Guide to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

Guide to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

Putting cash into a savings account can be one way to help your money grow, not only by stashing it away so you don’t spend it, but also by potentially earning interest as it sits in the account. One type of interest-earning savings account you might want to0 consider is a tiered-rate savings account.

The interest rate that a tiered-rate savings account earns typically increases as the amount of your savings increases — which can make saving cash even more motivating.

What Is a Tiered-Rate Savings Account?

A tiered-rate savings account is a savings account that has multiple interest rates that can be applied, depending on the amount of money in the account.

The way tiered-rate savings accounts generally work is that as the account holder’s savings grow, their interest rate on the savings account also rises. Interest rates for these accounts are offered on a tiered scale with the largest balances getting the highest interest rates.

A tiered savings account might encourage customers to save more money as they work towards earning the highest possible interest rate. It may also keep account holders loyal to their current bank with a long-term account.

How Do Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts Work?

If you open a bank account that’s a tiered-rate account, the higher your balance is, the higher your interest rate is likely to be. That means as your balance grows, your interest rate has the potential to rise, and your savings may grow more quickly.

Tiered-rate accounts offer account holders different “tiered” interest rates that correspond with different account balances. For example, if a bank offers a tiered-rate savings account they may give a 0.05% interest rate for savings account amounts up to $25,000. For savings ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 they may raise that interest rate to 1.00%.

Tiered-rate savings accounts tend to have a minimum balance threshold needed to open an account for the first time. Typically, a minimum daily balance must also be maintained. In addition, these accounts may require that their holders make a minimum amount of monthly transactions, such as making deposits or transferring money to another account.

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Characteristics of Tiered-Rate Accounts

The following features are typically associated with tiered-rate accounts:

•   Interest rates rise as account balances grow

•   Minimum initial deposit and ongoing balance requirements

•   Minimum monthly transaction requirements

Pros of Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

These are some of the advantages to having a tiered-rate savings account:

Opportunity to Earn Higher Interest Rate on Savings

Tiered-rate savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts do — especially for motivated savers who work to increase their account balances.

Potential for Money to Increase Quicker

Because interest rates can be higher with tiered-rate savings accounts, it’s possible for money held in these accounts to grow faster than it might in other types of savings account, as long as it remains in the account. Because of the effect of compound interest, your money could make more money.

Cons of Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

There are also some disadvantages of tiered-rate savings accounts that are worth keeping in mind.

Putting Money Elsewhere May Be Better to Build Wealth

The interest rates offered by tiered-rate accounts tend to deliver a lower return when compared to some other investments over time, such as investing in the stock market. While investing in stocks is considered far riskier than earning interest in a savings account, investors could potentially see a higher return over the long term from stocks. This could be helpful when saving for long-term goals like retirement.

Need a Larger Account Balance for the Highest Rates

To secure the best interest rates through a tiered-rate savings account, account holders may need to keep a large sum of money in their savings account. If someone doesn’t have that amount of money, they may find that a standard savings account is better for them.

Here is a chart comparing the pros and cons of tiered-rate accounts:

Pros of Tiered-Rate Accounts

Cons of Tiered-Rate Accounts

Opportunity to earn higher interest rates on savingsPutting money elsewhere may be better for building wealth
Potential for money to increase more quicklyNeed a larger account balance for the highest rates

Alternatives to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

If you’re looking to earn money on your savings, there are a few different vehicles you can consider for earning competitive interest on your funds.

•   High-yield savings accounts: High-yield savings accounts are similar to standard savings accounts, but they earn much higher interest rates. High-yield savings accounts are often found at online banks. These financial institutions don’t have to finance bricks-and-mortar branch locations, so they may pass along the savings to their customers in the form of higher interest rates, lower fees, and/or special bonuses.

•   Money market accounts: Money market accounts are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) like savings accounts. They tend to have higher annual percentage yields (APYs) than traditional savings accounts. There is, however, a potential downside: Money market accounts may have significantly higher minimum deposit and balance requirements, and they might also have withdrawal limits much like some savings accounts do.

•   Certificate of deposit (CD): Certificates of deposit vs. savings accounts can be a wise choice for some consumers. CDs are time or term deposits, meaning the money stays in the account for a specific period of time (typically six months to a few years, though longer and shorter terms are available). If you withdraw the funds before the maturity date, or the end of the term, you will likely pay a penalty fee. Because of the time commitment involved, CDs may offer higher interest rates than savings accounts and money market accounts.

