What Is Earned Income vs Unearned Income

What Is Earned Income vs Unearned Income?

There are two basic types of income: earned and unearned. Earned income is the money you make from working, and unearned income is money you receive that isn’t tied to a business or job.

The difference between these two types of income is very important when it comes to saving for retirement and paying your taxes. Here’s what you need to know about each of them, and how they affect your finances.

What Is Unearned Income?

Unearned income is a type of passive income. It’s money you make without working or performing some kind of professional service. For example, money you get from investing, such as dividends, interest, and capital gains is unearned income.

Other types of unearned income include:

•   Retirement account distributions from a 401(k), pension, or annuity

•   Money you received in unemployment benefits

•   Taxable social security benefits

•   Money received from the cancellation of debt (such as student loans that are forgiven)

•   Distributions of any unearned income from a trust

•   Alimony payments

•   Gambling and lottery winnings

Dividends from investments in the stock market and interest are two of the most common forms of unearned income. Dividends are paid when a company shares a portion of its profits with stockholders. They may be paid on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.

Interest is usually generated from interest-bearing accounts, including savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs).

How Is Earned Income Different From Unearned Income?

Earned income is the money you make from a job. Any money you earn from an employer — including wages, fees, and tips in which income taxes are withheld — counts as earned income.

If you’re part of the freelance economy and the companies you work for don’t withhold taxes, those wages still count as earned income. These could be wages earned by performing professional or creative services, driving a car for a ride share service, or running errands.

Money you make from self-employment — if you own your own business, for example — also counts as earned income, as does money you earn from a side hustle.

Other types of earned income include benefits from a union strike, disability benefits you receive before you reach full retirement age, and nontaxable combat pay. This guide can help you learn about all the different types of income there are.

You can keep tabs on all the types of income you have by tracking your checking, savings, investment, and retirement accounts in one place with an online money tracker. It allows you to organize your accounts on a single dashboard, as well as monitor your credit score and budget for financial goals.

How Income Types Affect Taxes

All earned income is taxed at your usual income tax rate. Taxes on unearned income are more complicated and depend on what type of unearned income you have, including:

Interest

Interest, which is unearned income from things like bank accounts and CDs, is taxed the same as earned income that you work for.

Dividends

Dividends from investments fall into two categories: qualified and non-qualified. Generally speaking, qualified dividends are those paid to you by a company in the U.S. or a qualified foreign company, and are taxed at a lower rate. Non-qualified dividends don’t meet IRS requirements to qualify for the lower tax rate and are taxed at the same rate as ordinary income.

Capital Gains

Investments that are sold at a profit are subject to capital gains taxes. If you held the investment for less than a year, your profits are subject to short-term capital gains rates, which are equal to your normal income tax rate. If you kept the investment for a year or more, it’s subject to long-term capital gains rates, which means it will be taxed at 0%, 15% or 20%, depending on your taxable income and filing status. The higher your taxable income, the higher your rate.

Social Security

If your income is more than $25,000 a year for individuals or $32,000 a year for married couples filing jointly, you will pay federal income tax on a portion of your Social Security benefits. You’ll be taxed on up to 50% of your benefits if your income is between $25,000 and $34,000 for an individual, or $32,000 to $44,000 for a married couple. And you’ll be taxed on up to 85% of your benefit if your income is more than that.

Alimony

As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, alimony payments that are part of divorce agreements made after January 1, 2019, are not taxable by the person who is paying the alimony, nor are they taxable for the person receiving the alimony.

Gambling Winnings

Money you earn from gambling — including winnings from casinos, lotteries, raffles, and horse races — are all fully taxable. This applies not only to cash, but also to prizes like vacations and cars, which are taxed at their fair market value.

Debt Cancellation

If you have a debt that is canceled or forgiven for less than the amount you were supposed to pay, then the amount of the canceled debt is subject to tax and you must report it on your tax return.

If you have debts to pay off, debt payoff planning can help you pay what you owe.

How Earned vs. Unearned Income Affects Retirement Savings

Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, IRAs, and the Roth versions of both, provide tax advantages that help boost the amount that you are able to save.

For example, 401(k) contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, which can then be invested in the account. The investments are then allowed to grow tax deferred until withdrawals are made in retirement, and then they are subject to income tax. Contributions to Roth accounts are made with after-tax dollars. These grow tax free, and withdrawals made in retirement are not subject to income tax.

You must fund your retirement accounts with earned income. You cannot use unearned sources of income to make contributions.

There are certain exceptions to this rule. If you’re married and you file a joint return with your spouse and you don’t have taxable compensation, you may be able to contribute to an IRA as long as your spouse did have taxable compensation.

