How Much Money Should You Save Before Moving Out?

Ideally, before you undertake the major milestone of moving out of your parental home, you would have six months’ worth of living expenses saved up. However, in today’s economy, that’s not always possible, and some young people will move out with just one or a couple months’ worth of living expenses in the bank.

Living on one’s own is expensive. It has recently been pricier than usual, thanks to inflation and a scarcity of housing. Add to that the fact that when we’re younger, we tend to have lower incomes, and it can be a tremendous financial challenge to afford living on your own.

That being said, with smart money management, it is indeed possible to afford moving out of your parents’ place. To help you get a good plan in place and make your dream a reality, keep reading.

Key Points

•   Before moving out, ideally save six months’ worth of living expenses, though some manage with less.

•   Calculate all potential upfront and ongoing costs to ensure affordability.

•   Consider sharing expenses with a roommate to make moving more feasible.

•   Research and compare housing options in different locations to maximize value.

•   Establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses after moving out.

How to Financially Prepare to Live on Your Own

Getting ready for independent life can take a bit of planning, financial know-how, and saving. When you’re wondering about how much money you need to move out, follow this advice for getting ready.

Upfront Costs and Regular Bills

Let’s say a friend clues you in on a great deal on an apartment rental and says to hurry and get an application in. Just a minute, please! Before you can move out, you need to make sure you can truly afford to do so.

Start your research by tallying up all upfront costs and regular bills you’ll need to pay such as rent, auto and renters insurance, utilities, cell phone service, health insurance, transportation, and groceries. After calculating all necessary expenses, see how much room is left in your budget for extras like dining out or traveling.

Also consider the one-time hits your finances will take when you head out on your own: There may be broker’s fees, moving expenses (more on that in a minute), and other charges, as well as the price of buying furniture and other items for your home.

By looking at your budget this way, you can get an idea of whether you can comfortably afford to move out or if you need to wait a little bit longer to make a move work financially. You want there to be some breathing room in your budget so you don’t wind up putting necessities on your credit card and racking up debt.

💡 Quick Tip: Don’t think too hard about your money. Automate your budgeting, saving, and spending with SoFi’s seamless and secure mobile banking app.

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13 Steps to Afford Moving Out

Now that you have an overview of costs and expenses, it’s time to take the next step and drill down on understanding what you can afford, when you’re ready to move out, and how to navigate a move more easily.

These steps will help you get your own place without going broke.

1. Assess How Much Rent You Can Afford

As you plan this big step in adulting, you are likely most focused on how much rent you can pay. You’ll want to come up with a range of how much rent you can take on while still managing your other necessary bills, such as student loans, health insurance, and car payments.

Tally up all your expenses and subtract that from your monthly after-tax income to see how much room is left in your budget and if the amount you can afford to pay is doable in your area. If you’re feeling as if you can’t quite come up with the necessary rent, you may want to consider how to move to another state or a nearby city that’s more affordable.

2. Consider Getting a Roommate

If it’s too hard to afford rent all on your own, you can think about having a roommate to help share the expenses with. Not to mention, having a roommate can make moving out for the first time feel a lot less lonely.

3. Research Homes and Locations

Speaking of rent: Whether you plan to rent or buy when you move out, you need to do some research on different housing opportunities in different areas. That way, you can see where you can get the most bang for your buck while still meeting your personal goals.

For instance, if you really value having a short commute, you might search for a studio instead of a one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood you are targeting, if one-bedroom units are pricey. Or, if you are a young single person hoping to rent a house, see what kind of prices you find in a neighborhood that’s adjacent to the one you are targeting or choose to go farther afield. You might find better deals due to more housing supply.

One option you might consider: A personal loan or relocation loan at a low interest rate could help make the transition more affordable, especially if you will be saving a good amount on your monthly costs.

Recommended: Tax Breaks for Young People

4. Research the Cost of Movers

If you have a fair amount of things to move, it’s important to budget for the cost of movers. Yes, a friend with a van may be able to help with some smaller items, but things like a queen-size bed typically require movers.

Depending on how much you have to move and how far the move is (25 miles? 250?), your costs could be a few hundred or thousands. Get a couple of estimates from companies that come and actually eyeball how much you have.

This will help keep these common moving expenses down in a “no surprises” way.

Also, be sure to find out whether moving materials are included as you create your moving checklist. You may well be charged for boxes, wardrobes, tape, and moving blankets. Inquire about “drive time” to and from your locations, which you may be billed for. Also remember that if you run out of steam and need help packing, it will cost you.

5. Don’t Make Any Excuses

It’s easy to think, “I can’t afford to move out” or “Rentals are hopelessly expensive” and give up (or at least procrastinate for a good long time). But if there’s a will, there’s usually a way. Finding your motivation and patience can be crucial to taking this step and getting your own place.

It’s common to get complacent when moving forward feels hard. If you do have to remain living with your parents or another family member while you save up to move out, keep your eye on the prize. Set up alerts for new home listings, put the word out that you are hunting for a home of your own, and keep saving and making career progress so you can attain your goal of moving out.

