7 Tips for Improving Your Financial Health

Poor financial health can linger like a stubborn cold that just won’t go away. Plenty of fluids and rest might get someone back in fighting shape, but there’s no single cure that’ll bring someone’s finances back to good standing. However, that doesn’t mean throwing in the towel.

Staying in good financial standing means a stronger credit score, peace of mind, and often better terms when applying for loans in the future.

Improving financial health takes time, effort, and often multiple strategies. Take a cue from these seven tips below to help kick that financial cold once and for all.

Making a Budget

For most, the idea of budgeting brings a sense of dread. Budgets conjure the image of fewer meals out, clipping coupons, and generally saying “no.” But in reality, a budget is a tool for efficiency.

It could help determine how much to spend and save in a month, and might actually create a sense of freedom. It might help eliminate that stomach ache that arrives each month when the credit card bill comes in the mail. One way to start budgeting is to collect the previous month’s spending in a single place. Think of it like the Marie Kondo method.

Pull everything out all at once into one big pile to get an idea of each month’s spending patterns and income—taking note of multiple bills for rarely used streaming services might “spark” a budgeter to unsubscribe and save a few bucks a month.

This spending information could be found in bank statements or credit card bills or might need to be logged manually depending on how much cash a person uses. Budgeting might include the following financial information, but this is in no way an exhaustive list:

•   Credit card statements and debt
•   Education loans
•   Car loans and additional expenses, including fuel, insurance, etc.
•   Health care insurance premiums
•   Rent/mortgage, including home or renter’s insurance
•   Utilities
•   Monthly food expenses
•   Child care, child support, or related family obligations
•   Additional transportation (excluding a car)
•   Savings/investments, such as a 401(k), an IRA, or automatic savings deductions
•   Average monthly income from pay stubs or bank account statements

With this information, a budgeter can get a general sense of net expenses month over month. Do months generally net out positive or negative? Is there money left over or is it a close call?

This might be the toughest part of the budgeting process, and once it’s in the rearview, creating a simple budget moving forward could make all the difference. Every budget will look different for every person, but one guideline to keep in mind is the popular 50/30/20 budget.

This budget dictates that:

•   50% of post-tax income goes to essential spending. This includes finances that are required, such as rent/mortgage, groceries, health insurance, and utilities.
•   30% of post-tax income goes to discretionary spending. This is spending that a person could cut if they were in a pinch. It includes things like dining out, Netflix memberships, and fitness classes.
•   20% of post-tax income is dedicated to savings. This money is put toward future spending, whether that be retirement contributions, emergency savings, or larger loan payments.

Sticking close to the 50/30/20 budget at the outset could help illuminate blind spots in spending. It might reveal that a budgeter is spending too much on dining out, going far beyond the 30% discretionary spending.

Or it may show that essential spending, like astronomical monthly rent, doesn’t leave much wiggle room for the 20% savings. Expenses and spending habits might wax and wane with the seasons, but that’s no excuse to keep a person from establishing a budget.

It’s a good idea to start with a budget that’s simple to maintain and easy to stick with but still helps manage money and improve financial health.

Paying Off Debt

The amount of debt a person carries can have a pretty big impact on their overall financial health. Thirty percent of a person’s credit score consists of how much they owe in relation to their credit limits.

To stay in good financial health, it’s a good rule of thumb to use no more than 30% of the credit available.
If a borrower is trending above that 30% limit, they might make paying down debt a top priority to improve financial standing.

There’s no one right way to pay down money owed, but these are some popular strategies that could help eliminate debt faster:

Snowball Method

The snowball method starts small and grows as it picks up momentum. Debtors pay the minimum on all loans, regardless of interest rate and amount. From there, they’ll put any surplus cash in their budget toward paying off their smallest debt.

Once the smallest debt it paid, they’ll roll the amount of that monthly payment into the next smallest balance. This method continues, growing monthly payments toward larger loans as the smallest are eliminated. This method makes for wins early on, knocking out the little guys first, and growing toward those large or intimidating balances.

Avalanche Method

The avalanche method is nearly the reverse of snowball, focusing on interest rates of loans instead of balances. Budgeters ignore the total amount of each loan and prioritize repayment of the highest interest rate loan first.
Like the snowball method, they’ll pay the minimum on each loan every month, but they’ll put the surplus of their budget towards the high-interest bill.