The Takeaway

The difference between earned income and unearned income is an important distinction to comprehend, especially when it comes to paying your taxes. Unearned income, which is income you make not from a job but through other means, such as investments, can be taxed at different rates, depending on what type of unearned income it is. Make sure you understand yours — and the tax implications. Doing so can have a big impact on how you save for your future.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

Why do I need to know the difference between earned and unearned income?

It’s important to understand the difference between earned and unearned income because the two may be taxed differently. Also, in most cases, you must use earned income to fund your retirement accounts.

What is an example of unearned income?

Unearned income is money you receive without working for it. Interest, such as that from a bank account, and dividend payments are two of the most common types of unearned income.


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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.

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.

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.

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What Is Competitive Pay and How to Negotiate For It

What Competitive Pay Is and How to Negotiate for It

“Competitive pay” is a term commonly used among employers looking to attract qualified candidates to their business. Offering competitive pay means providing a compensation level that is equal to or above the market rate for a given position, geography, or industry.

Competitive pay typically includes base salary as well as additional employment benefits such as a signing bonus, health insurance, retirement benefits, or stock options offered to an employee.

Why Is Competitive Pay Important?

In highly competitive job fields, or when there is a shortage of talent, offering competitive pay can be a powerful lever for employers to attract and retain highly qualified employees. At the same time, employees who are in high demand might choose to seek out competitive pay in order to earn more than their counterparts at other companies.

Competitive pay is ultimately a measure of an employee or job candidate’s value to the business, and is something that can be offered by an employer or negotiated by an employee or candidate.

But whatever your take-home pay is, a money tracker can help you monitor your spending and provide valuable financial insights.

What Determines Competitive Pay?

Competitive pay rates can be determined by a variety of factors:

Location

Where you are physically located can greatly impact the competitiveness of the pay you are offered. For example, an employee in a metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco with a higher cost of living may be able to earn more than a counterpart in a more affordable geographical area. Certain states also have higher minimum wage standards, which can increase the average compensation for any job offered within that state.

Level of Education and Experience

Many jobs will offer competitive pay commensurate with a candidate’s education and experience. That means that a candidate with a college degree and 10 years of industry experience may be offered higher compensation than someone with no degree and fewer years of experience. Candidates with specialized degrees or certifications can sometimes use that to negotiate more-competitive pay.

Job Title and Industry

Most job titles and industries will have a baseline market pay rate that employers use to guide their job offerings and employee salaries. If you want to compare a job offer with the market, you can find market pay rates for most jobs on the Bureau of Labor of Statistics website or through websites like Indeed and Glassdoor.

Market Demand

One of the biggest drivers of competitive pay is the overall supply and demand for a job in the market. If a job is highly in demand, either due to a shortage of workers or a sudden increase in the number of available jobs, compensation for that role may become more competitive. Candidates can potentially use that to their advantage when applying to jobs and negotiating salaries with employers.

Recommended: 15 Entry-Level Jobs for Antisocial People

Competitor Salaries

Similarly, when multiple companies in the same or adjacent industries are competing for employees, they may offer more competitive compensation packages to try and win over prospective job candidates.

Minimum vs. Competitive Wages: How They’re Different

While competitive wages are offered at the discretion of employers, minimum wage is the minimum hourly pay rate under federal law. States can also establish and enforce minimum wage requirements for certain jobs or industries.

Like competitive pay, minimum wage typically takes into consideration living costs, geography, and job titles or industries. However, it tends not to change as often or dramatically as competitive wages. In fact, the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not changed since 2009. Also, minimum wage only takes into consideration base salary, whereas competitive pay includes other benefits and forms of compensation, such as signing bonuses.

Recommended: Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

Examples of Competitive-Paying Jobs

Competitive pay rates are constantly shifting, especially as the market for talent becomes increasingly competitive. However, here are the some of the most competitive-paying jobs in 2023 — the most recent data available from the BLS:

Cardiologists

•   Average annual salary: $423,250

Computer and Information Systems Managers

•   Average annual salary: $180,720

Lawyers

•   Average annual salary: $176,470

Financial Managers

•   Average annual salary: $166,050

Physicists

•   Average annual salary: $158,270

Recommended: The Highest-Paying Jobs by State

How to Negotiate for More Competitive Pay

Whether you’re applying for a new job or reconsidering your current employment situation, negotiating competitive pay is an important part of getting paid what you believe you are worth. There isn’t an exact formula for negotiating higher pay, and it’s important to take a methodical approach that considers both your needs and the perspective of your employer. Here are five strategies that can help you in the course of negotiating competitive pay:

1. Establish your priorities

Going into a pay negotiation, you should think about what you would need financially to consider joining or staying with a company. You’ll want to determine your needs, including any debt you may be paying off — a online budget planner can be a useful resource. Then once you have a number in mind, try to identify a compensation package that meets your financial requirements.

