Green Bonds, Explained

Green Bonds, Explained

Green bonds are debt instruments used to raise money for new and existing environmental and sustainability projects while providing investors with steady returns, similar to ordinary bonds. Green bonds may help fund climate change mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy, conservation, waste management, transportation, and more.

To qualify as actual green bonds, these investments have to be certified by a third party, like the Climate Bonds Standard and Certification Scheme. Green bonds may offer investors certain tax benefits versus other kinds of bonds.

What Is a Green Bond?

A green bond is a type of fixed-income security that pension funds or institutional investors can buy. Individual investors can add green bonds to their portfolio by purchasing ETFs or mutual funds that include green bonds. They are issued by corporations, governments, and financial institutions to raise money for specific sustainability and environmental projects. The World Bank is one of the largest green bond issuers.

A green bond is similar to other types of bonds, but the money borrowed through their sale goes towards vetted projects that fit into pre-determined frameworks to meet sustainability standards.

Most green bonds are asset-linked bonds or “use of proceeds” bonds, where the money raised from the sale of the bonds is earmarked for green projects and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet. For example, “use of proceeds” revenue bonds use the issuer’s revenue as collateral; green project bonds rely on the assets and balance sheet of the particular project as collateral; and green securitized bonds where a group of projects are collateral.

Green Bonds vs Climate Bonds vs Blue Bonds

Green bonds can be structured in different ways and generally fall into the category of impact investing.

•   For example, the term green bond can cover a broad spectrum of projects, from renewable energy to waste management to climate change.

•   There are also climate bonds that put money specifically towards climate change projects such as reducing emissions or adapting infrastructure to changing climate conditions.

•   Blue bonds specifically fund water-related projects, such as cleaning up plastic from the oceans, marine ecosystem restoration and conservation, sustainable fisheries, and wastewater treatment projects.

How Do Green Bonds Work?

Green bonds work much the same as other types of bonds. They’re issued by an entity and pay a certain interest rate, with the main difference being that institutional investors are usually buying the bonds, not retail investors.

Who Issues Green Bonds?

When a company, government, or financial institution wants to raise money for a sustainability project, they might choose to issue green bonds, which can be purchased by individual or institutional investors. Generally green bond issuers are large municipalities or public corporations, because a strong credit rating provides the issuer with a better borrowing rate.

The difference between investing in a green bond and buying a traditional bond is the issuer publicly discloses their plans for how the money will be spent. Uses of the money must be considered ‘green’ for it to be marketed as a green bond. The issuer generally releases a pre-issuance report describing the projects the funds will be used for and their expected impact.

Certifying Green Bonds

Issuers don’t have to follow specific requirements to call their bond green, but many follow voluntary frameworks such as the Climate Bonds Standard (CBS) or the Green Bond Principals (BGPs). By following those frameworks the bond will have a higher rating and investors will be more likely to buy it.

The guidelines outline the types of projects funds are recommended to be used for, how to select green projects, and how to report on the use of funds and results of the bond issuance.

Third-party firms work with the issuer as underwriters, certifiers, and auditors to ensure the money is going towards quality projects and used in the ways the borrower claimed it would be.

The Importance of Pre-Issuance Reports

Many issuers also work with third parties to prepare pre-issuance reports. Those parties help validate the quality of the bond to the extent the issuer chooses. There are four levels of validation a third-party can provide:

1.    An external opinion about the quality of the bond

2.    Verification that the bond aligns with certain environmental and business goals and criteria

3.    Certification with a particular standard such as CBS or BGPs

4.    A bond rating or score

If an issuer plans to issue multiple bonds, they might develop their own green bond framework to outline their particular criteria, goals, and impact. Issuers can either sell directly to investors or go through an exchange that works with green bonds, like the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE).

Since the process of creating and tracking a green bond is costly and time consuming, they tend to be issued for large-scale projects.

Once the bond is issued and money raised, the issuer puts the money towards the projects stated in the pre-issuance report. The project could either be directly funded and internally run, or the money could go towards a service company like an energy provider.

The green bond issuer then puts out regular public post-issuance reports to investors, usually on an annual basis. The reports describe the way money has been used, progress, and results of the projects.

Green Bond Principles

In 2014, a group of investment banks established four “Green Bond Principles” to help investors understand green bonds. The principles are:

1.    Use of Proceeds: How money is spent and what types of projects are included

2.    Process for Project Evaluation and Selection: How projects are chosen and vetted

3.    Management of Proceeds: How the money raised by the bond is managed

4.    Reporting: How project progress and impact is shared

Issuers

Issuers of green bonds can include federal, state or city governments, financial institutions, or corporations.

Some reasons a company, government, or financial institution might issue a green bond include:

•   The desire to promote one’s sustainability efforts and image

•   Attracting new investors looking specifically for ESG investment products

•   There can be tax benefits and incentives for issuing green bonds

•   Issuing green bonds can be a good way to raise low-cost capital

•   The issuer is looking to raise millions of dollars or more for particular sustainability projects

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Examples of Green Bonds

One example of a green bond is the World Bank Green Bond, which was developed in collaboration with Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and launched in 2008. SEB and the World Bank saw that there was a demand for a triple-A-rated fixed income product that supports climate change projects, so they developed the World Bank Green Bond in response.