Once the highest interest rate loan is paid down, budgeters will focus on the next highest interest rate, and so on. This method tackles the intimidating high-interest rates, then downshifts to the smaller loans. Like an avalanche, the method starts big, then peters off as it becomes easier to pay off low-interest loans.

Fireball Method

When someone can’t choose between the snowball and avalanche method, the debt fireball method may be the answer.
It’s a hybrid between the two strategies above, asking budgeters to sort between good and bad debt and focus on repaying bad debt first. Bad debt, like credit card debt, is debt that generally has a high-interest rate (above 7%).

Good debt, on the other hand, are things like a mortgage or student loans, they generally have lower interest rates and are good investments to make.

The general idea: Rank the bad debts from small to large based on balance. Make the minimum monthly payments on each debt, but use extra cash to pay off the smallest “bad” debts first.

Once the smallest is knocked out, pay attention to the next smallest, and so on until all bad debt is burned up. Then, budgeters need only to pay off “good” debts normally.

Without a plan to properly tackle it, debt can be crushing. However, once a person decides to torch, roll, or overwhelm their loans with a payment method, they’re in control.

Curbing Spending Habits

When spending money is as simple as swiping a card or tapping a phone, it’s no wonder impulse spending is out of control. While a couple of lattes or convenience store trips don’t feel expensive at the point of sale, they add up over time.

Prime orders make it easy to drop $20 here and $40 there, without leaving the comfort of home.
One way to curb these frivolous spending habits is instituting a “hold” period on all purchases.

Instead of hitting “buy now,” shoppers could consider waiting 24 hours, or even 72, before completing the purchase. Creating a waiting period eliminates that instant gratification dopamine rush and allows for logic and reasoning to take hold.

After the allotted waiting period, shoppers can return to the online cart or boutique to reconsider the purchase. They might just realize they don’t need it.

Automating Savings Transfers

Tackling financial health can be exhausting, and it wouldn’t be surprising if some habits fell through the cracks in the process. There’s a lot to keep track of, and that’s where financial automation can lend a hand.

Setting up an automatic transfer each month from checking to savings account means even the busiest budgeter won’t have to remember to do it manually.

Transferring an amount, even if it’s small, into saving each month might mean there’s less of a temptation to spend. Remember, saving a little is better than saving nothing at all. Making it automatic is one less thing for a busy person to remember.

Paying Bills on Time

Thirty-five percent of a credit score is based on payment history—it’s weighted more than any other factor. When it comes to improving financial health, paying bills on time can have a pretty significant impact.

One way budgeters can ensure timely payment is automating bill payment through a checking account or adding bill due dates to personal calendars. Even if a person can’t afford to pay a bill in full, they should pay the minimum amount due to avoid a penalty.

Starting an Emergency Fund

Only 40% of Americans say they’d be able to cover an unexpected expense totaling $1,000 or more. Without an emergency fund, people are forced to dip into their retirement savings or rack up credit card debt when unexpected finances arise.

A savings account could be set up using an automated savings transfer with a goal of saving $1,000 to start. This probably won’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. Even the smallest savings can build up over time.

Once a budgeter has $1,000 socked away in a savings account, they could start thinking big. With an eye on monthly expenses, they could aim to accrue three to six months’ worth of expenses in a savings account. It’s important these savings stay liquid for easy access in the event of an emergency.

Building up a robust emergency nest egg can create a sense of well-being when it comes to financial health. Budgeters can rest easy knowing they have savings set aside for whatever life throws their way.

Staying up to Date on Credit Reports

Checking a credit score is equivalent to an annual check-up at the doctor’s office. While negative factors such as late payments and collections can stick around on a credit report for up to seven years , they’ll impact a score less and less as time passes.

Pros recommended checking on credit scores at least once a year or more to stay on top of financial health. Federal law allows for one free credit report every 12 months, but budgeters looking to go above and beyond can also try major credit bureaus Experian , Equifax , and TransUnion for free annual credit reports, but not scores. You could also use a credit score monitoring tool like SoFi Relay.

Checking in on credit score regularly will give budgeters not only a sense of how their efforts to improve financial well-being are going, but they’ll also make it easier to find and dispute errors if they arise.
Think of regular check-ins on credit like progress reports on a person’s financial health.