Competitive pay can also mean different things to different employees. For some, it may mean a higher base salary, while others may want other perks like assistance in paying off college tuition or student loan debt, greater workplace benefits, or better health coverage. Identifying exactly what you need is important for deciding when it makes sense to push back or walk away from a negotiation.

2. Build Your Case

Even in competitive markets, an employer may not be willing to meet your salary or benefits requirements. However, going into that conversation with evidence and clear reasoning for why you are asking for more competitive pay can help support your case.

You’ll want to clearly show why you believe your compensation isn’t as competitive as you’d like it to be, due to the fact that you’ve been working harder, delivering greater value to the business, or have incurred higher living costs.

3. Know Your Pay Rate in the Market

Before negotiating, it’s also important to research how the competitive rate for your specific job title or industry has changed. Or, if you’ve suddenly taken on additional responsibilities outside of your core job function, you may want to look at what similar employees in those roles are getting paid and factor that into your pay rate. All of that data will help you to know what you’re worth as an employee and be able to communicate it to your employer.

The Takeaway

“Competitive pay” is a term commonly used among employers to refer to a compensation level that is equal to or above the market rate for a given position, geography, or industry. Other factors that help determine competitive pay include a candidate’s education and experience, and market demand.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

Is competitive pay a red flag?

“Competitive pay” has become an industry buzzword used by many employers on their job postings and websites. While seeing “competitive pay” on a job posting isn’t a red flag, it’s still important to conduct your own research to ensure pay rates are competitive with similar industries, geographies, and employers.

Does competitive pay come with good benefits?

Competitive pay does not necessarily come with good benefits like 401(k) matching, health insurance, or paid time off. However, those benefits are becoming increasingly important for job seekers. When analyzing competitive pay, it’s important to look at an employer’s full compensation package (benefits and salary) to ensure it meets your needs.


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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.

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.

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What Is a Credit Reference on a Rental Application?

What Is a Credit Reference on a Rental Application?

Credit references are documents that verify your credit history. They can come in the form of a credit check report, asset documentation, or character references.

A limited or poor credit history can potentially impact your approval when applying for a rental. If you have a spotty payment history, a low credit score, or little to no history, your chances of getting approved may go down. Landlords or property management companies can approve or deny rental applications based on these references.

If this description of a less than stellar reference fits you, don’t fret. There are ways to put your best foot forward with credit references in today’s competitive market.

Definition of a Credit Reference

Credit references paint a picture of your borrowing and payment habits and history. Property managers and landlords use it to help determine whether you’re likely to pay rent on time and in full.

Documents of financial agreements can be used as a credit reference. They come in the form of:

•   Credit reports

•   Character references

•   Asset documentation

•   Credit reference letters

In some cases, letters from personal lenders or documents from a car loan can be used. Be sure to clarify what the landlord needs when applying for an apartment. It’s also helpful to pull together the documents ahead of time, so you can pull together references for multiple apartments at once.


💡 Quick Tip: Online tools make tracking your spending a breeze: You can easily set up budgets, then get instant updates on your progress, spot upcoming bills, analyze your spending habits, and more.

When You Need Credit References

At the end of the day, landlords want to know if you’re able to pay rent. Getting an apartment rental is a business transaction between two strangers. Credit needed for an apartment plays a key role in rental applications.

Why Landlords Want Credit References

A credit reference is proof of your financial history. They detail how much debt you have, how timely your payments are, and your credit score, among other factors.

For instance, if your credit references show that you’ve been able to pay off your debts in full in a timely manner, a landlord will likely approve your rental forms.

Applicants with low credit scores or poor payment histories have lower chances of being approved.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

Types of Credit References

As mentioned, credit references come in different forms, like credit reports, character references, or formal letters from bank loan officers.

Credit Report

The most available type is a credit report. Three major credit bureaus provide credit reports: Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®. You can obtain a free credit report every 12 months to check your score and scan for errors. The credit scoring system known as FICO® can be used by all three.

Credit reports contain information like your credit history, current debt, bankruptcies and foreclosures. It can also include the age of your debt and how many credit inquiries you’ve had. Importantly, it’ll also contain your score; credit scores range from 300 to 850.

Landlords will look at this report to determine the financial risk of each applicant. Generally speaking, a credit score of 670 or higher is considered acceptable, though requirements may vary based on the lender or circumstances.

Another factor that can impact your credit score and report is the number of inquiries into your credit history. If there are a lot of inquiries, it may lower your score since it can be perceived that you may be struggling financially. Some rental applications will include a fee for running the credit check.