You might chat with friends or friends of friends to get their best advice on making your independent living dreams come true. They may have valuable hacks for you, too.

6. Have an Emergency Fund Saved Up

One way to lessen the financial stress of moving out is to have an emergency fund ready and waiting. That way, when you do move out on your own and hit an unexpected (and major) expense, you will have a financial cushion available to help you out.

How much to have in an emergency fund? Experts advise having three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses stashed away (a high-yield savings account can work well). Figure out what that amount would be with the housing costs you expect to pay, and begin saving. Even $25 or $100 a month is a good start to get that layer of protection going.

7. Track Your Spending

When you are considering moving out for the first time, it’s wise to track your spending for a month or two. This will give you an idea of how much you tend to pay out each month, which can help you get a better idea of how much rent you can afford. For instance, how much do you typically spend on gas? On your WiFi provider? On eating out? As you look at these costs, you may be better prepared to know your budget once you are also paying housing costs.

Looking at your outflow of cash can also help you stop spending money. For instance, you might realize you are spending over $100 a month on those iced coffees to go.

8. Budget for Home Needs

Figuring out how to move out with low income can be tricky. One hidden expense that is easy to forget about when budgeting for a move is home needs. Cleaning supplies, laundry, furniture, and appliances are expenses mom or dad may have taken care of in the past. Soon, they will be your responsibility. Consider how much that will cost and budget for it.

Also, if you are planning to buy a home instead of rent, budget for property taxes, home maintenance, and repairs.

Recommended: Car Insurance Costs for Young People

9. Plan for Unknown or Surprise Expenses

Speaking of expenses that can be hard to plan for like home repairs, it’s important to leave some buffer room in a budget for surprise expenses such as car repairs or medical bills. This is where that emergency fund can really come in handy.

People renting for the first time often allocate a large percentage of their income to housing. This means your budget doesn’t have much wiggle room, and an unplanned expense could really send shock waves through your cash management. Being prepared is an excellent line of defense.

10. Look for Cheaper Options on Furniture

When you are first starting out, you don’t need to splurge on expensive furniture. Thrift stores, garage sales, and inexpensive retailers can all get the job done. Freecycle and other similar sites (or Facebook and Nextdoor groups) can yield free or low-cost furnishings, too.

Over time, it’s likely to become easier to swap those inexpensive finds out for higher=quality pieces of furniture.

11. Manage Your Finances

To make moving out possible financially, keep a close eye on the money coming in and out each month. Take some time to get all finances in order and to create a budget for this new chapter. Learning to manage money is a big step towards independence. It will have you that much more prepared for on-your-own living.

Your bank may well have an app that can help you track your incoming funds and your spending, which can help with this endeavor.

12. Set a Moving Timeline

Once it’s clear that a move is affordable, create a final timeline for finding a place to rent or buy and then moving in. Block out weekends for home hunting, and note how long before your move you want to get quotes from moving companies.

If you still need to save a bit more money, you can extend this timeline to include saving for a few months.

13. Be Realistic

It can take time to build the life you dream of, so don’t sweat it if your first home isn’t all that glamorous. Part of the fun of life is figuring things out and evolving over time. Many people have had first apartments that they still fondly look back on, despite how tiny, dark, or inconveniently located they may have been.

The best things in life often take time to fall into place, so be patient as you pursue your financial and lifestyle goals.

Prioritizing Financial Independence Over Savings

Many young people feel stuck at their parents’ because the finances of this situation make it possible to save on rent in most cases. They worry about moving out and not being able to save as much as they used to.

While there’s some truth to that point of view, understand that, yes, money is likely to be tight at first, but that is part of this rite of passage. Granted, you may not be able to save as you were before, but you can likely sock away a bit of money in savings (through your employer and/or into an emergency fund, perhaps) and begin to build your credit history, too.

It’s a big leap, but remember that your income will probably rise and help you save, and living away from the parents will help build your budgeting skills and financial savvy.

Banking With SoFi

Moving out can be expensive, but with a little bit of planning and budgeting (and maybe sharing the costs with a friendly roommate), it can be doable. Need help getting your finances in order in time for a big move? Find a banking partner that can help you manage and grow your money.

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


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

FAQ

How much money should you have saved before moving out?

Figuring out how much money you need to move out varies from person to person. The amount will depend on covering the housing expenses they will pay and other expenses without going into debt. There are also expenses involved such as moving itself and buying new furniture. It can be a good idea to create an emergency fund to cover at least a few months’ worth of expenses before moving out.

How do you move out when you can’t afford it?

It’s important for your financial health to not move out until you can afford it. Planning and budgeting will be part of the process. If you dive into those concepts but still feel you can’t afford to move out, look into sharing expenses with a roommate or perhaps taking on a side hustle to earn extra income.

How do I know if I’m ready to move out?

