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How to Use Your First Real Paycheck as a New Grad

You’ve graduated from college, degree in hand, and are headed into the workforce. After countless applications, phone screens, and in-person job interviews, you’ve done it—you’ve secured your first, full-time job as an adult.

As you experience the thrill of getting your first paycheck, it can be tempting to splurge on a celebratory dinner or a new outfit for work. But before you spend your paycheck on something indulgent, it could be worth thinking about how to spend it more wisely. Here are our best tips for spending your first paycheck as you start your new job.

Set Up Your 401(k)

You’ll learn pretty quickly that you’ll end up losing a decent chunk of change to taxes. One way to offset that is to invest money in tax-advantaged accounts, including a 401(k). As a part of your offer package, you will likely receive information on the company’s benefits—including any healthcare and 401(k) options. It can seem easy to brush this information off as you get started in your career, but reviewing it closely is an important part of deciding whether to accept a job in the first place.

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows both you and, depending on your plan, your employer to contribute to the account. Employers may offer a contribution match of a certain percentage or specific amount. Each employer offers contribution matches at their discretion, so if you’re not sure what your company offers, check with HR or consult company policy.

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The earlier you begin making contributions, the more time you give yourself to take advantage of compounding. Basically, the interest you earn can then be reinvested, allowing your money to grow over time.

Consider investing at least enough to take advantage of your employer match. If your employer matches 6%, contribute 6%. That way you’re not leaving any money on the table. (Once you set it up, the money you contribute will probably be taken directly out of your paycheck.)

Set Up a Checking and Savings Account

Before you get your first paycheck, set up a checking and savings account. If you already have these types of accounts, now is a good time to assess whether they are still a good fit for your current financial needs. Take the time to review interest rates at various banks and online financial companies.

For example, SoFi Checking and Savings is a checking and savings account that earns you more and costs you nothing. You can easily access your money online or withdraw cash fee-free from 55,000+ ATMs worldwide.

Once you’ve set up your checking and savings accounts, consider setting up direct deposit. That way you don’t have to worry about depositing a check every time you get paid and you can start earning interest on that money as soon as it is payday.

You can also consider keeping your spending money in a checking account and setting up automatic transfers to your savings account. It’s an easy way to force yourself to save some cash at the beginning of your career.
An interest-bearing savings account is a great place to store your emergency fund. Conventional wisdom suggests saving anywhere from three to six months of living expenses to cover emergency expenses, such as unexpected medical bills or car repairs.

We know you just got started at your new job and may not be ready to think about these scenarios, but, in the event that you get laid off or the company goes out of business, having an emergency fund will allow you to stay afloat until you find your next gig. Even contributing $50 per paycheck to your emergency fund can help set you up with a little safety net should something unexpected happen.

Make Payments for Student Loans

Another important expense you should factor into your first paycheck is student loan payments. Even if you start your new job during your student loan grace period, you should probably consider your monthly payments and start setting the money aside. If you have unsubsidized loans, use the money to make interest-only payments on your loans.

If you have subsidized loans, it’s possible to save some, then use the money you have saved to make a lump-sum payment on the loans when your grace period ends. Both of these options can help set you off on the right foot when it comes to student loan repayment. By factoring your student loan payments into your budget upfront, you get used to not using that money for casual spending on things like dinner out or drinks with friends.

It’s also a good time to review your repayment plan on your student loans. If you have federal student loans there are a variety of repayment plans to choose from, including the standard 10-year repayment plan and four income-driven plans. If you have a combination of private student loans and federal student loans, you could consider refinancing them with a private lender, like SoFi, in the hopes of securing a lower interest rate.

With a lower interest rate you could potentially reduce the money you spend on interest over the life of the loan. This could be a great option if you are on a standard repayment plan and are interested in securing a lower interest rate.

If you’re taking advantage of federal programs like deferment, forbearance, income-driven repayment, or Public Service Loan Forgiveness, refinancing your student loans may not be for you, as you will no longer qualify for those programs.

To see how much refinancing could impact your loan, take a look at SoFi’s student loan refinance calculator. When you refinance with SoFi there are no prepayment penalties or origination fees.

