it is very easy to understand. You can get a mortgage lender to teach you or you could just Google the terms that I posed above and learn it on your own.

Another thing that you need to be concerned with is your interest rate. Having to wait to qualify for a good loan taught me the value of having a low interest rate. A low interest rate can save you a ton of money. Fixing your credit might actually be better than rushing into buying a home because people with good credit get the best loan terms and the lowest interest rates.

As you see, buying a home is quite an ordeal but it does make you more responsible and more knowledgeable about loans and credit scores and what it takes to get a house.


Money Advice

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FX: The Foreign Exchange Market

The foreign exchange market is the biggest financial market in the world. Every day, transactions worth about 3.98 trillion dollars are carried out within the market. The major aim of introducing the foreign exchange market is to facilitate international trade by enabling businesses to perform transactions outside their local currency. The market operates round the clock from Monday through Friday.
In the foreign exchange market today, a trader can purchase some amount of international currencies by paying with a different currency. This type of foreign exchange market started to develop in the 1970s, which was about thirty years after foreign exchange was introduced. Some important features about the FX market include the following:
1. It has a very large number of daily participants. This makes its liquidity one of the highest in the world.
2. Participants come from several countries in the world.
3. The market is open from 22:00 GMT on Sunday to 20:00 GMT on Friday.
4. Exchange rates are affected by a number of factors.

Market Size and Liquidity

Liquidity in the forex market is the highest among other financial markets in the world. The market comprises central banks, currency speculators, organizations, governments, retail investors and international investors. Over the years, the size of the FX market has been constantly increasing. In 2010, The Triennial Survey by the Bank of International Settlements reported that the average daily transaction in the US for the month of April was $3.98 trillion. This was much greater than the $1.7 trillion recorded in 1998.
The UK had about 36.7% of the traders in the market to make it the highest contributor in foreign exchange trading. Second on the list was USA, which had about 17.9% traders while Japan was third with 6.2% of the total exchangers from the country.

Market Participants

There are three types of participants in the foreign exchange market. These are: central banks, global funds, retail clients (or individual retailers) and corporations. The commercial and investment banks belong to the group known as “interbank” market. The interbank market is the largest market that operates in the foreign exchange market. Corporations, central banks and global funds also operate at this level. Being the highest traders in the market, participants in the interbank level are given the best rates. This level constitutes about seventy five percent of the total volume available each day.
The role of the central bank in the forex market is to control the supply of their country’s currency. Hence, they are not required to speculate. Some of the major roles it performs include fixing overnight lending rates, purchasing and selling government securities to moderate the supply of money and determining interest rate of their currency by buying or selling them in the open market.

Trading Characteristics

Currencies that are often traded include the United States dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling, Australian dollar, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Swedish krona, New Zealand dollar, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Norwegian krone, Mexican peso and Indian rupee. There is no regulation for the traders on the kind of currencies to trade since this is an over-the-counter market. However, there are different market places where the participants can trade on the different currencies.
Exchange rates among currencies are affected by the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, interest rates and balance of trade. News about the foreign exchange market is given to the public on scheduled periods so that every trader involved gets access to it at the same time. However, the big banks are given higher priority by letting them see the operations of their customers.

Determinants of FX rates

For countries operating on the floating exchange rate regime, the exchange rates of their currencies can be determined by the following theories:
1.International Parity Conditions: These include theories such as relative purchasing power parity, interest rate parity, domestic fisher effect and international fisher effect. Although these theories work to actually determine FX rates, they can also falter because they are formed on assumptions that are not always true.
2.Balance of payment model: This is concerned with the exchange of goods and services without considering the effect of the flow of money between and among nations.

It is not possible to predict FX rates within long time frames with these theories. The best that can be done with these is predicting future prices that can occur within a few days. FX rates cannot be judged on a single factor but rather by combining several factors in economics, politics and market psychology.

