SoFi Blog

Tips and news—
for your financial moves.

mother with children outside house

6 Questions to Ask Before Doing a Home Remodel

Home sweet home hasn’t been looking so sweet lately. Maybe you spend your days fantasizing about a kitchen any professional chef would dream of. Or perhaps you want to soak your worries away in a brand spanking new bathtub in your freshly tiled bathroom.

Your home is a sacred space, but it might take a little work—and money—to make your home feel that way. Whether you’re working on a fixer upper or want to give your home a mini-makeover, here are six home renovation questions to consider asking yourself before you launch into a remodel. Thinking about these questions out before you start home improvements could potentially save you a lot of time, money, and stress!

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women at hotel front desk

Hotel Fees: What Could You Be Paying For?

During the summer of 2019, two different attorneys general—from Washington, D.C. and Nebraska—filed lawsuits against two large hotel chains, Hilton (Hilton Dopco Inc.) and Marriott International, Inc., accusing them of charging hidden hotel resort fees. Although the lawsuits are not identical, they’re similar in their language, with each calling these hotel fees “deceptive and misleading.”

These types of fees vary by location and by the amenities and services they cover. For example, some hotels charge guests for Wi-Fi access, gym access, newspapers, in-room safes, even bottled water—whether these amenities are used or not.

At the heart of the lawsuits against Hilton and Marriott is the allegation that these hotel resort fees are not included in room rates published online, which makes it challenging for people to compare rates.

Hotel guests typically aren’t aware of these fees until after they have started booking—a practice called drip pricing—and, according to the lawsuits, these practices violate laws put into place to protect consumers.

So, what fees should a hotel guest expect to see on their bill? What do they actually cover? Which of these hotel fees should be questioned?

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Grounded planes

Will Boeing’s Flight Grounding Affect Your Holiday Travel?

You know that blessed moment when you board an airplane and realize you have the entire row to yourself? Probably not going to happen this upcoming holiday season.

Due to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max airliners, there were about 41 million fewer airplane seats throughout the summer, and shortages may carry through the winter.

After two airplane crashes that killed 346 people on board in Indonesia and Ethiopia in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively, airline regulators grounded all Boeing 737 Max airliners—the new model of Boeing airplane involved in both crashes.

This decision came as a major shock for some US airlines, like United, American, and Southwest, and affected plenty of international carriers as well. Airlines using (and planning to use) the new model had to make major adjustments—and fast.

Immediately, airlines reacted by canceling flights. They rearranged routes and unretired old planes without knowing when the 737 Max would be ready for use.

Along with the airlines, interested travelers are waiting on the latest news. With the Boeing 737 Max grounded, what can travelers expect this upcoming holiday season? Here’s how to know whether you’ll be affected, and how to deal if you are.

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Caitlin Boston SoFi member

How One SoFi Member Paid Off More Than $222,000 in Student Debt

The member’s experience below is not a typical member representation. While her story is extraordinary and inspirational, not all members should expect the same results.

What do a simple question, a tropical rainforest, and a shiny purple catsuit have in common? For SoFi member Caitlin Boston, they’re all part of the story that helped her pay off more than $222,000 in student loan debt.

This unconventional tale begins back in 2009, after Boston had earned two bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and American studies from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in social psychology from Cambridge.

Like many other recent graduates, Boston knew her student loan payments would start coming due. But what she didn’t know was just how high those numbers would be.

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electric car plugged in

A Guide to California’s Zero-Emission Transportation Plan

In our efforts to bring you the latest updates on things that might impact your financial life, we may occasionally enter the political fray, covering candidates, bills, laws and more. Please note: SoFi does not endorse or take official positions on any candidates and the bills they may be sponsoring or proposing. We may occasionally support legislation that we believe would be beneficial to our members, and will make sure to call it out when we do. Our reporting otherwise is for informational purposes only, and shouldn’t be construed as an endorsement.

If you’re like most Americans, you own a car. What’s more, you use that car on a day-to-day basis to get to work, among other errands.

In fact, although we all know that public transit carries a lower ecological impact, car ownership is actually on the rise in America–which spells trouble for our warming planet. Indeed, transportation makes up the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, contributing almost a third of the carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases that are warming our environment.

That’s part of the reason four major, international automakers have struck a deal with the state of California to increase the fuel-efficiency of their fleets over the coming years, agreeing to produce vehicles that see nearly 50 miles per gallon by model year 2026.

The pact comes as a response to White House plans to freeze the more stringent nationwide fuel-efficiency requirements set in motion under the Obama administration, and was also, according to a joint statement, driven by the desire for predictability in manufacturing and lowering consumer costs.

Here’s what you need to know about the new agreement (and California’s greater commitment to environmental stewardship)–including what it means for you as a consumer–and how to find cheaper, greener ways to travel as a whole.

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