7 Places to Put Your Cash

7 Places to Put Your Cash

A windfall gives people an opportunity to grow their savings, prepare for an emergency, and maybe meet a significant financial goal, like paying for their kid’s college. Whether someone received an inheritance or a raise or is just slowly adding to a stash of cash, there are plenty of places to store money.

Where to put cash depends on how much risk a person is willing to stomach, the SEC points out. There is the opportunity for a higher return for investors who choose to take on more risk. If investors have a financial goal that’s years in the future, they may be able to make more money by carefully investing in higher-risk assets, like stocks and bonds.

Conversely, if they have short-term financial goals, lower-risk cash investments may be more appropriate.

When deciding which investment makes sense, it’s crucial to weigh the risk and potential reward of each option.

So, to decide on the best place to put cash, here are several options worth considering.

Low-Risk Places to Put Cash

There are several choices for those who want a place to store their cash with minimal risk exposure.

Checking Account

Banks and credit unions offer checking accounts. Checking accounts can help account holders pay for daily expenses and save for a rainy day.

A checking account may come with an annual percentage yield (APY), which is the interest earned over one year, including compound interest. The APY provides a single rate that represents how much you will earn from your deposit within one year.

However, most checking accounts don’t offer any interest, and an interest-bearing account usually has balance or deposit requirements. The national average checking interest rate is hovering around 0.03% , data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) shows, so consumers shouldn’t expect to see high returns on their checking accounts.

Additionally, depending on the bank or credit union, checking accounts may come with fees that can chip away at any return.

Savings Account

A savings account may provide a little more interest than a checking account. The national average savings account interest rate was 0.06% in April 2021.

Rates may vary by bank or credit union and may come with certain caveats, including account minimums or limits on the amount of interest an account can earn annually.

Similar to checking accounts, some financial institutions charge fees that can eat into earnings. There are also limits on how an account holder can withdraw funds.

Federal law normally limits online withdrawals or transfers to six per month; there are no limits on in-person or ATM transactions.

Like a checking account, a savings account is considered among the most liquid places to store cash for an emergency. Essentially, when a crisis arises and there is a need for fast cash, account holders can withdraw their funds quickly.

Money Market Account

A money market account is another type of savings account that comes with a few unique features.

For starters, money market accounts usually have higher interest yields than checking and savings accounts, but they usually require a certain deposit and a minimum balance before fees kick in.

Like savings accounts, they tend to limit the number of transactions made monthly via debit cards or checks.

Money market accounts invest in assets considered low risk, such as government securities, commercial paper, and certificates of deposit. (Traditional checking and savings accounts don’t invest in anything.)

The investments allow the account holder to earn a higher interest rate while maintaining FDIC protection, which also applies to checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit.

The FDIC generally insures up to $250,000 per depositor, per FDIC-insured institution, per ownership category. The insurance kicks in if a bank or savings association fails.

It’s important not to confuse a money market deposit account with a money market mutual fund. Money market funds are not FDIC insured.

High-Yield Savings Account

Not only is a high-yield savings account a no-risk option, as long as the institution is FDIC insured, but it provides a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account.

Keep in mind that some high-yield savings accounts have minimum balance requirements and/or requirements for maintaining the account.

While variable-rate high-yield savings accounts are a solid low-risk place to store cash, the rate of inflation can be higher than the yield you earn overtime.

Higher-Risk Places to Put Cash

Investors may want to consider other short-term investments such as stock, bonds, and mutual funds that might yield a higher return if they have higher risk tolerance.

For investors willing to take the risk to potentially reap the reward, here are a few higher-risk places to put cash.

Stocks

Investing in stocks can be advantageous for parking cash because stocks provide two potential ways to receive a return on the investment: through appreciation of the stock’s value and through dividend payments to shareholders if the company allows.

While this might be an oversimplification, the idea is that if the company grows, so does the investor’s share. In other words, shareholders can reap the benefits of a company’s wealth growth over time.

But it’s tough to predict a stock’s success because it’s hard to predict which businesses will profit in the future. Since the future is uncertain, individual stock returns may be volatile.

Yet purchasing individual stocks may also provide a higher return if investors select shares that are performers. That’s why it’s said that stocks are “high risk, high reward.” Therefore, if a stock dives, investors may lose all of their cash before accessing it.

