How Much Does a Physical Therapist Make a Year?

The median salary for a physical therapy is $97,720, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While that’s seen as a good salary in most parts of the country, money isn’t the only factor to consider if you’re thinking about a career as a physical therapist. You’ll also want to weigh the potential rewards (you can help people feel better) and drawbacks (the work can be physically taxing).

Let’s take a closer look.

What Are Physical Therapists?

A physical therapist (PT) is a wellness provider who specializes in the body’s physical movements. An athlete might see a physical therapist after sustaining an injury. Or a stroke patient might visit one to regain the ability to walk.

It can take about seven or eight years of study to become a PT, including four years of undergraduate study and three years to complete a doctor of physical therapy program.

PTs need to be physically able to support patients who cannot carry their own weight. It also helps if they’re outgoing, since they work with patients all day long. (Prefer a career where you don’t have to deal with people? Consider a job for introverts.)

Recommended: 11 Work-From-Home Jobs for Retirees

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


How Much Do Starting Physical Therapists Make?

If you’re exploring the profession, you may wonder what a good entry-level salary is for a new physical therapist. Salaries for physical therapists fresh out of school run the gamut from $57,351 to $92,416, with the average salary coming in around $72,897.

The amount you make will likely depend on where you live, where you work, and your assigned tasks. The more experience you gain as a physical therapist, the more money you may be able to make.


💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

What Is the Average Salary for a Physical Therapist?

Like most fields, physical therapy tends to pay more as you gain more experience. So how much does a physical therapist make a year?

Some PTs get paid by the hour, while others earn an annual salary. You can look at salary vs. hourly incomes to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each.

On average, a physical therapist makes around $46.98 per hour, though that rate can range from $32.65 to $61.94. In terms of salary, a typical physical therapist can earn anywhere from $67,910 to $128,839; the median salary is $97,720.

What is the Average Physical Therapist Salary by State for 2023?

A physical therapist’s pay can vary widely based on where they work. Here’s a look at how much a physical therapist makes per year in each state, from highest to lowest.

State

Average Salary

California $106,493
Alaska $95,954
Washington $88,437
Nevada $85,244
Hawaii $81,840
Massachusetts $79,796
Oregon $78,937
New Jersey $78,760
Minnesota $77,587
Arizona $77,008
Connecticut $76,988
Delaware $76,926
Rhode Island $76,918
Maryland $76,765
Wyoming $76,240
New Hampshire $76,203
Virginia $75,627
Illinois $75,232
Mississippi $75,221
Idaho $74,891
New York $74,295
New Mexico $74,292
Nebraska $74,016
Alabama $73,562
Louisiana $73,531
Texas $72,675
Colorado $72,634
Oklahoma $71,849
Wisconsin $71,769
South Carolina $71,724
Michigan $71,589
Pennsylvania $71,255
North Carolina $70,975
Indiana $70,909
Georgia $70,314
North Dakota $70,298
Maine $70,091
Kansas $69,896
Kentucky $69,892
Utah $69,855
Ohio $69,275
Montana $69,053
Tennessee $68,632
Missouri $68,447
West Virginia $67,957
Iowa $67,671
Florida $67,478
South Dakota $66,170
Vermont $65,309
Arkansas $64,149

Source: Zippia

Recommended: The Highest-Paying Jobs in Every State

Physical Therapist Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

When you’re figuring out competitive pay for a PT, you’ll want to weigh a number of factors. For starters, where you live and work can greatly impact how much you get paid. Your area of specialty can also play a role in how much you earn. Oncology, pediatrics, sports medicine, orthopedics, and rehabilitation all come with their specific roles, responsibilities, and salary ranges.

You may find that your salary goes up if you oversee other employees. And your income may also change depending on whether you decide to work for someone else or open your own practice.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of Being a Physical Therapist

As with any job, there are benefits and drawbacks to being a physical therapist.

Pros

One big draw to consider is the potential salary, which can be fairly high no matter where you live. You’ll also have the opportunities to help people on the road to recovery after an injury or illness, which can be gratifying.

Another plus? Flexibility. PTs can often choose to work full time or part time. And if you’re open to hitting the road for work, there are jobs available for traveling physical therapists.

Recommended: Is a $100,000 Salary Good?

Cons

As anyone who’s ever been to physical therapy before can attest, the work can be physically taxing. You’ll need to be able-bodied so you can help support patients during their visits.

Something else to consider? The job typically involves a great deal of paperwork — think logging detailed notes on each patient, handling administrative work, and corresponding with providers.

And then there are the additional years of school you’ll have to go through before you can start working. The cost of a doctor of physical therapy program varies, but tuition for a three-year program can be around $66,000 for an in-state public institution. If you plan on attending a private program, you could end up paying upwards of $113,000 or more. You’ll need to find a way to either cover these costs on your own or take out a student loan, which you’ll have to repay.

Whether you’re figuring out how to pay for the extra schooling or how to maximize your income, creating a budget is a good place to start. An online spending app can help take the guesswork out of the job.

The Takeaway

A career in physical therapy requires additional schooling, but the potential rewards can be worth it. Not only would you be helping people regain their strength and mobility, you may also enjoy work-life balance and a good salary.

FAQ

What is the highest paying physical therapist job?

On the high end, experienced physical therapists can earn around $128,830 per year.

Do physical therapists make $100k a year?

Yes, some physical therapists can earn $100,000 a year or more, depending on their experience and responsibilities.

How much do physical therapists make starting out?

On average, new physical therapists can expect to earn about $72,897 per year.


Photo credit: iStock/andresr

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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.

SORL1023012

Read more

How Much Does a Dentist Make a Year?

A dentist who’s been working for five or so years can make around $154,774 a year, according to the latest figures from Payscale. That competitive pay reflects the significant amount of education and training required to do the job. But even brand-new dentists could earn a six-figure salary. The average annual pay for entry-level dentists, including bonuses and overtime, is $130,875.

While becoming a dentist isn’t cheap — the typical dental school graduate owes around $286,200 in student loan debt, according to the Educational Data Initiative — the field is often regarded as virtually recession-proof.

Here’s a closer look at what dentists do, how much they can earn, and the pros and cons to consider.

What Are Dentists?

Dentists are healthcare providers who specialize in oral health, which includes the teeth, gums and mouth. In addition to routine exams and cleanings, a dentist can also perform a variety of services, including filling cavities, putting in crowns or bridges, pulling teeth, or designing and installing dentures. Some dentists operate their own practices, which means they may also manage staff, finances, and marketing.

Being a dentist means interacting with patients all day long. If you are shy and have difficulty starting conversations, you might explore jobs for introverts instead.

Also important to know: It can take six to eight years to become a dentist. While there’s no fast track, know that once you complete your studies, you should be able to earn a nice salary.

As you’re establishing yourself professionally, it’s a good idea to also create short- and long-term financial goals for yourself. Online tools like a money tracker app can help you keep track of your spending and saving and provide useful insights.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


How Much Do Starting Dentists Make?

If you’re considering going through those six to eight years of study, you may want to know, what is a good entry-level salary for a dentist just starting out?

As mentioned before, a brand-new dentist can earn an average of $130,875, which includes bonus and overtime. How much does a dentist make a month? If you break this down, it would come out to $10,906 a month. Keep in mind that if you took out a dental school loan, some of your salary may need to go to paying back what you owe.


💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

What is the Average Salary for a Dentist?

After a few years on the job, how much can dentists make a year? The good news is, salaries usually rise as you gain more experience.

According to data from Payscale, dentists with one to four years of experience earn an average of $144,075 a year. With five to nine years of experience, the average annual salary rises to $154,774. After working 10-19 years, a dentist could earn an annual average of $157,700. And dentists with 20 years or more of experience earn around $169,644 a year.

While most dentists are given a salary, some get paid by the hour instead. In those cases, how much does a dentist make an hour? According to data from Indeed, the average hourly rate is $84.09.

Recommended: Is $100,000 a Good Salary?

What Is the Average Dentist Salary by State?

Wondering how a dentist’s income stacks up against the highest-paying jobs in your state? Check out this chart of average dentist salaries by state.

State

Average Salary

Alabama $158,710
Alaska $214,683
Arizona $163,176
Arkansas $158,808
California $178,387
Colorado $201,027
Connecticut $162,710
Delaware $189,160
Florida $130,850
Georgia $147,851
Hawaii $209,888
Idaho $170,599
Illinois $186,110
Indiana $166,621
Iowa $161,303
Kansas $183,143
Kentucky $167,951
Louisiana $147,275
Maine $174,287
Maryland $183,213
Massachusetts $212,512
Michigan $166,435
Minnesota $168,682
Mississippi $194,658
Missouri $178,102
Montana $160,717
Nebraska $179,358
Nevada $202,984
New Hampshire $171,464
New Jersey $176,216
New Mexico $167,659
New York $192,506
North Carolina $172,893
North Dakota $214,368
Ohio $163,943
Oklahoma $173,694
Oregon $215,367
Pennsylvania $176,353
Rhode Island $199,480
South Carolina $176,536
South Dakota $202,600
Tennessee $156,518
Texas $169,407
Utah $156,663
Vermont $187,907
Virginia $186,499
Washington $206,840
West Virginia $136,199
Wisconsin $174,572
Wyoming $168,805

Source: ZipRecruiter

Dentist Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

Curious about how much a general dentist makes a year? The answer varies depending on several factors, including their experience, area of specialty, where they work, and whether they run their own practice.

But if you’re wondering what trade makes the most money, dentistry is up there. And there’s certainly job security. As long as people have teeth (or need to use them), there will be jobs for dentists!

Recommended: What Are the Pros and Cons of Raising Minimum Wage?

Pros and Cons of Being a Dentist

You might be excited at the prospect of making good money as a dentist, but it’s a smart move to weigh potential benefits and drawbacks of the profession. Here are ones to consider:

Pros:

•   Competitive pay

•   Job stability

•   Can help people have good oral health

•   Potential for a good work-life balance

•   Ability to be able to run your own practice

Cons:

•   Typically takes eight years of schooling for to become a dentist — four years of undergraduate school and four for dental school

•   May have a sizable student loan to pay off after graduation

•   May need to be on call for dental emergencies

•   Work often requires making precise movements on a small scale, which can be physically taxing over time



💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

The Takeaway

Dentistry can be a rewarding career, but you’ll need to be prepared for the hard work and high costs it requires. It takes most people eight years of schooling to be a dentist, and a typical dental school graduate owes more than $286,000 in student loan debt.

While that amount of debt can be overwhelming, keep in mind that dentists often command a high salary and typically enjoy job stability. After working for a handful of years, a dentist could make around $154,774 a year. A dentist with 20 years or more of experience may earn $169,644.

If you’re passionate about helping patients — and are looking for a stable, flexible, well-paying job — dentistry may be the right fit for you.

FAQ

What is the highest-paying dentist job?

A dentist who has been working for 20 years or more can command a salary of around $169,644.

Do dentists make $100k a year?

Yes, many dentists, even brand-new ones, can earn $100,000 or more a year.

How much do dentists make starting out?

Dentists who have just completed dental school can earn on average about $130,875 per year, according to the most recent data available from Payscale. That figure includes bonuses and overtime pay.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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

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.

SORL1023011

Read more

How Much Does a Veterinarian Make a Year?

Being a veterinarian doesn’t just give you an opportunity to work with animals all day — you could also earn good money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a vet is $103,260.

However, the profession requires a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, which generally takes four years to complete. Is it worth the extra education to become a veterinarian? Let’s find out.

What Are Veterinarians?

Veterinarians are medically licensed doctors whose patients are animals. Just like a doctor for humans, vets ensure their patients are healthy by diagnosing issues, treating injuries, and administering vaccinations.

Some veterinarians only work with certain animals, such as horses, or have specialties like immunology, anesthesia, or dentistry.

It typically takes eight years to become a veterinarian, including four years of undergraduate education and four years of veterinary school.

Recommended: What Trade Makes the Most Money?

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


How Much Do Starting Veterinarians Make?

The average entry-level salary for new veterinarians at an independent practice is $105,637. Working for a corporate practice tends to pay a bit more — the average starting salary is around is $124,686. Some practices may also offer a sign-on bonus.


💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

What Is the Average Salary for a Veterinarian?

One question you may have is, how much does a veterinarian make an hour? The average hourly rate is $47.25, though with 10 years or more of experience, that amount rises to $67.22 per hour.

Now, how much does a vet make a year? Depending on a host of factors, a vet could earn anywhere from $81,601 on the lower end to $186,300 on the higher end.

Recommended: What Is Competitive Pay?

What is the Average Veterinarian Salary by State for 2023?

Interested in the highest-paying jobs by state so you can see what salaries are like where you live? Here are the state-by-state average salaries for vets, from highest to lowest.