You can get an idea of whether or not you’re ready to leave your parents’ place by calculating how much it will cost to live on your own. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of accruing how much money you need to move out. If you can afford to pay rent and other necessities, spend money on some “wants” (such as the occasional movie or dinner out), and have some emergency fund savings, then you may be ready.


Photo credit: iStock/Hache

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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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A Guide to Managing Your Child’s Allowance

Part of teaching your kids to be more independent is giving them money as part of an allowance. It can be an exciting time for your child — remember when you first got your hands on some cash? It can also be fraught with some bumps along the way as your child learns sound money management skills.

That’s not to say it’s not worth it. Rather, deciding on how to give them money and helping them budget their allowance can take time, but your kids will thank you for it. Read on for ways that you may handle this part of parenthood and help your child build financial literacy.

Key Points

•   Managing a child’s allowance helps teach them financial independence and responsibility from a young age.

•   Allowances can be set up on a weekly or monthly basis and may be tied to chores.

•   Different methods include a fixed allowance, a chore-based allowance, or a hybrid of both.

•   The amount of allowance can vary based on the child’s age, the complexity of tasks, or family budget constraints.

•   Teaching kids about money through allowances can build their confidence and money management skills.

What Is an Allowance?

An allowance for kids is a predetermined amount of money you give them on a consistent basis, most commonly on a weekly or monthly cadence. You can choose to have your child earn their allowance by completing chores or “jobs” or do none at all. The idea is that with an allowance, your child can learn the value of work (if you have them do chores), gain experience handling money, and learn responsibility.

The decision to give an allowance is up to the family. The same holds true regarding whether the allowance is earned by completing chores. Depending on the age, some parents may feel more comfortable with giving their kids cash. Some may feel older kids can handle their own debit card and a children’s checking account — with some limits, of course.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

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Types of Allowances

The type of allowance you give your child is based on your preferences, what you want your child to learn, and their needs. Here are some options for how an allowance can work.

Chore-Based Allowance

The chore-based allowance tends to be the most common, where a child is given some household tasks and offered a certain amount once these tasks are complete.

•   Tasks typically will depend on your child’s age and their readiness to handle certain types of responsibilities.

•   It can be wise to assign tasks your child can realistically accomplish so that they don’t wind up feeling discouraged.

For example, say your nine-year-old wants to start doing chores regularly to receive allowance money, which they plan to save up to buy a new science kit. Based on what they’ve demonstrated to you in the past, you believe they’re able to load the dishwasher and help put the laundry away. You discuss this with your child, and you both agree that you’ll give them a weekly allowance if they complete all their assigned chores.

Pure Allowance

Some parents would rather teach their child money management skills without connecting this to some sort of labor. Instead of asking your child to complete chores, parents agree to give them an allowance — typically a consistent amount in cash or perhaps put on a debit card connected to a bank account. While your child may still do chores around the house, the allowance isn’t contingent upon its completion.

Hybrid Approach to Allowance

Parents who want to teach their kids about reaching a goal (and also how money is tied to work) can take the hybrid approach. Here, you’ll give your child a regular allowance that isn’t contingent on any chores. However, you give them an opportunity to earn more money by taking on extra chores around the house. In that way, they’d get more experience in allowance management.

•   For example, your child receives $5 a week, but they want to earn more so they can head to the local arcade for their friend’s birthday party or see their savings grow.

•   Based on their age and ability, you have them do a chore or two (pulling weeds in the yard or taking out garbage). Once the tasks are complete, you give your child the amount you agreed upon.

How Much Allowance Should You Give Out?

The amount you should give your child will depend on several factors. Ultimately, it will depend on your budget and what you can afford to give your child. One popular formula is to give a child $1 or $2 per week for every year of age, which would mean $8 or $16 for an eight-year-old and $16 or $32 for a 16-year-old.

You might consider not just the age of your child but also how challenging or time-consuming the task is. A couple of other pointers:

•   If you’re unsure what’s a good amount, you can ask some of your trusted parent friends or family members about what they’re giving their child.

•   If your child reaches the age where they can get a part-time job, you may even consider lowering the amount or not giving an allowance at all since they can earn their own pocket money.

Whatever the amount you choose to give, make sure you set clear expectations. This means spelling out the chores in detail (is the child making their bed every day or just on weekdays, for instance?). It also means determining how much money will be paid, when, and how, as well as what (if anything) they will receive if a task is not fully completed. This can result in headaches down the road.

Advantages of Giving an Allowance

There are plenty of upsides to giving an allowance. Consider the following:

Teaching Money Management

Giving an allowance, whether tied to chores or now, gives your child an opportunity to understand how money works. Plus, it can teach them that the items they want to purchase or activities they want to do cost money. It gives them hands-on experience earning, saving, and spending, providing a valuable lesson in money management for kids.

They’ll learn about what it takes to purchase something, such as looking at price tags in the store.

•   To go a step further, you can even teach the concept of saving and investing money and why that can help them as well.

•   If you open a children’s or teen’s bank account for your child’s allowance money, that will teach valuable basic banking and financial literacy skills too. They might see how interest compounds and grows their savings, for instance.