It’s also important to note that in the event of needing cash in an emergency, the investor should be aware of the rules surrounding short- and long-term capital gains taxes. Investors must pay a capital gains tax when they sell assets such as stocks, bonds, or property. The amount depends on how long they have held the asset, their tax bracket, and the asset’s profit.

Recommended: How to Buy Shares

Bonds

Bonds are generally considered a lower-risk investment than stocks. Bond prices usually don’t fluctuate the way stock prices do.

High-yield bonds, also referred to as “junk bonds,” have a higher likelihood of default than investment-grade bonds and therefore have the potential of a higher rate of return.

One advantage of storing cash in bonds is that they can provide a reliable income stream. Investors can make plans based on the income payments and reinvest accordingly since bonds typically pay a set amount of interest twice a year.

There are several types of bonds.

For example, corporations issue corporate bonds to raise funds for initiatives. Corporate bonds usually provide higher interest rates than what investors see with other types of bonds, but the interest is taxable on both the federal and state level.

Typically, when the bond reaches maturity, the principal is repaid.

Exchange-Traded Funds

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a pool of securities such as stocks. ETFs give investors broad low-cost access to various markets. So instead of investing in one or a few stocks or bonds, ETFs give investors exposure to a sample of a market by tracking a single index.

Since ETFs invest in various companies, they are often considered more diversified and therefore lower risk than investing in one stock.

But like stocks and bonds, ETFs that are sold are subject to capital gain tax. If the ETF is held for more than a year, an investor must pay a long-term capital gains tax, or short-term capital gains tax on ETFs held less than a year, taxed at the person’s ordinary tax rate.

Therefore, if investors need some fast cash, they will have to consider the tax implications of selling their ETFs. While trading ETFs is pretty simple to do, most investors tend to purchase ETFs as a part of a long-term investment strategy to capitalize on their growth.

The Takeaway

Where to put a stash of cash? A lot depends on risk tolerance. Other than a cache of cash in the bathroom wall, options range from a savings account to an ETF.

Another choice is a digital cash management account where you can save, spend, and earn, all in one place.

That’s SoFi Money® —where you can organize your money, set savings goals, earn cashback rewards, deposit checks, and more all from your phone.

Plus, having a SoFi Money® account unlocks the door to a cornucopia of SoFi perks.

Learn more about SoFi Money today.



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3 Ways to Use Your Stimulus Check

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans received stimulus checks from the federal government. As of March 2021, a year into the pandemic, the third round of stimulus checks have been approved with the American Rescue Plan Act.

This package includes one time payments of $1,400 for individuals making $75,000 or less and per person for couples earning $150,000 or less. Additionally, those with dependents would qualify for another $1,400 per child. The IRS sent out “Economic Impact Payments” as checks in the mail or electronically via direct deposit.

The stimulus checks are a measure to provide financial relief to millions of Americans. Many people used the proceeds of the checks to pay for food, utilities, credit card bills and other expenses while others saved the money for future emergencies.

The federal government also provided stimulus checks in 2008. The amount was much lower—individuals received $600 and couples filing jointly received up to $1,200.

These economic impact payments could be used by consumers in several ways, including paying off debt such as credit cards or private student loans, starting an emergency fund, or by investing the money for retirement.

Paying Off Debt

The additional $1,400 can come in handy for people who want to pay off their debt, especially higher interest debt such as credit cards. Consumers could use all or a portion of the stimulus payment to make extra payments on a credit card, loan, or other debt. Additional payments could go towards the principal portion of what is owed, or what the consumer originally borrowed, helping pay down the interest faster; if you want to do this, it’s smart to contact the lender to let them know and ensure those extra payments are applied to the principal balance.

People who still have other credit card debt could look into obtaining a personal loan. Generally, personal loans have lower interest rates than credit card debts. Securing a lower interest rate could potentially help expedite debt repayment, so long as the repayment term is not extended.

For some, student loan debt may be a focus. In March 2020, the CARES Act temporarily paused federal student loan payments, reduced interest rates to 0% on all federal student loans and temporarily halted collections on federal student loans in default. These protections have now been extended through at least Sept. 30, 2021. This does not apply to private student loans. The stimulus payment could help a borrower pay down their federal student loans or make extra payments.