Sale of the bonds raises money from investors looking for a fixed-income asset, and the money goes towards projects vetted by the World Bank that focus on mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Around $18 billion in World Bank Green Bonds have been issued since 2008. There have been 200 different bonds available in 25 currencies. Investors who buy the bonds can both earn a fixed amount and know that their money is going towards climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

Other green bonds that have been issued by corporations include:

•   Goldman Sachs Renewable Power issued a 24-year, $500 million bond, certified by Sustainalytics, to use for solar energy projects

•   PNC Financial Services Group issued a 5-year, $650 million bond, using an internal green bond framework, to use for energy projects

•   Verizon Communications Inc. issued a 10-year, $1 billion bond to use for energy generation and storage, buildings, and land use projects

When Did Green Bonds Start?

In 2008, the first green bond was issued by the World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB). The bond was rated AAA. After that it took a few years for green bonds to take off, but since 2014 the market has grown significantly each year.

In 2013, the first USD 1 billion green bond issued by IFC sold out within just one hour after issuance. The first green bond issued by a corporation was issued in 2013 by Vasakronan.

Also in 2013, the first green muni bond was issued by Massachusetts, the first Green City bond was issued by Gothenburg, and the first solar asset-backed securities (ABS) were issued by SolarCity (now Tesla).

The Growth of the Green Bond Market

Over $1 trillion in green bond issuance has been put on the market since the first green bonds were issued in 2007.

Over the past 15 years, the green bond market has grown exponentially. In 2019, $51.3 billion in green bonds was issued in the U.S., and $257.7 billion in bonds was issued worldwide.

The largest green bond issuer is government-backed mortgage firm Fannie Mae in the United States. They issue 9% of the world’s green bonds. Green bonds have been issued by city governments and large corporations including Verizon, Pepsi, and Apple.

Although the U.S. currently has the biggest green bond market, it is projected to be overtaken by the EU in coming years. Between European companies and governments, about $300 billion has been allocated to green bond issuances over the next five years.

Investing In Green Bonds

Interest in sustainability, ESG, renewable energy, and climate change has increased significantly in recent years and is projected to keep growing. As investor interest grows, more and more green bonds are being made available with better disclosure and transparency to give investors peace of mind about the quality of the asset.

Investing in green bonds can be a good way for investors to put their money where their values are. Like other kinds of sustainable investing, ESG investing, or impact investing, green bonds are a way to both make money and make a positive difference in the world

While individuals can’t usually purchase green bonds directly, they can add them to their portfolio by purchasing certain ETFs and mutual funds.

Are Green Bonds a Good Investment?

Like other types of bonds, green bonds can be a relatively safe investment that provides fixed income without a high risk of loss. Bonds don’t tend to pay out high interest rates, but are less risky than other types of investments.

One risk of investing in green bonds is the phenomenon of greenwashing, where an issuer markets a bond as green but it doesn’t actually result in as much positive impact as advertised. A few questions an investor can explore to choose the best green bonds are:

•   Why is the bond being marketed as green?

•   What is the definition of green being used?

•   Is the issuer using a standard such as CBS and working with a third-party certifier?

•   Does the bond have an independent rating?

•   How will the use of funds and impacts be disclosed to investors?

•   Has the issuer issued green bonds in the past and what were the results and reporting standards?

Benefits Of Green Bonds

The main benefit of green bonds is they are designed help support sustainability projects (companies, new technologies) that support people and ecosystems around the world. Market demand is growing for green bonds, and they can be a good way to earn stable, low-risk interest.

Another benefit of green bonds is they can come with tax exemptions and tax credits, so investors might not have to pay income tax on the interest earned from the bond.

The Takeaway

Green bonds are an increasingly popular type of investment product that aim to help make the world a more sustainable place. When a company, government, or financial institution wants to raise money for a sustainability project, they might choose to issue green bonds.

Though green bonds work similar to other types of bonds, in that they’re a form of debt issued by an entity and pay a certain interest rate, the main difference is that institutional investors typically purchase the bonds, not retail investors.

Generally green bond issuers are large municipalities or public corporations, because a strong credit rating provides the issuer with a better borrowing rate.

Investors interested in adding green bonds to their portfolio can purchase ETFs and mutual funds that include green bonds. If you are interested in investing in green bonds through the purchase of fund shares, consider using SoFi Invest®. You can set up an Active Invest account seamlessly and security. The online investing platform lets you research and buy ETFs, stocks, and other assets right from your phone. All you need is a few dollars to get started with sustainable investing.

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


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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
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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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457 vs. 401(k): A Detailed Comparison

457 vs 401(k): A Detailed Comparison

Depending on where you work, you may be able to save for retirement in a 457 plan or a 401(k). While any employer can offer a 401(k), a 457 plan is commonly associated with state and local governments and certain eligible nonprofits.

Both offer tax advantages, though they aren’t exactly the same when it comes to retirement saving. Understanding the differences between a 457 retirement plan vs. 401(k) plans can help you decide which one is best for you.

And you may not have to choose: Your employer could offer a 401(k) plan and a 457 plan as retirement savings options. If you’re able to make contributions to both plans simultaneously, you could do so up to the maximum annual contribution limits — a terrific savings advantage for individuals in organizations that offer both plans.

401(k) Plans

A 401(k) is a tax-advantaged, defined contribution plan. Specifically, it’s a type of retirement plan that’s recognized or qualified under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

With a 401(k) plan, the amount of benefits you can withdraw in retirement depends on how much you contribute during your working years and how much those contributions grow over time.

Understanding 401(k) Contributions

A 401(k) is funded with pre-tax dollars, meaning that contributions reduce your taxable income in the year you make them. And withdrawals are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate in retirement.