Tracking Financial Wellness with SoFi Money®

Tackling all the steps to improve your financial well-being can be overwhelming, but with a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can track all your spending and saving with a single dashboard. You could set up automatic transfers to savings accounts for different goals, all while earning competitive interest.

With SoFi Money®, it’s easy to save, spend, and earn all in one place. Get started today.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.

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What is the Average Savings by Age

There are endless reasons why a person may want to save money. Be it for a trip they’ve been dreaming of, a home repair project that’s long overdue, a new car, college, or just for the general “future,” it’s a good idea to start putting away a few more nickels and dimes, if possible.

Those already doing so can give themselves a pat on the back as it’s a harder task than one may think. According to a 2019 survey by Bankrate , just 40% of the more than 1,000 survey respondents said they would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, such as a car breaking down or a flooded home, with the money currently sitting in their savings.

Instead of being able to pay for the emergency with cash on hand, over one-third of the respondents said they would have to put the expense on a credit card or take out a loan. (Hey, it’s not called emergency savings for anything.)

But emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. And so can good things, like a new baby, a wedding, a new home, or job opportunity that means moving across town, the country, or the world (which can get really expensive, fast).

So yes, there are lots of reasons to save, and lots of ways to save too, (which we’ve outlined below). However, for those looking for a benchmark of just how much they should’ve saved by a specific age, things get tricky.

Average savings by age is a tough metric because there are so many variables that go into a number like that. We get it, though, everyone wants a guidepost.

So to help set some loose goals, we’ve outlined a few groups and the average American savings by age, to assist everyone in figuring out just how far their saving needs to go.

(Note: Like with all financial issues, your situation—and mileage—may vary.)

Why Everyone Should Be Saving for the Future

As we mentioned above, life can happen fast. For example, the average cost of just having a new baby can run anywhere from $5,000 to $14,500, let alone the cost of raising your kid for the rest of their life.

And, if that baby wants to get a college degree, you’re looking at a whole new ballpark of savings, as the cost of a college education can run from about $40,000 to well past $100,000.

There’s one other big reason to save for the future: People are living longer. However, people’s nest eggs appear to be losing feathers faster than they thought.

According to a 2019 survey by Aegon Center for Longevity, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon in Brazil, just 36% of American workers are “very confident they will be able to retire comfortably.” Globally, that number is just 29%.

Almost Half the Population Has No Savings

Again, like Bankrate’s 2019 survey shows, a mere 40% of the more than 1,000 survey respondents said they would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense.

The Federal Reserve also notes that 39% of all Americans don’t have enough cash in savings to cover even a $400 emergency.

To make matters worse, according to a 2019 study by ING Group International Surveys , 27% of Americans have no money saved. Even a few dollars saved is something to be proud of—but you shouldn’t stop there.

A Snapshot of the Typical American Household’s Savings

According to another 2018 survey by Bankrate , the typical American household has $8,863 in a savings account at a bank or credit union. But, this number varies greatly by age and number of people in a household. Let’s break it down.

Average Savings for Those 35 and Younger

The 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that those Americans under the age of 35 had an average savings account balance of $8,362 .

Because this is such a large age bracket that can skew from teenagers just graduating high school to recent college grads to young professionals well into a decade’s worth of work, it’s tough to nail down age-by-age where the average may be.

It is typically suggested to have three to six months of expenses in an emergency account. At the very least aim for having $1,000 handy in a savings account just in case.

After hitting a savings stride at a new job, people may want to consider looking into any employer-sponsored retirement funds such as an IRA or a 401(k).

Minimally, add in whatever amount the company will match to ensure potential future savings thanks to compound interest. For reference, the average 401k savings for someone between the ages of 20-29 in 2019 was $11,800.

Average Savings by Age 35-44

The 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances also found that those Americans between the ages of 35-44 had an average savings account balance of $20,839. Since this age bracket is now well into adulthood, it’s prudent to save up that three- to six-month savings account, to cover the cost of everything from an accident to a lost job.

Now may also be the time to think about diversifying a financial portfolio and potentially investing in the stock market or in real estate.

Again, for reference on where a person may want to be at for retirement savings goals, the average 401k savings for someone between the ages of 30-39 in 2019 was $42,400.

Average Savings by Age 45-54

The 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that those Americans between the ages of 45-54 had an average savings account balance of $30,441.

