Intrinsic Value vs Market Value, Explained

Intrinsic value vs market value refers to the difference between where a stock is trading and where it ought to be according to its fundamentals. The term “market value” simply refers to the current market price of a security. Intrinsic value represents the price at which investors believe the security should be trading at. Intrinsic value is also known as “fair market value” or simply “fair value.”

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “intrinsic” means “belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing.” At times, stocks become overbought or oversold, meaning their market price can rise above or below their intrinsic value.

When it comes to value vs. growth stocks, value investors look for companies that are out of favor and below their intrinsic value. The idea is that sooner or later stocks return to their intrinsic value.

What Is Market Value?

In a sense, there is only one measure of market value: what price the market assigns to a stock, based on existing demand.

Market value tends to be influenced by public sentiment and macroeconomic factors. Fear and greed are the primary emotions that drive markets. During a stock market crash, for example, fear may grip investors and the market value of many stocks could fall well below their fair market values.

News headlines can drive stock prices above or below their intrinsic value. After reading an earnings report that’s positive, investors may pile into a stock. Even though better-than-expected earnings might increase the intrinsic value of a stock to a certain degree, investors can get greedy in the short-term and create overextended gains in the stock price.

The rationale behind value vs price, and behind value investing as a whole, is that stocks tend to overshoot their fair market value to the upside or the downside.

When this leads to a stock being oversold, the idea is that investors could take advantage of the buying opportunity. It’s assumed that the stock will then eventually rise to its intrinsic value.

What Is Intrinsic Value?

The factors that can be used to determine intrinsic value are related to the fundamental operations of a company. It can be tricky to figure how to evaluate a stock. Depending on which factors they examine and how they interpret them, analysts can come to different conclusions about the intrinsic value of a stock.

It’s not easy to come to a reasonable estimation of a company’s valuation. Some of the variables involved have no direct physical, measurable counterpart, like intangible assets. Intangible assets include things like copyrights, patents, reputation, consumer loyalty, and so on. Analysts come to their own conclusions when trying to assign a value to these assets.

Tangible assets include things like cash reserves, corporate bonds, equipment, land, manufacturing capacity, etc. These tend to be easier to value because they can be assigned a numerical value in dollar terms. Things like the company’s business plan, financial statements, and balance sheet have a tangible aspect in that they are objective documents.

Calculating Intrinsic Value vs Market Value

There can be multiple different ways to determine the intrinsic value of an asset. These methods are broadly referred to as valuation methods, or using fundamental analysis on stocks or other securities. The methods vary according to the type of asset and how an investor chooses to look at that asset.

Calculating Intrinsic Value

For dividend-yielding stocks, for example, the dividend discount model provides a mathematical formula that aims to find the intrinsic value of a stock based on its dividend growth over a certain period of time. Here is what is a dividend: periodic income given to shareholders by a company.

Upon calculating the dividend discount model, an investor could then compare the answer to the current market value of a stock. If market value were to be lower, then the stock could be seen as undervalued and a good buy. If market value were to be higher, then the stock could be seen as overvalued and not worth buying or possibly an opportunity to sell short.

Another method for estimating intrinsic value is discounted cash flow analysis. This method attempts to determine the value of an investment in terms of its projected future cash flows.

While the dividend discount model and discounted cash flow analysis can be seen as objective ways to determine a stock’s value, they also have a large subjective component. Analysts must choose a timeframe to use in their model. Using different timeframes can lead to different conclusions.

Longer timeframes are often thought of as being more accurate because they include more data points. But they could also dilute the significance of more recent trends.

Example Using Dividend Discount Model

For example, if a company had years of steady dividend growth, but recently slashed its dividend by 50%, a dividend discount model analysis based on a long timeframe would show this reduction in dividend payments to be less severe than an analysis based on a shorter time frame.

The longer timeframe would include previous years of dividend growth, which would theoretically outweigh the recent reduction.

The reduction may have come from a large decrease in earnings. If that trend were to continue, the company could be doomed to the point of having to suspend its dividends (as many companies did in 2020). So in this hypothetical example, a shorter time frame could actually lead to a more realistic conclusion than a longer one.

Calculating Market Value

The determination of market value is rather simple by comparison. Someone can either simply look at what price a stock is trading at or calculate its current market capitalization. The formula for market capitalization or market cap is:

Total number of outstanding shares multiplied by the current stock price.

