woman on beach swing with tablet

Living in the Now vs Saving for the Future

Life is filled with tough decisions, including the mother of all: do I live in the now, or save for tomorrow?

It’s tough because this is the decision that generally seals our fate. Most of us would rather not think that far ahead; after all, retirement is decades from now. We often feel that we can’t afford to do both. And the expression “you only live once” (YOLO) is a temptation to put off tomorrow while you live in the moment.

Other ways we put off saving for our future — and this is where it gets heavy — could be the blame game: our parents, our government, the banks, the system. The feeling that everything is already rigged against us makes it easy to live life without an end plan.

If you would like to change your way of thinking, try this splash of cold water: imagine yourself at age 65. Where will you be living? How would you be paying for food, heat and electricity? Will you be existing solely on Social Security (if it’s still around)?

We’re not trying to scare you, even though the thought is scary. In fact, there are solutions to this dilemma that you can put into action today. We’re going to show you that there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. You can save for the future while living your current life to the fullest.

Follow these simple steps to live in the now while saving money for the future.

Start With a Clear Eye

Get a bird’s eye view of your situation and the way you roll by devising a list of questions that get to the heart of the matter. Give serious consideration to the quality of your crib, your wheels, your wardrobe, and other materialistic matters. Don’t forget to asses the even more important stuff, like the degree of your happiness and spirituality, your romantic life, your circle of friends, and so on. You don’t have to share this list with anyone, so don’t be afraid to get really honest.

Divide Your Goals into Categories

Distinguish the goals that address your wants from the goals that will take care of your needs. All of this should be based on your income and financial standing as it is at this moment. Try your list this way:

Bucket list

Write down all the things you want to do before you die, and get busy checking them off. Parasailing? Learning French? Cooking a multi-course meal? No goal should be out of reach. The idea is that, eventually, you will have the satisfaction of having lived your life to the absolute fullest.


Make a list of the ways you want to spend your golden years. Will you have the money to cover these goals? What must you do now in order to reach those financial goals? For some perspective, see if your on track for the retirement you want with our retirement calculator.


Take a cold, hard look at what you’re spending, and where. Include your rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation-related payments, groceries, wardrobe, eating out, and other assorted obligations. See where you can make cuts or reductions, and where you can redirect that spending into a retirement or emergency fund.

You don’t have to cut your budget so close to the bone that you’re life becomes dull; it may take a while to figure out just the right balance between living in the now and saving for the future. It could mean something as simple as brown-bagging your lunch or taking the bus to work instead of your car. You also don’t have to fix any spending that isn’t broken. If it’s working for you, keep it.

Current Income and Savings

To get a good understanding of where you can go from here, make a list of all your sources of monthly income. This includes your take-home pay (after taxes!), your retirement and savings accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and your emergency fund and vacation fund.


Create a detailed list of what you owe to creditors and lenders every month, including credit cards, school loans, and any other loans. Once organized, you can start deciding on a debt repayment plan that best suits your situation.

Evaluate Your Financial Situation

Be brutal in your estimation of where you stand. Ask yourself if you think you are saving enough for retirement, if you are paying your bills on time, if you are happy with your credit score, and if you have enough disposable income to have the fun you want to have (after your responsibilities are met).

Review and Revise

Once you discover your weak links, you’ll need to figure out how to change, adjust or alter your lifestyle. The emphasis for improvement should be more on the things you need. Once you take care of that, the things you want will be easier to achieve.

Start On Your Spending Cuts

Now that your entire financial life is laid out before you and you’ve realized your priorities, it’s time to get the scalpel. See what you can cut out completely, or at least reduce; see if there is a way to pay off your debt faster.

Adjust Your Plan Where Needed

The closer you watch your spending and the the more proactive you get with monitoring and switching up your budget, the more cash you may see become available for your future. It may take some trial and error, but don’t give up and don’t allow yourself to fall short of your goals. Always keep them in front of you, and understand that sometimes painful changes in your current situation can lead to incredible improvements in your life and your future.