At this point, common financial advice dictates that a 50 year old should have at least six times their annual salary if their intention is to retire at 67.

And, by the age of 40-49, a person may want to hit the average retirement savings, which sits at $102,700.

Average Savings by Age 55-64

The 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that those Americans between the ages of 55-64 had an average savings account balance of $45,133.

As this is the time when most Americans are staring down retirement in a few years it’s a good idea to kick up savings, specifically retirement savings into high gear.

That’s because while younger people are capped at contributing $18,500 a year to a 401(k) account, those over the age of 50 are allowed to contribute an additional $6,000.

This is known as a catch-up contribution. The average retirement savings account for a person between the ages of 50-59 in 2019 was $174,100. It’s important to note that taking out cash before the age of 59 ½ could mean tax penalties.

Average Savings by Age 65+

This is when savings really peaks for the average American. The 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that those Americans between the ages of 65-74 had an average savings account balance of $54,089.

However, that savings number does drop over time. According to the survey, Americans above the age of 75 had an average savings account balance of $42,391.

This drop means it’s all the more important to create a retirement budget and stick to to ensure enough savings for as long as a person needs it.

But, before retirement, try to hit the average retirement savings number of 2019 for those aged 60-69, which was $195,500.

Saving a Little Bit More

Reaching specific savings goals doesn’t have to be complicated. It just means doing a bit of homework, strategizing, and staying diligent about personal finances.

The first step in saving more is to analyze current expenses to see what can be cut back on or cut out altogether to make more room for saving. This means creating a monthly personal budget and tracking current personal spending.

To track spending, a person could create an excel spreadsheet and list out all expenditures by categories like groceries, phone bill, car expenses, housing, medical, entertainment, etc, over the course of a month. Then, make sure to fill it in with every single dollar spent to see where every cent of money is going.

To make this process a little easier, SoFi offers SoFi Relay, which allows users to connect all their accounts to one mobile dashboard and track spending habits in real time.

After the month is up, the next step is to look back on the expenditures list. Was there anything that surprised you? Going to coffee shops more often than needed? How about that gym membership, did it actually get used? This is the time to get a little ruthless.

After figuring out what’s left, try implementing a general financial outline like the 50/30/20 rule. This means typically 50% of after-tax income goes toward essential expenses like food and rent, while 30% goes toward discretionary expenses like nights out at the movies or concerts. The last 20% belongs to savings and retirement account goals.

Now, it’s time to get creative about saving even more for the future. This can be done by simply direct depositing more cash into a savings or retirement account right from a paycheck. That way, it’s like the cash never existed in the first place.

Those looking to save a few more bucks every month could also do so by getting rid of a bunch of unnecessary expenses like recurring payments on apps they may not even use anymore. But, instead of pocketing that cash for fun, they can go ahead and reroute all that cash right to their savings.

Still feeling the pinch and don’t really have room to save more from a budget? Living paycheck to paycheck (which upward of 74% of Americans are) isn’t anything to be ashamed of, however it may be time to consider taking in a little more work via the gig economy.

Working part-time via an app like Uber, Lyft, or Taskrabbit allows people to set their own hours and make as much cash as they need depending on how much time they can dedicate.

However, those aren’t the only gig economy jobs available. Those with a talent for photography, writing, or creative arts could try freelancing with publications or individual businesses.

And hey, if you’ve got a spare bedroom, try listing it on room rental websites. Users of the most popular rental service earned an average of $924 per month renting out rooms in their home or other properties, according to 2019 data.

Making Your Savings Work Even Harder

There’s one more way to start making more money for your savings account and future, and it takes barely any work at all: Signing up for online investing with SoFi Invest®.

With the account, users can trade stocks and ETFs, buy crypto, or even start an automated investing program to make things quicker and easier than going it alone.

And, for those feeling a bit squeamish about diving headfirst into investing that’s okay too as SoFi Invest gives users the option to invest in smaller amounts like buying fractional shares with SoFi Stock Bits.

The new offering from SoFi gives users the ability to buy and sell fractional shares in mega-brands like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla. And investing a little now can go a long way in saving for tomorrow, next year, and your happy retirement to come.

Put your money to work toward all your long-term financial plans with SoFi Invest.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.
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Tips for Creating a Financial Plan

It’s time to talk about the big picture for a minute, so close your eyes and imagine your future. What does it look like? Are you sitting poolside, sipping margaritas while someone else takes care of your property?