The Takeaway

If an individual has a sizable amount of money to deposit, they may find that a tiered-rate savings account could be a good option. This type of account offers a way to earn a higher interest rate the more the account holder has in the account.

If, however, a person is just starting their savings journey, a traditional savings account may be a better fit. Either way, an aspiring savings account holder should evaluate such variables as interest rate, minimum deposit and balance requirements, and account fees. That can help them find the right savings account for their needs.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is tiered APY?

Tiered-rate accounts offer account holders different tiered APY, or annual percentage yield, which is how much you will earn on your cash over the course of a year. The amount of money an account holder has on deposit will qualify them for a certain tier or level. Typically, the more money on deposit, the higher your APY.

What is tiering in banking?

Tiering in banking refers to tiered-savings accounts, which provide account holders with different interest rates based on the balance in their savings account. Usually, the higher someone’s account balance is, the higher their interest rate is.

Is a tiered interest rate good?

A tiered interest-rate structure tends to benefit savers who have high account balances because the more money you have on deposit, the higher your interest rate. If someone has a smaller amount of savings, a traditional or high-yield savings account with a single interest rate may be more advantageous to them.


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.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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Guide to Demand Deposit Accounts (DDA)

Guide to Demand Deposit Accounts (DDA)

A demand deposit account (DDA) is a type of bank account that is payable on demand. In other words, you can withdraw funds whenever you like. The most recognizable type of demand deposit account is a checking account. That’s right: You probably already have a demand deposit account and didn’t even know it.

While some personal finance sites and experts may conversationally refer to savings accounts as demand deposit accounts, there are key differences that actually keep savings accounts from qualifying as a DDA.

Key Points

•   A demand deposit account (DDA) is a type of bank account that allows you to withdraw funds whenever you like.

•   Savings accounts may not be considered demand deposit accounts due to withdrawal restrictions, though these may have loosened up since the pandemic.

•   Demand deposit accounts do not have a maturity period and allow unlimited withdrawals.

•   CDs and time deposits are not considered demand deposits as they have set maturity dates and withdrawal fees.

•   While demand deposit accounts offer easy and immediate access to funds, they may have lower earnings and might charge fees.

What Is a Demand Deposit Account?

The Federal Reserve categorizes demand deposit accounts as those that “are payable on demand, or a deposit issued with an original maturity or required notice period of less than seven days, or a deposit representing funds for which the depository institution does not reserve the right to require at least seven days’ written notice of intended withdrawal.”

To break it down more simply, demand deposit accounts:

•   Don’t have a maturity period.

•   Allow you to access your funds without notice (or less than seven days’ notice).

•   Can earn interest, like a high-yield checking account, depending on the financial institution.

•   Cannot limit the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make.

Because checking accounts do not mature and give you immediate access to your funds (for example, through check writing, debit cards, and ATM withdrawals), these qualify as demand deposit accounts.

What Isn’t a Demand Deposit Account?

Checking accounts are a common type of DDA, but what about other types of bank accounts, like savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit?

Savings Deposits

Some people consider savings accounts to be DDAs, but there’s a difference to note. The Federal Reserve’s Regulation D (Reg D) previously limited savings account withdrawals to six per month. In response to COVID-19, the Federal Reserve removed this requirement.

Even though the Federal Reserve has eliminated the six withdrawal limit requirement, savings accounts still do not technically qualify as a demand deposit. Because banks have the right to require at least seven days’ written notice for withdrawals on funds in savings accounts, the government instead classifies savings accounts (and money market accounts) as savings deposits.

However, consumers can typically access their savings funds without a required waiting period, so they can often utilize their savings accounts as if they were demand deposit accounts. A bonus is that savings accounts are usually interest-bearing accounts.

Just note that many banks still impose a monthly withdrawal limit, despite Federal Reserve changes, so you may wind up getting hit with fees if you make frequent withdrawals.

Time Deposits

Certificates of Deposit (CDs), which have pre-set dates of maturity, are even less like demand deposits. A CD is a time deposit (sometimes called term deposit). They have set maturity dates and are subject to early withdrawal fees, meaning the funds are less liquid than a checking or savings account. Time deposits can be transferable or nontransferable and negotiable or nonnegotiable. In addition to CDs, time deposits can include club accounts (like Christmas and vacation club accounts).