Start an Account to Start Saving Money

Rather than use credit cards for the things you want now (vacations, tech, wardrobe, etc.), open separate savings accounts dedicated to each individual goal. For instance, label one savings account “Trip To France.” Label the next one “My New Laptop.” Even if you can only contribute a few dollars a week, your goal will get nearer with each deposit, and you’ll be able to pay for your goal in sweet cash. That saves you from getting deeper into debt and paying more interest, and helps you save for the future more effectively.

SoFi Money®, a cash management account, may be able to help you see this through. SoFi Money earns you 0.20% Annual Percentage Yield on all your cash and has no account fees.

We work hard to give you high interest and charge zero account fees. With that in mind, our interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time.”

Introducing SoFi Money®

Sometimes a plan like this can feel overwhelming and even hopeless. It’s a common feeling, but don’t let it get the best of you. Consider getting some help without it costing you a penny. SoFi Money can help you track your spending in your weekly dashboard all within the app.

SoFi Money is a cash management account where you can spend, save, and earn all in one place. Once you are able to stick to your goals and your budget with the help of SoFi Money, your lifestyle can change for the better and your financial situation can improve.

Get started with SoFi Money!

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. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

Read more
hands on table using smartphones

What Are P2P Transfers & How To Use Them

Dinners with a large group of friends: Excellent in theory, but kind of terrible in practice. No matter how much fun was had, everyone seems to break into a sweat the moment the bill needs to be split.

Not only must intricate calculations be made (Susan didn’t drink, Javier only had an appetizer), but splitting a tab in 15-odd ways creates a ton of work for the poor server, who is probably already stressed.

Peer-to-Peer transfers—the ability to send money to friends and family using an app on a mobile device—are rapidly growing in popularity. Can they single handedly save group dining? Have they already?

It certainly seems to be that way. Group dinners just got about 100x more tolerable.

There’s no denying that P2P transfers are an easy, fast, and cheap way to move money between friends and loved ones. And while online money transfers have been used by some businesses for a while now (like eBay), the convenience factor is leading more businesses to accept P2P transfers as payment.

For those of you who are new to P2P transfers, we’ll answer the questions, “What is a P2P money transfer?” and “How does P2P transfer work?” as well as discuss the benefits of P2P transfers.

What Is A P2P Money Transfer?

Previously, if you wanted to split a gift with a friend or pay your roommate for rent, you would need cash or a check. Well, both of these options required a trip to the bank, and checks often cost money. In an era where phones are making everything more convenient, this was a space just waiting for an upgrade.

With a P2P transfer, people are able to send money to one another through a linked account that is accessed through an app on a mobile device or by logging into an account online. For traditional P2P money transfers, both parties need access to the P2P transfer service.

For example, if you want to send a friend a Venmo for the coffee they bought you this morning, they would also need the Venmo app.

It is most common to set up a P2P account attached to a bank account. To sign up, you may need your bank’s checking and routing number—those numbers you can find at the bottom of a check. Some P2P transfer services may only need your bank log-in information. Others may require extra verification.

Some of the P2P companies allow customers to attach an account to a debit card or even a credit card, but this generally comes with an additional fee.

Many traditional, commercial banks are also getting in on the online money transfer game, making it easier for customers at the same bank to transfer money to one another instantaneously.

How Do P2P Money Transfers Work?

Say that you want to send money to your cousin for your grandma’s birthday present. She can request a payment, or you can initiate the payment yourself. To find your cousin on that particular online transfer service, you search for her via some sort of signifier, usually an email, phone number, or a “handle.”

Next, enter in the amount that you’d like to send to her, indicate what the transfer is for, and click send. If you’ve opted into additional security measures on your account, you may need to enter a PIN. The exact steps you’ll take to send money will depend on the service provider, but that’s the general gist of it.

Do you always have to indicate what the transfer is for? It depends on the P2P transfer service you’re using. Some services, like PayPal, want to know if a transaction is business-related so that they can charge a fee. Others simply request that information so that it acts as a personal ledger for the customer.

Depending on the service provider, the transfer may be instantaneous or it may take a few days. Once the money arrives in its new account, your cousin can let it just hang out there, or they can transfer it to their bank account.