Start an IRA

Even if you’re already contributing to a 401(k), setting up an IRA could be beneficial. There are two kinds of IRAs, traditional and Roth. When you contribute to a traditional IRA, the contributions are deducted from your taxes, meaning you’ll pay taxes on distributions when you retire.

When you contribute to a Roth IRA, your contributions are taxed upfront but can be withdrawn in retirement tax-free—and that includes any capital gains you’ve earned.

You can contribute up to $6,000 to either type of IRA annually. If you are over the age of 50, you can contribute an additional $1,000 as catch-up contributions.

An added benefit to opening a Roth IRA: You could use it to fund part of a down payment on the future purchase of a home. As long as the Roth IRA has been open for five years, you’re allowed to withdraw $10,000 from your Roth IRA to buy your first home without any taxes or penalties. This could be a good start for saving for retirement or for your first house.

Still Have Money Left? Treat Yourself

If after paying your monthly expenses and contributing to your various savings goals you still have money leftover, you can use it to splurge on something you’ll really enjoy like trying out a new restaurant, buying tickets to a concert or a sports game, or having a night out on the town.

Or, you could use the additional money to save up toward another short-term goal—maybe an international adventure, a TV, or a new bed frame. Or if you’re feeling frugal, use the extra money to make an additional payment on your student loans.

Paying more than the monthly minimum is one of the fastest ways to accelerate your student loan repayment. At the end of the day, you’re working to earn money to live your best life, so make sure you are enjoying it and saving for your long-term financial goals at the same time.

If you’re ready to tackle your student loan debt, consider refinancing with SoFi. See what your new interest rate could be in two minutes or less.

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.
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.
SoFi Checking and Savings®
SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates are a bank.


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How Much Money Should I Have Saved by 30?

As you near 30, you probably have lots of different financial goals. Maybe you’re starting to be established in your career and planning to buy a house or a new car. Maybe you’re getting close to paying off student loans and want to save for a big trip. And retirement may seem a long way off, but in reality, it’s never too early to start saving and planning.

You might know you want to save money towards all these different things, but you don’t know exactly how much you should have saved. Even little bits you set aside now can add up, and if you invest that money in a retirement account or an investment portfolio, then the returns on your money can make their own returns. Unfortunately, it can be hard to know if you’re on track and how much you should be saving by 30, 40, 50, and so on.s

According to the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey , 71% of millennial workers are saving for retirement—which is great news. And a Bank of America survey found that 16% of millennials have $100,000 saved up—which is even better news.

So, How Much Is Enough?

There are a few schools of thought on this subject. Some say you should try to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved by the time you’re 30—including your retirement accounts. Alternatively, T. Rowe Price suggests that you have only half of your annual salary saved by the time you’re 30, and to increase your retirement savings as you age. The goal here is to have ten times your annual salary saved by 60.

Both options could work for you, depending on your other financial goals. T. Rowe Price also suggests another approach—figure out the amount you ultimately want to save, what your financial goals are, and then plan backwards. When are you hoping to retire?

What other goals do you want to save money for—a down payment on a house, your kid’s college fund? What is your annual income and assets? What are your future career plans? Answering these questions could help you come to a number.

Because so much of your retirement and savings benchmarks are personal, another way to think about how much you should be saving by 30 is as a portion or percentage of your overall income.

For example, when you’re just starting off, you might not be able to set aside as much of your income— especially if you’re still paying off student loans or other debt.

By the time you’re 30 (or when you’re making more money), then you might be able to increase the percentage of your salary you’re saving.

This can involve a lot of financial multitasking for various goals. How do you hit all the right targets and stay on track?

How to Set Targets

In order to set savings targets, you’ll likely need to consider your overall budget and your financial goals, and then decide what your priorities are and how much you can set aside for future financials goals after taking care of your immediate financial needs.

A good first step to consider—make a budget and plan out your goals. What do you want to save money for? How much needs to be saved in order to hit those goals?

After you determine your goals, you can plan backwards and start setting aside what you need to save in order to reach them. You might want to look into starting a retirement savings plan—there are more options than just an employer-backed 401(k). For example, you can open a ira savings account in addition to a employer-backed 401(k).

If you have debt, like student loans, then paying that off might be one of your first priorities. Consider paying off the highest interest rate loans and credit cards first and, if it makes sense for you, refinancing to lower interest rates when possible.