Some employers may offer a Roth 401(k) option, which would enable you to deposit after-tax funds, and withdraw money tax-free in retirement.

401(k) Contribution Limits

The IRS determines how much you can contribute to a 401(k) each year. For 2022, the annual contribution limit is $20,500; $22,500 in 2023. Workers age 50 or older can contribute an additional $6,500 in catch-up contributions. Generally, you can’t make withdrawals from a 401(k) before age 59 ½ without incurring a tax penalty. So, if you retire at 62, you can avoid the penalty but if you retire at 52, you wouldn’t.

Employers can elect to make matching contributions to a 401(k) plan, though they’re not required to. If an employer does offer a match, it may be limited to a certain amount. For example, your employer might match 50% of contributions, up to the first 6% of your income.

401(k) Investment Options

Money you contribute to a 401(k) can be invested in mutual funds, index funds, target-date funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Your investment options are determined by the plan administrator. Each investment can carry different fees, and there may be additional fees charged by the plan itself.

The definition of retirement is generally when you leave full-time employment and live on your savings, investments, and other types of income. So remember that both traditional and Roth 401(k) accounts are subject to required minimum distribution (RMD) rules beginning at age 72. That’s something to consider when you’re thinking about your income strategy in retirement.

💡 Recommended: 5 Steps to Investing in Your 401k Savings Account

Vesting in a 401(k) Retirement Plan

A 401(k) plan is subject to IRS vesting rules. Vesting determines when the funds in the account belong to you. If you’re 100% vested in your account, then all of the money in it is yours.

Employee contributions to a 401(k) are always 100% vested. The amount of employer matching contributions you get to keep can depend on where you are on the company’s vesting schedule. Amounts that aren’t vested can be forfeited if you decide to leave your job or you retire.

Employer’s may use a cliff vesting approach in which your percentage of ownership is determined by year. In year one and two, your ownership claim is 0%. Once you reach year three and beyond, you’re 100% vested.

With graded vesting, the percentage increases gradually over time. So, you might be 20% vested after year two and 100% vested after year six.

All employees in the plan must be 100% vested by the time they reach their full retirement age, which may or may not be the same as their date of retirement. The IRS also mandates 100% vesting when a 401(k) plan is terminated.

457 Plans

A 457 plan is a deferred compensation plan that can be offered to state and local government employees, as well as employees of certain tax-exempt organizations. The most common version is the 457(b); the 457 (f) is a deferred compensation plan for highly paid executives. In certain ways, a 457 is very similar to a 401(k).

•   Employees can defer part of their salary into a 457 plan and those contributions are tax-deferred. Earnings on contributions are also tax-deferred.

•   A 457 plan can allow for designated Roth contributions. If you take the traditional 457 route, qualified withdrawals would be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate when you retire.

•   Since this is an employer-sponsored plan, both traditional and Roth-designated 457 accounts are subject to RMDs once you turn 72.

•   For 2022, the 457 plan annual contribution limit is $20,500. Catch-up contributions of $6,500 are allowed for workers who are 50 or older. For 2023, the annual contribution limit is $22,500, and $7,500 for the catch-up amount.

One big difference with 457 plans is that these limits are cumulative, meaning they include both employee and employer contributions rather than allowing for separate matching contributions the way a 401(k) does.

Another interesting point of distinction for older savers: If permitted, workers can also make special catch-up contributions for employees who are in the three-year window leading up to retirement.

They can contribute the lesser of the annual contribution limit or the basic annual limit, plus the amount of the limit not used in any prior years. The second calculation is only allowed if the employee is not making regular catch-up contributions.

Vesting in a 457 Retirement Plan

Vesting for a 457 plan is similar to vesting for a 401(k), but you generally can’t be vested for two full years. You’re always 100% vested in any contributions you make to the plan. The plan can define the vesting schedule for employer contributions. For example, your job may base vesting on your years of service or your age.

As with a 401(k), any unvested amounts in a 457 retirement plan are forfeited if you separate from your employer for any reason. So if you’re planning to change jobs or retire early, you’d need to calculate how much of your retirement savings you’d be entitled to walk away with, based on the plan’s vesting schedule.

457 vs 401(k): Comparing the Pros

When comparing a 457 plan vs. 401(k), it’s important to look at how each one can benefit you when saving for retirement. The main advantages of using a 457 plan or a 401(k) to save include:

•   Both offer tax-deferred growth

•   Contributions reduce taxable income

•   Employers can match contributions, giving you free money for retirement

•   Both offer generous contribution limits, with room for catch-up contributions

•   Both may offer loans and/or hardship withdrawals

Specific 457 Plan Advantages

A 457 plan offers a few more advantages over a 401(k).

Unlike 401(k) plans, which require employees to wait until age 59 ½ before making qualified withdrawals, 457 plans allow withdrawals at whatever age the employee retires. And the IRS doesn’t impose a 10% early withdrawal penalty on withdrawals made before age 59 ½ if you retire (or take a hardship distribution).

Also, independent contractors can participate in an organization’s 457 plan.

And, as noted above, 457 plans have that special catch-up provision option, for those within three years of retirement.

457 vs 401(k): Comparing the Cons

Any time you’re trying to select a retirement plan, you also have to factor in the potential downsides. In terms of the disadvantages associated with a 457 retirement plan vs. 401(k) plans, they aren’t that different. Here are some of the main cons of both of these retirement plans:

•   Vesting of employer contributions can take several years, and plans vary

•   Employer matching contributions are optional, and not every plan offers them

•   Both plans are subject to RMD rules

•   Loans and hardship withdrawals are optional

•   Both can carry high plan fees and investment options may be limited

Perhaps the biggest con with 457 plans is that employer and employee contributions are combined when applying the annual IRS limit. A 401(k) plan doesn’t have that same requirement so you could make the full annual contribution and enjoy an employer match on top of it.