If they leave it in the account, they can use that balance the next time they need to pay someone. If they’d prefer to move the money into their bank account, they can initiate a transfer. A transfer to a bank account will generally take several business days.

When money is sent from one customer to another, it moves in the form of an electronic package safeguarded with multiple layers of data encryption. This makes it hard for hackers to access the data within the transfer while it is in motion. Similarly, data encryption keeps your money and account information safe. Once the data set reaches its destination, it is decoded and deposited as currency.

Are P2P Money Transfers Safe?

Any time your bank account or credit or debit card information is online, there is a chance that someone can get ahold of it, but that’s not unique to P2P transfer companies. All of the major online money transfer companies encrypt all of you financial information, yes, but no P2P system is totally impervious to hacks and scams. Similarly, no online bank or really online anything can be totally free from risk.

The good news is, the major services are doing what they can to keep information safe, and both the services and your banks should be adept at dealing with any issues of fraud. Still, it is important to read each company’s security policy to make sure you’re comfortable before agreeing to use that service.

Then, there are often additional measures you can take to make sure that your account remains secure. For example, they may recommend using a PIN number or receiving notifications each time there’s a transaction on your account. It’s a smart idea to take any extra precautions to protect your information.

What Are the Benefits of P2P Money Transfers?

Online money transfers have several main benefits. They are:

Fast: Depending on your service, P2P money transfers happen quickly. Most service providers provide same-day transfers for users of their service, as well as bank transfers that take a few business days.

Cheap: When exchanging money between friends and family, P2P money transfers are generally free.

It isn’t always free, though. If you are using a service for business transactions, some P2P services will charge a fee. Other services may charge to use a credit card instead of a bank account, for transfers exceeding a certain dollar amount, or for a high volume of transfers in a day, week, or month.

Easy: No more trips to the ATM or a bank branch to get cash, writing checks to your friends, family, and roommates, and no more spending $25 on a book of checks. A P2P transfer online makes moving money within your network as easy as can be. All you need is a mobile device, the app, and cell service or WiFi.

Excitingly, P2P transfers are only getting easier and faster. While most P2P transfer companies currently require both parties to have access to that app or have an established account to exchange money, other companies have designed the technology that allows you to send money to anyone, regardless if they have the app.

Customers with a SoFi Money™ cash management account can send money to any person, anywhere, no SoFi Money account necessary. If they do happen to have SoFi Money, then the transfer happens instantaneously.

Even better, SoFi Money accounts act as more than just a P2P transfer service. It is a cash management account where you can use it like a debit account, complete with a debit card.

There is no minimum to start a SoFi Money account, and there are no account fees. SoFi Money was designed with the tech-savvy customer in mind, with easy P2P transfers, weekly spending tracking, and access to your money right at the palm of your hand. Best of all, opening account takes 2 minutes.

Ready for free, easy money transfers to anyone in your network? Open up a SoFi Money account 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.
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. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

Read more
champagne, wedding bands, and flowers

Why February Is Actually a Good Month to Buy Your Wedding Bands

Caught up in the frenzy of wedding planning, with a growing list of things that must be done, it’s easy to overlook one of the most meaningful decisions you and your partner will make together.

Choosing your wedding bands.

You’ll see lots of tips out there—online and in bridal magazines—about good times of year to buy engagement rings. What you don’t see nearly as often is information about budgeting for and purchasing wedding bands. But that doesn’t mean it should become an afterthought.

After all, if all goes well, you’ll be wearing those rings for the rest of your lives. Your bands are a symbol of your love and commitment, and they will hopefully make you happy every time you look at them.

You’ll want your band-browsing trips to be romantic but also rewarding, especially if you’re hoping to get the right rings at a bargain price. And that makes February—a month devoted to lovers—an ideal time to shop. Here’s why.

The Christmas Crush is Over

Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) is still one of the most popular holidays for couples to get engaged , but more people choose to pop the question in the period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day than any other time of year.

So while jewelers still will be catering to happy couples in February, and there will be plenty of inventory, the stores won’t be quite so crowded. And you might be the only ones in there looking for bands instead of a big diamond. You should be able to get lots of attention and negotiating for a better price could potentially be easier.

