Deduction

An amount that can be subtracted from gross income, from a gross estate, or from a gift, thereby lowering the amount on which tax is assessed.

Defined Benefit Plan

A qualified retirement plan under which a retiring employee will receive a guaranteed retirement fund, usually payable in installments. Annual contributions may be made to the plan by the employer at the level needed to fund the benefit. The annual contributions are limited to a specified amount, indexed to inflation.

Defined Contribution Plan

A retirement plan under which the annual contributions made by the employer or employee are generally stated as a fixed percentage of the employee’s compensation or company profits. The amount of retirement benefits is not guaranteed; rather, it depends upon the investment performance of the employee’s account.

Diversification

Investing in different companies, industries, or asset classes in an attempt to limit overall risk. Of course, diversification does not guarantee against loss; it is a method used to help manage investment risk. Diversification may also mean the participation of a large corporation in a wide range of business activities.

Dividend

A pro rata portion of earnings usually distributed in cash by a corporation to its stockholders. In preferred stock, dividends are usually fixed; with common shares, dividends may vary with the fortunes of the company.

Dollar Cost Averaging

A system of investing in which the investor buys a fixed dollar amount of securities at regular intervals. The investor thus buys more shares when the price is low and fewer shares when the price rises, and the average cost per share is lower than the average price per share. Dollar cost averaging does not ensure a profit or prevent a loss. Such plans involve continuous investments in securities regardless of fluctuating prices. You should consider your financial ability to continue making purchases during periods of low and high price levels. However, this can be an effective way for investors to accumulate shares to help meet long-term goals.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances (DPOA)

A durable attorney for finances (DPOA) enables you to authorize someone to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters. Your agent could pay everyday expenses, watch over your investments, and file taxes, among other tasks. A DPOA may become effective immediately or when a triggering event occurs, such as a doctor certifying that you are physically or mentally incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (HPOA)

A durable power of attorney for health care (HPOA), also known as a health-care proxy, enables you to appoint a representative to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. You can appoint anyone to be your agent as long as the individual is of legal age (usually 18 or older), and you can decide how much power your representative will have. An HPOA should be HIPAA compliant so your representative can access your private medical information.