457 vs 401(k): The Differences

The most obvious difference between a 401(k) vs. 457 account is who they’re meant for. If you work for a state or local government agency or an eligible nonprofit, then your employer can offer a 457 plan for retirement savings. All other employers can offer a 401(k) instead.

Aside from that, 457 plans are not governed by ERISA since they’re not qualified plans. A 457 plan also varies from a 401(k) with regard to early withdrawal penalties and the special catch-up contributions allowed for employees who are nearing retirement. Additionally, a 457 plan may require employees to prove an unforeseeable emergency in order to take a hardship distribution.

A 457 plan and a 401(k) can offer a different range of investments as well. The investments offered are determined by the plan administrator.

457 vs 401(k): The Similarities

Both 457 and 401(k) plans are subject to the same annual contribution limits, though again, the way the limit is applied to employer and employee contributions is different. With traditional 401(k) and 457 plans, contributions reduce your taxable income and withdrawals are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. When you reach age 72, you’ll need to take RMDs unless you’re still working.

Either plan may allow you to take a loan, which you’d repay through salary deferrals. Both have vesting schedules you’d need to follow before you could claim ownership of employer matching contributions. With either type of plan you may have access to professional financial advice, which is a plus if you need help making investment decisions.

457 vs 401(k): Which Is Better?

A 457 plan isn’t necessarily better than a 401(k) and vice versa. If you have access to either of these plans at work, both could help you to get closer to your retirement savings goals.

A 401(k) has an edge when it comes to regular contributions, since employer matches don’t count against your annual contribution limit. But if you have a 457 plan, you could benefit from the special catch-up contribution provision which you don’t get with a 401(k).

If you’re planning an early retirement, a 457 plan could be better since there’s no early withdrawal penalty if you take money out before age 59 ½. But if you want to be able to stash as much money as possible in your plan, including both your contributions and employer matching contributions, a 401(k) could be better suited to the task.

Investing in Retirement With SoFi

If you’re lucky enough to work for an organization that offers both a 457 plan and a 401(k) plan, you could double up on your savings and contribute the maximum to both plans. Or, you may want to choose between them, in which case it helps to know the main points of distinction between these two, very similar plans.

Basically, a 401(k) has more stringent withdrawal rules compared with a 457, and a 457 has more flexible catch-up provisions. But a 457 can have effectively lower contribution limits, owing to the inclusion of employer contributions in the overall plan limits.

The main benefit of both plans, of course, is the tax advantaged savings opportunity. The money you contribute reduces your taxable income, and grows tax free (you only pay taxes when you take money out). Ready to set up your retirement? With SoFi Invest, you can open a traditional or Roth IRA, or a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed. It’s easy to build a diversified portfolio and you can choose hands-on investing or an automated approach to fund your retirement goals.

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

FAQ

What similarities do 457 and 401(k) retirement plans have?

A 457 and a 401(k) plan are both tax-advantaged, with contributions that reduce your taxable income and grow tax-deferred. Both have the same annual contribution limit and regular catch-up contribution limit for savers who are 50 or older. Either plan may allow for loans or hardship distributions. Both may offer designated Roth accounts.

What differences do 457 and 401(k) retirement plans have?

A 457 plan includes employer matching contributions in the annual contribution limit, whereas a 401(k) plan does not. You can withdraw money early from a 457 plan with no penalty if you’ve separated from your employer. A 457 plan may be offered to employees of state and local governments or certain nonprofits while private employers can offer 401(k) plans to employees.

Is a 457 better than a 401(k) retirement plan?

A 457 plan may be better for retirement if you plan to retire early. You can make special catch-up contributions in the three years prior to retirement and you can withdraw money early with no penalty if you leave your employer. A 401(k) plan, meanwhile, could be better if you’re hoping to maximize regular contributions and employer matching contributions.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or prequalification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.
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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Retirement Definition & Meaning

What Is Retirement?

There once was a time was when retirement meant leaving your job permanently, either when you reached a certain age or you’d accumulated enough wealth to live without working. Today’s retirement definition is changing, and it can vary widely depending on your vision and your individual financial situation.

It’s important for each person to develop their own retirement definition. That can help you establish a roadmap for getting from point A to point B, with the money you have, and in the time frame you’re expecting.

Retirement Definition

Retirement’s meaning may shift from person to person, but the bottom line is that retirement has a financial side and a personal or lifestyle side. It’s important to consider both in your definition of retirement.

Retirement and Your Finances

Being retired or living in retirement generally means that you rely on your accumulated savings and investments to cover your expenses rather than counting on a paycheck or salary from employment. Depending upon your retirement age, your income may also include federal retirement benefits, such as Social Security and other options.

Retiring doesn’t necessarily mean you stop working completely. You might have a part-time job or side hustle. You may choose to start a small business once you retire from your career. But the majority of your income may still come from savings or federal benefits.

Retirement and Your Lifestyle

Some people embark on a new life or a new career in retirement, complete with new goals, a new focus, sometimes in a brand-new location. But retirement doesn’t have to be a period of reinvention. It depends on how you view the purpose and meaning of retirement. Many people enjoy this period as a time to slow down and enjoy hobbies or priorities that they couldn’t focus on before.