Ring Sets

If you’re among those still looking to buy an engagement ring for a Valentine’s Day proposal or announcement, keep an eye out for package deals. Jewelers often recommend buying a bridal set—an engagement ring and wedding band that go together, or even fit together—because they can be more comfortable and make decision-making a bit simpler.

Some sets come with a matching groom’s band as well. You may find three rings you love already on sale together—but if they aren’t, don’t be afraid to ask if you can get a better price for a package.

Bridal Fairs are Kicking Into Gear

Many bridal expos are held in February and March , offering a great opportunity to see the trendiest and most enduring styles without the sales pressure.

Vendors are there to give tips as well as a good pitch—and many will be offering limited-time expo-related discounts. Gather up information and coupons at the bridal fair, then give yourselves a day or two to regroup and possibly go make a purchase.

Great For a Summer Wedding

Many jewelers recommend shopping for your bands at least two to three months before your wedding date. That will give you time to look and look again, get the rings sized and get any engraving or other customizing done.

If your wedding is in June or later in the summer, starting in February should provide plenty of breathing room, even if it takes a while to find what you want at the price you want to pay. (And, come on, you know every store will be covered in hearts and flowers, so the setting will be super-romantic.)

Before you scoot out the door on a band-buying mission, though, do a little prep work . It will help you stick to a reasonable price for your rings and make things go more smoothly.

Set a Budget

You want bands you’ll love forever, but not at a price that will put you in debt for the rest of your lives.

It’s really a matter of taste: what metal you want, how wide the band is, the intricacy of the design, and if it’s custom-designed. If your budget is limited, talk about whether you might want to upgrade down the road or add an anniversary ring in 10 or 20 years.

Look For a Ring You’ll Want to Wear

Of course, you want your ring to be a good fit for your budget, but it also should suit your lifestyle. If you don’t plan on taking your band off every time you’re in the garden or workshop, if you play an instrument or sport, or if you don’t want to attract attention, stick to something simple.

Start by looking at images online (try to find sites with 3D photos ), then go try on similar styles. When it’s time to buy, online jewelers can be less expensive, but be sure you go with a reputable brand.

Keep Maintenance in Mind

Softer metals can bend. Small stones can get loose and go missing. If you’re not up for the trauma, trips to the jeweler for repairs or the cost of replacing tiny diamond chips, you might want to go with a basic platinum or gold band that will hold up with little care.

Beware of “Interest-Free” Financing at the Jewelry Shop

Larger jewelry stores usually offer some sort of in-store financing, including 0%-interest credit cards. But you could curse that convenience later if you can’t pay off the balance in full during the designated promotional period.

If the interest is “deferred” and you still carry a balance—even if it’s just a few dollars—you’ll have to pay all the interest that’s been adding up since you made the purchase. And that interest rate probably will be higher than other credit card or loan offers available to you.

Financing Your Wedding Bands

If it looks as though your dream bands will be a bit outside your budget because of all the other costs of starting your life together, a wedding loan may be a proactive way to plan your payments. With a personal loan, you’ll be clear from the get-go about the interest rate and length of the loan—no surprises.

And you could potentially qualify for a competitive rate if you and your spouse-to-be both have a solid financial history, including factors like a good credit record and well-paying jobs.

If you sign on as co-borrowers, and the funds will be delivered to a joint account, you can own the loan together and work the payments into your new household budget. Another plus: You may be able to negotiate a discount with the jeweler for paying the entire bill up front and in cash.

Applying for a SoFi personal loan online is quick and easy. There’s no prepayment penalty, so you can pay the loan back early if you want.

If you qualify for a personal loan using SoFi as your lender, you’ll also qualify for member benefits that include access to other financial services you may require in the future, whether you’re buying a home, sending your kids to college or planning your retirement.

The words “till death do us part” should hopefully refer to your marriage, not your wedding bills.

A SoFi personal loan can help if you come up short when it’s time to buy your bands—or with any other expenses related to your wedding.

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.
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.
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.

Read more
cash on yellow background

How to Manage Your Money Better

If you want to manage your money more efficiently and effectively, you definitely aren’t alone. For example, when you think about New Year’s resolutions made each year by friends, family members, and coworkers, they probably include:

•  I’m going to save more money this year.

•  This year, I’m going to pay off all my credit cards.

•  I’m going to create a budget and stick to it this year.

And while everyone may have similar resolutions, no two people have the exact same financial situation, goals, challenges, or opportunities, so no two financial strategies should be precisely the same.

Yet, there are certain strategies that will help nearly everyone improve their financial situation, bringing them closer to achieving their money-related goals. In this post, we’ll share five money management tactics.

The five tactics are:

•  Set financial goals, along with a realistic budget.

•  Start saving money (or more money).

•  Use your credit cards wisely.

•  Manage your debt appropriately.

•  Use the right bank account.

Keep reading to get tips on how to accomplish those tactics.

Setting Financial Goals, Along With a Realistic Budget

No matter what financial situation you’re in, a great way to manage money begins with goal setting and budget making. If the idea of doing so stresses yotu out, know that setting goals doesn’t have to be stressful.

That’s because, while it’s important to set concrete, realistic goals, it’s also okay to create, say, a five-year plan that culminates in the vacation of your dreams—or whatever else puts a big smile on your face.

Let’s delve into budget making first and then return to goal setting. Here are some tips to create a solid budget:

  1. Collect the most recent statements from all of your lenders, as well as your most recent utility bills, property tax statements, and the like. Make sure you have everything gathered together.

  2. Using these documents, make a list of your monthly expenses, including:

 a. fixed ones, such as rent or mortgage payment, insurance payments, credit card payments, student loan payments, your typical grocery expenses, and so forth

 b. more flexible ones, such as eating out at restaurants, hobby expenses, clothing, and so forth

  3. List all sources of monthly income; use your take-home pay after taxes and after pre-tax contributions are taken out.

  4. Add up your savings, including your retirement accounts.

  5. Create a draft of your monthly budget.

  6. Identify weak spots in your budget and adjust it, as needed. If, for example, your dining out expenses are cutting into your ability to save, what adjustments can you make to improve your financial picture while remaining realistic?

Now, think about your financial goals. Try to break them down into multiple-year plans, not just this year or 25 years from now. They might include items like this:

•  One-year plan: Pay off credit card debt.

•  Two-year plan: Increase savings account by 50%.

•  Five-year plan: Have enough savings for a down payment to build a new house.

This can help your goals feel more achievable. Keep those in mind as we go through the other tips for learning how to manage money better. For additonal help with budgeting, get started with SoFi Relay. SoFi Relay tracks all of your money, all in one place (at no cost) so you stay on pace to hit your goals.

Starting Saving Money (or More Money)

Once you have a reasonable draft of a budget and you know your financial goals, know that you can continue to tweak the budget to help you achieve your goals.

It’s typically recommended that, ideally, everyone has an emergency fund that would cover living expenses for three to six months (or even up to 12 months). So, what are you willing to cut back on to create that fund?

Do you subscribe to numerous subscription-based services and apps? Which ones don’t you really use? Which ones are a bonus and not something of true importance? Rather than going on a big trip this year, how can you create a staycation to remember? If you’re a fan of designer clothes, what outlets might help you to get the outfits you love at a price that’s gentler on your wallet?

Here are three more ideas to consider:

•  Pay yourself first by having money automatically deducted from your paycheck to put into a savings account.

•  Monitor how well you’re meeting your savings goals and revisit your budget until you find the right mix of strategies to meet your savings goals.

•  If you discover that there are luxuries you really don’t want to give up, you can always pick up a side hustle and use that extra cash for your splurges.

If you think of saving as a game to see how quickly you can reach a certain goal, it can make the whole process much more enjoyable.

Using Your Credit Cards Wisely

When thinking about how to manage finances, you may think about credit card management first—and you’re right that this is a core component. The average credit card annual percentage rate (APR) in 2018 was 15.32%. By just paying credit card minimums, the principal balance may not seem go down very much.

There are, however, three time-tested tips that could help you escape credit card debt. They include:

  1. The snowball method is a debt payoff strategy where you focus on the smallest debts first. Then once you tackle your smallest debt, you continue to pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. Remember, it is important to continue to pay the minimum payment on all of your debts, even though you are focusing on the smallest one.