Dividing market cap by number of shares also leads to the current stock price.

Sometimes companies engage in “corporate stock buybacks,” whereby they purchase their own shares, which reduces the total number of shares available on the market.

This increases the price of a stock without any fundamental, tangible change taking place. Value investors might say that stocks pumped up by share buybacks are overvalued. This process can lead to extreme valuations in stocks, as can extended periods of market euphoria.

The Takeaway

Using the intrinsic value vs market value method is best suited to a long-term buy-and-hold strategy.

Stock prices can remain elevated or depressed for long periods of time depending on market conditions. Even if an investor’s analysis is spot on, there’s no way to know for sure exactly when any stock will return to its intrinsic value.

Value investors try to understand stock volatility, using these periods as opportunities for rebalancing their portfolios, selling positions that might have increased a lot while adding to positions that may have fallen far below their intrinsic value. This contrasts to short-term day trading strategies or momentum swing-trading, which primarily uses technical analysis to try and predict and profit from short-term market fluctuations.

Found a stock you think is undervalued? Try SoFi Invest®, where investors can choose any of the most popular stocks and ETFs.

Check out SoFi Invest today.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. 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 . The umbrella term “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) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned 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, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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What is Ripple XRP? Everything to Know for 2021

Cryptocurrency is a fast-moving space with new technologies and names arising on a daily basis. One of the largest and more polarizing subjects in the space is Ripple XRP, a private-company-founded platform and cryptocurrency launched in 2012. It has gained notoriety for its unique founding, structure, and operations.

Ardent supporters back its real-world adoption and growth potential. Dissenters contend that because of many of these same factors, it’s philosophically misaligned with cryptocurrency ideals and fundamentals.

Despite these contentions, Ripple XRP has grown to become a household name in cryptocurrency. Here’s everything you need to know about this cryptocurrency, and how to invest in it.

What is Ripple?

Ripple is both a currency-exchange system designed to allow fast and low-cost transactions, and a cryptocurrency in its own right. Ripple’s primary goal is to connect financial institutions, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges to provide faster and cheaper global payments.

Created in 2012 by Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen, Ripple is perhaps better known for its open-source, peer-to-peer decentralized platform, RippleNet, which enables money to be transferred globally in any fiat or cryptocurrency denomination between financial institutions.

Ripple makes some improvements on common shortfalls associated with traditional banks. Transactions on the Ripple Network are settled in seconds even under the regular stress of millions of transactions. Compare this to banks’ wire transfers which typically can take days to weeks to complete and can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 or more if sending or receiving internationally. Fees on Ripple vary based on the transaction size but overall are minimal, with the minimum cost for a standard transaction at 0.00001 XRP.

Whereas top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are designed to be used primarily by individuals, Ripple’s system is designed to be adopted by banks, funds, and institutions.

What is XRP?

XRP is the currency issued and managed by Ripple (though users can also create their own currency on the platform). Ripple began selling XRP in 2012 to fund company operations, allowing its users to buy cryptocurrency, though it has taken a backseat to the company’s primary objective of developing RippleNet.

Throughout Ripple’s lifespan, leadership has reframed how XRP fits into the company’s business model, originally proclaiming it as the fuel on which its borderless payments technology runs, and later as a more efficient medium of exchange than Bitcoin.

XRP tokens represent the transfer of value across the Ripple network and can be traded on the open cryptocurrency market by anyone. Unlike Bitcoin’s popular store-of-value narrative use-case, XRP is primarily used for payments and borderless currency exchange. While Ripple’s centralized infrastructure concerns some in the cryptocurrency space, its fast transaction speeds, low transaction costs, and low energy usage provide superior performance as a medium of exchange compared to many blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.

(Need a crash course on crypto before you can read any further? Check out our guide to cryptocurrency.)

What is the XRP Price?

At the time of reporting, the XRP price is $0.474494. It’s all-time high was $3.8419 in January 2018. It went as low as $.0041 in November 2015.

How Does Ripple Work?

There are two main technologies to be aware of when it comes to Ripple and XRP. Specifically, the XRP ledger (XRPL) and the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA). Here’s how they work.

XRP Ledger (XRPL)

RippleNet is built on top of its own blockchain-like distributed ledger database, XRP Ledger (XRPL), which stores accounting information of network participants and matches exchanges among multiple currency pairs. The transaction ledger is maintained by a committee of validators who act like miners and full-node operators to reach consensus in three to five seconds—versus Bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Because there are no miners competing to confirm transactions for block rewards, validators verify transactions for no monetary reward.