Bad or no credit may give a landlord pause — but it may be possible to strengthen your case.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

Asset Documentation

Asset documentation is proof of income, liquid cash, or investments. It shows landlords that you are financially stable and able to handle unforeseen circumstances, like a job loss.

Your landlord may request a verification letter from your employer, pay stubs, or an offer letter to prove income. You may also have to provide documentation of your savings or investment funds like mutual funds or retirement plans. Reach out to your financial institution or brokerage to provide you with documents of your accounts.

The more assets you have, the stronger your application will be.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

Character and Credit Reference Letters

Credit reports and asset documentation only tell part of the story. A character or credit reference letter may give context to a spotty part of your credit history. Someone who you’ve had financial transactions with, such as an employer, previous landlord, or business partner, can write a letter confirming your character and values. For example, if you went through hardship, such as a medical illness, but still met your financial obligations, someone such as a prior landlord can vouch for you.

If you have bad credit, for example, an institution can demonstrate if you have taken courses, been given resources such as a debt payoff planner, or worked out a new payment plan to successfully pay off your debt. It demonstrates a commitment to improving personal finance.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference letter — many may be willing to write on your behalf. Remember, however, that these types of letters are not as concrete as credit and asset reports. They work better as supporting documentation.

Financier Support Letters

If you have troubled credit history, a financier support letter from a cosigner on a lease can help. These letters are typically for business owners who need to prove they have the capital to meet rent or buy.

For a lessee, a guarantor would write a letter with context on how they can support your rent if needed. This can be helpful if you have an adverse credit history. For business owners, the letters would be obtained from financial institutions or financial partners backing a business lease or purchase.

Credit Reference Examples

If a landlord requests written credit reference letters, have a list of people in mind who can type up a quick letter. You could also ask them to type up a generic letter that you can use across multiple applications, or you might offer to supply a draft of the letter for them to edit as they see fit. Sometimes a property management company or landlord will have their own template, so be sure to clarify which format is acceptable.

A credit reference letter can be brief. But it must include key details such as:

•   Reference full name and contact information

•   Length of relationship

•   Payment history

Additional details may be requested depending on what your landlord requests. Below is a sample template:

   Dear [Landlord Name]:

   I have known Ben as a tenant for three years. He paid rent ahead of time, was quiet, respectful, and took care of our property. Also, he ended his lease in search of a bigger space. He got his deposit returned in full, so he’s highly recommended as a tenant.

If you do not have a history of renting, you can ask a financial institution to vouch for you. Here’s an example letter:

   [ABC Bank] lent $30,000 to Tina Jones in 2014. She made her payments on time and paid off the loan ahead of schedule in 2017.

If you’re still short a reference, try an employer to vouch for your stability at your current job:

   Tim has been an employee of ACB Company for 3 years and has been promoted once. Her current salary is $92,000. She’s responsible and puts our clients’ interests first. She will make a great tenant.

How to Secure a Credit or Character Reference Letter

Before you send a mass email to all your contacts, confirm with your landlord what details are needed. If there’s a template letter to use, so much the better. Once details are confirmed, reach out to your contacts. Be sure to provide them with all the information they need to include in the letter.

There’s no formal process to request a letter from financial institutions. You can go in person to speak to a banker who can provide you a letter or you can contact your bank and ask how to obtain one.

How to Improve the Chances of Getting a Reference Letter

Asking with plenty of time vs. saying you need a letter tomorrow is obviously a good move. Also consider authorizing your institution to release personal information while you are actively applying for rentals. Not doing so could cause delays as the letter goes through the chain of command.

The Takeaway

Landlords want to see that you earn income and honor your debts. Credit references are formal documents that support your profile as a reliable tenant. They come in the form of records from credit bureaus and character reference letters from employers, among others.

If budgeting is not your strong suit and you want to build your financial profile, a money tracker app can help.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

What do I put as a credit reference?

That depends. Ask your landlord what documents he or she requires for a reference. It can mean a credit report, bank statements, character reference — or all three.

Who counts as a credit reference?

A credit reference can be someone with whom you have a tenant-landlord or business relationship. It can be a representative at a bank who can give a formal written letter of loans or accounts you have with them. Or, if you have limited or no credit history, a reference can be a current or former employer who can highlight your reliability.

Why do I need a credit reference?

Most property management agencies or landlords require credit references in order to approve a tenant application. This gives them an idea of your financial history and whether you’ll pay rent on time.


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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.

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.

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 .

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25 High-Paying Trade Jobs in Demand for 2022

25 High-Paying Trade Jobs in Demand

With the cost of higher education out of reach for many, more young people are flocking to high-paying trade jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Many of these jobs not only pay well, but are typically in high demand through unpredictable job markets or economic conditions.