Maybe you’re in an apartment at the heart of New York City, within walking distance to all the greatest shows and restaurants. Or maybe you simply want to have enough money to fully retire—no part-time gig needed.

How to Create a Financial Plan

A financial plan is not just another word for budget or debt-reduction plan. It’s the long-term roadmap that could help make your vision a reality. The smaller pieces, like budgets and debt-payoff strategies, are tools to help you get there.

And whether you sit down with a financial planner or do it yourself, putting pen to paper and writing down not only what you want, but how you plan to get it, could help take it out of your head and make it real. (If you’re the creative type, you might even consider a vision board.)

Setting Your Goals

While everyone’s financial goals will be different based on their individual situation, these three tend to rise to the top of the list:

•   Having an emergency fund. Many recommend a goal of three to six months worth of living expenses. It might help cover those unexpected expenses that show up, or float you through a loss of income, without wrecking your plan.
•   Growing your 401(k) or other retirement accounts. Contributing at least as much to your 401(k) that your employer is willing to match at 100% is akin to doubling your money. Combine that with the magic of compound interest, and you could see your balance grow at a nice pace.
•   Getting rid of high-interest debt. It’s no secret that eliminating your credit card debt could not only save you thousands of dollars in the long run, it could also help improve your credit score.

While those are certainly important, they’re not the entire list. Some other financial goals that might make sense to you could include:

•   Getting (and keeping) good credit. If your dreams include large purchases, or even starting a small business, a bad credit score can be a deal-breaker. The minimum number needed to buy a home, for example, currently sits at around 620 for a conventional loan. (If you’re struggling with bad credit, there are ways to help increase your score.)
•   Paying off your student loans. If this is one of your financial goals, you likely share it with more than 44 million of your closest friends. And while a student loan is generally considered “good” debt, it still accrues interest. It’s also a potentially large chunk of money that could go toward other areas of your plan.
•   Living within your means. Conventional wisdom suggests you shouldn’t borrow more than you can afford. If you think you may need to borrow money, you could begin with a reality check to decide if you can afford to pay off the debt. If not, you may want to consider saving money until you can.
•   Saving for your kids’ education. No one can predict what the higher-ed landscape will look like when your kids are ready to start filling out applications. But we do know that the average costs for tuition and fees for a public college are hovering at just over $10,000 and are currently increasing at a rate of 3.1% over inflation .
•   Growing your investment portfolio. This might include items like your 401(k) and IRA, but it can also mean a foray into the world of stocks and mutual funds. Becoming a smart investor can not only be a goal by itself, but a way to achieve many of your other goals.

The goals that you choose as part of your financial plan may be on vastly different timelines, and you may need to accomplish one before you can move on to another.

One way to stay focused is to remember that you’re in it for the long haul, and huge changes probably aren’t to happen overnight (unless you win the Powerball, of course.)

Understand Your Resources

Knowing exactly what you have to work with might be one of the most important keys to building a plan that works. To put the entire puzzle together, though, you’ll need to find all the pieces.

One way to get started is to gather up all your paper and electronic bank statements, billing accounts, and portfolio documents. (You might also consider storing all your passwords in one place while you’re at it.

Because, let’s be real, remembering all your logins might be the hardest part of this whole process.) So, what are you looking for? The details on where your money is, how it’s moving, and whether it’s working for or against you. This might include:

•   Income: Salary, investment income, alimony, monetary gifts
•   Expenses: Bank debits, monthly billing statements, and other sources of everyday spending
•   Assets: Savings accounts, home equity, or physical items you own (your house, car, collectibles, etc.)
•   Liabilities: Credit card debt, student loans, mortgage(s), and any other sources of debt

The next step—categorizing spending—might be one of the most challenging due to the ever-changing nature of monthly expenses. (But you’ll likely thank yourself for putting in the work later.) An app like SoFi Relay® can give you a birds-eye view of your finances and let you track expenses all from one place.

However you choose to organize your finances, you might want to consider a method that feels natural rather than trying to force yourself into a pre-set structure. You might be more prone to let all your hard work go idle if you just don’t like the system.

Analyzing Outcomes & Exploring Alternatives

If the organization is the outline of your financial puzzle, then creating and analyzing your working plan is like filling in the center. If a piece doesn’t work one way, you can turn it around and try something different.

