stethoscope and laptop

How to Get by on a Medical Resident Salary

Television shows often feature medical school residency as a stage for exploring young professional life—with no shortage of soap opera melodrama. There always seems to be an angry surgeon, overworked residents, and a love triangle or two.

But from the sound of it, the reality of resident life is really quite different. Yes, residents often work long hours—the shows get that right—but residents also have families and outside lives and worry about normal stuff like paying rent and student loans.

How Much Do Medical Residents Make?

So, how much do doctors make during residency? According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average medical resident salary was $54,600 in 2017 and is projected to be $55,700 in 2018. After (national average) federal and state taxes, this leaves the average medical school resident with $3,280 to spend each month.

Getting a stipend may feel like a relief for some residents fresh out of medical school, but making that money stretch can be a challenge—especially in high cost-of-living areas. To help, here are seven tips for getting by (and even thriving) while living on an average resident salary.

1. Make a Simple Budget

The average resident has little time to keep track of their expenses, but building a simple budget could be the difference between making it work and ending up short. Your first step should be to make a list of all “necessary” spending, such as rent, utilities, and groceries.

Compare that to all sources of income, including your resident salary and any family help. What amount is left over? That’s how much you have to spend on “extras” each month. You can either set limits for each category (for example, $100 for eating out) or you can monitor your spending as the month progresses. Or, you can do both.

2. Consider Personal Preferences and Trade-Offs

A budget can feel like a buzzkill, but if you do it right, it can also be freeing. By knowing exactly how much you can spend, you can then decide what’s important for you to prioritize and what can be ruthlessly eliminated.

Maybe you’ll decide that you want to cut cable but can’t give up going out to your favorite local wine bar. Or perhaps you’ll give up eating out so that you can spend more on rent. Really, spending money is just analyzing each trade-off; ask yourself “do I want this, or something else?” Even committing to something as simple as brewing coffee at home could save $100 per month or more.

3. Focus on Fixed Costs

One big way you can make an impact on your budget is by making “big wins” on fixed costs, such as insurance or utility bills. For example, lowering a bill by $20 each month is going to have a bigger effect that saving a few dollars on small purchases. Looking at your own fixed spending, where could you ask for better rates? Or cut back entirely?

While you’re at it, check your subscription services and other memberships. Though not often considered a “fixed cost,” they become one once they withdraw money from your account each month. Subscriptions and memberships are sneaky; check yours to make sure you’re not paying for a service that you’re not able to use because you’re so busy; try to eliminate one or two for automatic monthly savings.

4. Share a Living Space

When it comes to getting a big win, there’s usually no win that’s bigger than saving on your rent. To do this, you can move into a more affordable place, live with roommates, or rent out a room out at your place. Not only could a roommate help you save on rent, but on utilities like water, electric, and cable.

Some folks don’t like the idea of having roommates, but it can be worth considering that living alone is a pretty recent luxury. This is partly due to the increased number of people who aren’t getting married, but either way, having a place to yourself hasn’t always been the norm. While you need to do what keeps you sane throughout your residency, you might consider a roommate—especially if you’re not home that often.

5. Choose Less Expensive Transportation

If you have a car, it’s worth questioning whether you really need it, and in what capacity. For example, could you get rid of your car altogether, and use public transportation, a bike, and ridesharing instead? (Check and see if Uber or Lyft are offering a flat-rate, monthly pass option in your city or area.)

If you’re not ready to sell your car quite yet, simply try using it less. Even this small act may save you money each month. For example, if you’re spending $120 per month on gas but could ride public transportation for $30 per month, you may save over $1,000 on transportation in a year.

It might be a difficult transition at first, but you may find that you appreciate the time you aren’t behind the wheel. Another potential way to save money on transportation is by shopping around for car insurance. If you haven’t done so in the last several years, it could we well worth it—especially if you have a good driving record.

6. Cook at Home

You’re likely overworked and need to rest during your off hours, and it’s hard to find the time and energy to cook. But eating out is expensive. While it would be unreasonable to think that a medical resident could cook food for every meal, it may be worth taking a few hours each week to cook up a soup or casserole that can be eaten throughout the week. Alternatively, you can freeze individual grab-n-go meals. Making large batches of food could potentially save residents hundreds of dollars a month.

7. Refinance Medical School Loans

Like most people who attended medical school, there’s a very likely chance you took out student loans. Managing these loans while you’re living on an average resident salary may be important for your financial success. It is important to understand your loan repayment options as a medical resident. One of the first decisions you may want to make is whether you want your loans to go into forbearance or to make payments on your loans during residency.