What Is a Trade Job?

A trade job is a profession that doesn’t require a college degree, but rather a specialized skill or skill set obtained through a trade school or on-the-job experience and training. Popular trade jobs include construction managers, technicians, dental hygienists, mechanics, commercial pilots, and real estate brokers.

Pros of a Skilled Trade Job

A skilled trade job can be an attractive career path for a couple of reasons:

Educational Requirements

Unlike careers that require a college degree, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take four years to complete, trade jobs can often be obtained with less than two years of specialized education and at a fraction of the cost. Some trade jobs do not require any supplemental education at all, allowing trade workers to earn a living without being saddled by any student loan debt.

Recommended: Is the Average College Tuition Rising?

Job Security

Many trade jobs are in high demand due to the specialized knowledge and skilled physical labor needed to perform them. They are also potentially at lower risk of outsourcing or automation because they require a physically present human.

Cons of a Skilled Trade Job

On the other hand, there are negative connotations with some trade jobs, including:

Physically Demanding

Trade jobs that involve a lot of labor, like HVAC technicians, construction workers, and mechanics, can take a physical toll over the course of a long career.

Potentially Dangerous

Certain trade jobs have high injury and mortality rates, particularly ones that involve the operation of heavy machinery or working in hazardous environments.

25 Trade Jobs That Make the Most Money

Despite conventional wisdom that a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required to earn a good salary, trade jobs can pay very well. In fact, some of the highest-paying jobs in certain states are skilled trades.

Here are 25 of the highest-paying trade jobs in 2023, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $99,200

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 5+ years of work experience

•   Job Description: Supervising and coordinating the transportation, storage, testing, and shipping of materials or products in accordance with government regulations.

•   Duties:

◦   Supervising workers involved in receiving or shipping

◦   Inspecting warehouse and equipment safety

◦   Analyzing logistics and collaborating with other departments

2. Elevator/Escalator Installers & Repairer

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $102,420

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship; license (certain states)

•   Job Description: Assemble, install, maintain, and fix elevators, escalators, chairlifts and other moving walkways and equipment. In addition to understanding the mechanics and components of each system, they are typically involved in the physical repair or replacement of parts, as well as testing equipment to ensure it meets specifications.

•   Duties:

◦   Assembling elevators, escalators, and similar units

◦   Conducting preventative maintenance and inspections

◦   Maintaining service records

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity

3. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $120,350

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license

•   Job Description: Responsible for controlling and maintaining the systems that generate and distribute power to businesses, homes, or factories. This can include electricity generated through gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, or solar energy.

•   Duties:

◦   Monitoring voltage and electricity grids

◦   Adjusting control rods and electricity output

◦   Recording systems data

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

4. Radiation Therapist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $98,300

•   Requirements: Associate degree (preferred) or certificate; state and national license

•   Job Description: Administer radiation therapy to patients with cancer and other illnesses.

•   Duties:

◦   Explain treatment plans to patients

◦   Calibrate and operate radiation machinery

◦   Monitor patient and keep records of treatment

5. Subway and Streetcar Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $84,270

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training; local transit training program (varies by location)

•   Job Description: Operate subways and aboveground street cars, ensuring passengers safely move from one location to another.

•   Duties:

◦   Operate train controls

◦   Make announcements and provide verbal directions to passengers

◦   Ensure overall passenger safety

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

6. Nuclear Medicine Technologist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $92,500

•   Requirements: Associate degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program; state license; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Prepare and administer radioactive drugs for imaging or treatment, typically within hospitals, medical labs, and care centers.

•   Duties:

◦   Explain medical procedures to patients

◦   Prep and administer drugs to patients

◦   Maintain and operate imaging equipment

7. Gas Plant Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $82,560

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Oversee the day-to-day operations of industrial power plants used by utilities, oil and gas, and manufacturing companies.

•   Duties:

◦   Maintaining equipment and machinery

◦   Ensuring compliance with safety and regulatory standards

◦   Supervising employees and contractors at the plant

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8. Dental Hygienist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $87,530

•   Education Requirements: Associate degree; state license

•   Job Description: Examine patients for oral diseases and provide preventative care and education about oral hygiene.

•   Duties:

◦   Taking dental x-rays

◦   Assisting dentists in providing teeth cleaning and plaque removal

◦   Educating patients about oral hygiene techniques

9. Sonography Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $81,350

•   Requirements: Associate degree; state license

•   Job Description: Operate sonographs that produce images of the inside of a body in order to assess and diagnose medical conditions.

