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About Mike Piper
Mike Piper is the author of several personal finance books and the popular blog Oblivious Investor (obliviousinvestor.com). He is a Missouri Licensed CPA. Mike's writing has been featured in many places, including The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, AARP Magazine, Forbes, CBS News, MarketWatch, and Morningstar.
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Titles By Mike Piper
- How your Social Security retirement benefits, spousal benefits, and widow/widower benefits are calculated
- How your benefits are affected if you have a government pension or if you continue working while claiming Social Security
- How to decide when is the best age for you (and your spouse, if you're married) to claim Social Security in order to get the most out of your benefits
- Whether or not it makes sense to take Social Security early in order to invest the money
- How to check your earnings record on the Social Security Administration's website to make sure you're getting the full benefit you deserve
- How Social Security benefits are taxed and how this affects retirement tax planning
Please note that this book does not cover Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Accounting Equation and why it's so significant
How to read and prepare financial statements
How to calculate and interpret several different financial ratios
The concepts and assumptions behind Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Preparing journal entries with debits and credits
Cash method vs. accrual method
Inventory and Cost of Goods Sold
How to calculate depreciation and amortization expenses
- The difference between deductions and credits
- Itemized deductions vs. the standard deduction
- Several money-saving deductions and credits and how to make sure you qualify for them
- How to calculate your refund
- How to know which tax forms to fill out
- State income taxes
- Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
- Capital Gains and Losses
Make the right decision, and you'll be paying less tax; you'll know your personal assets are protected from lawsuits against your business; and you might even save yourself some money on accounting and legal fees.
Make the wrong decision, and you'll be paying an unnecessary amount of tax; you'll be wasting money on legal bills; and you'll be only a lawsuit away from losing your home and other personal assets.
Find the following, explained in plain-English with no legal jargon:
The basics of sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S-Corp, and C-Corp taxation.
How to protect your personal assets from lawsuits against your business.
When the protection offered by an LLC will work. (And more importantly, when it will not!)
Which business structures could reduce your federal income tax or self-employment tax.
- Fixed costs, variable costs, and how to use them to perform cost-volume-profit analysis for a business
- Product costs, period costs, and why the distinction is important
- Direct costs, indirect costs, and how to assign each of them to cost objects for better decision-making
- How to use activity-based costing to allocate overhead costs
- Job order costing and process costing
- How to budget for a business and how to use variance analysis to identify potential problems when results vary from budgeted amounts
Asset Allocation: What does it mean, why is it so important, and how should you determine your own?
How to Pick Mutual Funds: Learn how to choose funds that are mathematically certain to outperform the majority of other mutual funds.
Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA vs. 401(k): What's the difference, and how should you choose between them?
Financial Advisors: Learn what to look for as well as pitfalls to avoid.
Frequent Investor Mistakes: Learn the most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
Calculate Your Retirement Needs: Learn how to calculate how much you'll need saved in order to retire.
Who Is This Book For?
Anyone who has questions about investing, but who doesn’t want to trudge through a 300-page textbook.
What This Book Is Not:
This book is not a great work of literary art.
This book is not going to make you an absolute expert on the topic, and
This book is not going to provide you with a way to get rich overnight.
What it will do (hopefully) is provide an easy-to-understand, concise introduction to the topic of prudent investing.
Business Taxation 101: A brief primer on tax topics in general, especially as they apply to businesses.
Home Office Deduction: How to ensure you qualify for it and how to calculate it.
Estimated Tax payments: When and how to pay them, as well as an easy way to calculate each payment.
Self-Employment Tax: What it is, why it exists, and how to calculate it.
Business Retirement Plans: What the different types are, and which one is best for you.
Numerous Business Deductions: Several deductions explained in detail, including how to make sure you can qualify to take them and how to maximize them.
Audit Protection: Learn what records you need to keep (and how long to keep them) in order to protect yourself in case of an audit.
How to calculate how much you'll need saved before you can retire
How to use annuities to minimize the risk of outliving your money
How to choose which accounts (Roth vs. traditional IRA vs. taxable) to withdraw from each year
When it makes sense to use a Roth IRA conversion to save on taxes
How to choose an appropriate asset allocation for your retirement portfolio
How to minimize taxes by proper use of an asset location strategy
How to reliably pick winning mutual funds
- What is corporate finance?
- What's the difference between finance and accounting?
- Methods for raising capital (borrowing, selling equity)
- Dividend policy
- Capital structure, weighted-average cost of capital
- Forecasting cash flows
- Time value of money (future value, present value, discount rate)
- Net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and other capital budgeting methods
- Bond valuation
- Stock valuation
- Market efficiency
What is Economics? | Not a Perfect Model | Microeconomics vs. Macroeconomics
1. Maximizing Utility
Decreasing Marginal Utility | Opportunity Costs
2. Evaluating Production Possibilities
Production Possibilities Frontiers | Absolute and Comparative Advantage
Determinants of Demand | Elasticity of Demand | Change in Demand vs. Change in Quantity Demanded
Determinants of Supply | Elasticity of Supply | Change in Supply vs. Change in Quantity Supplied
5. Market Equilibrium
How Market Equilibrium is Reached | The Effect of Changes in Supply and Demand
6. Government Intervention
Price Ceilings and Price Floors | Taxes and Subsidies
7. Costs of Production
Marginal Cost of Production | Fixed vs. Variable Costs | Short Run vs. Long Run | Sunk Costs | Economic Costs vs. Accounting Costs
8. Perfect Competition
Firms Are Price Takers | Making Decisions at the Margin | Consumer and Producer Surplus
Market Power | Deadweight Loss with a Monopoly | Monopolies and Government
Collusion | Cheating the Cartel | Government Intervention in Oligopolies
11. Monopolistic Competition
Competing via Product Differentiation | Loss of Surplus with Monopolistic Competition
Conclusion: The Insights and Limitations of Economics