For example, if your 401(k) continues to grow at its current rate, and you continue to contribute the same amount each month, how much will you have at age 65? What if you push your retirement until age 67, or increase your risk-tolerance on your retirement accounts?

Or, if your debt will take too long to pay off using the snowball method, might another strategy work better? You could keep an eye out for areas in your plan that fall especially short and consider giving them some extra TLC.

With a lot of diligence and “if this, then that” tinkering, you may soon find yourself looking at a realistic, workable financial plan.

Looking for Help If You Need It

But if the picture just isn’t coming together, don’t forget that DIY doesn’t mean do it alone. If you look around, you’re likely to find quality, no- or low-cost expert advice that could help ensure you’re on the right track.

Your employer may offer access to planning tools, for example, as part of their employee benefits package. A number of low- or no-cost services may also be available to you, such as the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Association .

And, if you become a SoFi member, you’ll have complimentary access to financial planners.

Implementing the Plan

Did you think you’d get through an entire article on how to make a financial plan without one mention of the “b” word? Here it is—the part where you create a budget that helps you implement your plan.

If saving is your ultimate goal, one helpful way to create a solid budget is to track every cent to the penny. Understanding your spending habits could be an effective way to control them.

You might also want to stick to some of the basic tenets of personal finance, like paying your bills on time, keeping one eye on your credit report, and choosing your financial institutions wisely.

You could get your money growing quickly, for example, by setting up a SoFi Money® cash management account.

Monitoring and Reviewing

It’s been a few months since you implemented your financial plan, and so far, so good. But things may have changed a bit.

You paid off one credit card, so you need to reallocate that payment to the next debt. Or, a goal that used to be at the top of your list isn’t so important any more.

Reviewing your plan can mean not only making adjustments, but simplifying. This can include automating any new payments, consolidating new debts, or opting out of paper statements to reduce clutter.

Plus, having the right accounts can go a long way toward helping a person achieve their financial goals. Learn more about how SoFi Money can help.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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Tips for Finding a Lost Bank Account

With all of the demands on your time, you could lose track of an old bank account. While that might sound outlandish, it can happen to the best of us.

In California alone, there is $9 billion worth of unclaimed property—this includes lost bank accounts, “uncashed checks, insurance policy money, stocks, safe deposit boxes, and other unclaimed cash.”

Sometimes it’s your own account that you’ve forgotten about. Other times it can be an account you inherited after the death of a loved one. Whatever the reason, once you realize you’ve misplaced a bank account, you’ll likely want to track it down.

Finding Old Bank Accounts

If you’ve lost track of money that belongs to you, don’t panic. Here are a few potential ideas for how to find lost money in bank accounts. It might take a little leg work, but finding the unclaimed money due to you can be worth it.

If you’ve accessed the account within the past year, you might be able to recover the account directly from the bank. Exactly how to recover a lost bank account number will likely vary based on the financial institution. Your account information can be found on checks and often on old account statements.

If it’s been longer than a year, you might have to dig a little deeper to recover a lost bank account. The best place to start in a quest for unclaimed property is through your state of residence’s unclaimed property division, usually run through the state treasury department.

Each state will have its own rules and regulations for how individuals should go about proving ownership of the unclaimed money. Most of the time the process starts with filling out an online form. Generally, states will require substantial evidence that the money rightfully belongs to you.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators operates MissingMoney.com, which is a multi-state directory that allows you to search by name for missing or unclaimed money. You could also search for missing money from a lost bank account on Unclaimed.org , which directs you to your state’s unclaimed property office.

If you belonged to a credit union in the past, it may be worth checking the unclaimed deposits listing run by the National Credit Union Administration.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to provide proof of your address from decades past. If you’re claiming money on behalf of a deceased relative, you may need more than just a death certificate—sometimes a full probate court order is required. You could check with the local government to confirm the regulations in your state.

Be on the Lookout for Fraud

As you’re searching for lost bank accounts, you may find organizations that offer to find unclaimed money, generally for a fee somewhere between 10% and 20% of the amount recovered. AARP recommends avoiding any services that require payment upfront.

Be wary of any emails or letters you receive offering to return unclaimed property to you for a fee—these are generally scams.