A bit more on how CDs work: Essentially, you, the account holder, commit to having your funds on deposit with a bank for a set period of time. Break that agreement, and you may pay penalties.

How Demand Deposits Work

Demand deposit accounts are designed for on-demand access to your funds. Thus, you should be able to withdraw money to cover purchases at any time.

If your demand deposit account is a traditional checking account, you can spend your money with a debit card, checkbook, transfers, or even peer-to-peer payment apps. Each bank will have its own terms and conditions, but some accounts may pay interest, some may charge fees, and some may grant you fee-free access at certain ATMs, so you can grab your money on the go. Research various accounts carefully before selecting a bank or credit union. This involves reading the fine print, but it’s important as it can help you avoid misunderstandings and various fees.

Types of Demand Deposit Accounts

Checking accounts may be the most obvious type of demand deposit account. Some savings accounts can be accessed on demand these days, as outlined above, but many still have restrictions regarding how often you can make withdrawals.

Money market accounts occupy a kind of middle ground: Some specialists classify them as demand deposit accounts, but others do not.

How to Open a Demand Deposit Account

Opening a demand deposit account is equivalent to opening a checking account. Each financial institution will have its own processes for opening a bank account. Typically, you will need a government-issued photo ID, proof of your current residence (a utility bill, for instance), and often an opening deposit to initiate the account. Many banks allow you to complete this process quickly and easily online.

Advantages of Demand Deposit Accounts

Demand deposit accounts offer multiple benefits to consumers:

•   Easy and immediate access to funds: Whether through check writing, an ATM, or the swipe of a debit card, a demand deposit account enables consumers to spend their money as they see fit.

•   FDIC and NCUA insurance: Demand deposit accounts at banks are typically insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000; those held at credit unions are usually insured by the NCUA for the same amount. FDIC and NCUA insurance makes demand deposits safer than cash in your wallet or under the mattress.

•   Interest: Demand deposit accounts can be interest-bearing. The national average APY for checking accounts, according to the FDIC, is currently 0.08%. You can shop around for better returns (over 4.00% on some high-yield checking accounts, for instance), largely at online banks. Because these don’t have the expense of bricks-and-mortar locations, they can pass those savings onto their clients.

Disadvantages of Demand Deposit Accounts

Consumers may find some drawbacks to demand deposit accounts as well:

•   Low earnings: Demand deposit accounts are not required to pay interest. While consumers have easy access to their funds, they may be trading away higher earning opportunities they might find with a high-interest savings account, time deposits, or even investments in stocks and bonds.

•   Fees: Some demand deposits accounts charge fees, including monthly maintenance fees. Others require minimum balances that some consumers might not want to keep in the account.

The Takeaway

Demand deposit accounts are a type of bank account that give you immediate access to your funds. Checking accounts are the most common type of DDA. With these, you can withdraw money at will, by check, debit card, ATM, bank transfer, or P2P platforms. Demand deposit accounts are often the foundation of an individual’s financial life, allowing them to spend and manage their money seamlessly.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Is a DDA number the same as an account number?

A DDA (or demand deposit account) number is typically the same as your checking account number.

What is a personal DDA deposit?

You can fund your DDA directly with transfers from other accounts, check deposits (mobile, in-person, or ATM), or cash deposits. These are all types of personal DDA deposits.

Is a DDA account a checking account?

In most cases, a DDA account is a checking account. There is some debate about whether other types of accounts, such as a money market account, also qualify as a DDA.

What does DDA mean on a bank statement?

DDA stands for demand deposit account, which indicates that funds in the account are immediately available to the account holder.


Photo credit: iStock/jacoblund

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.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

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


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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Common Signs That You Need to Make More Money

Common Signs That You Need to Make More Money

If you’re working hard at your job and being reasonable with your spending, you may still find it’s hard to make ends meet and hit your savings goals.

One question to ask yourself is whether you’re making enough money. Can you really afford to keep plugging along at your current salary? Here, you’ll learn some helpful ways to tell if you should be making more money and, if you should, how to get there.

10 Red Flags That Signal That Your Income Is Too Low

Do you frequently ask yourself whether you should be making more money — or feel as if you’re not making money work for you? If so, it’s possible you aren’t making enough or managing it optimally. Here are some signs that you need to be earning more in order to thrive financially.