•   Duties:

◦   Prepping and administering sonograph exams

◦   Reviewing images and test results for quality

◦   Analyzing diagnostic information and providing summaries for physicians

10. Electrical Line Installer and Repairer

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $85,420

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Install and repair electrical power systems and telecommunications systems.

•   Duties:

◦   Installing, inspecting, and testing power lines, and equipment

◦   Identifying defective devices, transformers, and switches

◦   Stringing power lines between buildings and structures

11. Construction Manager

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $104,900

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 5+ years of experience

•   Job Description: Supervise and coordinate the activities of construction workers.

•   Duties:

◦   Overseeing construction projects from start to finish

◦   Scheduling and supervising on-site contractors

◦   Preparing and monitoring budgets

12. Aircraft Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $75,400

•   Requirements: Certificate of completion from a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school

•   Job Description: Repair and perform maintenance on aircraft and aircraft equipment.

•   Duties:

◦   Diagnosing mechanical and electrical issues

◦   Repairing aircraft components

◦   Testing aircraft parts with diagnostic equipment

13. Boilermaker

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $71,140

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Assemble, maintain, and repair boilers, vats, or other containers used to hold liquids and gas.

•   Duties:

◦   Reading blueprints to determine where to position boiler parts

◦   Assembling boiler tankers using welding machines

◦   Cleaning boiling vats and replacing broken valves and pipes

14. Wellhead Pumper

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $71,830

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate power pumps and equipment used to extract oil or gas from an oil field well.

•   Duties:

◦   Assembling pumps and attach hoses to wellheads

◦   Operating pumps and monitoring flow

◦   Transferring oil to storage tank or truck

15. Electronic Engineering Technologist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $72,800

•   Requirements: Associate degree (preferred); certificate from accredited program

•   Job Description: Assist electrical engineers with the design and development of communications equipment, computers, medical devices, and other electric-powered equipment.

•   Duties:

◦   Designing and assembling electrical systems

◦   Observing onsite systems placement and performance

◦   Performing quality control and identify issues

16. Real Estate Agents

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $54,300

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; licensing exam

•   Job Description: Help clients buy, sell, or rent their properties.

•   Duties:

◦   Generating lists of properties for sale or rent and showing them to clients

◦   Advising clients on prices, mortgages, and market conditions

◦   Facilitating buyer/seller negotiations and final purchase or rental agreements

17. Respiratory Therapist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $77,960

•   Requirements: Associate degree

•   Job Description: Provide care for patients having trouble breathing.

•   Duties:

◦   Examining patients and recording symptoms and conditions

◦   Consulting with physicians on treatment

◦   Performing diagnostic tests

18. Building Inspector

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $67,700

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

•   Job Description: Review building plans to ensure construction meets local and national regulations and ordinances.

•   Duties:

◦   Monitoring construction to ensure compliance

◦   Inspecting electrical and plumbing systems to ensure they are up to code

◦   Issuing violations for non-compliant work

19. Millwright

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $62,980

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

•   Job Description: Install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

•   Duties:

◦   Repair or replace malfunctioning equipment

◦   Clean, adjust, and calibrate new machinery

◦   Move machinery and equipment

20. Electrician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $61,590

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

•   Duties:

◦   Identify and repair electrical problems

◦   Install wiring and equipment for electrical systems

◦   Ensure compliance with National Electrical Code

21. Plumber

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $61,550

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Install and repair gas and water piping systems in homes, factories, and businesses.

•   Duties:

◦   Identify and repair plumbing problems

◦   Installing pipes and plumbing fixtures

◦   Clean drains, remove obstructions, and repair or replace broken pipes and fixtures

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait

22. Mining Roof Bolter

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $66,660

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate machinery to install roof supporting bolts in underground mines.

•   Duties:

◦   Drill bolt holes into roofs

◦   Perform safety checks on bolting equipments

◦   Extract loose rock from bolting support

23. Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $54,160

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate and maintain electrical equipment used for television broadcast, radio programs, live concerts, and films.

•   Duties:

◦   Setting up and operating equipment

◦   Monitoring and adjusting audio and visual quality

◦   Repairing equipment and fixing recording issues

24. HVACR Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $57,300

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 6 months to 2 years at a trade school or community college that offers heating, air conditioning, and registration programs.

•   Job Description: Install and perform maintenance on heating, ventilation, cooling and registration systems for buildings and private residences.

•   Duties:

◦   Installing, testing, and repairing HVACR systems

◦   Replacing or repairing defective parts

◦   Conducting overall system maintenance and performance improvements

25. Masonry Worker

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $53,010

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship or on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Use brick, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build structures, walls, or walkways.