Next, you might be thinking of setting money aside for retirement when you’re 30. If your employer offers a 401(k), then it can be a good idea to contribute however much they will match, if applicable. If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), then consider another retirement savings account option.

Along with those priorities, you may want to make sure you have three to six months’ worth of expenses in a separate emergency fund, which should stay relatively liquid in case you need to access it for emergencies.

After you address your immediate bills and priorities, you should be able to then look at your budget and figure out how much extra money you can set aside towards medium-term or long-term goals. There are different strategies for saving: You can start with a small amount of money set aside each month, and then increase it slightly until you hit the target you established for your goal.

Instead of just creating one large target, like the amount needed for a house down payment, working backwards to set weekly and monthly targets for yourself can also make it easier to stay on track, as can creating different accounts or portfolios for each of your financial goals. If you set up automatic transfers—for example, a portion of your pre-tax salary can often automatically be put into your 401(k)—then you don’t even have to think about it.

Another strategy is to take money that’s a windfall or that you were already setting aside for one goal, and then save it for something else once you achieve your initial target. For example, if you get a raise, you could put the additional money into a savings or investing account instead of spending it.

Or, once you have established an emergency fund, then you could take the money you had been setting aside each month for that and put it toward your retirement or another long-term financial goal instead.

Don’t forget—when calculating how much you have saved up, count all employer match funds, emergency funds, and anything in various retirement accounts.

Depending on the type of account, the money that goes into retirement accounts could be pre-tax, so the tax savings cut down on the cost of setting aside money.

Investing by 30

Something else to consider when thinking about how much savings you should have by 30 is investing. That way, your money goes beyond stockpiling cash in savings or checking account.

Some research suggests that adults between the ages of 18 and 34 save at higher rates than previous generations, but keep that money in a savings account rather than in investment or retirement portfolios. This may feel like a safer scenario, but it could be costing you money in the long run.

Even if an interest-bearing savings account gives more than 1% return on your money, it might not be enough to keep up with inflation . If the return on your savings isn’t even keeping up with inflation, then you’re technically losing money.

Obviously, any given year the market could go down or up and there’s no guarantee your investments will make money. But, in the long run, investing your money can be a better idea than just holding onto it.

So how much should you have saved by 30 and how much should you be investing? While it depends on your overall financial goals and situation, once you have an emergency fund saved up, consider putting some of the money for your retirement and other long-term plans into investment accounts. That also allows you to vary how aggressive you want to be with different investments, based on when you want to use the money and what for.

How to Invest and Save

Investing can be confusing, and figuring out how much you should have saved by 30 while balancing all your other financial goals can seem overwhelming. This is when a professional can come in handy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. SoFi Invest® can be a great resource. The minimum amount to invest is just $100 and there are no SoFi management fees for automates investing. You can also roll over existing retirement accounts.

To get you started, a real human advisor will help you figure out what kind of financial plan makes sense for you—how much money you should have saved, how much you should set aside in a retirement account, how much you should invest, etc. SoFi then tailors an investment portfolio to meet your needs.

Ready to start planning your financial future? Talk to a SoFi Invest financial planner today at no cost.

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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. Brokerage products via SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .

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How to Save for Your Kid’s College While Still Paying Off Student Loans

If you’re a college grad, you may likely be among the 44 million American adults with hefty student loans to pay off. Collectively, Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt, with an average of $37,172 owed per graduate.

Add that on top of other monthly expenses and savings goals, and many adults are struggling with making wise financial choices, particularly when it comes to deciding between paying off their own debts and saving for their kid’s future educational expenses.

Fortunately, you may not need to choose. Although it can be difficult, there are steps to help you pay off your student loans while saving for your child’s college expenses.

Starting to Save for Kid’s College Tuition

You may have heard people recommending waiting until you’ve paid off your own student loan debt before you start saving for a child’s college costs. For many, however, this may be impractical. In fact, it also conflicts with the other frequent adage parents hear about saving for their kid’s college tuition: Start early.

When you start saving early, your money has time to grow, which means that you can get more bang for your buck when it comes time to pay that tuition deposit.

So what’s a parent to do? Well, there are a few things to consider when deciding when you want to start diverting some money towards college savings every month.

