SoFi Blog

Tips and news—
for your financial moves.

#HomeEnvy: How Social Media is Changing the Game for Home Improvement

It’s no secret that the advent of Instagram has changed the way we eat and the way chefs prepare food. At this point, we’re all in it for that double-tap worthy brunch shot of our elegantly-plated eggs benedict accompanied by home fries and hashtags.

Social media does more than just make us feel like we missed out on a great meal, though. Through platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, we have a clear view into friends’ and influencers’ homes. It made us wonder: does “pinning” impact planning when it comes to home improvement projects? We surveyed 1,500 homeowners to find out.

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When to consider refinancing student loans

Here’s When to Consider Refinancing Your Student Loans

When was the last time you took a close look at your student debt? If you’re like most borrowers, particularly those with six figures of student loan debt from graduate school or MBA programs, you probably shudder at the thought. Chances are, you set up a loan repayment plan after graduation and figured you’d revisit it “later”—say, when you’re making more money, when your career is more secure, when you have more time.

This approach is understandable, since after receiving your undergraduate or graduate degree your focus is on other things (like building a career that will help you pay off your loan balance). But if you let that nebulous “later” date turn into “never,” the repercussions can be costly. At some point, refinancing your student loans could potentially save you a significant amount of money. You just need to figure out if you’ve reached that point.

So how do you know when it’s time for a student loan debt check-in? Here are four factors that should prompt a second look:

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Is MBA debt worth it?

How One MBA Grad Became a Total Minimalist—and Paid Off $90K in Debt

Joe Mihalic is a changed man. In 2011, he led the typical the Harvard-MBA lifestyle, with a lucrative job at a big tech company, a house in the suburbs, two cars and a motorcycle, and frequent travel—but he felt trapped. “I wasn’t working at a company I loved or in a job I loved. I wasn’t living a life I loved,” Joe says. So he changed his life drastically, becoming a minimalist. And that decision led him to pay off $90,000 in student loan debt in just seven months.

Joe, who lives in Austin, Texas, chronicled his journey to payoff success in his blog No More Harvard Debt. His posts resonated with many young grads, and his blog went viral in 2012. Now debt-free and an operations manager at a company he loves, Joe says he’s found inner peace. But he hasn’t let go of his frugal lifestyle— his work shoes attest to that. While paying down his loans, he wore the same shoes, even as holes appeared in them. Today, he won’t buy a new pair of shoes until the soles wear out.

Joe didn’t take every possible road to pay off his student loans—for example, he didn’t refinance, or take advantage of a student loan forgiveness program. But his “all in” approach offers many takeaways for MBA grads facing mortgage-sized loan debt.

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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mortgage Lender

Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of variation between what different mortgage lenders were offering. It was kind of a nightmare, to put it mildly. Since there wasn’t a lot to consider when looking for a lender, borrowers typically compared them on interest rate alone. And because lenders had no differentiation in services, borrowers were always in for a frustrating, paperwork-heavy application process ahead (often with poor customer service from the bank providing the loan).

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Should You Continue to Rent or Buy a Home? 5 Things to Consider

Buying your first home is a huge investment, but that doesn’t mean it’s a purely financial decision. You may be seeking more space for your growing family, or craving the community aspect of living in a suburb. Or maybe you’re just feeling ready to achieve that major milestone of being a homeowner.

That said, it helps to start with an objective framework that will help you answer the question, “Am I financially ready to buy?” before factoring in the emotional reasons. (Because, for example, you already know you’re ready for your own backyard, or any of those other dreamy aspects of owning.) Taking a look at the financial commitment involved is a great place to start as you make the decision to either continue renting or officially take the leap to buy your own home.

So, are you financially prepared to buy a home? Here are five signs the answer may be yes:

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