1. Not Being Able to Pay Your Bills

As long as you aren’t renting a luxurious penthouse or leasing a fancy car you truly can’t afford, you should be making enough to pay your basic bills. Yes, it can be difficult to save money with a low income. But if you’re working full-time to cover things like rent, car payment, health care, and utilities, without any shot at saving for your future, that’s a sign you need to earn more money.

2. Using Your Credit Card for All Expenses

There’s nothing wrong with using a credit card to pay for expenses if you can afford to pay your credit card bill off in full when your monthly statement arrives. That’s a great way to earn cash back and credit card rewards.

A problem arises if you need to use a credit card in order to cover expenses because you don’t earn enough to buy essentials, like food and personal care items.

💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Open a bank account online so you can manage bills, deposits, transfers — all from one convenient app.

3. Not Being Able to Have an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund can help you be prepared for the unexpected, such as a major medical or dental bill or getting laid off. Ideally, you would have three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses covered by the money in an emergency fund. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, however, and can’t even start building a fund with perhaps $25 per pay period, you likely need to earn more.

4. Paying Only the Minimum on Debts

As mentioned, turning to a credit card to cover essential purchases can be a sign of not making enough money. This can lead to high-interest credit card debt, which can be hard to pay down without making extra payments.

If you can’t afford to make extra payments on a credit card or other form of debt, increasing your income can make it possible to minimize how much you owe and those interest payments.

5. Not Being Able to Cut Anything Else

If you take a cold, hard look at your budget and realize you can’t cut any more expenses because you are only paying for essentials, then that’s a sign you need an income increase. Living on such a tight budget isn’t sustainable long-term, and there should ideally be room in a budget for some small fun purchases, too.

Recommended: 7 Different Types of Budgeting Methods

6. Not Being Able to Build Savings

Even if you are motivated to save money, if you’re not able to save for retirement or other long-term goals, it could be a sign that you’re not earning enough.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


7. Making the Same Wage Despite Company Growing

If your company is growing and flourishing, in part because of contributions made by you and other workers, you may deserve to earn more than you’re currently making.

8. Not Being Able to Reach Financial Goals

If you are earning enough money and sticking to a budget, then in theory you should be able to make slow but steady progress toward your financial goals. Failing to do so could mean you’re coming up short on salary.

9. Consistently Struggling to Make Ends Meet at the Beginning of the Month

Many people start to run out of spending money at the end of the month. That’s because they’ve paid all their bills and are waiting for the next cash infusion from their paycheck. If, however, you are consistently struggling to make ends meet at the beginning of the month, when payday has arrived, this indicates you aren’t making enough to pay your essential bills.

10. Worrying About Money Consistently

Everyone deserves a good night’s rest, not lying awake worrying about how to pay the bills. If you are consistently worrying about money and trying to figure out how to tackle financial anxiety and stress, that can be a major sign you aren’t earning enough money.

Tips for Negotiating a Higher Wage With Your Employer

If you feel you need and merit more money, it can be wise to have a conversation about a raise. These tips can help.

•   Research salary data. Before an employee asks for a raise, they need to get an idea of how much workers in similar roles at other companies earn. Luckily, there are tons of online resources where workers share their job titles and salaries. It can also help to look at the salaries listed on current job postings similar to your position.

•   Make a list of accomplishments. Workers should approach the boss with the facts about how good they are at their jobs and why they deserve to earn more. Make a list that specifies some of your major contributions and use that to back up your ask for higher pay.

•   Have an alternate ask. Sometimes a company truly can’t afford to give a good employee a raise. In that case, is there something they can do to make your life easier? Can they make it possible to work remotely and save on commuting? Can they give you more PTO or a flexible schedule to help cut down on daycare costs?

Recommended: Good Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

The Takeaway

If you are working hard and watching your spending but are living paycheck to paycheck and are unable to save, you may not be earning enough money. Asking for a raise, with documentation of why you are worth it, is one path forward. Or you might decide to change jobs or career paths or even move somewhere more affordable.

It can also be a smart move to ensure the funds already in your bank account are working hard for you.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How do I know if I’m being underpaid?

Do salary research online to see what workers in similar roles and industries are earning. You can likely find this information everywhere from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to job search sites.

