- published: 17 Feb 2009
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Structuring, also known as smurfing in banking industry jargon, is the practice of executing financial transactions (such as the making of bank deposits) in a specific pattern calculated to avoid the creation of certain records and reports required by law, such as the United States's Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Internal Revenue Code section 6050I (relating to the requirement to file Form 8300).
Legal restrictions on structuring should not be confused with capital controls, which are statutory or regulatory limits on the money that one can take out of a nation, though they can have some of the same economic effects in some economies, as structuring controls effectively limit the flow of capital by magnitude and duration, and can apply equally to taking money out of a nation as well as putting money into its finance system.
Structuring includes the act of parceling what would otherwise be a large financial transaction into a series of smaller transactions to avoid scrutiny by regulators or law enforcement. Structuring often appears in federal indictments related to money laundering, fraud, and other financial crimes.
Finance is the study of how investors allocate their assets over time under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. A key point in finance, which affects decisions, is the time value of money, which states that a unit of currency today is worth more than a unit of currency tomorrow. Finance measures the risks vs. profits and gives an indication of whether the investment is good or not. Finance can be broken into three different sub categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
Questions in personal finance revolve around
Personal financial decisions may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement.
Personal financial decisions may also involve paying for a loan, or debt obligations. The six key areas of personal financial planning, as suggested by the Financial Planning Standards Board, are:
Achieving these goals requires projecting what they will cost, and when you need to withdraw funds. A major risk to the household in achieving their accumulation goal is the rate of price increases over time, or inflation. Using net present value calculators, the financial planner will suggest a combination of asset earmarking and regular savings to be invested in a variety of investments. In order to overcome the rate of inflation, the investment portfolio has to get a higher rate of return, which typically will subject the portfolio to a number of risks. Managing these portfolio risks is most often accomplished using asset allocation, which seeks to diversify investment risk and opportunity. This asset allocation will prescribe a percentage allocation to be invested in stocks, bonds, cash and alternative investments. The allocation should also take into consideration the personal risk profile of every investor, since risk attitudes vary from person to person.