If you encounter an organization or individual who claims to be a part of the government and offers to send you unclaimed money for a fee, these are also generally a scam. Government agencies will not contact individuals about unclaimed money nor will they charge a fee.

If you’re in need of assistance as you search for lost bank accounts, you could consider consulting your financial planner.

Some financial planners offer services to clients to help them look for unclaimed money that may be owed to them. Depending on the financial planner, these services may not even have an additional fee.

Other Sources of Unclaimed Money

Unclaimed money isn’t limited to lost bank accounts. There are a variety of reasons you could be missing money due to you—perhaps you switched jobs and lost track of a pension plan or 401(k). Maybe you forgot to update your address and missed a payment or tax refund.

Pension and Retirement Plans

If you previously worked for a company that offered a pension plan, you can search the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s unclaimed pension database .

For lost or missing retirement plan funds, you could check the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits , which is operated by PenChecks Trust, one of the largest providers of retirement plan distribution services.

Tax Refunds

If you suspect you are owed a missing tax return, you could use the online resource Where’s My Refund? , which is operated by the IRS. To use the tool, you’ll need to know your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status, and the exact amount of the refund.

The IRS recommends calling regarding a missing tax refund only when it has been more than 21 days since you e-filed or six weeks since you mailed in your tax return.

If you’re missing a tax return, know you are working on a deadline. You have just three years to claim a missing tax refund before the money becomes the permanent property of the U.S. government.

Rolling the Money Into Another Account

Once you’ve successfully tracked down your lost bank account or other unclaimed money, you might consider choosing a new bank or want to compare the different types of deposit accounts available to you.

Finding the right account for you is a personal choice. One option you could consider is a cash management account like SoFi Money®. SoFi Money offers easy money management and saving all in one.

With SoFi Money®, you’ll have instant access to your accounts anywhere you go. The account allows you to easily track your spending and savings so you can see your cash flow at any given moment.

And if you’re working toward a few savings goals simultaneously, you could set up individual financial vaults for each goal. Plus, there are absolutely no account fees (subject to change) associated with SoFi Money®.

As a SoFi member, you’ll also have access to other member benefits, like career counseling and the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a financial advisor who can help you create a personalized financial plan.

Want to make the most of your recently found money? Find out more about how a SoFi Money® account can help.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.

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How to Save Big with Senior Discounts

From wrinkles to brittle bones, we often hear about the negative aspects of aging. But getting older has its bright side, too. There’s the chance to enjoy travel and hobbies instead of working, and the wisdom that comes from life experience. And of course, there are senior discounts.

When people hear about senior discounts, they might imagine a hunched over person with gray hair hobbling to the local diner with a walker.

But you don’t have to be over 80 to save big. The senior discount age requirement can be as young as 55 or even 50. And the opportunities to economize go far beyond early bird specials, if you know where to look.

Saving money is a welcome proposition for people of any age, but it can be especially important as you get older. That’s because many seniors live on a limited income, whether a pension, Social Security, disability assistance, or distributions from retirement accounts.

At the same time, the cost of living keeps going up because of inflation. And with people living longer on average, retirement savings have to go farther than they ever have. If you’re on the younger side of the “senior” spectrum, every dollar you save can help you put more into your nest egg.

Common Senior Discounts

Here are some tips on the kinds of discounts out there and where to look for them:

Travel

Exploring the world is something many people look forward to in their retirement years. Good news—lots of senior citizen discounts apply when it comes to travel. Airlines such as American Airlines, Southwest, United, and Delta offer lower fares for older passengers for some destinations and markets.

Your best bet is to call the airlines directly to check for available deals. British Airways also offers discounts on flights and vacation packages for members of AARP, which anyone aged 50 and over can join .

Members of AARP also get discounts on car rentals with Budget Rent A Car (10-30% off), Avis (10-30% off), Zipcar (43% discount on membership), and Payless Car Rental (discount of 5% and up).

Hertz separately offers discounts of up to 20% to travelers who are 50 or older, and Alamo provides deals through its Senior Circle program. If you prefer to travel by bus or train, Amtrak gives 15% off on most domestic trains to riders 62 and older and 10% off on cross-border trains to travelers 60 and over. Passengers who are 62 and over can also ask for 5% off on Greyhound bus trips.

Seniors can also save on many cruises. Royal Caribbean and Carnival offers special rates on certain routes for those 55 and older. AARP members can also get deals with river cruises through Uniworld, Collette, and Grand European Travel, as well as Caribbean cruises with MSC.

Hotels are another way older customers can pay less for travel. Best Western offers up to 15% off for guests 55 and up. Motel 6 and Choice Hotels give 10% off to those 60 and older, and Hampton Inn gives the same to guests 65 and older (or AARP members). Marriott offers at least 15% off to those 62 and older, and IHG gives an undisclosed deal to those in the same cohort.

AARP members also get 10% off at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, which includes Super 8, Days Inn, and La Quinta. Plus, they get 10% off at Ramada Worldwide, Comfort Inn, and Cambria Hotels, as well as 5% off at Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

Seniors can also save while traveling closer to home. Many city transit systems offer free or reduced fares for older residents.

San Francisco’s Muni system is free for riders 65 and older who meet income limits. Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and many other cities also offer lower fares to older passengers.

Shopping

As a senior, you can also save big with many retailers. Clothing stores that offer discounts to older shoppers include Belk, Goodwill, Kohl’s, Ross and Christopher & Banks.

In some cases, discounts only apply on certain days. Beyond apparel, seniors can get discounts on purchases at craft stores, including Michaels and Joann, and grocery stores like Bi-Lo and Bealls.

AARP members also get deals with UPS, LensCrafters, and various flower delivery services. Walgreens gives seniors 55 or older up to 20% off on the first Tuesday of the month, or anytime for AARP members.

Rite Aid does the same (except for prescriptions) on the first Wednesday of the month to those 65 and older. Don’t forget to check for discounts with local stores, as well — they’re not always advertised.

Eating Out

Seniors can eat for less at a variety of restaurants, sometimes on specific days. The exact age when the benefit kicks in and the type of discount can vary, but the average is around 10% . Popular chains such as A&W, Applebee’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Chili’s, and Shoney’s offer 10% off at most locations.

The perks at Chili’s, Dairy Queen, IHOP, TCBY, and Whataburger kick in at age 55 , and Krispy Kreme and Steak ‘n Shake offer discounts to customers as young as 50.

Other restaurants — including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Dunkin Donuts, and Denny’s — give 10% off to members of AARP . Places like Arby’s, Back Yard Burgers, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell throw in a free soft drink or coffee for seniors.

Keep in mind that discounts might vary by location at restaurants that are franchises. And make sure you’re clear on what the discount includes (many don’t cover alcohol, for example). Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the big chains—many local restaurants also offer discounts or early bird specials.

Recreation

There are lots of ways to save as a senior in your leisure time. Many movie theaters, including AMC, Cinemark, Landmark Theatres and Showcase Cinemas, offer discounts, with some only applying for certain days or times.

Adults age 62 and older can enjoy the great outdoors for less with a Senior Pass that will get them into more than 2,000 national parks and other recreational sites overseen by six federal agencies.

The pass, which costs $20 for a year or $80 for a lifetime, may also include discounts on camping, swimming, and boat launch fees.

Museums are another place that offer reduced fares for seniors, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Zoos, such as the Bronx Zoo, and gyms are also places seniors can enjoy for less.

Services

Senior discounts extend the necessities of life, too. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer deals on monthly phone plans for older subscribers. Jiffy Lube, as well as some regional auto repair providers, offers savings to seniors at some locations.

Certain utility providers also give discounts to older residents on things like garbage collection, water, and power; income limits are sometimes a prerequisite. Some car insurance companies also slash premiums for older riders, and Great Clips and Supercuts offer cheaper haircuts to seniors at some locations.

Saving the Smart Way with SoFi Money

Senior discounts can be a great way to cut your expenses, but having more in the bank is just as helpful when it comes to achieving your goals. Opening a cash management account with SoFi Money®, where you can spend, save, and earn all in one place, could be an easy way to put your cash to work for you.

There are no account fees (subject to change) and you can use your phone to make deposits or transfers, and you can send money instantly to other SoFi Money customers. It takes just minutes to open an account online.

Making the Most of Your Golden Years

Every penny counts when you’re a senior. Saving big through senior discounts—and earning as much as possible in your accounts—means more of your hard-earned retirement income stays in your pocket. So you can use the cash for what you really want to do in your golden years.

Want to keep your cash in place that pays? Open a cash management account with SoFi Money today.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.

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