•   The same holds true if they get a debit card (typically one where you can view and possibly approve their spending).

Teaching Responsibility

An allowance can teach your child what it means to be responsible with money. They can learn not to spend their earnings on snacks if they’re saving for, say, a video game. They can learn to safely store their funds, be patient until their next paycheck rolls around, and earn extra money if they’re eager to accumulate a certain amount.

Building Confidence

Giving kids an allowance can help boost their confidence because it can show them you believe they’re ready to earn and manage their own money. They may also feel proud of their ability to make cash and spend it as they see fit, whether that means buying themselves new clothes or making a donation to a favorite charity.

Creating a Safe Space to Learn

Instead of having kids learn about money and other types of responsibilities when they’re grown, giving an allowance can give them a bit of a head start. You can help guide them to make their own decisions, which can include making money mistakes without huge consequences. Any errors they make can be an opportunity for you to teach your kid about what they can do differently next time.

Recommended: Guide to Opening a Bank Account for a Minor

The Takeaway

If you choose to give your child an allowance, whether it depends on chores or not, it can be a good way for them to learn how to manage a bit of money responsibly. You might have them work for the money, not work at all, or have them earn a bonus for doing additional chores.

Whatever amount you give, showing your child how to save their money in a savings account is a great teaching opportunity.

Currently SoFi Bank does not offer accounts to minors. But while you’re thinking about money management, why not take a fresh look at your own banking needs?

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


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

FAQ

What is a fair allowance for kids?

A fair allowance for kids should be based on age and what you feel is appropriate. Many parents provide $1 or $2 per week for each year of the child’s age (meaning, if a child is 10, they get $10 or $20 per week). You might survey other parents in your circle and see what they give their kids as a way of coming up with a ballpark figure.

Are allowances bad for kids?

In most cases, allowances can have several advantages for kids, such as learning how to handle money and becoming more responsible. However, some parents may believe that allowances aren’t appropriate and should in no way feel obligated to give one.

How do parents give allowance?

Parents can give an allowance in a weekly, biweekly, or monthly cadence (or whatever other frequency suits them). They can also give a consistent amount or vary it depending upon tasks completed. In addition, an allowance can be paid as cash, on a debit card for older kids, or deposited into children’s bank account or an account that their parent holds for them.


Photo credit: iStock/SbytovaMN

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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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Is a $70,000 Salary Good?

Whether or not $70,000 is considered a good salary depends on a number of factors. These include where you live, your lifestyle, what kind of work you do, your financial goals, and how many people are in your household.

While $70,000 is higher than average U.S. salary, it may be difficult to live well on this salary in certain parts of the country where the cost of living is high or if you’re supporting a family.

Here’s a closer look at whether or not earning $70,000 is a good salary and what factors influence this.

Key Points

•   A $70,000 salary’s adequacy largely depends on geographic location, household size, lifestyle, and financial obligations.

•   In high-cost areas or for larger families, this salary might not suffice for a comfortable living.

•   Nationally, $70,000 is above the average salary, but personal financial goals and living costs are key to determining its sufficiency.

•   For single individuals in regions with a lower cost of living, $70,000 can offer a comfortable lifestyle and savings potential.

•   Budgeting wisely and managing expenses are essential for making a $70,000 salary work, especially in more expensive urban areas.

Factors to Determine if a $70,000 Salary Is Good

A $70,000 salary can be considered good or not depending on various factors such as where you live, your lifestyle, and your financial obligations. Let’s explore these considerations in more detail.

Where you live: Living expenses vary significantly depending on where you live in the U.S. Your dollars won’t go as far in a metropolitan city as they would in a rural area. It’s a good idea to look into the costs of housing, groceries, transportation, and other necessities in your area and weigh them against your salary to determine if $70k is enough for you to live comfortably.

The size of your household: Whether you live alone or have a family has a major impact on how far your $70,000 salary can go. A single person may be able to live well on this income in many places. But if you’re supporting a spouse and children, it may prove more difficult. If you’re supporting others, consider your family’s monthly expenses to determine if $70,000 is enough to pay for everyone’s needs.

Debt and other obligations: You’ll also want to factor in any debt and other payments you must make each month when determining if your $70k salary is enough. If you have student loans, credit card debt, and/or mortgage payments, that could eat up a significant portion of your monthly take-home salary. Run through your essential monthly expenses and then see how much is left over for discretionary purchases. Paying down debt could help make your $70k go further.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Where Does a $70,000 Salary Compare to the American Median Income?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s most recent data (May 2022), the mean, or average, salary nationwide is $61,900.

That means that on a nationwide scale, you’re earning more than most people. However, the cost of living in your area, personal lifestyle choices, and your financial expectations and goals also play a crucial role in determining whether $70k is a good salary for you or not.

What Percentage of Americans Make Over $70,000 Annually?