Consider the notion of moving in retirement. While strolling on sandy, sunlit beaches is depicted as a retirement ideal, many people don’t want to move to get there. In fact, 53% of retirees opt to remain in the house where they were already living, according to a 2022 study by the Center for Retirement Research.

Qualified Retirement Plan Definition

A qualified retirement plan provides you with money to pay for future expenses once you decide to retire from your job. The Employment Retirement Security Act (ERISA) recognizes two types of retirement plans:

Defined Contribution Plans

In a defined contribution plan, the amount of money you’re able to withdraw in retirement is determined by how much you contribute during your working years, and how much that money grows as it’s invested. A 401(k) plan is the most common type of defined contribution plan that employers can offer to employees.

There are other kinds of retirement plans that fall under the defined contribution umbrella. For example, if you run a small business, you might establish a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan for yourself and your employees. Profit sharing plans, stock bonus plans, and employee stock ownership (ESOP) plans are also defined contribution plans.

A 457 plan is another defined contribution option. They work similar to 401(k) plans, in that you decide how much to contribute, and your employer can make matching contributions. The main difference between 457 and 401(k) retirement accounts is who they’re designed for. Private employers can offer 401(k) plans, while 457 plans are reserved for state and local government employees.

Defined Benefit Plans

A defined benefit plan (typically a pension) pays you a fixed amount in retirement that’s determined by your years of service, your retirement age, and your highest earning years. Cash balance plans are another type of defined benefit plan.

Generally speaking, defined benefit plans have been on the wane in the last couple of decades, with more of the responsibility for saving falling to workers, who must contribute to defined contribution plans.

Retirement Statistics

Retirement statistics can offer some insight into how Americans typically save for the future and when they retire. Here are some key retirement facts and figures to know, according to the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021 – May 2022:

•   27% of adults considered themselves to be retired in 2021, though some were still working in some capacity.

•   49% of adults said they retired to do something else, while 45% said they’d reached their normal retirement age.

•   78% of retirees relied on Social Security for income, increasing to 92% among retirees age 65 or older.

•   55% of non-retired adults had savings in a defined contribution plan, while just 22% had a defined benefit plan.

•   40% of non-retirees felt that they were on track with their retirement savings efforts.

So, how much does the typical household have saved for retirement? According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the estimated median retirement savings among American workers is $54,000. Just 27% of adults who are traditionally employed and 24% of self-employed individuals have saved $250,000 or more for retirement.

Retirement Age

In simple terms, your retirement age is the age when you decide to retire. For example, you might set your target retirement date as 62 or 65 or 66 — all of which are related to Social Security benefits in some way.

Social Security has largely shaped how we view retirement age in the U.S. because that monthly payout is what enables the majority of people to leave work. As noted above, some 92% of retirees age 65 and older say they depend on Social Security. While retiring at 62 is the earliest age when you can claim Social Security, that’s not your “full retirement age.”

Your full retirement age depends on the year you were born. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you were born from 1955 to 1960, it increases until it reaches 67. And if you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67. Claiming Social Security at your full retirement age gives you a higher monthly benefit vs. starting at age 62, which is considered a reduced benefit.

Every year you delay getting benefits gives you a little bit more — about 8% more — up until age 70. There’s no additional amount for claiming after age 70.

Saving for Retirement

Saving for retirement is an important financial goal. While Social Security may provide you with some income, it’s not likely to be enough to cover all of your expenses in retirement — particularly if you end up needing extensive medical care or long-term care. In 2022, according to the Social Security Administration, the average monthly benefit amount was $1,542.22.

Financial experts often recommend saving 15% of your income for retirement but your personal savings target may be higher or lower, depending on your goals. The longer you have to save for retirement, the longer you have to take advantage of compounding interest. That’s the interest you earn on your interest and it’s one of the keys to building wealth.

Selecting a retirement plan is the first step to getting on track with your financial goals. When saving for retirement, you can start with a defined benefit or defined contribution plan if your employer offers either one. Defined contribution plans can be advantageous because your employer may match a percentage of what you save. That’s free money you can use for retirement.

If you don’t have a 401(k) or a similar plan at work, or you do but you want to supplement your retirement savings, you could open a retirement investment account, otherwise known as an individual retirement account (IRA).

Is your retirement piggy bank feeling light?

Start saving today with a Roth or Traditional IRA.


Retirement Investment Accounts

A retirement investment account is an account that enables you to save money for the future, but it isn’t considered a federally qualified retirement plan, like a 401(k). IRAs are tax-advantaged investment accounts that you can use to purchase mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other securities.

There are two main types of IRAs you can open: traditional and Roth IRAs. A traditional IRA allows for tax-deductible contributions in the year that you make them. Once you retire and begin withdrawing money, those withdrawals are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.

Roth IRAs don’t offer a deduction for contributions because you contribute after-tax dollars. You can, however, make 100% tax-free qualified withdrawals in retirement. This might be preferable if you think you’ll be in a higher tax bracket once you retire.

Both traditional and Roth IRAs are subject to annual contribution limits. The annual limit for 2022 is $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older (the extra amount is often called a catch-up provision). There’s an increase for 2023 to $6,500 for the base amount; the catch-up provision is still $1,000 more, for a total of $7,500.

You can open an IRA online, or at a brokerage, alongside a taxable investment account for a comprehensive retirement savings picture.

Pros of Retirement Investment Accounts

Opening an IRA could make sense if you’d like to save for retirement while enjoying certain tax benefits.