First, even though you may not be finished paying off your own student loans, you may want to consider it if you’re on track with your other financial goals. For example, do you have an emergency fund and a plan for retirement?

For many, these goals may need to come first before saving for your child’s college. After all, you don’t want to end up in debt during retirement because you prioritized education expenses.

Managing Student Loan Payments While Saving

If you’ve decided to start saving for your kid’s college while still making your own student loan payments, it is important to stay organized. It can be a big mistake to miss student loan payments in favor of sticking money in savings for future expenses, as unpaid student debt can rapidly snowball.

Likewise, your unpaid student loans can continue to rack up interest if a balance remains on the debt, so making smaller payments because you’re saving for a child’s tuition might leave you owing more in interest on your own student loans, which could negate the positive effects of starting to save for kids’ college early.

If saving for their college tuition and expenses while managing your student loan payment seems daunting, student loan refinancing may help you save money on your student loans so that you can put that money towards the future.

Student loan refinancing allows you to trade in all your student loans for a new loan with a potentially better interest rate and more favorable repayment terms. Why trade in old debt for new debt?

Refinancing your loans allows you to use your current circumstances (aka a good job, good credit score, and likely more stable finances) to possibly get a lower interest rate than the current rate on your student loans. This is especially true if you also refinanced to a shorter loan term, thus expediting your repayment timeline.

Additionally, refinancing gives you one loan instead of multiple, such that you only have to make one monthly payment. You can also refinance for an extended loan term, which will give you a potentially lower monthly payment. While this will not save you on interest, it could free up some cash flow and make your student loan payments more manageable.

Saving Money for Your Child’s College

Once you’re ready to start socking away those pennies for your little one’s future art history degree, you have several options for saving. One of the main benefits of starting to save for college early is that you can start saving smaller amounts that could grow over time and offer a good return on interest once college rolls around.

But instead of just sticking $100 a month in a coffee can on top of the fridge, consider the many different savings mechanisms out there that can offer great benefits when it comes to college savings.

For example, 529 savings plans and Coverdell ESA plans are both tax-free when the money in the accounts are used for college. Both plans allow you to invest in stocks or other assets in order to save for your child’s education.

Wondering how much to save for college? The cost of college is on the rise. In fact, the average tuition cost has surpassed inflation by 3% . Over the last decade, college tuition and fees have increased to almost $35,000 per year. It is likely that by the time you’re ready to send off those tuition checks, the price will have climbed even higher.

That being said, the smartest amount to save may simply be what you can afford. If you’re juggling paying off your own student debt while also saving for your children’s future educational expenses, you don’t want to neglect other financial obligations in your life.

Navigating student loan repayment while also saving for the future can be difficult, but smart choices—like considering student loan refinancing either to lower your loan’s interest rate or lower your monthly payment with an extended loan term—could help set you up for success.

Learn more about refinancing your student loans with SoFi.

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.
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.

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Budgeting for the Cost to Build a Deck

It’s the stuff the American dream is made of—nights grilling outside with the fireflies, daytime birthday celebrations, and casual happy-hour cocktails with the neighbors. If you have the backyard for it, a deck can be great for aesthetic reasons, for making the outdoors feel more homey, and from a purely practical standpoint, making it so guests and furniture don’t sink into the dirt.

But as useful as they are, the cost to build a deck can add up fast. From the deck installation to the cost of raw materials, a deck can set you back tens of thousands of dollars.

For starters, the average cost to build a wooden deck is around $10,950 —and that’s the low end of the spectrum. The average composite deck price, which is made with recycled wood fibers and plastic, is around $17,668.

Keep in mind that these estimates are based on a 240-square-foot deck. Other estimates put the national average at $7,000 for a 200- to 500-square-foot deck.

The prices vary widely depending on a few factors, like where you live, if you need to hire outside labor, the materials you use, the size of your deck, and the level of professionalism you want with your design and finish. But there are some ways you can work to keep costs low while still keeping quality high.

First off, although you might want to keep the cost to build a deck down, it’s important that you build it the right way. It’s a structure that requires a foundation, just like a house.

For the foundation— consider pressure-treated joists, account for sloping of the backyard, and ponder the long-term aging of the materials in your climate.

