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Investment Terms


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Tax-deferred income. Taxable earnings that will be subject to federal income tax at some later date. For example, reinvested earnings from retirement plans, such as IRAs or pension plans, are tax deferred and will be subject to income tax when distributed to the participant.

Tax-exempt interest dividend. A type of fund distribution that is not subject to federal income tax, typically a dividend derived from interest earned from tax-exempt municipal bonds. Tax-exempt dividends may be subject to state income tax, to the federal alternative minimum tax, and to backup withholding.

Taxable equivalent distribution rate. Reflects the rate of income that a shareholder must earn in a fully taxable bond fund to equal the current distribution rate in a particular tax-free mutual fund.

Taxable-equivalent yield. The yield before taxes that a taxable bond fund would have to pay to be equal to the tax-free yield of a tax-free fund. The taxable-equivalent yield is determined by the investor's tax bracket. Typically, tax-free income from a tax-free fund becomes more attractive as the investor's tax bracket rises.

Taxpayer Identification number (TIN). A Social Security number (SSN), Employer identification number (EIN) or Individual taxpayer identifying number (ITIN).

Total assets. This figure represents the total market value of securities held in a portfolio.

Total return. Return on an investment over a specified period of time, which includes share-price appreciation, reinvested dividends or interest, and any capital gains.

Treasuries. Negotiable debt obligations of the U.S. government, secured by its full faith and credit and issued at various schedules and maturities. The income from Treasury securities is exempt from state, but not federal, income taxes.

Treasury bills. Short-term securities with maturities of one year or less. Treasury bills have minimum denominations of $10,000 and are issued at a discount from face value.

Treasury bonds. Long-term debt instruments with maturities of 10 years or longer issued in minimum denominations of $1,000.

Treasury notes. Intermediate-term securities with maturities of 1 to 10 years. Denominations range from $1,000 to $1 million or more.

Turnover ratio. This percentage indicates how much the holdings in a fund's portfolio change in one year. A 100% turnover ratio means the fund changes its entire portfolio composition each year. A low figure indicates the fund tends to hold securities longer. A high figure (approaching or exceeding 100%) means the investment strategy calls for buying and selling securities more frequently, which can lead to higher costs and increased distribution of capital gains.

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