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SoFi Blog

Tips and news—
for your financial moves.

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The Market Went Down—What Now?

The S&P 500 has fallen more than 10%. The Dow drops more than 1,000 points.

I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines about the market movements over the past few days and might be worried. That’s not surprising. If you own stocks, they may have lost some value, which doesn’t feel great.
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But, let’s put this dip into perspective. In Wall Street terms, we’ve been in what’s called a “bull market” since 2009. A decline of 10% or more in a bull market—which we’ve sseen in the past few days—is called a “correction.” Bull markets in the past have averaged about one correction a year. The last one we had was February of 2016, so we’ve been overdue.

But here’s something else you should know: While Wall Street traders might be panicking a bit, for the average investor, like you, there’s no cause for alarm. The economy still appears to be on solid footing if you look at things like unemployment and company earnings. And in many ways, this market dip was expected.

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6 Last-Minute Tax Tips That Could Save You Money in 2017

By John Foley, CFP®

As you’ve no doubt read in the news, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is about to become law. And while the bill contains over 500 pages of changes to the tax rules for corporations, privately held businesses, and individuals, what you’re probably wondering most is: How will the tax plan affect me?

There are three big changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that will impact most individual taxpayers:

1) New income tax brackets with lower rates for most taxpayers

2) A higher standard deduction—$12,000 for single filers, $24,000 for married filing joint

3) A $10,000 limit on the combined deduction for state and local income and property tax (and that’s the same whether you’re single or married)

While you can’t change the rules, there are things you might be able to do to potentially lower your overall tax burden this year and next, namely, shifting certain deductions into 2017 and certain income into 2018. But the clock is ticking: These provisions are expected to go into effect on January 1, 2018, so December 31 is the last day you can do anything that impacts your 2017 taxes.

Here are a few important actions you could take before the new tax bill kicks in. Ask your tax preparer if they are right for you.

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5 Steps to Investing in Your 401k Savings Account

Investing for retirement can seem daunting. With so many retirement plan options, and even more jargon that comes with the territory, it’s no wonder people can start to feel anxious when figuring out how to invest in their 401(k) properly. Luckily, the first step is easy—all you have to do is start saving your money and putting it in a retirement account.

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Self-Employed? Here’s Why You Need a SEP IRA

Being self-employed is great: You have more freedom and flexibility, and working for yourself can be financially rewarding. As a self-employed person, you have another big opportunity: setting up a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA. With this move, you can potentially save even more for retirement than you could with a 401(k), and get started saving towards your biggest financial goal—financial independence.

A SEP IRA is ideal if you’re a successful professional with no employees who wants to shelter your income from taxes and invest for retirement. When you’re self employed and receive 1099 income, you pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Contributing to a SEP reduces these along with federal and state income taxes. While it gives you the flexibility to decide how much you want to save each year, it also gives you much higher contribution limits than the $5,500 limit of a traditional IRA—and it can be just as easy to set up. It can be a powerful wealth management tool.

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7 Simple, Expert-Approved Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

If you’re saddled with too much credit card debt, you’re not alone—far from it. A recent study based on Federal Reserve and Census data found that 38% of households carry a credit card balance, and that their average balance is $16,048. When you consider that the median household income is $55,775, it’s pretty clear that credit card debt is a problem for many people.

Since the amount you owe determines 30% of your FICO score, reducing your debt can improve your credit. Here are a few tips on how to be a smart credit card user.

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