Consider the 50/50 Rule When Accounting for Labor

In short—if you don’t know a lot about construction, building a deck yourself might not be the right place for a DIY home-improvement project. But if you are handy and know how to build structures that last over time, building a deck yourself can be an inexpensive option.

If you’re following the 50/50 rule, plan in your budget that for every dollar you spend on materials, expect to spend a dollar on installation. If the cost of labor is too high for you, consider building a smaller deck now and then expanding in a few years.

Getting Acquainted with Permitting Rules

Another word to the wise—if you do decide to go the DIY route, most towns and cities require permits for additional structures like decks. Carpenters and project managers usually are well-versed in this process, especially when it comes to the specifics of an application. Make sure that if you are doing the project yourself, you know enough to follow local buildings codes.

If you are semi-handy, but just not enough for the whole project, consider hiring someone to take care of the nitty-gritty plans, application process, and foundation design, while you can take care of the easier labor.

Comparison Shopping

Carpentry is similar to plumbing or automotive repair in that if you aren’t an expert, it can be hard to gauge the price. It can be helpful to ask for bids from a few local contractors in order to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

However, for a long-term investment in your home, going with the cheapest option might not be the best strategy overall. Although there are ways to keep prices lower, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for price. After all, this is something that you and your family will be using for years.

When price shopping for a contractor, they should be able to provide photos of previous projects or specific references. If you go for the cheapest bid, or even the most expensive, you will know what you’re paying for.

Expanding Your Deck

If your deck project is an expansion, it might be easier to do some parts of the construction yourself. The foundation and initial parts require a greater dose of construction know-how, so if those are already complete, an expansion can be simpler. There are numerous resources online, from YouTube videos to blogs, that can help with your deck or patio expansion.

Deciding on the Materials

If you’re starting from scratch, one of the first questions you have to answer is: What material do you want to use to build your deck? Although composite deck prices are higher than natural decks made of wood, they require less maintenance over time and therefore, in the long run, may cost you less.

Another factor to consider is the climate. Do you get a lot of snow in the winter? Is it very humid in the summer? You may have to use different materials depending on the weather.

Going for a No-Frills Design

After materials and labor, the actual design will end up costing you. If you want something on the lower end of the spectrum, keep the corners square and overall layout small. Although you can’t do much about the slope of your yard (which could add more in construction costs) you can use a simple design to help keep costs down.

Covering Costs With a Personal Loan

While decks bring comfort and enjoyment, the cost of building a deck can be significant. If you’re tempted to put it all on a credit card, but you might consider using a personal loan instead. These home improvement loans may have a lower interest rate, which can mean a lower cost in the long run. Whatever materials or payment plan you decide on, enjoy your time in the great outdoors while making your dream deck a reality.

Considering a new deck this year? Learn whether a SoFi personal loan could help you finance your summer home improvement project.

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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8 Ways to Bounce Back After a Financial Mistake

Say you made a bad investment and now you’ve lost a considerable amount of your savings. Or maybe you had an accident that left you with hefty car repairs and medical bills. Whatever the case, an unforeseen or unavoidable mishap doesn’t need to turn into a financial crisis.

The first step to any problem is admitting there is one. By recognizing you’re facing a financial dilemma, you’ve already made the first step toward coming back from financial ruin. Now that you’re ready to tackle the issues that resulted from a financial mistake, these tips can help you as you start recovering from financial disaster.

Take Inventory

If you’re trying to bounce back from a financial mistake, a great first step is to take inventory of your finances post error. Facing the problem head-on may be difficult, but it’s the best way to gauge the situation. And it can help you gain perspective on how large the problem actually is and how impactful the losses could be on your goals for the future.

Take stock of how much money you owe on any outstanding bills or loans. How much money is left in your bank account? Were your investments or retirement savings affected? Getting all of the information out in the open will help you determine how bad the damage is.

Now that you understand how your financial mistake has impacted your savings, it’s time to create a plan so you can move forward and start working toward overcoming financial setbacks.

Make a Budget

Now that you understand your current financial situation, it’s time to make a new budget. With a fresh perspective on your finances, take this opportunity to set new goals. Whether it be recovering from this financial mistake, growing your emergency fund, or breathing new life into your retirement investments, now is the time to make those decisions and craft a budget that will help you meet those goals.