U.S. Census data reports that in 2022 (the most recent data available), 49.8% of Americans made $75,000 and more, and 16.2% earned between $50,000 and $75,000. Based on these statistics, at least half of Americans make $70,000.

$70,000 Salary Breakdown

Here’s a look at exactly how a $70,000 annual salary breaks down. Keep in mind that these numbers look at gross income, which is what you earn before any taxes and other withholdings (such as health insurance, social security, and retirement contributions) are deducted from your paycheck.

•   Monthly income: $5,833.33

•   Biweekly income: $2,916.66

•   Weekly income: $1,346.15

•   Daily income: $191.78

•   Hourly income: $7.99

Your actual take-home pay will depend on where you live, your household income, whether you’re a full-time employee or self-employed, and what employee benefits you participate in.

Can You Live Individually on a $70,000 Income?

If you’re single and have a salary of $70k, you are part of above-average earners in the U.S. Depending on where you live, you may be able to live comfortably on a $70,000 salary as a single person. You may even be able to save for goals, like building an emergency fund, contributing to a retirement fund, and saving for a downpayment on a home.

However, in high-cost-of-living areas, this salary might require careful budgeting to maintain a good standard of living. Indeed, economists estimate that someone making $70,000 a year in other parts of the country would need to make $166,000 in New York City to enjoy the same standard of living.

Can You Live as a Family on a $70,000 Income?

Living as a family on $70,000 could be challenging. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, the monthly household cost for two adults and two children living in Dayton, Ohio, for example, adds up to $7,658, including housing, food, childcare, transportation, healthcare, and taxes.

If your monthly gross income is $5,833.33 (which it would be if you earn 70k a year), that would likely not be enough to support a family in a midsize midwestern city. You might find it easier, however, if you live in a more rural part of the country.

How Much Rent Can You Afford Living on a $70,000 Income?

One popular guideline is to spend no more than 30% of your gross income on rent. So if your monthly gross income is $5,833.33, you would ideally try to spend no more than $1,750 per month on rent.

However, this guideline isn’t realistic for everyone. Sticking to spending 30% on rent may not be feasible in a place like New York City or San Francisco, for example, where median rents for a one-bedroom apartment are over $2,000.

If you need to spend more than 30% of your $70 salary on rent, you may need to watch your spending in other areas, such as clothing, entertainment, and dining out.

Best Places to Live on a $70,000 Salary

The following cities each have a median household income of below $70,000 and a lower-than-average cost of living, making them among the best places to live on a $70,000 salary.

•   Decatur/Hartselle, Alabama

•   Charleston, West Virginia

•   Rockford, Illinois

•   Knoxville, Tennessee

•   Amarillo, Texas

•   Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa

•   Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

•   Anniston, Alabama

•   Winston-Salem, North Carolina

•   Great Falls, Montana

•   Morristown, Tennessee

•   Springfield, Missouri

Worst Places to Live on a $70,000 Salary

Here’s a look at the 12 most expensive places to live in the U.S. — and some of the worst places to live on a $70,000 salary.

•   San Diego, California

•   Los Angeles, California

•   Honolulu, Hawaii

•   Miami, Florida

•   Santa Barbara, California

•   San Francisco, California

•   Salinas, California

•   Santa Rosa, California

•   San Juan, Puerto Rico

•   Vallejo, California

•   Fairfield, California

•   New York City, New York

Recommended: Cost of Living by State

Tips for Living on a $70,000 Budget

Living on a $70,000 budget requires careful planning and smart financial decisions. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your financial situation, these tips can help you make the most of your income.

💡 Quick Tip: Are you paying pointless bank fees? Open a checking account with no account fees and avoid monthly charges (and likely earn a higher rate, too).

Saving Up for Retirement

One of the most important aspects of managing your finances is saving for retirement. Even on a $70,000 budget, it’s crucial to prioritize saving for your golden years. Consider contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, which can provide tax advantages and help your money grow over time. A good rule of thumb is to try to save at least 10% to 15% of your income for retirement, and increase this amount as your income grows

Getting on a Budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is key to living within your means on a $70,000 budget. Start by tracking your income and expenses to get a clear picture of where your money is going. Then, set realistic goals for saving and spending. Consider using budgeting apps or tools to help you stay on track.

Getting Out of Debt

If you have debt, such as credit card balances or student loans, it’s important to prioritize paying it off. You might start by paying off high-interest debt first, as this will save you money in the long run. Consider consolidating your debt or negotiating with creditors to lower your interest rates. Once you’ve paid off your debt, focus on staying debt-free by living within your means.

Saving Your Money

Saving money is a crucial part of living on a $70,000 budget. Look for ways to cut expenses, such as dining out less often or shopping for discounts. Consider setting up automatic transfers to a savings account to make saving easier. Additionally, consider building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or medical bills. This will help you avoid running up high-interest credit card debt in the event of the unexpected.

Managing Finances With SoFi

Whatever your salary, it’s important to not only live within your means but also to put some money into a high-yield savings account each month. This will give you a cushion for emergencies and help you work towards — and reach — your financial goals.