  2. Or, use the same basic system, but pay them off starting from the one with the highest interest rate then down to the lowest.

  3. Or, consolidate credit card debt into a low interest personal loan and focus on paying off that one loan.

A big advantage of the third method is that you have an opportunity to get a lower interest rate from a personal loan than a credit card.

No matter which method you choose, once credit cards are paid off, it’s probably smart to only use them to the degree that you can pay them off in full each month. Then, when emergencies arise, you can use your emergency savings fund to address those needs.

Managing Your Debt

As you tackle your credit card debt, you’ve already begun the process of better managing your debt overall. And, if you have student loans, it may make sense to also consider how to address that debt effectively. And, it can be a good strategy to investigate how much money you can save when you refinance your student loans into one convenient, low interest loan.

You can find your rate at SoFi in just two minutes. At SoFi, we consolidate and refinance federal and private loans together. We charge no application fees and there are no prepayment penalties or hidden fees. Plus, you can find the rate you qualify for in 2 minutes with no commitment.

Using the Right Bank Account for You

As you’re building up your emergency savings, it’s important to consider your savings account’s interest rate. Right now, rates are rising on savings accounts, but it is still important to make sure there aren’t conditions in the fine print that could make the deal less than appealing. Conditions to be aware of can range from minimum balances that are beyond your current financial reach to fees and more.

You can also go with a non-traditional option, such as a cash management account with SoFi Money®. It is a cash management account that will provide you with tools to spend and save.

About SoFi Money

You can simplify your finances with SoFi Money. SoFi Money is a cash management account and has no account fees.

SoFi Money comes with numerous benefits, including:

•  You’ll receive a debit card.

•  You can make mobile transfers and photo check deposits.

•  You can benefit from complementary career coaching and SoFi community resources.

•   You can count on security SSL encryption and fraud protection. Plus, once your money arrives at our partner banks, it is FDIC insured up to $1.5 million.

You can open a SoFi Money account quickly and easily. Start saving and spending in one place.

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.
Each business day, cash deposits in SoFi Money cash management accounts are swept to one or more sweep program banks where it earns a variable interest rate and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance does not immediately apply. Coverage begins when funds arrive at a program bank, usually within two business days of deposit. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank). If the number of available banks changes, or you elect not to use, and/or have existing assets at, one or more of the available banks, the actual amount could be lower. For more information on FDIC insurance coverage, please visit www.FDIC.gov . Customers are responsible for monitoring their total assets at each Program Banks to determine the extent of available FDIC insurance coverage in accordance with FDIC rules. The deposits in SoFi Money or at Program Banks are not covered by SIPC.
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. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

Read more
woman online shopping

Do You Spend More Than Your Peers?

Living in America? Consider how your average monthly expenses stand in comparison to your country-peeps:

Every year , the average American spends:

•  $18,886 on housing (including property taxes, if applicable)

•  $9,049 on transportation (including gas)

•  $7,203 on food (groceries and eating out)

•  $2,913 on entertainment

All that expense seems to be pretty standard, even before you start chasing the classic American Dream. For that, it’s easy to look to your peers to see how it’s done (even if they’re doing it wrong).

An old-school term for this is “keeping up with the Joneses,” trying to acquire as many things your neighbors next door. Even for the most competitive, that race gets tiresome very fast. Once you realize that the best person to compete against is not others but yourself, you can get more focused on your own financial goals.

Otherwise, comparing yourself with others will leave you in a constant state of distraction. Until then, you may be burning many wasted calories that could be put to better use focused on your own average monthly expenses, spending, budget and goals.

Let’s face it, though: some of this is a result of social media. Part of the need for keeping up with your friends comes from Facebook and Insta envy. Seeing your friends post photos and videos of their latest acquisitions (cars, houses, tech equipment) can light that competitive fire in you (or maybe it’s just plain envy). Sometimes, a message like that from an online friend can be even more powerful and influential than an advertisement from the actual brand.

How Do You Compare?

