Capital Gain or Loss

The difference between the sales price and the purchase price of a capital asset. When that difference is positive, the difference is referred to as a capital gain. When the difference is negative, it is a capital loss.

Cash Alternatives

Short-term investments, such as U.S. Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, and money market fund shares, that can be readily converted into cash.

Cash Surrender Value

The amount that an insurance policyholder is entitled to receive when he or she discontinues coverage. Policyholders are usually able to borrow against the surrender value of a policy from the insurance company. Policy loans that are not repaid will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value by the amount of any outstanding loan balance plus interest.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Practitioner

A credential granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (Denver, CO) to individuals who complete a comprehensive curriculum in financial planning and ethics. CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and federally registered CFP (with flame logo)® are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A professional license granted by a state board of accountancy to an individual who has passed the Uniform CPA Examination (administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and has fulfilled that state’s educational and professional experience requirements for certification.

Charitable Lead Trust

A trust established for the benefit of a charitable organization. A grantor who places money, securities, property, and other assets in a charitable remainder trust can designate an income beneficiary, even if it is the grantor herself, to receive payment of a specified amount (at least annually) from the trust. You may also qualify for an income tax deduction on the estimated present value of the remainder interest that will eventually go to charity.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A trust established for the benefit of a charitable organization. A grantor who places money, securities, property, and other assets in a charitable remainder trust can designate an income beneficiary, even if it is the grantor herself, to receive payment of a specified amount (at least annually) from the trust. You may also qualify for an income tax deduction on the estimated present value of the remainder interest that will eventually go to charity.

Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

A professional financial planning designation granted by The American College (Bryn Mawr, PA) to individuals who complete a comprehensive curriculum in financial planning. Prerequisites include passing a series of written examinations, meeting specified experience requirements and maintaining ethical standards. The curriculum encompasses wealth accumulation, risk management, income taxation, planning for retirement needs, investments, estate and succession planning.

Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

A professional designation granted by The American College to individuals who complete a comprehensive curriculum focused primarily on risk management. Prerequisites include passing a series of written examinations, meeting specified experience requirements, and maintaining ethical standards. The curriculum encompasses insurance and financial planning, income taxation, individual life insurance, life insurance law, estate and succession planning, and planning for business owners and professionals

COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act is a federal law requiring employers with more than 20 employees to offer terminated or retired employees the opportunity to continue their health insurance coverage for 18 months at the employee’s expense. Coverage may be extended to the employee’s dependents for 36 months in the case of divorce or death of the employee.

Coinsurance or Co-Payment

The amount an insured person must pay for a covered medical and/or dental expense if his or her insurance doesn’t provide 100 percent coverage.

Commodities

The generic term for goods such as grains, foodstuffs, livestock, oils, and metals which are traded on national exchanges. These exchanges deal in both “spot” trading (for current delivery) and “futures” trading (for delivery in future months).

Common Stock

A unit of ownership in a corporation. Common stockholders participate in the corporation’s profits or losses by receiving dividends and by capital gains or losses in the stock’s share price.

Community Property

State laws vary, but generally all property acquired during a marriage — excluding property one spouse receives from a will, inheritance, or gift — is considered community property, and each partner is entitled to one half. This includes debt accumulated. Nine states currently have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Alaska adopted a community property system in 1998, but it is optional.)

Compound Interest

Interest that is computed on the principal and on the accrued interest. Compound interest may be computed continuously, daily, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

Consumer Price Index

The U.S. Department of Labor’s main indicator of inflation. The Consumer Price Index is calculated each month from the cost of some 400 retail items in urban areas throughout the United States.