Financial Instruments

Financial instruments in the FX market include spot, forward and swap.


A spot transaction lasts for two days except when currencies such as the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Euro, Turkish Lira and Russian ruble are traded. In these cases, transactions are completed on the next business day. Normally, there is no interest involved in this transaction since it is just a direct exchange.


Forward transaction is an effective way of reducing risks in the FX market. With this, traders do not exchange money until when an agreed exchange rate between currencies is actualized. This may happen in one day, several months or years.


In swap, two traders agree to make a transaction that will be reversed in the future. Since this is not a standard operation, there is no exchange created for this.


Currency speculation is a subject that attracts several views as a result of its positive and negative effects. While some believe that this devalues currencies, other scholars such as Milton Friedman believe that this acts as a stabilizer in the system by transferring risks from those who do not want them to those who need them. Besides, speculation also makes the FX market open to all. Speculation is done by individual traders and large hedge funds. Since individual traders do not invest so much money into this, they are normally regarded as destabilizers of the system.

Risk Aversion

Risk aversion is a trading pattern that results when unfavorable conditions are bound to occur. This is caused by the liquidation of risky assets and diverting the funds into safer assets. In the foreign exchange market, traders liquidate the funds they envisage potential risks and divert them into more secure ones like the US dollar. However, it is being observed that most traders use these more secure currencies because of fear rather than the results shown on economic statistics. For example, during the global economic meltdown of 2008, the US dollar was unaffected while other currencies depreciated. The success of the US dollar was achieved despite the similar negative results caused by the crisis in the United States.


Hedging With ETFs: A Cost-Effective Alternative

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) appeal to investors of all sizes and the selection and uses continue to change rapidly. While investors who are new to ETFs may assume that these funds are primarily used as a mutual fund substitute, the uses for ETFs have expanded far beyond the realm of just passively investing in managed funds. For experienced investors, ETFs are widely known to be used to invest in asset classes like stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities, but the use of ETFs for hedging is becoming more popular.

In fact, one of the primary benefits of ETFs for hedging can be found in their name; they are traded actively on exchanges making them much more liquid and versatile than mutual funds. Here we'll look at how ETFs can be used for hedging.

How to Hedge with ETFs

ETFs can be used like derivatives such as options and futures to take long or short positions in investment portfolios. Forward contracts used in currency hedging between two counterparties were historically reserved for large investors. Now, these types of trades can be scaled down and tailored with ETFs that invest in the underlying currency positions. Investors who are interested in hedging their portfolios against inflation can now link their future returns to commodity prices using targeted ETFs. For small investors or those with limited experience in trading commodity futures, combinations of ETFs can be used to replicate portfolios of precious metals, oil and natural gas - or just about any commodity that is covered by an ETF. The benefits of all of these combinations is the comparatively low transaction and holding costs compared to the costs of futures, options, forwards and other traditional hedging tools. The ability to purchase and sell hedging components in small increments appeals to smaller investors who previously had limited access to hedging due to the larger minimum requirements required with traditional hedging strategies.

Hedging has historically been limited to the use of derivative-based securities like futures, options, forward contracts, swaptions and various combinations of over-the-counter and exchange-traded securities. Because the mechanics of the pricing of the derivative-based securities is based on advanced mathematical formulas like Black and Scholes options pricing models, they have generally been used by large, sophisticated investors. Now investors of all sizes can access hedging tools with ETFs, which are as simple to trade as stocks.

Stock Market Hedging

Investors typically use futures and options on the stock and bond market to hedge their positions or take short-term placements to enter or exit the market. One of the most common and actively traded tools for the equity market are S&P 500 futures, which are used widely by large institutions including pension funds, mutual funds and active traders. Now, ETFs like ProShares Short S&P 500and ProShares UltraPro Short S&P 500 can be used in lieu of futures contracts to take short positions in the general stock market, making these positions simpler, cheaper and more liquid. While the mechanics of using short equity ETFs is a little different than using futures, and matching the hedged positions may not be as precise, this strategy provides easy access as a means to the end. The position can also be unwound when needed - unlike futures contracts, which expire on a regular basis requiring investors to cash out, take delivery or re-hedge when the contract matures.