•   Duties:

◦   Design blueprints and calculate materials needed

◦   Break or resize materials into required shape

◦   Align, construct and polish finished structures

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

The Takeaway

Many trade jobs can offer competitive pay and job security, without a significant upfront educational cost. Moreover, they provide an opportunity to help make a difference by solving real world problems.

Choosing the right career path is an important step toward achieving your financial goals. It’s just as important to practice smart financial habits, like setting spending limits, staying on top of your credit score, and establishing long-term goals.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

What skilled trades are in demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical sonographers, respiratory therapists, industrial machinery mechanics, security and fire alarm installers are expected to experience the greatest job growth over the next ten years.

What are some of the best trades to learn that pay well?

Transportation managers, elevator installers, nuclear power reactor operators, and radiation therapists all earn a median salary above $80,000.

What are high paying trade jobs that require no degree?

HVAC technicians, real estate agents, subway operators, and plumbers all pay above-average salaries and require no formal degree.


Photo credit: iStock/dima_sidelnikov

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.

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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Things to Budget For After Buying a Home

Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

After you purchase a new home, there are many things to budget for, including moving costs, new furniture, and ongoing expenses such as your mortgage. Although it may seem like many of the significant expenditures are out of the way once you close on a property, there are additional costs that can add up.

To avoid financial surprises, it’s wise to jot down and budget for all of the extra expenses you will encounter when you move into your new place. To help you organize your finances, here are the things to budget for after buying a house.

Moving-Out Expenses to Budget for

Before you take up residence in your new home, you must move all of your things. Even if you pack and move all your belongings yourself, you’ll still have to spend on things like boxes, packing materials, and a truck. And if you use movers, it will cost you even more.

Recommended: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving Your Belongings

There are three main options for moving your belongings:

•   Renting a truck and doing it yourself. It’s more cost efficient than using professional movers, but DIY moving yourself still adds up. You’ll have to pay for the truck rental fee, gas, and damage protection. If you’re moving across the country, you may also have to factor in the costs of shipping some of your items. Even though you can enlist your friends and family to help you do the heavy lifting, the cost of moving yourself can still be significant, and it’s a lot of work.

•   Hiring movers. If you decide to use professional movers, it’s wise to shop around to find the best price. Here’s why: For moves under 100 miles away, the national average cost of moving is $1,400, and it ranges from $800 to $2,500. If you’re moving long distance, the average cost can be as high as $2,200 to $5,700. To cut costs, you can do your own packing, which may save you money.

•   Moving your things in a storage container. Another option is to use a hauling container — you load your things in it, and the container company moves it to your new location. This usually costs between $500 and $5,000, depending on the distance and how much stuff you’re moving. Long-distance moves will usually cost more than local ones.

Moving Supplies

If you decide to go the DIY moving route, you will need to buy boxes, bubble wrap, labels, and tape. And you likely have more items to wrap and box up than you think, which requires even more supplies.

Cleaning Supplies

You’ll probably want to clean your current property before you move out, and you’ll definitely want to clean the new place when you move in. That means buying mops, sponges, cleaning solutions, and paper towels. You may also want to get the carpets cleaned or hire a professional house cleaner if the place needs a deep cleaning.

10 Common Expenses After Buying a Home

Once the move is done, there are other expenses you’ll need to account for as you settle into your new abode. Here are a few things to budget for after buying a home.

Furniture and Appliances

You’ll likely bring some furniture and decor from your old place, but you’ll probably want to purchase some new things as well. For example, if the appliances are outdated, you might want to upgrade to new ones. And you may have more rooms to furnish, which requires additional furniture.

Consider opening a savings account for the new items you want to purchase. It can also help pay for any unexpected costs, such as having to replace a hot water heater that breaks.

Mortgage Payments

As a homeowner, every month you will making a mortgage payment that typically includes:

•   The principal portion of the payment. This is the percentage of your mortgage that reduces your payment over the life of the loan. The more you pay toward principal, the less you will have to pay in interest.

•   The interest. This is the amount you pay to borrow funds from the bank or lender to purchase your home.

If you are using an escrow account to pay your mortgage, other things may be included in your payment, such as your property taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance. This guide to reading your mortgage statement can help you understand all the costs involved in your mortgage payment.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are the taxes you pay on your home. In many cases, these taxes are the second most significant expense after your mortgage. Property taxes are based on the value of your home, which is typically governed by your state. The county you live in collects and calculates the sum due. Usually, property tax calculations are done every year, so the amount you owe may fluctuate annually.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance helps protect your home from damage or destruction caused by events like a fire, wind storm, or vandalism. It can also protect you from lawsuits or property damages you are liable for. If someone slips and falls on your sidewalk, for instance, homeowners insurance will pay for the injured person’s medical bills and the legal costs if they decide to sue you.

The cost you pay for this coverage will vary by the type and amount of coverage you select.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

For borrowers who can’t afford a down payment that’s 20% of the mortgage value, lenders usually require private mortgage insurance (PMI). This type of coverage is designed to protect the lender if you default on your mortgage payments.

PMI can cost as much as a few hundred dollars per month, depending on the sum you borrow.

HOA Dues

This is a Homeowner’s Association fee, which goes toward the upkeep of property in a planned community, co-op, or condo. The amount can range from a couple of hundred dollars a year to more than $2,000, depending on the amenities you’re paying for (like a pool and landscaping). You typically pay HOA fees monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Utilities

Your utility payments include water, gas, electric, trash, and sewer fees. Some bills like water and electricity are based on the amount you use every month, so monitoring your electric and water usage, like taking short showers and turning lights off, can help lower your cost. Other payments, such as your trash or recycling, might be a fixed amount.

Lawn Care

Maintaining the curb appeal of your home requires landscape services and lawn care. If you choose to mow your own lawn, you may need to factor in the purchase of a mower, which can cost about $1,068 on average. If you hire a lawn service to cut your grass, you may pay $25 to $50 a week.

Pest Control

Pests, such as ants, ticks, rodents, or mice, can wreak havoc on your home and your family’s health. For these reasons, many homeowners hire a pest control company to prevent the infestation of pests around their homes. The company’s initial visit may cost between $150 to $300, then $45 to $75 for every follow-up.

Home Improvement Costs

As a homeowner, there are likely things you want to change about your house. From painting the walls to a complete kitchen renovation, transforming your property can add to the cost of owning a home. According to the HomeAdvisor 2023 State of Home Spending Report, homeowners spend an average of $9,542 on home improvement each year.

Additionally, as the features of your home age, you will need to replace and repair them accordingly.

Common Mistakes After Buying a Home

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying a home is spending more than they can afford. For instance, you may forget to factor in utilities, lawn care, HOA fees, costs of upkeep, and other hidden expenses that come with owning a home. It’s crucial to do your research to determine extra costs and add them up before you move forward with purchasing a property.

Another mistake new homeowners make is taking on too many DIY projects. TV shows can make home renovations look easy. However, many of these projects require professionals who know what they are doing. Attempting a home improvement project could cost you more to fix than hiring a pro in the first place. In fact, about 80% of homeowners that attempt their own renovation projects make mistakes — some of them serious.

Unless you can afford an expert, you may want to rethink purchasing a home that requires a lot of renovation.

The 50/30/20 Rule

For help planning your budget as a homeowner, you can use the 50/30/20 rule, which breaks your budget into three categories:

•   50% goes to to needs

•   30% goes to wants

•   20% goes to to savings

That means you’ll be budgeting 50% of your income to go toward necessities such as housing costs, grocery bills, and car payments. Then 30% will go toward things you want, such as entertainment (movies, concerts), vacations, new clothes, and dining out. The remaining 20% goes towards saving for the future or financial goals such as home improvement projects.

Using a 50/30/20 budget rule is simple and easy. It allows you to see where your money is going and helps you save.

Recommended: How to Track Home Improvement Costs

Lifestyle Tradeoffs in Order to Budget

With so many things to budget for after buying a home, you may need to cut back on spending. Start by looking at your discretionary spending and think about where you can trim back. For example, instead of eating out regularly, you can cook more meals at home. Or perhaps you can put your gym membership on hold and do at-home workouts for a while to stay in shape physically and financially.

Recommended: How to Budget in 5 Steps

The Takeaway

After you buy a house, there are many expenses you may not have accounted for, such as the cost of hiring movers; buying furniture; and getting your new place painted, cleaned, and ready to move into. Making a budget is vital to keep you on track financially, so you can enjoy your new home.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

How much money should you have leftover after buying a house?

After buying a home, the amount you have left will vary depending on your financial situation. However, it’s a good idea to have at least three to six months of living expenses in reserve. That way, in case of an emergency, you can stay afloat financially.

Is it worth putting more than 20% down?

Putting more than 20% down on your home can help lower your monthly mortgage payment and interest because you’ll be borrowing less money. It also gives you more equity in your home from the beginning. But make sure you can afford to pay more than 20% in order not to stretch beyond your budget.

What’s the 50-30-20 budget rule?

The 50/30/20 rule means that you budget 50% of your expenses for needs (housing, groceries, loan payments), 30% for wants (entertainment, eating out, shopping), and 20% toward savings goals (retirement, renovations, new furniture).


Photo credit: iStock/ArtMarie

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.

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.

SORL-Q224-1921152-V1

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