Data regarding average monthly expenses among peer groups is shown on a website called Status Money . It matches individuals to a peer group based on income, geography and age to compare how other people are doing in relation to your financial situation.

It also lets you compare your spending habits with like-minded people among your peer group. Average monthly expenses include transportation costs, shopping, eating out and other obligations.

How it came about: Status Money cofounder Majid Maksad was formerly a data analyst for Citi; he found
, even during the Great Recession, Americans were not becoming as frugal and financially careful as you might expect.

In fact, what he found was the complete opposite: continued spending, not by personal choice but mostly driven by writing off bad debts through foreclosures and personal bankruptcies.

What it boils down to: think differently. Train yourself to be more aware.

“It wasn’t a change in behavior that was occurring,” Maksad told Forbes about the stats he discovered. “And that raised the question: ‘How do you get people to change behavior?’”

Perhaps the answer lies in knowing — not assuming — exactly what your peers average monthly expenses are. The results seem to support this. A study on the early users of Status Money found that comparing yourself to those in your peer group (a minimum of 5,000 people) could strongly influence your spending habits (this can also be called FOMO spending). Between September 2017 and April 2018, spending among those surveyed by Status Money declined by about $600 a month.

“People need to know what others are doing with money,” Maksad told CNN Money, “but in a completely secure and anonymous way.”

Comparing Finances To Your Peers

When comparing finances online, completely secure and anonymous is how most people want to roll, particularly Millennials. If you are a part of this largest living generation, here are some broad strokes to give you a general idea of where you stand when compared to your peeps. It’s all according to a survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants:

•  Over three-quarters of Millennials want to have the same clothes, cars and tech gadgets as their friends.

•  Around half of have used a credit card to pay for daily necessities.

•  Over 25 percent of them had late payments or are dealing with bill collectors.

•  Seven out of 10 of those surveyed define financial stability as being able to pay off of their bills each month.

•  Gender difference are also a thing. The study reveals that men are more inclined to keep up with their friends when it comes to material goods. Women, however, tend to be more frugal and consider saving money important.

According to the apartment rental site RentCafe, younger adults may have spent as much as $93,000 by age 30 on rent. During their first decade in the workforce, rent can take up about 45 percent of their income, which can leave next to nothing for savings, investments, and paying off debt. Compare that to GenX adults, who spent only 41 percent of their income on rent per year by age 30 (adjusted for inflation); Baby Boomers spent only 36 percent of their income on rent back in the day.

Are you paying more than 30 percent of your income on housing? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers you “cost-burdened.” If you’re spending 50 percent or more on housing, you maybe put in to the category of “severely cost burdened.”

Tips on How To Combat Peer Pressure Spending

Here are a few ways to put blinders on when that peer pressure spending urge comes on:

Get Real

Make a deal with yourself to be honest about your overspending. Don’t try to fool yourself or rationalize away unnecessary purchases. Ask yourself — constantly — “Do I really need this, or am I just trying to keep up with my friends?”

Get Stubborn

Once you have a budget in place, be rigid about sticking to it. If you can’t afford something, don’t let the devil on your shoulder sweet talk the angel on your other shoulder. Step in and take charge. With time, the compulsion to give into your spending impulses will start to weaken and listen to you.

Treat Yourself

If you’re doing a good job of sticking to your budget and not overspending, allow yourself a periodic reward that you promise yourself in advance (once a month, every six weeks, etc.). Go have a meal with friends or buy that pair of shoes you really like. Be sure not to treat yourself so well that you overspend and wind up taking giant steps backward.

Get Help With SoFi Relay

Often, it helps when you can keep tabs on your spending and have access to someone to talk through your expenses without fear or embarrassment. With SoFi Relay you’ll have access to both of these, and more, at no cost!

SoFi Relay gives you insight into your cash flow and spending habits so you can see the full picture of your finances. Additionally, you can connect all of your accounts on one dashboard to get a bird’s-eye view of your balances on the go.

What’s more? You can talk with a financial planner about your spending habits & take a serious look at your expenses to create an action plan to help achieve your financial goals.

Keep track of your spending with SoFi Relay!

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.
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. Advisory services offered through `SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender