Category Archives: Money Glossary

You have to speak the lingo

Gross Margin

A company's total sales revenue minus its cost of goods sold, divided by the total sales revenue, expressed as a percentage. The gross margin represents the percent of total sales revenue that the company retains after incurring the direct costs associated with producing the goods and services sold by a company.

Indirect Tax

A tax that increases the price of a good so that consumers are actually paying the tax by paying more for the products. An indirect tax is most often thought of as a tax that is shifted from one taxpayer to another, by way of an increase in the price of the good.

Zero-Sum Game

A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. A zero-sum game may have as few as two players, or millions of participants.

80-20 Rule

A rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. In business, the 80-20 rule is used to help managers identify problems and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention based on an efficient use of resources.


Accounts on a balance sheet that represent liabilities and non-cash-based assets used in accrual-based accounting. These accounts include, among many others, accounts payable, accounts receivable, goodwill, future tax liability and future interest expense.


Reducing the book value of an asset because it is overvalued compared to the market value. A write-down typically occurs on a company's financial statement, when the carrying value of the asset can no longer be justified as fair value and the likelihood of receiving the cost (book value) is questionable at best.

Price Target

1. A projected price level as stated by an investment analyst or advisor. 2. A price that, if achieved, would result in a trader recognizing the best possible outcome for his or her investment. This is the price at which the trader would like to exit his or her existing position so that he or she can realize the most reward.

Sunk Cost

A cost that has already been incurred and thus cannot be recovered. A sunk cost differs from other, future costs that a business may face, such as inventory costs or R&D expenses, because it has already happened. Sunk costs are independent of any event that may occur in the future.