How much money must I earn to feel it is enough?

Having “enough” money depends on your unique perspective. That being said, you need to be able to comfortably pay your bills and cover essential expenses without having to worry that you’re running out of money each month. Also, being able to save for long-term goals (such as a down payment on a house or retirement) is also important.

How can I save if I don’t make enough money?

It can be hard to save money if you don’t earn much more income than you require to get by. Consumers can always scrutinize their budget to see where they can cut back spending in order to save more. Too many streaming services? Or pricey lunches? Try starting there.


Photo credit: iStock/nensuria

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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.

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The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Grants, scholarships, and student loans can all help you pay for your education. But there are key differences between the three — namely, how they award funds and whether you need to repay those funds. Grants and student loans often depend on financial eligibility and need, while scholarships tend to be merit-based. And while both grants and scholarships don’t need to be repaid, student loans do.

Here’s a breakdown of how student loans and grants vs. scholarships work, as well as some of their key differences.

What Is a Student Loan?

A student loan is money borrowed for educational expenses that has to be paid back (usually with interest). You can take out a loan from a bank, an online lender, a college or university, or the state or federal government. If you’re wondering about grants vs. loans, both are based on financial need, but what sets them apart is that grants don’t need to be repaid and student loans do.

So, how do student loans work? Loan terms for college can vary based on a few different factors: whether they’re federal (offered by the government) or private (offered by a financial institution), whether you choose fixed or variable interest rates, how long it takes to pay the loan back, and how much can be borrowed. Loans offered to you could be based on your credit score or the personal financial information you supply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

How to Apply for Student Loans

To determine your eligibility for a student loan from the federal government, you must fill out the FAFSA. States and colleges may use information from your FAFSA to determine state and school-specific aid, as will some private financial aid providers.

To fill out the FAFSA form, you’ll need a few pieces of information, including:

•   Your Social Security number or alien registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

•   Your driver’s license number (if you have one)

•   Federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned

•   Bank statements and records

•   Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

•   Information on account balances, investments, and assets

•   FSA ID for electronic signature (this is your username and password needed to access and submit your FAFSA online)

If you are applying as a dependent student, you will need all of the above information from your parent(s) as well.

What Is the Difference Between Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans?

There are two primary types of federal student loans: subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans. The main difference between unsubsidized and subsidized loans is how the interest accumulates through the life of the loan.

Unsubsidized loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of any financial need. An unsubsidized loan starts accruing interest as soon as the loan is dispersed. That means if you accept an unsubsidized loan during your freshman year of college, the loan will accumulate interest throughout the rest of your time in school.

You are responsible for starting to pay back an unsubsidized loan six months from when you graduate or if you drop below half-time enrollment. Because of the interest capitalizing on your unsubsidized loan from the day it’s disbursed, your loan balance will likely be more than what you originally borrowed if you don’t make interest payments while you’re in school.

A subsidized loan, on the other hand, is a need-based loan available to undergraduate students on which interest accumulates only after you begin repayment. The government will pay the interest while you’re in school at least half-time or until you graduate and for the first six months after, as well as during a period of deferment.

Like unsubsidized loans, repayment for a subsidized loan typically occurs after a six-month grace period from when you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. You are responsible for paying back the total outstanding balance, plus interest. There are plenty of ways to pay off federal loans, from the standard 10-year repayment plan to income-based repayment plans.

Pros and Cons of Loans

Pros of student loans include:

•   Access to education: Enables students to attend college who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

•   Flexible repayment options: Federal student loans offer flexible repayment options, including income-based repayment plans.

•   Credit building: Paying back student loans on time each month can help establish and build credit history.

•   Fixed interest rates: Federal student loans (and some private student loans) offer fixed interest rates, making monthly payments predictable each month.

Cons of student loans include:

•   Debt burden: Student loans increase debt load and debt-to-income ratio, which can lead to financial strain and/or make it hard to qualify for other loans in the future.

•   Interest accumulation: Interest starts accumulating immediately on unsubsidized loans and private loans. This increases the overall amount that needs to be repaid.

•   Stress and anxiety: Debt of any kind, including student loans, can cause significant stress and anxiety, which could impact your overall well-being.

What Is a College Grant?