You’ve already done the hard part and taken stock of your current financial situation and reviewed all the relevant financial documents and accounts. Next, make a list of all of your monthly expenses and sources of income.

Also, list out any savings or investments. You should have a complete picture of your finances, which will give you a good idea of where you can make some improvements in your spending habits to save for your financial goals and recover from your financial setback.

Get Professional Advice

When you’re in the middle of a financial crisis, it can sometimes feel like there is no way out. If you’re dealing with monetary issues and are not sure what your next steps should be, it can be worth seeing a professional for advice. A financial advisor can help you review your finances, set goals, and establish a plan to help you reach those goals.

Yes, getting professional advice will usually cost you a bit upfront, but investing in the financial health of your future is worth it. If you’re too strapped for cash to pay for professional consultation, consider speaking with a trusted friend or family member who has a strong track record with their own finances.

Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective is all it takes to start formulating a plan. And remember, you’re not the first person to make a financial mistake, and you won’t be the last. It’s okay to ask for help.

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Secure Your Home

Overcoming financial setbacks can be a challenge, but with some budgeting and strategic planning, you’ll be able to bounce back. One of your top priorities should be securing your home.

If you are in danger of missing mortgage payments or losing your home, finding a way to make those payments and keep a roof over your head should be priority number one. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mortgage issues, but finding an attorney or real estate agent that specializes in working with homeowners can help.

Target Credit Card Debt

Next up on your to-do list: Get your credit card debt under control. If your financial mistake caused you to rely heavily on your credit cards and your outstanding balances have somehow ballooned, focus your resources on paying down your credit card debt.

If you have multiple credit cards, try using the snowball method to tackle your debts one by one. Using this method, you’ll focus on paying off the debt with the lowest balance first. When that debt is paid off, roll that payment into the debt with the next highest balance. This provides incentive to continue making payments as you pay off all your debts.

Another alternative to consider is consolidating your credit card debt with a personal loan. This results in one easy-to-manage monthly payment instead of multiple bills with different credit card companies.

This can also help you limit the money you spend on interest. When you take out a personal loan, you can often reduce the interest rate, especially when compared with high-interest credit cards.

Keep Your Credit Score on Track

It may seem difficult while you’re in financial turmoil, but try to keep your credit score from dropping dramatically while you are dealing with the results of your financial mistake.

Do everything in your power to make the minimum monthly payments on your debts, like credit cards, student loans, or mortgages. If you’re having difficulty making payments, contact the respective lenders and see what they might be willing to do to help you.

Try to keep your credit utilization rate low. General financial wisdom is to keep your credit card utilization to 30% of your limit. Lower credit utilization rates suggest that you can use credit responsibly and could lead to higher credit scores.

Find a Side Hustle to Supplement Your Income

It’s time to get proactive. Finding a side hustle to supplement your income could help accelerate your financial recovery. The key is to find a side hustle that works with your schedule, interests, and skills. Are you able to take on a part-time job at a coffee shop? Is there an event space in your town that needs help on the weekends?

Are you a skilled writer, editor, or photographer who can find some freelance gigs? When it comes to side hustles, there are seemingly endless options. Take the time to review your skill set, passions, and interests and see if there is anything you can turn into part-time work. In addition to a bit of extra income, you may surprise yourself with how rewarding you find your new gig.

Start Saving

Now that you’re on your way to financial recovery, stay ahead of the curve and start saving for the future. You never know what the future holds so it’s wise to prepare for the unexpected. If your savings took a serious hit because of a financial mistake, it’s time to fortify your emergency fund so you’re prepared for unplanned expenses.

As you build or rebuild your emergency fund, aim to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved. This money should be easily accessible in cash—think: savings account, not 401(k) or IRA—in the event of an emergency. This way you can easily access the money you need to pay off, say, an emergency room visit, without paying any penalties or fees to access your money.

Saving with SoFi Checking and Savings

Consider opening a SoFi Checking and Savings® account to start saving for your emergency fund.

You can access your money from anywhere in the world, and with SoFi Checking and Savings, there are no account fees (subject to change)—that means no account minimums and no overdraft fees.

Ready to save smarter? SoFi Checking and Savings can help you take control of your emergency fund.

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SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. 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.
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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