Some may consider refinancing their student loans, should they be able to qualify for a lower fixed or variable interest rate, or preferable lending terms. This can make sense for some borrowers, especially those who already hold private student loans, but won’t be right for everyone. Federal loans offer borrower protections that private loans do not, so borrowers with federal student loans may want to consider all of their options carefully. Refinancing federal student loans eliminates them from all federal benefits, including the temporary relief offered by the CARES Act.

Starting an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund comes in handy to pay rent or a mortgage, auto loan, student loans, or credit cards if you lose your job or your hours are slashed. Finding another full-time or part-time job could take several weeks or months and the additional money could be useful.

Saving for an emergency fund can be difficult after paying your bills each month. The money from the stimulus check could provide a boost to help start a rainy day fund. Having the extra savings can help prevent someone from having to rely on their credit cards and rack up more debt in case there is an emergency, say something like a last minute car repair or a sudden illness.

Having the extra money can also be a relief in the event of a job-loss since it can take several weeks for unemployment funds to arrive.

General recommendations suggest that people save three to six months of expenses in their emergency fund. In some situations, it may make sense to save more than three to six months worth of expenses. For example, freelancers with a fluctuating income may want to have more saved up. If you are not sure how much money you need, look at your monthly bills and determine which ones you can’t ignore if you lost your job for an extended period.

Another way to gauge how much to save in an emergency fund is to factor in things like the deductibles for your car and health insurance in case there is an accident and you need to make repairs to the auto or you get injured.

Starting an emergency fund with the money from your stimulus check is one way to get started. From there, more money can be added to your savings account whenever you get the opportunity. There are many ways to stash more money into your rainy day fund. Clean out your closet and see if there are any items you can sell online such as electronics, clothing, a bike, or musical instrument.

Save the money earned from a part-time job, freelance work, or your annual tax refund. Or review your budget and see if there is anything you can cut such as a streaming service you rarely use.

Those in a comfortable financial position, could transfer some money automatically from your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck into a new savings account. The amount could be small, but even $25 a week adds up over a year.

Investing the Stimulus Check

The extra money from the stimulus check could also be an investment. Depending on individual financial circumstances, the stimulus check could be used to make a contribution to a retirement account like an IRA. Others may be focusing on other goals like a downpayment for a house, a vacation, a wedding, or a home remodel.

Once you open an account and start putting money towards it weekly or even monthly, you may see the balance grow, especially as the investments appreciate in value and interest compounds

The Takeaway

The stimulus checks are intended to provide temporary relief to those struggling due to the unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. How you use the money will depend on your individual circumstances. Some options include paying down debt, establishing an emergency fund, or investing.

A SoFi Money® cash management account could be one place to stash your stimulus check. Getting started is as easy as depositing the stimulus check. From there, SoFi Money makes it easy to earn interest and receive cash back on purchases. A SoFi Money account allows you to spend, save, and earn money from one place. There are no account fees and your cash balance earns interest. The interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time, but SoFi aims to offer competitive interest rates and not charge any account fees.

With SoFi Money’s vaults feature account holders can create financial vaults within a SoFi Money account for different reasons such as an emergency fund or investing account.

Building an emergency fund is a huge accomplishment. Get started with SoFi Money.



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 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.
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.
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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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How Long Does It Take to Get Accepted Into College After Applying_780x440: After all the work that goes into applying for college—researching schools, taking entrance exams, writing essays—students probably welcome a feeling of relief once that application is officially submitted.

How Long Does It Take to Get Accepted Into College After Applying?

After all the work that goes into applying for college—researching schools, taking entrance exams, writing essays—students probably welcome a feeling of relief once that application is officially submitted.

The relief may be instant, but also fleeting. The next phase of getting into college can be painstaking because it’s the waiting phase. Waiting to get those letters in the mail for the result of all that effort can be frustrating.

One thing that can help to minimize the stress during this waiting period is finding out when those decision letters are sent out! Once it’s more clear when your acceptance letters will be arriving, it might be easier to relax in the meantime.