A grant can be beneficial to students because it is financial aid that does not have to be repaid. That’s one main difference between a grant vs. a loan. Grants may be obtained directly from your university, the federal government, state government, or a private or nonprofit organization. It is important to note that you may be required to meet certain financial eligibility criteria, depending on the grant.

When it comes to a grant vs. a scholarship, grants are typically awarded based on need, not on academic achievement or merit. Scholarships are based on merit.

One popular type of college grant is the Pell Grant. Pell Grants are given to undergraduate students with significant financial need, which means they are typically awarded to low-income students.

Do You Have to Pay Back Grants?

In most cases, you do not need to pay back grants as long as you maintain eligibility. If, for example, you decide to drop out of school, you might be required to pay back certain grants.

You might also need to pay back grants if you withdraw early from a program in which the grant was awarded, or if you did not meet a service obligation, as is required for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, for example.

How to Apply for Grants

To apply for grants, start by researching and identifying grants for which you qualify, focusing on those specific to your field of study, background, or needs. Visit the official websites of grant providers, such as federal and state governments, educational institutions, and private organizations, and carefully review their eligibility requirements and application deadlines. Prepare all necessary documents, which may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and financial information.

Also, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA if you are in the United States, as it is often required for federal and state grants.

Pros and Cons of Grants

Pros of grants include:

•   No repayment required: Grants are essentially free money that does not need to be repaid, making them highly beneficial for students.

•   Financial relief: Provide significant financial assistance, reducing the amount of student loans needed and easing the financial burden of education.

•   Encourages academic excellence: Some grants are merit-based, encouraging students to maintain high academic performance.

Cons of grants include:

•   Highly competitive: Grants are often limited in number and highly sought after, making them difficult to obtain.

•   Strict eligibility requirements: Many grants have specific criteria that must be met, which can exclude a significant number of applicants.

What Is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are a great way to finance higher education, simply because there are thousands of available scholarships based on financial need or merit. That’s the main difference between scholarship and grant: Scholarships are often merit-based. Scholarships can come from a variety of sources and typically do not need to be repaid.

How to Apply for Scholarships

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes to hunt for scholarships — here are a few tips to help you find scholarships to apply for:

•   Start by combing scholarship databases for any scholarship that may align with your interests or background. Don’t be afraid to tell people you know that you are looking for scholarships either — your best friend or neighbor may have heard of a scholarship you could be eligible for.

•   Take a look at your academic achievements. Have you maintained a certain GPA or did you make the Dean’s List? There could be a scholarship for that. List out your community involvements and start researching whether your softball league, for example, offers scholarships.

•   Make a list of all the things that make you who you are. List out your heritage and things that your family members have been involved with over time. Perhaps your grandmother belongs to the National Corvette Club or your grandfather was a veteran, both of which could present scholarship opportunities.

Once you have your list, it helps to stay organized by adhering to deadlines and application requirements. Stick to what feels doable so you can knock out several applications in a row. Scholarship application formats vary from essay writing to creating a video to simply filling out a form.

Important documents you might need when applying for scholarships include birth certificates, SAT/ACT scores, academic transcripts, certifications, or ID cards. Be sure you have those handy prior to hitting search engines and applying for the next available scholarship you find.

Pros and Cons of Scholarships

Pros of scholarships include:

•   No repayment needed: Scholarships provide financial assistance that does not need to be repaid, reducing the overall cost of education.

•   Merit recognition: Often awarded based on academic, athletic, or other achievements, recognizing and rewarding students for their talents and hard work.

•   Boosts resume: Being awarded a scholarship can enhance a student’s resume, showcasing their achievements and dedication.

•   Encourages academic excellence: Incentivizes students to maintain high academic standards and strive for excellence in their endeavors.

Cons of scholarships include:

•   Highly competitive: Scholarships can be very competitive, with many applicants vying for a limited number of awards.

•   Strict criteria to qualify: Strict eligibility criteria may exclude many students from qualifying for certain scholarships.

Grants vs Scholarships vs Loans

Now that you have a grasp on all three forms of financial aid, let’s examine the main difference between scholarships, grants, and student loans.

What Is the Difference Between a Loan and a Grant?

Here’s what makes grants vs. loans different: A student loan — whether it is unsubsidized or subsidized, federal or private — must be repaid with interest. A grant typically does not need to be repaid as long as you maintain eligibility requirements.

What Is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship?