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


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

FAQ

What jobs pay over $70,000?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations that make over $70,000 include jobs in the medical and healthcare field, managers (in a variety of industries), engineers, software developers, financial advisors, jobs in the legal field, commercial pilots, economists, and actors/producers/directors, among many others.

Is making $70,000 a year common?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s most recent data (May 2022), the average salary nationwide is $61,900, which means that $70,000 is a common salary — but above the national average.

Can I make a living on $70,000?

You may be able to live comfortably off $70,000, depending on where you live and how many people are in your household. If you’re single and live in an area where the cost of living is below average, you can likely live well on $70,000.


Photo credit: iStock/Eleganza

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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.

Our account fee policy is subject to change at any time.
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.

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What to Do When You’re Running Out of Money

There’s no feeling in the world quite like running out of money before your next paycheck hits — and it’s not a good sensation. It can have you feeling stressed and unsure of your options.

But, the truth is, when you’re running out of money, you still have ways to move forward. There are also steps that’ll help prevent the problem from cropping up again.

Here, you’ll get a closer look at what happens when you’re running out of money, what options you have, and how to avoid this situation recurring.

Key Points

•   Running out of money before payday can be stressful, but there are ways to manage and prevent it.

•   Excessive spending on fixed and living expenses often depletes funds quickly.

•   Creating a tailored budget helps control finances and prevent overspending.

•   Essential bills should be prioritized, and unnecessary spending should be cut.

•   Exploring additional income sources and government benefits can provide financial relief.

Reasons for Running Out of Money

In order to fix a problem, we first have to understand why it’s happening. That means it’s time to take a good, hard look at your finances to learn why you’re running out of money in the first place. Here are some common causes.

Spending Too Much on Fixed Expenses

Major budget line items, like a rent or your car payment, can take a serious chunk out of the funds you have available for everything else. Although trading in your car for a bicycle or enlisting a roommate might seem like huge changes, they can also make huge differences in your financial life.

Spending Too Much on Living Expenses

Where and how you live can make a big difference in your personal finances. A person who lives in a small town with a couple of roommates will probably be able to stretch their paycheck a lot further than someone who has their own place in a major city where the cost of living is significantly higher.

Also, people vary: According to the USDA’s monthly estimates, a single adult might spend as little as about $275 to as much as $450 or more per month on groceries. Finding ways to cut down on non-fixed living expenses, like groceries, can pack a big punch in terms of not running out of cash before your next pay day.

💡 Quick Tip: Banish bank fees. Open a new bank account with SoFi and you’ll pay no overdraft, minimum balance, or any monthly fees.

Spending Too Much on Discretionary Purchases

Don’t beat yourself up: We live in a world in which we’re the subject of constant advertisement. (According to some estimates, we see as many as 10,000 ads each day.) So it makes sense that we often grab that new pair of boots or book a quick weekend getaway. However, making a habit out of treating yourself or making impulse purchases can wreak havoc on your bank account.

Not Earning Enough

If you’ve cut back in every way that feels comfortable (and perhaps even some ways that do not) and still feel you’ve run out of money, the answer may be to increase your income. While starting a side-hustle can make a dent, finding a better-paid full-time job or making a career change might be a more sustainable course of action.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Tips for When You’re Running Out of Money

Once you’ve figured out exactly where your monetary life is going awry, you can take concrete steps to make your personal finances better. Here are some ways that can help you get off the paycheck-to-paycheck roller coaster.

Create a Budget That Fits Your Needs

As you’ve doubtless noticed by now, if you don’t make a plan for your money ahead of time, it pretty much develops a mind of its own and walks away. Creating a budget is exactly the anecdote to this problem: planning ahead for where your money is going. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be tedious or boring.

Using one of the many online apps built for this purpose or a plain old pencil and paper, start the process:

•   List your monthly income at the top, and then deducting your fixed living expenses. (Think: rent or mortgage payment, insurance, any car payments or other loans you pay.)

•   Next, budget for living expenses whose amounts can change (like utilities and groceries.)

•   It’s also a good idea to set aside at least a little bit of your money each month towards your savings goals, which is an objective that you can boost when you open a high-yield savings account.

•   Finally, the rest of the money is yours to do with as you please, so be sure to budget for items and activities that are meaningful to you. You can have just about anything you want on a budget, just not everything.

Pay Your Most Important Bills

The next idea for what to do when you’re running out of money: Know how to handle bills that are threatening to go unpaid.

Not being able to pay your bills is indeed a sad and scary circumstance, but it’s not actually the end of the world. Stay calm, and prioritize. Important bills to put first include:

•   Housing

•   Health insurance and healthcare expenses

•   Food

•   Utilities.

Keep in mind, too, that you might be able to negotiate with your creditors or put your student loans in forbearance. Either way, it’s worth the phone call to find out.

Spend Money on Essentials Only

When money is (very) tight and you’re scraping the bottom of the bank account barrel, it’s not the right time to splurge on any fun extras.