So, how long does it take to get accepted into college after applying? Acceptance letters don’t have one standard date for being sent out. There are a few different types of college applications with different submission dates and, therefore, different dates when the decisions go out.

Check out these different types of applications and see how their submission deadlines and acceptance date periods differ.

Types of Applications

Just as there isn’t a standard date for acceptance letters to be sent out, there isn’t one standard submission date for applications, either. There are a few early submission options available, as well as regular submission and rolling admissions. The due date of the application will depend on which type of application is being submitted, and this will also determine when you receive the school’s decision.

There are a few options for applying early: early decision, early action, and single-choice early action.

Early Decision

The early decision application is binding, meaning that students who are accepted are committed to enrolling. Because this application is binding, students can only apply to one school as an early decision. These applications are due in November and the decisions go out in December. If students decide to apply with this early decision option, this school should be their top choice, the one they’d prefer to go to over all others.

Early Action

The early action application is similar to the early decision in regard to the due date (due in November) and decision timeframe (decisions go out in December), but it differs in that it isn’t binding. It’s okay to apply to multiple schools via early action, and if you’re accepted you’re not required to enroll.

Single Choice Early Action

This option is similar to the early decision in that students can only apply to one school this way, but it’s not binding. If students choose to apply to a school via single-choice early action, it’s a way of saying they’re especially interested in attending that school. The deadline and acceptance period is the same as the other early options.

When it comes to applying early, no matter which type of early application you choose, the applications will usually be due in November and decisions will be sent out in December.

Regular Decision

Regular decision applications are the most common of the application options. For these applications, the deadline is usually in January or February and the decision letters go out by April. The deadline for submitting your application will differ between schools, so make sure to check the website for each school and mark the dates on a calendar.

Rolling Admission

Rolling admission allows students to apply until the school runs out of space. Sometimes applications are accepted until April, and sometimes even later. Students are encouraged to apply using the same deadline as the regular decision to have a better chance of being accepted before the colleges run out of spaces.

Some colleges will also have differing numbers of spots open based on specific majors, so it’s important to check that availability at each school the student is applying to. If the major the student lists on an application is impacted at some schools, it might be better to apply by the deadline for regular applications since impacted majors are likely to have more students apply than there are spots available. The average turnaround for rolling admission is about four to six weeks , so the date that decisions are sent out will depend on when students submit their application.

For students who are still undecided about where to go to college, check out this quiz for help deciding on a type of college. Once students have a list of schools they’d like to go to, they can rank them by preference and start deciding when to apply.

The Dreaded Waitlist

After waiting for one to two months to receive a school’s decision, it can be frustrating to open that letter or email and see that there’s more waiting to do. Being on the school’s waitlist isn’t necessarily bad, however.

There are many reasons that students end up on the waitlist. They may have met the academic criteria to get into the school, but the school might not have space yet for these students.

Most schools will require students to contact them and accept their spot on the waitlist to be considered for admission, so don’t forget that step.

Since the number of students that can be accepted from a waitlist depends on the number of students who choose to enroll, students on the waitlist won’t hear back until after decision day.

Decision day is May 1st, and it’s the day that seniors are required to notify their school that they accept their admission and will enroll.

After the decision day, the schools will know how many students will enroll, and then they’ll be able to start accepting students from the waitlist if there’s space. This means students on the waitlist can expect to hear back from their school by the end of May, but sometimes it can take up until the Fall semester starts to hear back.

Paying for College

Planning for college goes beyond getting accepted. Once accepted, students have to figure out how they’ll be paying for tuition, books, and housing. Luckily, there are many good options for financing higher education, which can include financial aid from the government (grants and/or loans), scholarships, and private loans.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form students will need to complete as the first step in applying for student aid. Depending on a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), they may be eligible for federal student loans, grants, or work-study.

Grants don’t usually have to be repaid, but loans do. The amount of aid students can receive from the federal government will depend on their financial need, so not everyone will be eligible.

Federal student loans come with some benefits that are not guaranteed by private student loans, like lower fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. This is important to take into account when choosing where to take out loans.

Scholarships can be merit based, meaning they’re awarded based on some kind of achievement, or need based. There are many scholarships available, and it’s perfectly acceptable to apply to as many as possible to further the chances of receiving one—or more. Some scholarships are specific to a school or the local community, so check your school’s website for information.

