09/17/2020

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SoFi Blog

Tips and news—
for your financial moves.

How to Make Student Loan Refinancing a Cinch

For borrowers who are eligible, the decision to refinance student loans is typically a no-brainer. Not only does refinancing allow you to choose between lower monthly payments and a shorter payment term, but it also lets you consolidate your monthly bill and – most importantly – save a significant amount of money over the life of the loan.

But even if you’re excited about the idea of sticking it to your student loans, you may be concerned about how much work will be involved in the refinancing process. Which is understandable, given that most important financial transactions involve a mountain of paperwork and multiple calls to an unhelpful customer service center.

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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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4 Startup Truths You Won’t Learn in Business School

Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding—and terrifying—things you’ll ever do. I started my own business, a business-planning software company initially based in Palo Alto, California, three years after graduating from business school. I’ve succeeded through several decades, but it wasn’t always easy given that I struggled with student loan and mortgage payments, and took care of my family at the same time. But today, I’m financially secure, my business is healthy, and I employ more than 60 people at our new location in Eugene, Oregon. Because I’ve dealt with startups and entrepreneurs for a long time, I’m well equipped to outline what you can expect if you’re planning to start your own business.

B-school has given other entrepreneurs exactly what it gave me: business fundamentals, including basic finance, marketing, and administration. An MBA program also teaches you how to plan and, most importantly, how to understand cash flow. But what school doesn’t teach you is how to wade through the entrepreneur clichés to get to the unvarnished truth.

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How to (Actually) Buy Your First Home in New York City

You have to earn the right to call yourself a New Yorker, and one of the ways you can do that is by suffering through the challenge that is finding housing in New York City. It’s a badge of honor you can wear with pride once you do—I mean, New York is one of the only cities in the world where people willingly pay over $1,000 a month for an apartment that has a shower in the kitchen.

But even as one of the most expensive cities in the world, it may make financial sense to buy sooner rather than later in this city. You only need to stay put for three years to make buying in Queens worth the price, four and a half years for Brooklyn, and seven and a half years for Manhattan, according to a study done by StreetEasy.

The desire for space and affordability sends some first-time homebuyers to New Jersey, Long Island, or quaint towns along the Hudson River (all of which still come with steep price tags). But for those committed to staying within the five boroughs, the question remains: Just how the heck do you navigate being a first-time homebuyer in New York City?

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