When looking at a grant vs. scholarship, the primary difference between the two is that a grant is typically need-based while a scholarship is usually merit-based. You might receive a scholarship for a number of things, such as high academic achievement, organization or club involvement, or ancestry. A grant is typically awarded based on financial need and can be specific to certain degrees, students, and programs.

How Is a Student Loan Different from a Scholarship?

A student loan is different from a scholarship primarily in that a student loan must be repaid and a scholarship does not need to be repaid. Scholarships can come from a variety of sources, including nonprofit organizations, private companies, universities and colleges, and professional and social organizations. Student loans may come from private lenders, federal or state governments, or colleges and universities.

The two types of student loans are federal student loans and private student loans. Federal student loans should be utilized first, as they typically come with better interest rates and borrower protections, such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan deferment. Private student loans can help fill in the gaps between federal loans, grants, and scholarships.

When we say no fees we mean it.
No origination fees, late fees, & insufficient fund
fees when you take out a student loan with SoFi.


The Takeaway

With a good understanding of scholarships vs. grants vs. student loans under your belt, you can better determine which form of financial aid is right for your situation. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to choose just one.

Once you’ve maximized the money you can get from grants or scholarships that you likely won’t have to pay back, you may consider bridging the remaining gap by taking out a student loan.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


SoFi Private Student Loans
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-criteria 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.


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.


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.

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Budgeting for Elderly Parents or Loved Ones

Budgeting for Elderly Parents or Loved Ones

At some point, you may need to become involved with your aging parents’ care, which may include immersing yourself in your parents’ finances. Taking over elderly parents’ finances can be a sensitive issue that needs to be done with a great deal of care, patience, and regular (clear and honest) communication.

Your loved ones’ finances can be complicated by a number of issues, including the cost of any care they might need. According to the most recent survey by Genworth, the median cost of an in-home health aid is $6,292 per month, while an assisted living facility can run around $5,350 per month, depending on where you live.

While healthcare costs will likely only continue to climb, seniors are typically living on a fixed income. This makes careful money management particularly important for older adults. Read on to learn what you can do to help your parents (or other elderly loved ones) manage their money and ensure they don’t outlive their funds.

Tips for Budgeting for an Elderly Parent


Figuring out how to take care of your elderly parents’ finances – without putting a strain on your relationship – comes with a bit of a learning curve. Here are some tips that can help ease the process.

1. Starting With Small, Gradual Changes


It can be a good idea to offer support in small, gradual steps in the beginning. You may want to sit with your parents while they plan how to live on a budget or offer to set up automatic bill pay with them.

If you need to offer financial support, consider starting small, such as paying for prescription medications. Ideally, you’ll want to give as much independence to your parents as they can handle.

💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Open a bank account online so you can manage bills, deposits, transfers — all from one convenient app.

2. Making a List of Their Financial Documents


It can be very helpful to create a document that lists all of your loved ones’ financial and legal documents, including where they are located, along with contact information for any professionals they use, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. This is a valuable step in terms of Some documents you may want to look for include:

•  Bank statements

•  Mortgage statements

•  401K, IRA, stock certificates, or pension records

•  Income tax records

•  Property deeds

•  Outstanding loans

•  Automobile registration and insurance

•  Homeowners insurance

•  Health insurance

•  Life and disability insurance

•  Will and or trust documents

•  Passport, driver’s license, and social security information

•  Birth and marriage certificates, divorce decree

•  Contact info for doctor, lawyer, investment banker, accountant, clergy, etc.

•  Military service records

•  Medical papers, such as advance directives, DNR

•  Final wishes regarding burial arrangements, cemetery, and funeral home

Recommended: How To Keep Your Finances Organized

3. Creating an Organized Budget


Budgeting for elderly parents is similar to budgeting for yourself, except that the budget line items and amounts will likely look different from your own. Retirees may also have significantly less income coming in than when they were employed.

When helping them set up a budget, here are some monthly budgeting categories you may want to include:

•  Mortgage or rent

•  Utilities

•  Credit card payments

•  Health insurance payments

•  Phone bills

•  Medical bills

•  Food

•  Transportation

4. Setting up Automatic Bill Payment for Simplicity


Automatic bill payments can be a big help when it comes to taking care of elderly parents’ finances. If you’re handing the payments, it will eliminate the mental energy it’ll take for you to pay another set of bills each month. Plus, you’ll worry less about things like having their utilities unexpectedly cut off or their insurance canceled.

5. Communicating Changes With Them


There may come a time where you need to make changes that will affect their lives. If you need to switch care providers, for example, it can disrupt their routine and expectations. To make the adjustment process easier, you’ll want to communicate any changes early, often, and honestly.

6. Looking at Senior Programs


When budgeting for eldercare, it can be wise to look for senior programs in your area. Not only can they be a tremendous relief on the budget, but they can also enhance the quality of life for your elderly parents.

They may be able to qualify for housing, food, or energy assistance. Eldercare services can also include transportation, meals, health insurance counseling, caregiver support, and in-home services You can learn about programs in your area at Eldercare.gov.

7. Reducing Costs Where You Deem Fit


Be sensitive as you approach budget cuts with your parents. You may be able to see things that don’t make sense to pay for anymore, but your parents may view things differently. Keep communication lines open and respect their wishes as much as you can. It’s important to spend time acquainting yourself with typical retirement expenses, how those might be lowered, and what is discretionary spending.

8. Researching Options for Insurance Plans


Medicare, the healthcare insurance program for those over 65, isn’t as simple as you might expect. There are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Each has their own benefits, deductibles, and copays. To browse medicare options in your area, you may want to take a look at Medicare.gov.

Depending on their financial situation, your parents may qualify for Medicaid (the public health insurance program for people with low income). In addition, you may want to look into supplemental health insurance, called Medigap. Medigap is sold by private companies and can help fill in “gaps” in Medicare, such as copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.

9. Separating Finances From Yours


Whatever help you’re able to give an aging parent, it can be a good idea to keep your finances separate from theirs. This is generally the easiest and most ethical way to keep a record of what is happening in your parents’ accounts.

When you’re in control of someone else’s finances, it puts you in the role of a fiduciary, which means you must act in their best interests, rather than your own. If you want to learn more about the different types of financial caregiving, you can look at the guides from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

10. Staying Aware of Any Unplanned Charges


Financial exploitation of elderly persons is on the rise. In the most recent year surveyed, financial institutions filed 88,000 suspicious activity reports related to elderly financial exploitation, up 84% over the previous period reviewed and totaling $3.1 billion in losses.

It’s concerning how often elderly persons’ are taken advantage of, especially when it comes to their finances. Being aware can help prevent financial abuse of an elderly parent. Some red flags you may want to watch out for:

•  Large, frequent withdrawals

•  ATM withdrawals that are not typical of your parent’s behavior

•  Transfers between bank accounts your parent cannot explain

•  Insufficient funds fees or unpaid bills

•  Attempts to wire large sums of money

•  A new friend accompanying them to the bank

•  Suspicious or forged signatures on checks

•  Reluctance to talk about transactions or shame surrounding their money

•  Altered wills or trusts

If you suspect your parents have been the victim of financial exploitation, you can report it to their bank and ask for their help to investigate and stop it. Your town or state Adult Protective Services department may also be able to help. If you strongly suspect fraud, it’s also a good idea to notify your local police.

The Takeaway


Taking care of your elderly parents’ finances is a big step that often requires time, patience, sensitivity, and maintaining open and clear lines of communication. But it can be well worth the effort. By coming up with a financial plan and helping older loved ones better manage their income, savings, and spending, you can ensure that they live as well as possible during their golden years.

If you need a banking partner to help you through this or any other season of life, you may want to consider what SoFi offers.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How do you financially help elderly parents?


You can help your parents financially by going over their finances with them, helping them set up a budget, and connecting them with any senior financial support services offered in your area. Helping elderly parents financially doesn’t have to mean giving them money. However, if that’s necessary (and you are able), you may want to start slowly by covering a few expenses here and there and, if needed, gradually increase.

What do you do if you have an elderly parent with no money?


You can help by looking for senior support programs that may be able to help them meet their needs. Beyond Medicare or Medicaid and Social Security, there are a host of other programs your elderly parents may qualify for, including assistance for housing, energy, and food. Eldercare.gov is a good place to start your research.

How do you make a budget for the elderly?


Making a budget for the elderly is similar to making a budget for yourself, except the expenses and allocations will be very different. A good first step is to go through their monthly bank and credit card statements to determine how much is coming in each month and how much is going out. You can then look for places where they may need to cut back.


Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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