Student loan forbearance may seem like an ideal option for a person on a medical resident salary, but that might not always be the case: Federal medical school student loans accrue interest during that time, and that interest is added to your balance at the end of your forbearance period. This is called compounding, or capitalization, and means that you’re paying interest on top of interest.

You may want to consider refinancing your medical resident student loans with a company like SoFi, that offers programs designed for medical school residents. Refinancing is the process of paying off one loan (or many loans) with another, generally to lower your overall interest rate or to change the terms of your loan.

Refinancing student loans won’t be for everyone, as you will lose access to federal loan programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). SoFi’s medical school loan refinancing offers monthly payments as low as $100 per month during residency, while no interest capitalizes during that period.

Additionally, with SoFi, you might be able to lower your overall interest rate as well, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Learn more about SoFi’s medical resident loan refinancing rates and terms.

It’s easy to see if SoFi’s medical school loan refinancing is right for you; checking takes as little as two minutes. See what interest rate you qualify for when you refinance with SoFi.

SoFi does not render tax or legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and we recommend that you consult with a qualified tax advisor for your specific needs.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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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10 Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Stick To

New Year’s resolutions can be overwhelming. After all, around 80% of them fail by February . But if you keep them reasonable and attainable, it should be easier to make them work.

And if saving more or making your dollar go further are on your to-do list, we are here to help. Here are 10 attainable financial resolutions that could potentially make this year a great financial year.

Creating a Budget and Sticking to It

Creating a budget allows you to look back and see exactly what you’re spending too much money on and where you could be saving more. It can also help ensure you stay well within your means and put aside more for the future. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be difficult.

Start by gathering all your financial documents, including all of your monthly bills. Next, create a list of all of your monthly financial needs like rent, groceries, bills, and an entertainment budget. Finally, compare it to your income stream, review, and adjust from there. For more information, check out SoFi’s six simple steps to creating a budget you can actually stick to.

Automating Your Payments

From your credit card bills to rent, student loans to your heating bill, almost all of your bills can now be automated.

Just make sure you pick a date each month that works for you (say, a day or two after you know you’ll receive a check) to better ensure you have enough funds to cover the cost. This way, you can set it and forget it.

Building an Emergency Fund

We know, the idea of building an emergency fund can feel wildly daunting. However, you’ll probably be extremely happy you have it if you ever need it. To find the right emergency fund savings goal, you can calculate your expenses for about three to six months (this is where your budget should come in handy).

Then, try to set aside a little each month into this fund until you hit your target. This way, if you have an unexpected health emergency, your car breaks down, or you lose your job, you can have a cushion to fall back on.

Attempting to Pay off Your Credit Card — in Full — Every Month

Credit cards are notoriously difficult to pay off thanks to compounding interest . If you can, try and pay off your credit card debt, then stay within your budget so you can pay your balance off in full each month.

This could help raise your credit score and can give you more peace of mind knowing you don’t have any looming debt hanging over your head.

Putting a Bit More Toward Your Student Loans Each Month

Being able to finally pay off your student loans is a great feeling. Help accelerate that process by adding just a few dollars to your student loan repayment each month. Even $20 can help you pay off the interest and principal of your student loan that much faster. (And hey, you can even automate this payment, too.)

Checking Your Credit Report More Often

You are your own best friend when it comes to credit monitoring. Credit scores play a huge role in borrowing and lending. If you go to buy a home, a car, take out a loan, or even to refinance, chances are your credit score will play a role in the approval process.

By checking your credit score often (this is different from pulling your credit report ) you can stay on top of any changes or discrepancies, and make decisions to improve your score in the future.

Taking a Finance Course

If you’re really looking to take your financial know-how to the next level try enrolling in a financial education course. Through one of these courses you have an opportunity to learn everything from budgeting and saving, to investing and financial family planning.

Many of these courses are offered for free on the internet, meaning you don’t even have to get off the couch to help improve your financial future.

Thinking About Adding a Side Hustle to Your Income Stream

Having a side hustle is all the rage and for good reason. It’s an excellent way to supplement your income so you can save more, pay off debt, grow an emergency fund, or just use it as fun money to live your life.

Best of all, there’s a side hustle for everyone. If you like talking to new people, maybe driving with a ride-sharing service is for you.

Or if you’re handy, websites like TaskRabbit may help you make a little extra money with your skills. Freelancing with your graphic design, photography, writing, or other creative talents can also bring in some cash.

Asking for a Promotion or a Raise

If you’ve been with the same company for more than a year, it’s time to think about asking for either a promotion or a raise. The best way to do this is to go in prepared. Start by gathering documentation of all the good things you’ve done in your job over the last year and be prepared to discuss how they’ve helped the company’s bottom line.

Next, take a look at what others are making in your same field by searching websites like Glassdoor and PayScale to find comparable data. Finally, be prepared for a bit of pushback and get ready to negotiate what you really want.

Adding Just 1% More to Your Retirement Account

If you’re already putting away money into a 401(k) or an online individual retirement account, that’s wonderful news. Now, do you think you can add just 1% more of your income to that account? Odds are you can, and those savings can seriously add up.

For example, NerdWallet crunched the numbers and found that if a person is making $40,000 a year and puts away 6% of their paycheck starting at age 22, they could save $551,199 by the time they reach a retirement age of 67.

Not bad. But, if that same person increases their retirement allocation by 1% a year to a maximum of 20%, they’d be able to save a whopping $1,364,292, accounting for a $813,093 difference. The calculations above assume a 6% annual return.1

Bonus: Thinking About Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay off Remaining Debt

It may sound counter-intuitive, but one way to shore up your debt is to take out a personal loan, and consolidate your credit card debt into one loan. With a SoFi personal loan, you may even be able to get a lower interest rate, which means you could pay less interest overall.

Best of all, it’s easy to see what rates you may get when you apply, you can automate payments, and make that ever important budget just a little bit simpler each month.

Looking to do something great with your money? Check out SoFi personal loans to kick off the new year right.

1 IMPORTANT: The projections or other information above regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results.
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.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website on credit.

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How to Avoid 401k Fees

As Bob Dylan so aptly put it, “The times they are a-changin’.” Gone are the days of starting and finishing your career with the same company. In previous generations, the chances of getting a job, and working at the same company for the entirety of your career were far more likely than today.

And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , most employees stay in the same job for only about four years.

While the increased job mobility has its benefits—it can be great for your annual salary—it could impact your 401k savings. When you leave your current employer, you’ll also have to deal with changes to your 401k plan. You’ll be responsible for paying any 401k fees associated with maintaining your account.

What most of us don’t realize is that these sneaky 401k fees can add up over time to hundreds of thousands of dollars and cut into our retirement savings.

The typical 401k plan charges a fee of 1% of assets managed. While that might not seem like a lot of money, it can easily add up to $100,000 or more over your lifetime—and that’s the amount on just one account. According to CNBC, “a 1% reduction in fees can add an additional 10 years to your retirement income.”

Consider this: If you’ve changed jobs multiple times, and each time leave your 401k plan with your former employer, then you are paying 401k fees on multiple accounts. In addition, your ex-employer might be charging you an administrative fee for the privilege of staying in the company’s 401k plan now that you are no longer an employee.

Perhaps then it’s not surprising that Federal Reserve’s 2017 Survey of Consumer Finances , finds that the typical couple nearing retirement will only receive $600 per month from their 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) combined.

If all this talk of hidden fees has you thinking that next time you switch jobs, you’ll just liquidate your account, think again. If you are under the age of 59 ½, early withdrawal penalties can throw a wrench in that plan. You’ll be taxed on that money as if it was ordinary income and there will most likely be to a 10% federal tax penalty.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid 401k fees. The next time you switch jobs, pay attention during your exit interview. Your human resources representative should go over your options for managing your 401k plan.

You aren’t required to keep your account with your former employer, and you won’t be forced to liquidate it. Instead you could transfer your 401k money by either rolling it into your new 401k plan with your next employer, or rolling it over into an IRA. Transferring a 401k is simple: It typically requires a phone call and some paperwork.

The benefit of setting up a separate account is that the next time you change jobs, you will automatically have somewhere to rollover your 401k. With your money in one place, you can easily see whether you are on track to reach your retirement goals.

If you rollover your 401k to a separate account or to your new employer’s 401k, you might find that over time you have more money in your retirement account, because the savings on fees will compound over time. The sooner you avoid sneaky fees, the better.

Before you decide where to move your 401k, here are some questions to ask yourself.

What Are Your Investment Choices?

In some ways, your 401k plan is only as good as its investment choices. While the average 401k plan offers 8-12 investment choices , many smaller employers may offer fewer options. While too many options may be overwhelming, it’s important that you have enough the opportunity to diversify your portfolio.

If your new employer’s 401k plan only offers a handful of investment options, consider starting a separate account for 401k transfers.

Are There Fees Associated with the Plan?

If you keep your retirement account in your former employer’s 401k plan, you’ll be charged a fee that will add up over time. Setting up an IRA account might cost you $50 or more a year in maintenance fees. On the other hand, you can look for a invest account that comes with no fees—and no strings attached.

How Easy Is It to Make Changes to My Account?

While you probably don’t want to change your investments every quarter without good reason, its a good idea to evaluate your investments at least once a year. In fact, your SoFi investment advisor will look at your account once a quarter to determine if it needs to be rebalanced. You can easily access your account online and through the SoFi app.

Setting Up Your New Retirement Account

If you plan to rollover your 401k plan, make sure the funds are being directly transferred from your old account to your new account. It’s usually not a good idea to take ownership of your retirement savings: Instead, you want to make the check out to administrators or guardians of the new account.

That means the check should not be made out in your name, otherwise the IRS will count it as income and charge you a penalty. If you need help rolling your old 401k into a SoFi Invest® account, we offer complimentary support from our team of financial advisors.

We can take a look at your current 401k plans and determine how much you are getting charged in management fees. Did you know that with SoFi Invest there are no management fees? Sign up for an appointment today to get started.

Thinking about rolling over your old 401k plan? Consider opening a SoFi Invest account and avoid the 401k fees.

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SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
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.
Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.

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Is Your Savings Account Interest Rate Low? Here’s What to Do.

To get the most value out of your money, it’s natural to want the lowest rates on the loans you take out and competitive savings account rates to grow your liquidity.

And which one of these two goals is easier to achieve depends upon current economic conditions—because savings and loan rates rise and fall in tandem. Right now, the bigger challenge may be to earn enough interest on a savings account—and we’re ready to tackle that challenge, sharing strategies to help you get the most for your money.

We’ll first share why savings account rates are so low, and how, in general, financial institutions set their savings and lending rates. We’ll also provide a four-part strategy to get the most from your money, ways to get savings rates, and how SoFi can be part of your strategy.

In fact, this post is one way we’re sharing a debuting product that will help you with your money in a new and highly practical way.

Why Are Savings Rates So Low?

Although, in theory, financial institutions have a significant amount of freedom to offer whatever rates they want on their savings products, it doesn’t really work that way. Here’s why: Financial institutions take in money as people deposit their funds in checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and so forth.

In return, the depositors often get interest on their money, while the financial institutions use funds from the deposits to lend out dollars to people who are approved for loans. The interest rates charged on the loans are higher than what is being paid out in interest for the various types of savings products.

Then, the difference in interest being charged and being paid out is used to help support the financial institution—paying salaries, building costs, equipment costs, and so forth. Financial institutions are also required to maintain a cushion of funds to ensure that people can have access to their money when needed.

This is a highly simplified overview of how money is managed at financial institutions, but it does illustrate the main point we’re making— that, while in theory, financial institutions can just increase savings rates, they actually some have pretty tight parameters to follow.

Federal Discount Rate and Federal Funds Rate

Rates, whether set for savings products or loans, aren’t randomly chosen. They depend significantly upon the rate that the Federal Reserve Bank charges when lending money to financial institutions. This rate is known as the Federal Discount Rate.

The Federal Reserve Bank also controls the rate at which banks can loan money to one another, and this is known as the Federal Funds Rate. This latter rate is usually a little bit lower than the Federal Discount Rate, which encourages banks to help one another out. When, however, some banks need more money, but other banks aren’t in a position to lend them the funds, the Federal Reserve then needs to make more funds available to the banks.

When the national economy is sluggish, the Federal Reserve usually lowers interest rates. That way, the lending of money among banks is further facilitated. If the economy is booming, the Federal Reserve typically raises the rates to control inflation.

Making the Most of Your Money

Armed with that knowledge, here is a high-level, four-part strategy that we recommend:

1. Reduce the interest rates you’re paying on your debts.
2. Pay off debts, both revolving (such as credit cards) and installment (such as personal loans, student loans and car loans, as three examples).
3. Build up an emergency savings account, about three to six months’ worth of living expenses, in an account with the best rate you can get. The goal is to keep this money in an account that offers easy liquidity, so you can access it when you need it.
4. Focus on growing your worth and wealth. Once you’ve got solid savings in place for emergencies and unanticipated expenses, then you can focus on boosting your wealth in investment vehicles that aren’t as liquid as a savings account. (That’s why we created SoFi Invest®.)