Private loans may be another option for paying for college. Since every financial institution is different, it’s good to do some research first and explore options available. Loan amounts and rates will depend on an applicant’s financial situation. Factors such as an applicant’s credit history and income are typically taken into account, and those with little of either may need a cosigner to be approved for a private loan.

To learn more about private student loans, college-bound students—and their parents—might want to check out this guide to private student loans. It’s fairly common to use multiple avenues to fund a college education.

Even if the cost of attendance might be covered by scholarships, grants, or federal student loans, there may be other costs of living a student might need assistance for. That’s where private student loans can be helpful when considered responsibly.

It’s difficult to anticipate every cost that might pop up, and private student loans are an option at any time throughout the school year, not just before the term starts.

Taking some time to think about college costs and how to pay for the upcoming years of education can be a wise way to spend that time waiting for all of those acceptance letters to come rolling in.

Learn more about private student loans through SoFi.



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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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The Ultimate Babyproofing Checklist

The Ultimate Babyproofing Checklist

When babies start crawling, they can get into all sorts of trouble. Aside from creating messes, they can hurt themselves. That’s why it’s important to babyproof a home before a child begins to explore.

Coming up with a babyproofing checklist can help parents relax, knowing that their little ones will be able to crawl—and eventually walk—around the home without getting hurt.

A pre-baby financial checklist usually includes budgeting. A babyproofing checklist includes ways to ensure that a home is safe for a child.

Put Up Gates

If parents don’t have doors throughout their home, they can install baby gates.

The best types of baby gates can be screwed into a banister, wall, or door frame because they are the most secure, according to Babylist. Pressure-mounted gates are an option, especially if parents live in a rental and don’t want to put holes in the structure.

Some gates allow parents to step through, while others swing open. When looking for baby gates, parents may want to seek out the ones that are the top-rated for safety and the most convenient for their homes. For instance, they may get frustrated that they have to constantly step over a gate, so a swinging gate could be a better fit.

Buy a Hexagon Playpen

When parents can’t constantly watch their baby, they can put the baby in a hexagon “play yard” with toys and a bottle.

The panels can also be used to block off certain rooms or areas of a room.

However, parents should keep in mind that a toddler may be able to climb out of the panels or push them out of the room.

Cover the Outlets

Another part of a babyproofing checklist is covering all the outlets in the home.

The easiest option is to push heavy furniture in front of outlets so the baby can’t get to them. But if that’s not possible, parents can buy plug-in plastic covers, outlet shields, or sliding plate covers.

Remember to also get power strip covers and cord covers so the baby can’t play with those either.

Babyproof the Doors

Babyproofing doors is important so that babies can’t get into certain rooms or get their fingers jammed in doors.

To babyproof doors, parents can install doorknob covers, which are rounded, plastic covers that are too hard for babies to squeeze in order to turn the knobs.

Parents can also use a door strap, which will keep babies out of a room but allow small pets in.

Put Away Heavy Objects

If young children pick up a heavy object, they could drop it and break it or, worse, hurt themselves.

A major part of a babyproof checklist is putting away heavy objects that could injure a child. These objects could go in a closet or another room. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they are out of baby’s reach.

Install Latches on Drawers

One key part of babyproofing a home is to make sure that children can’t get into drawers and cabinets where dangerous objects like knives are stored.

Parents have a few options for babyproofing cabinets and drawers.

According to Babylist, they can use slide locks for double door cabinets, which tie adjacent knobs together, or magnetic locks, which go in drawers and cabinets and require a key to unlock them.

Parents could also purchase adhesive strap locks, which use heavy-duty, removable adhesive, or spring-action locks, which unlock when parents open a drawer and hold down on the lock at the same time.

Remove Choking Hazards

If parents have more than one child, there could be little toys around the house or other objects that are choking hazards for the baby.

Parents could store these objects in a safe spot and instruct their older kids to do the same. For instance, an older child could have a special trunk where they put all their toys when the baby is around.

Keep Chemicals Locked Up

Before having a baby, parents may have kept household cleaners and bug spray underneath the sink.

Now, when babyproofing, they need to put a lock on the cabinet where these chemicals are stored and/or install a gate to keep the baby far away from them.

A number of household substances must, by law, have child-resistant packaging. Still, one look around the average home shows potential dangers, including perhaps colorful single-load laundry detergent units and dishwashing liquid.

Use Corner Guards

Installing corner guards is an essential babyproofing step. Corner guards, which may prevent a bad bruise or eye injury, can be used on sharp corners of wooden desks, glass tables, and metal fireplace hearths.

Some corner guards are made of high-density foam; others from silicone rubber. They come in different colors and may include double-stick tape for easy installation.

Babyproof Window Blinds

Corded blinds are a strangling hazard for babies.

Parents can wrap a blind’s operating cords around cord cleats. Cord cleats should be installed at least 5 feet above a floor, where a baby can’t reach.

Other options are shortening cords and tying on plastic washers (the washer ties to the lift cord, preventing the lift cord from being pulled through the slats on the blind).

Secure Furniture to the Wall

Babies start to become very curious when they roam around the house. They may push furniture and try to move it. This is why all furniture they have access to should be secured to walls.

It’s important to secure furniture not only in the living and dining room but also in the nursery. Pay special attention to the baby’s bookshelf and dresser.

Every year children are injured in tip-overs of TVs, tables, dressers, and bookcases, some fatally.

Secure Rugs

Once babies start to crawl and even walk, they could slip and fall on rugs. Carpet Mill notes that parents can make rugs immovable by placing nonskid rug pads under rugs.

Double-sided carpet tape can also be used to keep down any slight upturns on the edges and corners of the rugs.

Block or Babyproof Stairs

Babies love stairs, but of course stairs can be dangerous. Parents can block stairs off with a baby gate or add carpeting, nonskid step pads, or a carpet runner to make stairs less slippery.

Paying for Babyproofing

First-time parents are prone to making common financial mistakes, but any way you slice it, child rearing is expensive, and that can start with babyproofing a home.

A metal baby play yard alone can cost more than $100, and gates can add up if there are a lot of open entryways to block off from the baby. Parents may also need to buy storage bins, carpeting, or furniture to keep the baby safe.

If they aren’t able to pay for babyproofing out of pocket, they could put the expense on a low- or no-interest credit card, look out for sales on their favorite items, or take out a home improvement loan.

The Takeaway

A babyproof checklist is a must before babies start crawling and then toddling. Adding baby gates, playpens, and gadgets, and modifying furniture and flooring, can add up, but safety is the watchword.

A new child brings joy but, let’s face it, a lot of expenses. If a loan could help, SoFi offers fixed-rate personal loans without fees.

Look into the benefits of a personal loan and find your rate.



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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

If you don’t have a will, the court (not you) will decide how your money and belongings are distributed, which means that they likely won’t go to friends, charity, or other places you may envision. Not having a will can also make life complicated for your survivors.

Writing a will is something many people feel they should do “someday,” but that day often gets pushed to the future. Having a will in place, however, can be important for everyone, even those who don’t have kids or own any property.

Fortunately, drafting a will doesn’t have to be complicated (or expensive), and can be the first step in creating an overall estate plan.

Read on to learn what happens if you don’t have a will, and how taking the time to write one can spare your loved one’s time, stress, and money.

Recommended: Estate Planning 101

Who Handles Your Estate if You Die Without a Will?

When there is no will to name an executor, state law dictates who will be in charge of handling your estate.

A will is where you designate an executor or personal representative. This is the person who takes responsibility for your estate after you die. They make sure final bills and taxes are paid and your assets are distributed properly.

This is often based on a priority list. For example, most states will make the surviving spouse, if there is one, the executor. Adult children are typically considered next, followed by other family members.

Until the courts decide who will distribute your assets, they will be frozen. That means no one can touch your stuff, even if you had told them they could have it.

If nobody is willing or able to handle your estate, the courts will name a public trustee to represent you. This would mean that a stranger would be in charge of distributing your assets according to the laws in your state.

Who Gets Your Money If You Die Without a Will?

If you were to die without a will (legally called “intestate”), the state would decide how to divide your assets.

This process is called probate. Depending on your financial situation when you die, this can be a complex process that can hold your assets in place and be potentially time-consuming and expensive for your survivors.