Hedging with Currencies

Just like with equity market hedging, prior to the wide acceptance of ETFs the only way to hedge a non-U.S. investment was to use currency forward contracts, options and futures. Forward contracts are rarely available to individual investors as they are often agreements between large entities that are traded over the counter. Also, they are typically held to maturity. Like interest rate swaps, they allow one party to assume the risk of a long position and the other party to assume a short position in a currency to liken their particular needs to hedging or betting. By design, the participants rarely take physical delivery of the currency position and choose to cash out the ending value based on the closing currency exchange rate. During the life of the forward contract, no money is exchanged and the valuation is typically based on the appreciation/depreciation of the swap or held at cost.

Now that ETFs have entered currency hedging, investors can easily hedge long non-U.S. investments by purchasing corresponding amounts of funds take a short U.S. dollar position, such as the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bearish. On the flip side, an investor who is based outside of the U.S. can invest in shares of funds like PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish to take a long U.S. dollar position to hedge against their portfolios. Just like substituting futures and options in the equity and bond market, the levels of accuracy when matching the portfolio's value to the hedged position is up to the investor. But thanks to the liquidity of ETFs and their lack of maturity dates, investors can easily make minor adjustments.

Inflation Hedging

So far we have covered hedging portfolios in a traditional sense, offsetting variable risks or maintaining market positions. Inflation hedging with ETFs encompasses similar concepts but hedges against an unknown and unpredictable force. While inflation has ranged in small bands historically, it can easily swing up or down during normal or abnormal economic cycles. While commodities can be considered an asset class all on their own, many investors seek out commodities as a form of hedging against inflation based on the theory that if inflation rises or is expected to rise, so will the price of commodities. In theory, while inflation is rising, other asset classes like stocks may not be rising and investors can participate in the growth of the commodities investments. Commodity investing with ETFs has become very popular and there are hundreds of tools to access precious metals, natural resources and just about any commodity that can be traded on a traditional exchange.

The Benefits of ETFs for Hedging

The benefits of using an ETF for hedging are numerous. First and foremost is cost effectiveness, as ETFs allow small investors to take positions with little or no entrance fees. They typically have very low holding/management fees compared to the total costs of physical deliver or commissions on futures and options. They also provide access to markets (like the currencies market) that would not be cost effective for individual investors; liquidity beyond the levels found in futures and options; lower bid/ask spreads; and the ability to trade openly in stock exchanges. ETF hedging creates additional liquidity in markets, allowing for better "look through" transparency and eliminates the counterparty risk associated with over-the-counter contracts between two parties.

The Bottom Line

While hedging with ETFs is a relatively new concept and still needs to stand the test of time, it's no secret that their presence is known and investors of all sizes are taking notice.


The Different Types of Insurance

Do You Have the Insurance You Need?
Wondering what type of insurance you need?
It’s not an exciting topic, but it’s a necessary one.

A discussion on personal finance isn’t complete unless you’ve properly addressed the risks to your assets and income. And insurance is typically the last frontier of personal finance. Most people, I would think, have retirement savings and debt under control long before they tackle the subject of insurance as a whole. But there are many different forms of insurance. It’s hard to know for sure what to do. You may be asking, “what types of insurance I need to protect myself and my family“. Below I’ll take a high level view of the various forms of insurance and provide some basic information you should know about each one.

Life Insurance

Probably the most under-purchased (is that a word?) form of insurance is life insurance. This type of insurance protects your family from the potential loss of income from your death. Not fun to think about. But it’s a reality.

When I got married and started having kids, one of the first things I started thinking about was getting life insurance. My family depends on me for my current and future income to make it. I knew I had a small bit of coverage from my company. But I knew I needed, and could afford, a bit more.

The big questions in the life insurance world typically revolve around the differences between term and whole life insurance. If you end up choosing term life insurance like I did, then the questions shift to “how much life insurance do I need?”

Don’t worry, you mainly need to get insurance on the earners in the family. You can usually do without life insurance on your child. Beyond that there are plenty more questions to ask before you buy insurance on your life.

Once you’ve got all your questions answered, it’s time to start the process of actually getting life insurance. Better to start early because this can take a while. There are applications to fill out. Exams to take.

And the waiting around for the underwriter to do his or her job. But with all this waiting, it’s not hard to find an affordbale term life insurance policy. The quickest way to get started with this process is to request a quote for life insurance to see what’s available to you.

Health Insurance

Health insurance comes in many forms, but it’s generally going to cover your medical expenses for any health related issues (i.e. you have a heart attack) you experience. There are two main types of health insurance: group and individual.

Group health insurance is typically what you get when you work for a company. The risks and costs are spread out amongst the group and so it’s typically a better insurance for you. Better because it’s usually cheaper and it covers more.

Individual health insurance is something you’d have to get for you and your family if you don’t have an employer, or you work part time. Since this type of insurance isn’t purchased by a group, you have to bear the costs and risks to yourself.

For this reason, individual health insurance is usually expensive and doesn’t cover as much. All is not lost though. There are plenty of ways to save money on health insurance, including using a health savings account, and shopping around for health insurance quotes. Get a health insurance quote online today.

Recently, health insurance reform has come to the US. There are lots of changes going on that are going to affect the way this insurance is provided and purchased in the future. Be on the lookout for how these changes will affect you and your finances.

Homeowners Insurance

When you buy a home, condo, town home, or even a mobile home, it’s likely a good idea, and maybe a requirement by your lender, to purchase some homeowners insurance. I would estimate that this type of insurance can cost annually as much as a mortgage payment for you. You can now run a home insurance quote online like you can for car insurance.

What you get in return for your annual or monthly payment is a bit of peace of mind that if something were to happen to your home, like a fire, earthquake, flood, storm, etc, that you would be repaid for the damage.

Now you can see why a lender is interested in making sure you have this insurance. They don’t want to be stuck with the bill if something happens and you aren’t protected by the homeowners insurance.

Car Insurance

Auto or car insurance is probably the most well known and owned of all the insurance types. This, I suspect, is because it’s required in most states. In my state, for instance, you need to have car insurance before you can register your vehicle or have it inspected.

Most states will require a minimum level of coverage for your car to protect others in case you have an accident. But did you know that there are up to 7 types of car insurance you could use to help protect you, your asset, and others?

Deciding which types you need is a thing you need to research and determine for yourself. In that sense, car insurance is probably the most used, but least understood form of insurance.

Although car insurance is usually a required expense if you drive. It doesn’t have to be expensive. And you certainly shouldn’t pay premium prices when you don’t have to. I’ve found that with a little research it’s easy to save money on auto insurance. Request a quote on affordable auto insurance today.

Disability Insurance

This type of insurance helps to cover your loss of income from some type of disability which causes you to lose your job or prevents you from earning an income. You’re far more likely to be injured than killed, so it’s probably smart to have some of this insurance.

Like life insurance, most employers have a basic policy on their employees. But that might not be enough for you, and / or you might not have a job with a company. The self-employed should really look into this type of coverage.

It’s something I need to do for sure. There’s lots to know about disability insurance. Mainly, it’s important to understand the distinction between short term and long-term disability insurance.

Other Types of Insurance

Other forms of insurance include business insurance (people often are concerned that they need business insurance with an LLC or corporation), casualty insurance, crime insurance, accidental death insurance, deposit insurance (FDIC), bond insurance, credit card protection insurance, loan protection insurance, worker’s compensation, travel insurance, and many others.