The rest of the post focuses on the first three parts of the strategy (since the goal is to help you build up your savings as a precursor to greater wealth building).

In the summer of 2018, the average credit card had an APR of 16.83% . So before trying to nudge your savings account interest rate up, create a plan to pay off these cards. To make that happen, including consolidating your credit card debt into a lower-interest personal loan. The third prong of this three-part foundation strategy, then, is to build up savings for emergencies. As you pay down debt, next increase the amount you’re saving.

But, now, how exactly do you get the best interest rate for your savings?

Finding the Best Savings Interest Rates

The internet makes it very easy to compare rates, so shop around. Note that, many times, financial institutions that offer the best rates are online only. That’s because their lower overhead costs allow them to pass some savings onto their customers.

When you find a high-interest savings account (or checking account, for that matter), take a look at the fine print. What conditions are attached for you to get that rate? The financial institution may require you to have a certain amount of money deposited into that account each month, maintain a certain balance or have your bills automatically deducted from it. You may need to use your debit card a predetermined number of times, as yet another example—or be limited in the number of transactions that can take place each month.

What About Certificates of Deposits?

Some people put part of their savings dollars into a certificate of deposit, also called a CD. This is a type of investment and savings product that typically offers a higher interest rate than the average savings account, but it isn’t as liquid as an actual savings account. With a CD, you agree to leave your money in the account for a certain term, and the interest rate you’re given is tied to that term.

The longer the term, the better the rate; but in today’s economy, you’ll probably need to tie up the money for a long period of time to get much of an increase in the interest rate. Plus, you wouldn’t be able to access money in a CD for an emergency unless you pay a penalty.

Once you have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency savings account, it does make sense to look for other ways to grow your money. But, you may want to choose short-term investments like bond ETFs instead, funds that invest in bonds that are due in three years or less.

Finally, here’s another strategy to consider.

Open a SoFi Money™ Account

SoFi Money is tailored to simplify your money. It is a cash management account that doesn’t have any account fees. With SoFi Money, you can save, spend, and earn all in one place.

Here are more benefits of SoFi Money:

•  No account fees (subject to change). We believe your money should earn you money, not cost you money.

•  You can also benefit from complementary career coaching, SoFi community resources and more, including some cool swag.

•  You’ll also receive a debit card, have the ability to make mobile transfers and photo check deposits, along with customer service.

•  Plus, you can count on secure SSL encryption, fraud protection, and FDIC insurance up to $1.5 million.

Ready to open a SoFi Money account? Sign up 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.

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10 Financial Milestones to Achieve in Your 30s

When you become an official 30-something, the constant advice from parents, friends, and money experts to start investing in your future may sound like a broken record that you want to turn off. But they’re right. While you might think you still have plenty of time to start saving, consider this — one in three U.S. employees expects to work past age 70, and only 26% expect to retire before age 65.

Those are sobering statistics, especially when predicting how they might look for today’s young workforce. The good news is that even if you spent your 20s with a cavalier attitude toward finances, it’s not too late to shore up your long-term financial goals.

And just imagine following a financial strategy that takes you right back to that carefree lifestyle when you’re in your golden years — instead of having to take a part-time job to make ends meet.

Here is a list of 10 financial milestones to strive for during your 30s that can kick-start your savings, but let’s be honest — some of this might hurt a little. Saving money means sacrifice, compromise, and diligence, but always remember the end goal. Retirement. Complete, fully unemployed (unless you just really want to work), worry-free retirement.

1. Establish a Good Credit Score

We put this at number one because good credit can lead to better results with everything else finance-related. It determines the interest rate you’ll pay on a new car or house, (see number three), and how much you can save if you refinance your student loans (see number two). Bottom line, a good credit score equals cash saved.

And even better news? It doesn’t have to be perfect. A target score of 740 or more will put you into favorable range for lenders. If you have no credit or low credit, educate yourself on ways to improve your credit score. Find your current score via a number of free websites, including Credit Karma , and learn ways to better manage your debt.

2. Pay off Your Student Loans

This is a huge one. By the time you reach 40, you’ll be almost 20 years out of college: It’s time to graduate from that payment. One thing to note is that you don’t have to stick with your original payment plan.

Refinancing your student loan debt could lead to considerable monthly savings, even if the interest rate drops by just half a percentage point. SoFi’s student loan advisors can help you map out a way to refinance your debt, and remember that the higher your credit score, the better your rate will be.