State

Average Salary

Maine $116,665
New Mexico $113,328
Vermont $113,030
Maryland $111,834
New Jersey $110,946
North Dakota $110,753
California $110,657
New York $110,501
District of Columbia $108,136
Rhode Island $107,862
Massachusetts $107,585
Pennsylvania $107,414
Montana $106,137
Oregon $105,895
Utah $105,159
Delaware $104,715
Ohio $103,974
Virginia $102,565
Texas $102,430
Washington $102,235
Arizona $102,186
New Hampshire $101,407
West Virginia $100,386
Nevada $100,280
Arkansas $100,209
Connecticut $99,455
Tennessee $98,307
South Carolina $98,201
North Carolina $97,914
Michigan $97,868
Indiana $97,022
Illinois $96,430
Idaho $96,310
Minnesota $94,557
Iowa $94,117
Alaska $93,118
Georgia $92,959
Florida $91,716
Alabama $91,089
Hawaii $89,823
Wyoming $88,138
Colorado $84,895
Wisconsin $84,118
Missouri $83,042
Kentucky $80,867
Kansas $77,756
Mississippi $75,330
Nebraska $72,814
Louisiana $68,593
South Dakota $68,059
Oklahoma $61,224

Source: Zippia

Veterinarian Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

The amount you actually get paid as a veterinarian will depend on several factors. For instance, you probably won’t make as much money when you’re fresh out of veterinary school as you would after working in the field for a decade or more. And as the chart above shows, the state where you decide to live will also influence how much you earn.

Other factors that can play a role include whether you choose to work for a corporate practice or private practice, whether you manage staff, and whether you pursue a specialty field.

No matter what your take-home pay is, online tools like a money tracker app can help you create budgets and keep tabs on your finances.

Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinarian

Before you sign up for veterinary school, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a vet.

Pros

If you love animals, few jobs will put you in as close contact with them as being a vet. On any given day, you could see dogs, cats, snakes, turtles, rabbits, and even horses!

And if you’re looking to make good money, being a veterinarian is a great option. Even starting out, vets could potentially draw a $100,000 salary.

The veterinary industry is stable, which can be appealing if you’re considering opening your own practice. And unlike other medical professions, veterinarians usually keep standard office hours.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Cons

The profession has a few drawbacks to consider. For instance, you may be required to perform emergency services after hours.

Once you finish your undergraduate degree, you’ll also need to complete veterinary school before you can start working. A typical program takes around four years to complete, so you may need to earmark a portion of your salary to pay back medical school student loans.

And like most jobs in the medical field, being a veterinarian can be emotionally taxing. After all, you’ll be responsible for putting fatally wounded or older animals to sleep, and that can be difficult.

Recommended: 30 Low-Stress Jobs for Introverts

The Takeaway

If you’ve read through the drawbacks to being a vet and are still excited about the prospect of helping animals, becoming a veterinarian might be a great fit for you. Just keep in mind that the profession requires an extra four years of education, which can add to your educational debt. Also, salaries can vary widely by state and whether you work for an independent or corporate practice, two factors that could impact your salary.

FAQ

What is the highest paying veterinarian job?

On the high end, veterinarians can make $186,300 per year.

Do veterinarians make over 100k a year?

Yes, many veterinarians earn over $100,000 per year, but that depends on their experience, where they live, and their responsibilities.

How much do veterinarians make starting out?

Just starting out, veterinarians who work at an independent practice can earn an average of $105,637. Those going to work for a corporate practice could make slightly more — an average of $124,686.


Photo credit: iStock/Viktor Cvetkovic

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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.

SORL1023010

Read more
woman reading a book

Are Student Loans Making Borrowers Delay Life Decisions?

A college degree can be a major rite of passage and career stepping stone for millions of Americans. Putting one’s education to work can unlock professional rewards and a solid financial future.

However, there’s no denying that the cost of tuition can be daunting. The student loan debt balance has surged 66% over the past decade and, according to the Federal Reserve, currently totals more than $1.77 trillion (that’s trillion, not billion).

Having those payments unfurling before you can be stressful and frustrating, and the effects of student loan debt can be far-reaching. It can seem as if some of your personal, professional, and financial goals will have to wait until you can pay off what you owe. But there are ways to manage those loans and navigate this situation. After all, student debt is what you are going through, not who you are.

Here, you’ll learn more about student loan debt, how it can impact borrowers’ life decisions, and ways to minimize those effects and manage debt more effectively.

Student Loan Debt Statistics

To understand how impactful student loan debt can be, here’s some perspective. Consumer debt in the United States is measured by the Federal Reserve in five distinct categories — home, auto, credit card, student, and other debt.

Using the Federal Reserve Bank of New York data from 2023, here’s how household debt stacks up in the U.S.:

•   Mortgage debt (excluding HELOCs, or home equity lines of credit): $12.14 trillion

•   Student loan debt: $1.599 trillion

•   Auto loan debt: $1.595 trillion

•   Credit card debt: $1.079 trillion

Here’s how educational debt stacks up more specifically: In 2023, the average student loan borrower carried $37,338 in federal debt and $54,921 in private debt.


💡 Quick Tip: Enjoy no hidden fees and special member benefits when you refinance student loans with SoFi.

Impact of Student Loan Debt on Life Plans

Given the cost of student loan debt, some borrowers may delay big life decisions, such as buying a home or starting a family until they are further along in their loan repayment or have their debt totally paid off. Here are some specifics about the potential negative effects of student loan debt. Then, more happily, you’ll find tips on managing what you owe.

Homebuying

One landmark study in the Journal of Labor Economics found that a $1,000 increase in student loan debt lowered the rate of homeownership by approximately 1.8% for people in their mid-twenties who went to a public college for four years. This is equivalent to a delay of about four months in achieving homeownership per $1,000 in debt.

Indeed, as student debt has increased, homeownership among younger Americans has decreased. Experts, however, caution that this is a complex situation and not a matter of student debt meaning you can’t buy a house.

It’s true that student loans can raise a person’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI), a critical measure of creditworthiness. And it can slow an individual’s ability to save for a down payment.

That said, there are ways to get a mortgage with a student loan. By managing debt responsibly and building your credit score, you can achieve this goal. It’s also wise to look into the various mortgages available with as little as 3% down or even 0% for qualifying candidates.

Pursuing Graduate School

If you have undergraduate student loan debt, you may decide to delay or forgo enrolling in a graduate or professional degree program. Graduate school can often mean even more debt. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average graduate student loan debt is $76,620 among federal borrowers, with only 14.3% of that coming from the borrower’s undergraduate studies.

That said, an advanced degree can mean increased job opportunities. For example, the starting salary for those who majored in computer and information sciences of a recent graduating class was $86,964 with a bachelor’s degree and $105,894 with a master’s degree. And if you want to go to medical school, law school, or business school (which can lead to fulfilling and lucrative careers), you will need significant additional training. So it’s important to determine if taking out the debt is worthwhile vs. your anticipated earning potential.

Recommended: Average Cost of Medical School

Employment and Career Choices

What you’ve just read indicates some of the ways that student loan debt can impact your career plans. There are a couple of other ways that your loan balance might impact your career:

•   If you have significant debt and are faced with the choice between your dream job at a lower salary and a basic job at a higher pay grade, you might opt for the one that fattens your bank account even though it doesn’t thrill you.

•   Also, some companies (particularly those in the financial industry) may check your credit score as part of your job application. Student loans could build your score if you pay on time, and they could broaden your credit mix. But loans also create the opportunity to make a late payment or miss one entirely. Those are aspects of your payment history, the single largest contributor to your score. If you don’t stick to your schedule and pay what you owe every month, you could wind up with a lower score.

Recommended: Average Student Loan Debt by State

Marriage and Divorce

Student loans can also impact one’s personal relationships. According to a 2023 Student Loan Planner® survey, one in four borrowers said they delayed their marriage plans due to student debt. In addition, more than half of respondents (57%) said their student loans were a source of considerable stress in their marriage or relationship.

Marriage can impact your student loan payments, depending on the types of loans you have and the repayment plan you are on. If you are on an income-based repayment plan, your monthly bill might change based on how much you and your spouse earn and how you file your taxes.

Marriages and money can create complex situations that are hard to fully decode. When looking at the impact of student loan debt on divorce, it can be tricky to unravel the interplay of factors. One survey conducted a few years ago found that 13% of respondents attribute student loan debt as a cause of their divorce. Yet some couples with student loan debt were more likely to delay divorce due to their student loans and how it might impact their ability to repay their debt. So in matters of the heart and the wallet, there isn’t a clear consensus.