How an estate will be distributed will depend on state law. Typically, however, the bulk of the estate will go to a spouse. If you have children, they will also likely get a share or, if there are no children, your parents. Next, the state will typically look for siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The probate process can mean that your belongings are inherited by those you didn’t necessarily intend. For example, if you are single and you die, your parents may get all of your possessions. This may not have been your wishes if you have a partner, or if you and your parents don’t get along.

If you are in a relationship but have no marriage certificate, your significant other may not be able to inherit any of your assets.

You also don’t have an opportunity to give anything to charity, your alma mater, or create a legacy.

What if I Die With Credit Card Debt or Loans?

The good news: In general, your loved ones won’t be left with your debt if you were to die unexpectedly. But they still may have to deal with a lot of complicated red tape and legal fees as they go through the probate process.

This is because your estate has to pay any creditors before anything is passed down. If you have a mortgage or credit card debt alongside other assets, the process can take time and can lead to confusion and frustration for your loved ones.

If you die, federal student loan debt will be discharged, but private loan debt is dependent on your policy. If someone cosigned the loan, they may be responsible for future payments.

If you have credit card debts and not enough assets to cover them, your survivors are not responsible for payment, according to the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB) .

But despite your loved ones not being legally obligated to pay the debts, it may also lead to creditors contacting your family.

Who Gets My Children if I Die Without a Will?

Guardianship, or who takes care of children who are minors in the event of your death, can be the most pressing concern for many parents.

If you die without a will, the state will appoint a guardian for your children. The state will choose guardians that they believe are in the best interest of the children, but these guardians may not be the same people you would have chosen.

Having the state assign guardians can also be stressful for your loved ones during what would already likely be a tough time.

A will can establish both a personal and financial guardian for your children. While this can be the same person, some parents like the flexibility in dividing guardianship.

For example, a relative may be chosen to be a financial guardian because they are good at money, while a personal guardian could be a family member who lives nearby who could ensure that the children’s routines and daily life is as similar as possible as it was to your own.

You can also appoint a backup guardian in your will in case your primary choice is unable or unwilling to take on the role.

Writing a Will Can be Easier (and Cheaper) Than You May Think

If you have a lot of property or assets and may want to set up trusts for your heirs, it can be wise to hire an experienced estate attorney to help you write a will, as well as any other estate planning documents.

For many people, however, online templates can be sufficient and, provided the documents are signed appropriately, will be legally binding.

Going the online route can be significantly less expensive than working one-on-one with an attorney. Some online options are even free. Members of SoFi, for example, can draft a will for free using SoFi’s estate planning services offered through Ladder.

After you write your will, you may need witnesses and a notary in order to make sure it’s legal in the state where you live. Once you have a will, there are a few other steps you may want to take, including:

•   Keeping your will in a safe place. This may include having a digital copy and also a physical copy.
•   Letting someone know where copies of the will are kept, perhaps the person you appointed as executor of your will.
•   Creating other end-of-life documents, including a living will and power of attorney. These documents can be invaluable if you were to become incapacitated and needed people to make medical decisions for you.
•   Talking about your decision with others. Many people put off creating a will, which can lead to confusion and uncertainty if the worst were to happen. Encouraging your loved ones to draft their own wills can help give peace of mind to the entire family.
•   Updating it regularly. It can be a good idea to consider looking at your will every year or so, or after a major event, such as a marriage, divorce, death in the family, buying a house, or having children.

The Takeaway

Creating a will may seem overwhelming, but it can also be a financially prudent move that helps protect your assets—and creates a legacy based on your wishes.

If you die without a will, you will have no say in how your assets will be distributed and, if you have children, who will care for them. You also risk putting your survivors in a difficult situation.

Getting started on your will doesn’t take much time. And you don’t necessarily even have to hire a lawyer and spend a fortune to have it done.

You may be able to create your own will relatively quickly online simply by plugging in your information–the rest is done for you, and the results are legally binding.

While you’re tackling the to-dos you’ve long been putting off, you may also want to also work on getting your financial life in order.

SoFi Money® makes it easy to manage your money by allowing you to earn competitive interest, save, and spend all in one account.

Check out everything SoFi Money has to offer today.



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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.
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