•   If you’re in a higher income bracket during your working years, being able to deduct traditional IRA contributions could reduce your tax liability.

•   And not having to pay tax on Roth IRA withdrawals in retirement can ease your tax burden as well if you have income from other sources.

•   IRA accounts often give you more flexibility in terms of your investment choices.

Cons of Retirement Investment Accounts

While IRAs can be good savings vehicles for retirement, there are some downsides.

•   Both types of accounts have much lower contribution limits compared to a 401(k) or 457 plan. For example, the maximum you can contribute to a 401(k) in 2022 is $20,500, with an additional $6,500 catch-up provision. For 2023, you can contribute $22,500 per year, plus an additional $7,500 if you’re 50 and up.

•   With traditional IRAs, you must begin taking required distributions (RMDs) based on your account balance and life expectancy starting at age 72 (401(k)s have a similar rule). If you fail to do so, you could incur a hefty tax penalty.

•   Roth IRAs don’t have RMDs, but your ability to contribute to a Roth may be limited based on your income and tax filing status.

Investing for Retirement With SoFi

However you choose to define your retirement, making a financial roadmap will help you get the retirement you want.

SoFi Invest offers traditional and Roth investment accounts to help you build the kind of future you’re envisioning. You can also open a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed and want to get a jump on retirement savings. The SoFi app is streamlined and secure, so managing your account is easy, and you can learn as you go. SoFi makes it straightforward to build a diversified portfolio: You can choose from automated or hands-on investing portfolios, so it’s ideal for beginners and experienced investors alike.

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

FAQ

What is the meaning of retirement?

Retirement generally means leaving your job or the workforce, and living off your savings and investments, but that definition is changing for some. Some people may choose to continue working in retirement, though it may not be their primary source of income. Others may shift their work to focus more on lifestyle changes.

How common is retirement?

According to the Federal Reserve, about 27% of adults considered themselves to be retired in 2021, though some were still working in some capacity. Of these, 49% said they had retired to do something else, while 45% said they’d reached their normal retirement age.

How does retirement work?

When someone retires, they stop working at their job. Or, in the case of a business owner, they hand the business over to someone else. At that point, it’s up to them to decide how they want to spend their retirement, which might include taking care of family, traveling, working part-time, or exploring new hobbies. Their sources of income might include savings, investments, a pension, and Social Security benefits.


Photo credit: iStock/Alessandro Biascioli

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or prequalification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.
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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Can I Retire at 62?

Can You Retire at 62? Should You Retire at 62?

Planning to retire at 62 is worth considering, but whether it’s a realistic goal depends on how much you’ve saved, your anticipated living expenses, and an educated estimate of your likely longevity.

If you choose to retire at 62, which is on the early side these days, it’s important to have a solid retirement strategy in place so that you don’t run out of money.

Should You Retire at 62?

Your answer will depend on your overall financial situation and how much preparation you’ve put into planning for early retirement. Retiring at 62 could make sense if:

•   You have little to no debt

•   Your overall living expenses are low

•   You’ll have multiple streams of income to draw on for retirement (e.g. Social Security as well as an IRA, 401(k), or pension)

•   Don’t anticipate any situations that could hinder your ability to meet your retirement expenses (e.g. medical expenses, dependent family members)

On the other hand, retiring at 62 could backfire if you have limited savings, extensive debt, or you think you might need long-term care later in life, which could substantially drain your nest egg.

Beyond financial considerations, it’s also important to think about how you’ll spend your time in retirement.

You might retire at 62 and find yourself with too much time on your hands, which could lead to boredom or dissatisfaction. While studies have shown that retirement, and in particular early retirement, can improve mental health for some individuals, it may worsen mental health for others.

Retiring at 62 With a Little Bit of Money

There is no single dollar amount that’s recommended for retirees, though financial experts might say that $1 million to $2 million is an optimal goal to aim for. If you haven’t saved close to those amounts, you might be wondering how to retire at 62 with little money.

Defining for you can help you decide if retiring at 62 is realistic. Asking these questions can help you clarify your retirement vision:

•   Will you continue to work in some capacity?

•   How much do you have saved and invested for retirement?

•   Will you take Social Security benefits right away or wait?

•   What does your monthly retirement budget look like?

•   What kind of lifestyle are you hoping to enjoy?

•   How much do you anticipate paying in taxes?

Retiring at 62 with little money could be workable if you plan to relocate to an area with a lower cost-of-living, and cut your expenses. It also helps if you have additional money from Social Security, a pension, or an annuity that you can count on.

Investing for Retirement at 62

The longer you have until retirement, the more time you have to invest and grow your money through the power of compounding interest. If you’re planning to retire at 62, adjusting your strategy to be aggressive might be necessary since you:

•   Have less time save

•   Need the money that you do save to last longer

Save and Invest More Aggressively

Instead of saving 15% of your income for retirement, for instance, you might need to set aside 30% or more to cover your living expenses. And rather than stick with a conservative asset allocation, you may want to lean toward a higher percentage of equities to add growth.

For example, if you plan to stop working completely, you’ll need to weigh the cost of health care until you become eligible for Medicare. You can’t apply for Medicare until the year you turn 65. If you have a health condition that requires regular care, you may need to increase your savings cushion to cover those expenses until you become eligible.

Where to Save Your Money

It’s also important to think about where to keep the money you’re investing for retirement at 62. There are different retirement plans that you can use to invest, starting with a 401(k).