Recommended: How Marriage Can Affect Your Student Loan Payments

Starting a Family

According to the USDA and other government statistics, it can cost more than $330,000 to raise a child to age 18. That’s no small amount, and it’s a daunting figure for many. Those carrying a hefty amount of student debt may delay parenthood as they pay off their loans.

One landmark New York Times survey in 2018 found that among people who didn’t plan to have children at all, 13% said it was as a result of student debt. In a more recent study of those with high student debt, 35% said they were waiting to have kids due to the impact of their loans on their finances. Still others may respond to this scenario by adopting strategies to pay off student loans faster.

Saving for Retirement

One of the negative effects of debt on young adults is that their retirement savings can be impacted. A recent study conducted by Fidelity found that 84% of borrowers felt that their loans impacted their ability to save for their retirement.

A study from a few years ago bore this out: Research by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that Millennials who had never borrowed student loans saved twice as much for retirement by age 30 as college graduates who have student debt.

Here’s another bit of intel that supports the fact that student debt can make it harder to save for your future. Fidelity also found that the percentage of student loan borrowers who put at least 5% of their salary into their retirement plan rose from 63% to 72% during the Covid-19 loan payment pause.

Delaying retirement savings can mean playing catch up in your later years. Typically, the earlier you start saving for retirement, the more time your money will have to benefit from compound interest.

It can seem overwhelming to start saving for retirement while you’re still paying off student loan debt, but doing both at the same time can help you meet your financial goals in the future.


💡 Quick Tip: Refinancing could be a great choice for working graduates who have higher-interest graduate PLUS loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and/or private loans.

How to Manage Your Student Loans

As you’ve just read, student loans can impact many areas of your life. But you are not alone in this situation, and your loans will not be with you forever. Focus on smart solutions to help you manage your debt repayment. Consider the following strategies.

Keep Paying

Even when money is tight, it’s wise to pay on time, as much as possible. Timely payments are the single biggest contributing factor to your credit score, an important financial metric. So do your best to keep current on those monthly installments.

Make a Budget

It’s hard to effectively manage your student debt and your finances in general if you don’t know how much money you have coming in and going out. If you don’t yet have a budget or yours isn’t working well for you, commit to reviewing different budgeting methods and finding one that works.

This process of tracking your money and possibly trimming your spending could reveal ways to free up more funds to pay off your debt.

Repayment Plans

There are federal student loan repayment plans that base your monthly payment on your income or ones that give you a fixed monthly payment. Those that are based on your income may help you lower your monthly payment.

It can be worthwhile to consider your options. For fixed payments, you may have a choice between standard, graduated, and extended plans. If you focus on income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, you will likely review the SAVE Plan (which replaces REPAYE), PAYE, IBR (income-based repayment), and ICR (income-contingent repayment) plans. With IDR plans, once you satisfy a certain number of months of qualifying payments, you can be eligible for forgiveness on the remaining balance of your loan(s).

Deferment and Forbearance

If you are finding it challenging to pay your federal student loans, you may be able to take advantage of deferment or forbearance, which are both ways of pausing or lowering your payments for a specific period of time. Perhaps you haven’t yet found a job after graduation or have another situation that is impacting your ability to pay; these programs can help qualifying borrowers out.

The main difference between is that during deferment, borrowers are not required to pay the interest that accrues if they have a qualifying loan. With forbearance, however, borrowers are always responsible for paying the interest that accrues, no matter what kind of federal loans they have.

Forgiveness

Here’s another path to lessening the impact of student loans on your life: forgiveness, which means you may not have to pay back some or all of your federal student loans. For these programs, there are a variety of qualifying factors, such as whether you’re a teacher, government employee, or worker at a nonprofit. Other factors could be that you have a disability, your school closed, or you declared bankruptcy, among others. It’s worthwhile to research your eligibility because the upside could be significant.

Recommended: A Look at the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Refinancing

Another possible way to reduce the impact of student debt on your life is student loan refinancing.

When you refinance your loans you take out a new loan with a private lender. Depending on your credit history and financial profile, you can qualify for a lower interest rate, which could substantially lower the amount of money you pay in interest over the life of the loan (depending on the term you select, of course). Two important notes about this:

•   When you refinance federal loans with a private loan, you forfeit federal protections and benefits (such as the forbearance and forgiveness options mentioned above).

•   If you refinance for an extended term, even though your monthly payment may be lower, you may pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

To see how refinancing could help you manage your student loans, take a look at an online student loan refinance calculator.

The Takeaway

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SOSL0124001

Read more

What is a Roth 401(k)?

A Roth 401(k) is a type of retirement plan that may be offered by your employer. You contribute money from your paychecks directly to a Roth 401(k) to help save for retirement.

A Roth 401(k) is somewhat similar to a traditional 401(k), but the potential tax benefits are different.

Here’s what you need to know about a Roth 401(k) to help answer the question of what is a Roth 401(k)?, and to decide if it may be the right type of retirement account for you.

Roth 401(k) Definition

What is a Roth 401(k)? The plan combines some of the features of a traditional 401(k) and a Roth IRA.

Like a traditional 401(k), a Roth 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement account. Your employer may offer to match some of your Roth 401(k) contributions.

Like a Roth IRA, contributions to a Roth 401(k) are made using after-tax dollars, which means income tax is paid upfront on the money you contribute.


💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

How a Roth 401(k) Works

Contributions to a Roth 401(k) are typically made directly and automatically from your paycheck. Your employer may match your Roth 401(k) contributions up to a certain amount or percentage, depending on the employer and the plan.

Your contributions to a Roth 401(k) are taxed at the time you contribute them, and you pay income taxes on them. In general, your money grows in the account tax-free and withdrawals in retirement are also tax-free, as long as the account has been open at least five years.

Differences Between a Roth 401(k) and a Traditional 401(k)

While a Roth 401(k) shares some similarities to a traditional 401(k), there are some differences between the two plans that you should be aware of. Here is how a Roth 401(k) differs from a traditional 401(k):

•   Contributions to a Roth 401(k) are made with after-tax dollars and you pay taxes on them upfront. With a traditional 401(k), your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, and you pay taxes on them later.

•   With a Roth 401(k), your take-home pay is a little less because you’re paying taxes on your contributions now. That typically lowers your tax bill for the year. With a traditional 401(k), your contributions are taken before taxes.

•   Your money generally grows tax-free in a Roth 401(k). And in retirement, you withdraw it tax-free, as long as the account is at least five years old and you are at least 59 ½. With a traditional 401(k), you pay taxes on your withdrawals in retirement at your ordinary income tax rate.

•   You can start withdrawing your Roth 401(k) money at age 59 ½ without penalty or taxes. However, you must have had the account for at least five years. With a traditional 401(k), you can withdraw your money at age 59 ½. There is no 5-year rule for a traditional 401(k).

Roth 401(k) Contribution Limits

A Roth 401(k) and a traditional 401(k) share the same contribution limits. Both plans allow for the same catch-up contributions for those 50 and older.

Here are the contribution limits for each type of plan.

Roth 401(k) Traditional 401(k)
2023 Contribution Limit $22,500 $22,500
2023 Contribution Limit for individuals 50 and older $30,000 $30,000
2024 Contribution Limit $23,000 $23,000
2024 Contribution Limit for individuals 50 and older $30,500 $30,500
2023 Contribution Limit on employer and employee contributions combined $66,000
($73,500 for individuals 50 and older)
$66,000
($73,500 for individuals 50 and older)
2024 Contribution Limit on employer and employee contributions combined $69,000
($76,500 for individuals 50 and older)
$69,000
($76,500 for individuals 50 and older)

Roth 401(k) Withdrawal Rules

When it comes to withdrawal rules, a Roth 401(k) is subject to the 5-year rule. Under this rule, an individual can start taking tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) at age 59 ½ only once they’ve had the account for at least five years.

This means that if you open a Roth 401(k) at age 56, you can’t take tax- or penalty-free withdrawals of your earnings at age 59 ½ the way you can with a traditional 401(k). Instead, you’d have to wait until age 61, when your Roth 401(k) is five years old.

Early Withdrawal Rules

It’s possible to take early withdrawals — meaning withdrawals taken before age 59 ½ or from an account that’s less than five years old — from a Roth 401(k), but it’s complicated. Early withdrawals are subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

However, you may not owe taxes and penalties on the entire amount. Here’s how it typically works: You can withdraw as much as you’ve contributed to a Roth 401(k) without paying taxes or penalties because your contributions were made with after-tax dollars. In other words, you’ve already paid taxes on them. Any earnings you withdraw, though, are subject to taxes and penalties, and you’ll owe tax proportional to your earnings.

For example, if you have $150,000 in a Roth 401(k) and $130,000 of that amount is contributions and $20,000 is earnings, those $20,0000 in earnings are taxable gains, and they represent 13.3% of the account. Therefore, if you took an early withdrawal of $30,000, you would owe taxes on 13.3% of the amount to account for the gains, which is $3,990.


💡 Quick Tip: How much does it cost to set up an IRA? Often there are no fees to open an IRA, but you typically pay investment costs for the securities in your portfolio.

Roth 401(k) RMDs

Previously, individuals with a Roth 401(k) had to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting at age 73. However, in 2024, as a stipulation of the SECURE 2.0 Act, RMDs will be eliminated for Roth accounts in employer retirement plans.

By comparison, traditional 401(k)s still require you to take RMDs starting at age 73.

Pros and Cons of a Roth 401(k)

A Roth 401(k) has advantages, but there are drawbacks to the plan as well. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros

You can make tax-free withdrawals in retirement with a Roth 401(k).
This can be an advantage if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, since you’ll pay taxes on your Roth 401(k) contributions upfront when you’re in a lower tax bracket. Your money grows tax-free in the account.

Your current taxable income is reduced when you have a Roth 401(k).
Because Roth 401(k) contributions are made after taxes, your paycheck will typically be reduced. That lowers your tax bill for the year.

There are no longer RMDs for a Roth 401(k).
Because of the SECURE 2.0 Act, required minimum distributions will no longer be required for Roth 401(k)s as of 2024. With a traditional 401(k), you must take RMDs starting at age 73.

Early withdrawals of contributions in a Roth 401(k) are not taxed.
Because you’ve already paid taxes on your contributions, you can withdraw those contributions early without paying a penalty or taxes. However, if you withdraw earnings before age 59 ½, you will be subject to taxes on them.

Cons

Your Roth 401(k) account must be open for at least five years for penalty-free withdrawals.
Otherwise you may be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty on any earnings you withdraw if the account is less than five years old. This is something to consider if you are an older investor.

A Roth 401(k) will reduce your paycheck now.
Your take home pay will be smaller because you pay taxes on your contributions to a Roth 401(k) upfront. This could be problematic if you have many financial obligations or you’re struggling to pay your bills.

Is a Roth 401(k) Right for You?

If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, a Roth 401(k) may be right for you. It might make sense to pay taxes on the account now, while you are making less money and in a lower tax bracket.

However, if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, a traditional 401(k) might be a better choice since you’ll pay the taxes on withdrawals in retirement.

Your age can play a role as well. A Roth 401(k) might make sense for a younger investor, since they are likely to be earning less now than they may be later in their careers. That’s something to keep in mind as you choose a retirement plan to help reach your future financial goals.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

How is a Roth 401(k) taken out of a paycheck?

Contributions to a Roth 401(k) are automatically deducted from your paycheck. Because contributions are made with after-tax dollars, meaning you pay taxes on them upfront, your paycheck will be lower.

What is the 5-year rule for a Roth 401(k)?

According to the 5-year rule for a Roth 401(k), the account must have been open for at least five years in order for an investor to take withdrawals of their Roth 401(k) earnings at age 59 ½ without being subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

What happens to a Roth 401(k) when you quit?

When you quit a job, you can either keep your Roth 401(k) with your former employer, transfer it to a new Roth 401(k) with your new employer, or roll it over into a Roth IRA.

There are some factors to consider when choosing which option to take. For instance, if you leave the plan with your former employer, you can no longer contribute to it. If you are able to transfer your Roth 401(k) to a plan offered by your new employer, your money will be folded into the new plan and you will choose from the investment options offered by that plan. If you roll over your Roth 401(k) into a Roth IRA, you will be in charge of choosing and making investments with your money.

Do I need to report a Roth 401(k) on my taxes?

Because your contributions to a Roth 401(k) are made with after tax dollars and aren’t considered tax deductible, you generally don’t need to report them on your taxes. And when you take qualified distributions from a Roth 401(k) they are not considered taxable income and do not need to be reported on your taxes. However, it’s best to consult with a tax professional about your particular situation.


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

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.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
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.

SOIN0124007

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender