Glossary of Terms:  B

This glossary covers terms related to retirement (including financial, insurance, legal and estate planning) and elder care. (For terms related to Medicare, click on Medicare Glossary.) To reduce download time, we have divided the Glossary into the following sections. Simply click on the section you want to see.

| A | B | C | D | E-F | G | H | I | J-L | M-N | O-P | Q-R | S | T-Z |


Basis — The value assigned to an asset from which taxable gain or loss is determined when the asset is sold. Generally, for an asset acquired by purchase, basis is the cost of of the asset (plus certain improvements in the case of a home). It also includes other costs (such as commissions) that are related to acquiring the asset. Special rules apply to inherited property and gifts.

Basis Point — A financial term meaning one one-hundredth of a percent. For example: On December 13, 2005, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates from 4.00% to 4.25%. That was an increase of 25 basis points.

Bathing — An activity of daily living - Washing oneself by sponge bath, taking a shower, or taking a bath in a tub. This activity includes the task of getting into or out of the tub or shower.

Bearer Bonds — Unregistered bonds that are payable to whomever has possession of them. Bearer bonds are no longer issued, but some old bearer bonds are still in circulation.

Beneficiary — A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity or other contract. Someone covered by Medicare is also called a beneficiary.

Benefit Period — The number of years an insurance policy will provide benefits. Many disability and long-term care insurance policies offer buyers a choice of between three and five years; some offer lifetime benefits.

Benefit Trigger — A condition that must exist in order for an insurance company to pay benefits under a long-term care insurance policy.

Benefits — Monetary sums paid or payable to a person insured under an insurance policy, or to someone else, such as a health care provider, to whom the insured person has assigned the benefits.

Board and Care Home — A small to medium-sized group residence that provides residents with a private or shared room, and meals. These homes offer some assistance with activities of daily living, but not skilled nursing.

Bond Ladder (Laddered Portfolio) — A portfolio of bonds with staggered maturity dates. Suppose you had $100,000 to invest in bonds. By using the bond ladder approach, you could buy five different bonds, each with a face value of $20,000; however, each would have a different maturity date. One might mature in one year, another in three years and the remaining bonds might mature in five-plus years. If interest rates go up, you can take advantage of it when your one-year bond matures. But, if rates go down, the effect on your portfolio will be minimized because the other bonds in your portfolio will continue earning higher interest.

Book Entry — Today, most stocks and bonds are issued only in book entry form; that is, no physical certificate is delivered, even if the owner requests one. Instead, ownership is evidenced by a trade confirmation issued by the brokerage firm through which the stock or bond was purchased, and by the monthly statements the brokerage firm provides.

Bump-up CD — A certificate of deposit that grants the owner the right to increase its yield one time for the remaining term of the CD. The power is exercised by the owner in the event of an interest rate hike.