A 401(k) plan is generally a workplace plan that allows for tax-advantaged investing. Contributions are deducted from your taxable income and grow tax-deferred. Once you retire, withdrawals are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.

You can begin making withdrawals penalty-free at age 59 ½, or potentially earlier if you meet Rule of 55 guidelines. This IRS rule enables you to avoid early withdrawal penalties if you leave your job and withdraw from your 401(k) the year you turn 55.

A 457 plan is another option for saving in the workplace. These plans are offered by state and local governments as well as certain non-profits, and they work similarly to 401(k) plans. Whether you have a 401(k) or 457 retirement account, investing consistently matters if you’re planning to retire at age 62.

The good news is that you can fund a 401(k) or 457 plan automatically through salary deferrals. You can adjust the amount you save each year as you get raises to help you get closer to your goals. And if your employer matches contributions, that’s free money you can use to plan for early retirement.

Is your retirement piggy bank feeling light?

Start saving today with a Roth or Traditional IRA.


Benefits of Investing for Retirement at 62

The chief benefit of investing for retirement at 62 is that you can grow your money faster than you would by saving it.

When you put your money into the market, you can potentially earn higher returns than you would by keeping it in a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD). The trade-off, of course, is that you’re also taking more risk by investing versus saving.

It’s important to choose a retirement plan that fits your investment goals. With a workplace plan, you’re typically offered a range of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The investments you choose should reflect both your risk tolerance and your risk capacity, meaning how much risk you need to take to reach your financial goals. Take too much risk and you could lose money; take too little risk and your money won’t grow enough to fund an early retirement.

It’s also important to consider the fees you’re paying for those investments. Mutual funds and ETFs have expense ratios, which determine how much it will cost you to own them on a yearly basis. The higher the fees, the more they can eat into your returns.

Considerations for Retirement at 62

So, can you retire at 62? It can be a difficult question to answer if you’re not considering all the factors that affect your decision. If you have early retirement in your sights, then there are several things to weigh.

Health Care

Medicare eligibility doesn’t begin until the year you turn 65. So, you’ll need to consider how you’ll pay for medical care in the interim. You could purchase private insurance or continue COBRA coverage through your former employer, but either option could be expensive.

Long-term care is another consideration. The monthly median cost of long-term care ranges from $1,690 for adult day care to $9,034 for a private room in a nursing facility, according to Genworth. Long-term care insurance can help with some of those costs but if you don’t have this kind of coverage, and you or your spouse requires this type of care, it could eat into your savings.

Household Expenses

Some household expenses in retirement could be lower. For example, if you move to a smaller home, you might have a lower mortgage payment. Utility bills may also decrease with a smaller home. Or you might have no mortgage payment at all if you’re able to pay off your home loan when you retire.

On the other hand, your household expenses could increase if you move to a more expensive area. Buying a retirement home in southern Florida, for example, could easily be more expensive compared to living in the Midwest. And your expenses could also climb if your adult child or grandchild unexpectedly moves in with you.

Lack of Income

Retirement generally means that your regular paychecks go away. Instead, you live on savings, investments, Social Security, pensions, or some combination of those things.

If you want to retire at 62, you’ll have to think about how much of an impact a lack of steady income might have financially. You may not miss those regular paychecks if you’re able to draw enough from savings, investments, and other income sources in retirement.

But if you’re in a pinch, you may need to consider ways to make up for a shortfall, such as getting a part-time job or starting a business or side hustle.

Retirement Withdrawals

It’s also important to consider your savings withdrawal rate. This is the rate at which you draw down your savings and investments monthly and annually to fund your retirement lifestyle. The 4% rule is an often-used rule of thumb for determining retirement withdrawals.

For example, say that you’ve saved $500,000 for retirement by age 62. Following the 4% rule, you can withdraw 4% of your savings to live on each year. If you stick to that rule and your portfolio continues to generate a 3% annual rate of return, then $500,000 would be enough to last you until age 97.

That assumes a 3% inflation rate. If inflation is higher at 8%, your money would run out by age 82. So, inflation is another important consideration to factor in when deciding if you can retire at 62.

Social Security Benefits

Determining a day to retire matters if you’re planning to take Social Security benefits at 62. If you’ll be relying heavily on those benefits for income, it’s important to apply in a timely manner so they kick in when needed — but you get the maximum amount possible under the circumstances.

When deciding when to retire, remember that taking Social Security at 62, or any other time before your full retirement age, will reduce your benefit amount. Working part-time can also reduce your benefits if you’re earning income above certain thresholds. Meanwhile, you could increase your benefit amount by delaying benefits up to age 70. Think about how important Social Security is for completing your retirement income picture and when you’ll need to take it.

Investing for Retirement With SoFi

Whether you’re planning to retire at 62 (or any age), having a plan can work in your favor. Estimating your expenses, setting a target savings goal, and investing in your workplace retirement plan can all help you to get on the right track.

You can also open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to supplement your workplace savings, or replace them if you don’t have a 401(k) or 457 account. With SoFi, you can get a retirement account online and start building a diversified portfolio. You can choose from DIY investing or an automated approach to reach your financial goals. The SoFi app is streamlined and secure, so you can keep learning as you go.

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

FAQs

Is it a good idea to retire at 62?

Retiring at 62 could be a good idea if you can afford it and you’ve planned for any what-if scenarios that could affect your ability to cover your expenses. If you have significant amounts of debt and minimal savings, however, retiring at 62 may do more harm than good.

How can you retire at 62 with little money?

Retiring at 62 with little money requires careful planning to understand what your expenses will be, how much money you’ve saved, and how long that money will last. Supplementing savings with Social Security benefits or a pension can help, though you may need to plan to live much leaner in order to stretch your dollars.

What are the benefits of retiring after 62?

The longer you wait to retire, the more time you have to invest and build wealth. Delaying retirement after 62 can also increase the amount of benefits you’re eligible to receive from Social Security.


Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or prequalification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.
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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How Soon Can You Refinance a Mortgage?

Are you ruminating about a refi? How long you must wait to refinance depends on the kind of mortgage you have and whether you want cash out.

You can typically refinance a conventional loan as soon as you want to, but you’ll have to wait six months to apply for a cash-out refinance.

The wait to refinance an FHA, VA, or USDA loan ranges from six to 12 months.

Before any mortgage refinance, homeowners will want to ask themselves: What will the monthly and lifetime savings be? What are the closing costs, and how long will it take to recover them? If I’m pulling cash out, is the refinance worth it?

Refinance Wait Time Based on Mortgage Type

How soon can you refinance? The rules differ by loan type and whether you’re aiming for a rate-and-term refinance or a cash-out refinance.

A rate-and-term refi will change your current mortgage’s interest rate, repayment term, or both. Cash-out refinancing replaces your current mortgage with a larger home loan, allowing you to take advantage of the equity you’ve built up in your home through your monthly principal payments and appreciation.

Conventional Loan Refinance Rules

If you have a conventional loan, a mortgage that is not insured by the federal government, you may refinance right after a home purchase or a previous refinance — but likely with a different lender.

Many lenders have a six-month “seasoning” period before a borrower can refinance with them. So you’ll probably have to wait if you want to refi with your current lender.

Cash-Out Refinance Rules

If you’re aiming for a cash-out refinance, you normally have to wait six months before refinancing, regardless of the type of mortgage you have.

FHA Loan Refinance Rules

An FHA Streamline Refinance reduces the time and documentation associated with a refinance, so you can get a lower rate faster.

But you will have to wait 210 days before using a Streamline Refinance to replace your current mortgage.

VA Loan Refinance Rules

When it comes to VA loans, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers an interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL), also known as a VA Streamline Refinance.

It also offers a cash-out refinance for up to a 100% loan-to-value ratio.

The VA requires you to wait 210 days between each refinance. Some lenders that issue VA loans have their own waiting period of up to 12 months. If so, another lender might let you refinance earlier.

USDA Loan Refinance Rules

The streamlined assist refinance program provides USDA direct and guaranteed home loan borrowers with low or no equity the opportunity to refinance for more affordable payment terms.

Borrowers of USDA loans typically need to have had the loan for at least a year before refinancing. But a refinance of a USDA loan to a conventional loan may happen sooner.

Jumbo Loan Refinance Rules

For a jumbo loan, even a rate change of 0.5% may result in significant savings and a shorter time to break even.

How soon can you refinance a jumbo loan? A borrower can refinance their jumbo mortgage at any time if they find a lender willing to do so.

Check out mortgage refinancing with SoFi and get
competitive rates and help when you need it.


Top Reasons People Refinance a Mortgage

If you have sufficient equity in your home, typically at least 20%, you may apply for a refinance of your mortgage. Lenders will also look at your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and employment.

If you have less than 20% equity but good credit — a minimum FICO® score of 670 — you may be able to refinance by accepting a higher interest rate or mortgage insurance.

Here are the main reasons borrowers look to refinance.

•   Reduce the interest rate. Refinancing to a loan with a lower rate is the point of refinancing for most homeowners. Just calculate your break-even point, when the closing costs will have been recouped: Divide the closing costs by the amount to be saved every month. If closing costs will be $5,000 and you’ll save $100 a month, it will take 50 months to break even and begin reaping the benefits of a refi.

•   Shorten the loan term. Refinancing from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year loan usually results in a substantial amount of loan interest saved, as this mortgage calculator shows. Or you may refi to a 20-year term. If you’re years into your mortgage, resetting to a new 30-year term may not pay off.

•   Tap home equity. Here’s how cash-out refinancing works: You apply for a new mortgage that will pay off your existing mortgage and give you a lump sum. A lower interest rate may be available at the same time.

•   Shed FHA mortgage insurance. In many cases, the only way to get rid of mortgage insurance premiums on an FHA loan is to sell your home or refinance the mortgage to a conventional loan when you have 20% equity in the home — in other words, when your new loan balance would be at least 20% less than your current home value.

•   Switch to an adjustable-rate mortgage or from an ARM to a fixed-rate loan. Depending on the rate environment and how long you expect to keep the mortgage or home, refinancing a fixed-rate mortgage to an ARM that has a low introductory rate, or an ARM to a fixed-rate loan, may make sense.

Mortgage rates are no longer at record lows. But they’re still pretty low by historical mortgage rate standards.

And rates are not the be-all, end-all. Home equity increased for many homeowners as home values rose. That’s attractive if you want to tap your equity with a cash-out refinance.

Closing costs can often be rolled into the loan or exchanged for an increased interest rate with a no closing cost refinance.

Refinance Your Mortgage With SoFi

How soon can you refinance? If it’s a conventional loan, whenever you want to, although probably not with the same lender within six months. Otherwise, if you must bide your time before refinancing or you’re waiting for rates to abate, that gives you a lull to decide whether a traditional refinance or cash-out refi might suit your needs.

SoFi offers both at competitive rates. And SoFi refinances jumbo loans.

Whenever you’re ready to refi, SoFi is here to help.


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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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