3. Get Rid of the Credit Card Debt

High-interest credit card payments are among the most likely financial hurdles to keep you from getting ahead. If you are paying on several high-interest cards at once, SoFi can help you make a plan to get out of debt and stay out. A number of free debt calculators are available online to help you get a solid picture of your overall debt.

4. Invest in your Retirement

It might be one of the most frequently asked questions about retirement: How much savings should I have? The answer is based on your retirement goal, so a good way to answer that question is to start at the end and work all the way back to a monthly investment goal. Once you have that number in mind, take every opportunity to meet that number, and exceed it where possible.

Many employers offer 401(k) matching programs, and it’s a powerful tool for supercharging your investment. Consider contributing at least up to the amount of your employer match. Another easy way to invest is a high-yield savings account, which is a growing trend. If you’ve managed to eliminate or lower some monthly debt payments, consider putting at least a portion of your newfound cash into retirement instead.

5. Create an Emergency Fund

Living paycheck to paycheck can work for a while, but life is inevitably bound to happen. Unexpected medical bills, storm damage, sudden job loss, and a host of other scenarios could add a financial burden to your household if you aren’t prepared.

A good goal for an emergency fund would be six months’ income, and a high-yield savings account can help you get there faster. The key to a successful emergency fund is to resist the urge to dip into those funds for everyday use.

6. Establish a Monthly Money Routine

Especially if you are the type who can’t remember where all the money went last week, consider creating a budget for monthly management, and stick to it. A host of budgeting apps are available to meet your needs or your style, so set one up, turn on the notifications and make it your most-used app.

Think of it like calorie counting: Nothing goes in your body (or in this case, out of your bank account) without being logged. It creates discipline and good habits quickly, and may even become a fun challenge. As part of that routine, set reminders to stay on top of your bills, because late payments can negatively affect your credit score.

7. Become a Homeowner

The cost of a house down payment when your career is young can seem unachievable, but becoming a homeowner in your 30s, or even buying a house in your 20s, could be a smart investment. And it’s not as difficult as you think.

One way to start saving money would be to take any cash you save from refinancing student loans or consolidating credit card debt and set it aside for your down payment. If you’ve already learned to live without that money, it could be a relatively painless transition. SoFi’s home buyer’s guide has even more tips and advice to help you get started.

8. Protect your Life

Find out whether your employer offers life insurance and take advantage of it. Often, it is only a few dollars (if not pennies) per month, which is a small amount to pay for peace of mind. If you have family (or even if you don’t), also consider supplemental life insurance as well.

Establishing a life insurance plan in your 20s, when you’re the picture of health, can be a lot more affordable than waiting until health problems start to creep up.

Nothing is more important than having a plan when the unexpected happens. With SoFi Protect via Ladder, you can set up an affordable life insurance plan for you and your loved ones.*

9. Protect your Income

Signing on for your employer’s disability insurance plan pulls double duty because it not only gives you time off to get the medical help you need, but it also protects your job. Like life insurance, short-term and long-term disability plans can cost mere dollars per paycheck. Combined with the Family Medical Leave Act, you can be confident that your salary is secure. Think of your income as your biggest asset, and work hard to protect it.

10. Budget in Some Fun

Saving money can be a painful process that requires a lot of self-discipline and focus, especially when your friends are all meeting at the new restaurant in town and you’re staring at a frozen lunch. But hard work deserves reward, and money shouldn’t be all business.

Be sure to set aside a little bit of disposable income for yourself, and again, consider a cash management account to make your hard-earned money earn money.

The SoFi wealth management team is available to help you develop a money strategy that’s right for you. Contact us today for a consultation.

*Coverage amounts range from $100k to $8 million. Instant coverage is available to applicants who meet certain risk and eligibility requirements. A medical test may be required for applicants that do not meet these eligibility criteria.
Ladder policies are issued in New York by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (Policy form # MN-26) and in all other states and DC by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (Policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to offer life insurance in the state of New York. Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria. SoFi Agency and its affiliates do not guarantee the services of any insurance company. The California license number for SoFi Agency is 0L13077 and for Ladder is OK22568. Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other. Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under LadderLifeTM policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy. SoFi offers customers the opportunity to reach Ladder Insurance Services, LLC to obtain information about estate planning documents such as wills. Social Finance, Inc. (“SoFi”) will be paid a marketing fee by Ladder when customers make a purchase through this link. All services from Ladder Insurance Services, LLC are their own. Once you reach Ladder, SoFi is not involved and has no control over the products or services involved. The Ladder service is limited to documents and does not provide legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and using documents provided is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.
SoFi Invest®
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. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s

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.

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