Until you can build up a bit of a cushion (even a $1,000 emergency fund is better than none at all), limit your spending to only the essentials: the stuff you need to live. It may feel like a sacrifice today, but you’ll thank yourself in a few weeks when you’re breathing easier.

Limit Borrowing and Taking Out Loans

When you’re out of money, there are plenty of companies who are happy to give you some… in exchange for even more money they’ll expect you to pay them (aka interest).

As tempting as it is to borrow money or take out a loan when your well has run dry, in the long run, it can exacerbate the problem. So if you’re already in dire financial straits, it may actually be a bad time to take out a loan.

Use Credit Cards Sparingly

Similarly, you want to avoid racking up interest charges by breaking out your plastic when money is tight. Credit card debt is high-interest debt and can be a real challenge to pay off. Whenever possible, pay for items with cash or a debit card.

Also consider a balance transfer credit card if you already have an amount of credit card debt that is making you uncomfortable. It can give you a period of low or no interest that can help you pay down your balance.

Make Time to Make Extra Income

As mentioned above, your problem might be improved by earning more. Picking up a side gig, like driving for Uber or selling crafts on Etsy, is one road forward. Training and applying for a more lucrative career could be another path through this tough time.

Look at Government Benefits

Nobody should have to forego medical care, food, or shelter because of their financial situation. That’s why government benefits like the SNAP program (previously known as food stamps) and low-cost health care options exist.

Specifics vary by state, but your local government website should have details available and phone numbers to call. If your income is under a certain threshold, you may qualify for programs that can make it a lot easier to budget what you’re earning on other needs.

Downsize When Possible

Moving or changing your favored mode of transportation are big life changes, for sure… but they can also make big changes in your financial life, for the better. If you downsize your cost of living, you won’t have to struggle quite so hard to pay for it, which could be well worth the sacrifices.

Sell Items You Don’t Need

Selling things you don’t need can help you downsize and line your pockets with some extra change in the short term. You could have a yard sale, offer them on eBay or another online platform, or see if a local second-hand store will purchase them, among other options.

Take Care of Yourself

No matter how dire your financial circumstances get, don’t neglect your personal needs. Going outside for a walk, sitting down to eat nutritious foods, and talking to loved ones are imperative for your mental and physical well-being, and none of them are exorbitantly expensive. In addition, you might look into low-cost or no-fee financial counseling from a nonprofit to help you pull through this challenge.

Managing Finances with SoFi

You’ve just learned ways to cope when you’ve run out of money. Also make sure that the funds you do have are easily managed and earning some interest to help your cash grow.

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


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

FAQ

What options are available if I can’t afford to pay my bills?

If you can’t afford to pay a credit card bill, auto loan, or student loan payment, consider calling your creditor or lender and asking about ways to negotiate the payment amount or file for forbearance. Debt consolidation loans are another option if your debt is spiraling out of control, but they should be approached with caution.

Which budgeting methods are helpful for people that are running out of money?

One popular budget is the 50/30/20 budget rule, which says, of your take-home pay, to allocate 50% towards the musts in life, 30% to the wants, and 20% to savings and additional debt payments.

Should I contribute to my retirement fund if I don’t have the money?

As important as it is to save for a comfortable retirement, if you don’t have the money to live today, it’s hard to be focused on the money you’ll need to live tomorrow. If you’ve made all possible budget cuts and still don’t have any money to contribute to your retirement fund, so be it for the present. Consider using “windfalls” like your tax refund, bonuses, or birthday gifts to pay into your retirement accounts when they show up.


Photo credit: iStock/miniseries

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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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Can You Open a Bank Account Without an ID? All You Need to Know

How Do You Open a Bank Account Without an ID?

If you’re wondering, “Can you open a bank account without an ID?” here’s the short answer: No. You must have identification. Not only is this the law, but it would also be negligent if it weren’t a requirement because money is at stake. If accounts are opened without an ID, there’s all kinds of potential for funds to go to or from the wrong individual. That could create a very bad financial situation, as you might guess.

So read on to learn about opening a bank account without ID and your options when you are in this situation.

Key Points

•   Opening a bank account in the U.S. requires identification as mandated by federal regulations and the US Patriot Act.

•   Acceptable forms of ID include a Social Security number, passport, or alien identification card.

•   Banks verify identity through documents to prevent fraud and comply with anti-money laundering laws.

•   Secondary forms of ID might be accepted at some banks if primary ID is not available.

•   Non-citizens can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to open an account if they don’t have a Social Security number.

Can I Open a Bank Account Without an ID?

Some people may wonder why anyone other than a scammer would wonder how to open a bank account without an ID. But unfortunately this kind of situation can happen.

Think of the possibilities: You’ve moved, you’ve lost a vital folder of credentials, or you were robbed — life can throw you all kinds of curveballs. Or maybe you are new to the US and don’t have the required ID papers. But if you lack identification and you need to get a new bank account going, sorry: It’s not happening.

💡 Quick Tip: Don’t think too hard about your money. Automate your budgeting, saving, and spending with SoFi’s seamless and secure mobile banking app.

ID Rules for Opening a Bank Account

In the United States, identification is required to open a checking or savings account. Banks must abide by federal regulations that establish guidelines for opening new accounts. (While you cannot open a bank account without ID, you’ll learn more about what qualifies as identification in a moment.)

The US Patriot Act makes a customer identity program, or CIP (also called Know Your Customer), mandatory for all US financial institutions as a terrorism deterrent. Section 326 of this law allows banks to set their own criteria for verifying a new account holder’s identity, but must include at least:

•   Name

•   Address

•   Date of birth

•   Taxpayer identification number.

Not only must banks get the information, they must also verify it.

In terms of what kind of number is needed, a U.S. citizen needs either of these two options:

•   A Social Security number

•   A taxpayer identification number.

Otherwise, the kind of identification needed is:

•   A passport number and country of issuance

•   An alien identification card number

•   A number and country of issuance of any government-issued document that shows nationality or residence and has a photo.

Recommended: Guide to Safety Deposit Boxes

Opening a Bank Account Without an ID

Now, here are the steps you’ll follow to open one or multiple bank accounts, depending on the form of ID you possess.

Understand the Verification Process

Because documents can be fake, the bank must take steps to be sure they are accurate. They can do this by going to sources like the credit reporting agencies or checking the applicant’s references with other financial institutions. In the end, the bank must be confident that you are who you say you are before they will open an account.

Why are these documents so vital? Rules to prevent bank fraud and money laundering make it necessary for you to prove your identity when you apply for a bank account. Put yourself in the bank’s shoes for a minute. They have to adhere to the rules and regulations.

There’s no wiggle room. Imagine the liability issues the bank would face if they failed to properly vet an applicant for a new account and that person commits fraud.

Know the Requirements

Understanding what a bank needs is the first step; making sure you comply comes next. If you know the bank requires a name, address, and Social Security number, for example, be sure you can provide that information, and that the details are correct from any third-party from whom they seek verification.

Be sure you review a copy of your credit report to see if there are errors. Also make sure your personal information is accurate with utility companies and any government agencies the bank might seek input from. You’ll then have all your ducks in a row for opening your account.

Have an Identification Number (ITIN, SSN)

There are some numbers that you really need if you’re going to function in society, like an ITIN and SSN.

•   An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a social security number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number “9.”

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual.

•   As for a Social Security number, you may well already have one. It’s how our government tracks earnings, and it’s used at many critical “adulting” moments, such as when you apply for a job or a federal loan. If you don’t have one, then you must complete Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.

You’ll also need to submit evidence of your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. It can be a wise move to get one ASAP; a Social Security number is how government agencies can identify individuals and businesses in their records to track their financial information.

Have a Proof of Address

This is another key piece of information needed to open a bank account. When it comes to providing evidence of where you live, you have some flexibility. Banks generally will accept things like:

•   A utility or cell phone bill

•   A credit card statement

•   A lease agreement.

If you don’t get your bills mailed to you, you can always print out a statement from your online account.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Do Any Types of Bank Accounts Not Require an ID?

The bottom line is that you will need some form of identification to open a bank account. If you don’t have a driver’s license, passport, or a state-issued identification card (all of which are considered primary ID sources), you will have to work overtime to try to find a bank that has some flexibility in terms of what they will take as identification.

Some institutions will consider you for an account if you have two secondary ID sources. What’s a secondary source, you ask? A bank might take two of the following:

•   A birth certificate

•   A school or college ID card

•   A voter registration card

•   A Medicare card

•   An employment badge with your photo and signature

•   A major credit card

•   A social services (Welfare, etc.) photo card.

In addition, search for options based on your particular circumstances. For instance, if you are an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, you may find that some Hispanic-American-owned credit unions have programs specially designed to help you get a bank account.

Recommended: Guide to Opening a Bank Account as a Non-US Citizen

The Takeaway

Now that you’ve read this, the message has probably gotten through loud and clear: You likely cannot open a bank account without ID.

That said, if you don’t have identification like a driver’s license, passport, or a state government-issued card, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t open a bank account. Do your research to find out what institutions require for secondary identification. Two of those may get you in the door and on your way to getting your very own account.

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


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

FAQ

Can I open a bank account without an ID?

You cannot open an account without some form of identification. Banks are required by law to get and verify that you are who you say you are. That said, if you don’t have the most common forms of ID, you may still be able to start an account with some smart substitutions.

How do I get an ITIN?

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual.

How can I open a bank account without ID proof?

If you don’t have a primary form of ID, like a driver’s license, passport, or state-government issued id card, you will have to find an institution that will accept two secondary forms of identification.

What can I use instead of an ID to open a bank account?

A bank might take two of the following: birth certificate, school or college ID, voter registration card, Medicare card, a major credit card, or a social services card (like Welfare) photo ID.


Photo credit: iStock/akinbostanci

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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