Anyone can become an XRP validator, but in order to gain trust and be used by others on the network, validators must make Ripple’s unique node list (UNL), deeming them a trusted Ripple validator. These centralized validators are critical to prevent double-spending and censorship of transactions. There are only 35 active XRP validators; six are run by Ripple.

Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA)

XRP’s design is predicated on speed and cost, as opposed to decentralization. Unlike different types of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are built on the blockchain and validated by miners through the Proof of Work consensus mechanism, Ripple confirms transactions through its own consensus mechanism, the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA).

By avoiding Proof of Work’s energy-intensive mining, Ripple transactions require less energy than Bitcoin or Ethereum, are confirmed faster, and cost less. However, this speed is ultimately achieved because of XRP’s centralized infrastructure, which some argue makes the network less secure, censorship-resistant, and permissionless than open-source blockchain networks.

Ripple Cryptocurrency Token Supply

Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, XRP is not mined. The token’s entire supply was created when the network first launched in 2012 and Ripple executives intermittently tap into an escrow to release segments of the supply to sell on the open market.

In other words, unlike Bitcoin’s decentralized economy, XRP’s supply and issuance is centralized and governed by a few authorities. Because the total supply already exists, no more will be created into existence, thus making XRP fixed in quantity and not inflationary.

As of January 2021, only 45 billion XRP tokens are in circulation, out of the maximum total 100 billion. Due to the vast circulating supply, XRP has had one of the largest market caps of any cryptocurrency, even briefly eclipsing that of Ethereum’s second-largest cap late in the 2017-2018 bull market.

Ripple Crypto and Regulatory Trouble

In late 2020, Ripple became the target of an SEC investigation . The regulatory body determined that Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executives, Co-Founder Chris Larsen and CEO Bradley Garlinghouse, had raised over $1.3 billion through an “unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering” to finance the company’s operations. Consistent with recent cryptocurrency rules set by the SEC, Ripple’s leaders were charged with unlawful issuance of securities in the form of sales of its XRP token, raising questions about compliance with cryptocurrency taxes.

The XRP price crashed amid the fallout, from over $0.60 to under $0.30, as prominent crypto exchanges began delisting the token and Ripple executives, including Founder Jed McCaleb, sold off personal XRP holdings worth millions.

Is Ripple a Good Investment?

Though XRP has been impacted by Ripple’s legal blow, XRP is an independent token that can and does function somewhat outside of Ripple’s business model. The crash in price and soured fundamental outlook may not paint a bright picture of XRP as an investment to some. Whether XRP recovers and continues to evolve with the rest of the crypto herd remains to be seen, but as investors look for value in undervalued assets, it doesn’t hurt to do further research and form an educated conclusion.

Pros and Cons of Ripple XRP

Because Ripple is different in some ways from other cryptocurrencies, it makes sense to review its perceived pros and cons before making any investing decisions.

Pros of Ripple XRP

•  Fast speeds
•  Low fees
•  Fixed supply
•  Interest/tentative adoption by financial institutions

Cons of Ripple XRP

•  Centralized infrastructure, governance, issuance
•  Corruptible validators
•  Unsupported by many exchanges

How to Invest in XRP

To start investing in Ripple, you first need to join a crypto exchange. Signing up for an account could include different verification processes, depending on the exchange. Once you’re signed up, you’re ready to trade or buy Ripple XRP. You can trade any current crypto you own, or you can buy a major cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum and then use that to buy Ripple XRP.

The Takeaway

Ripple XRP is a global digital payments system that sacrifices decentralization for performance. The network and technology is owned and at least partly run by Ripple, the private company, which controls the underlying infrastructure, supply, and some of the limited network validators. While Ripple strays from the conventional decentralization model adopted by leading cryptos Bitcoin and Ethereum, it conforms to some degree through its own specially-designed infrastructure.

Although Ripple’s primary goal is providing a borderless payments and currency exchange gateway for financial institutions, its native cryptocurrency XRP has taken on a life of its own and is actively traded and analyzed by investors. With high-ranking metrics such as fast and inexpensive transactions, some investors argue XRP is a strong competitor to large cryptocurrency blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Conversely, Ripple XRP’s centralization has been a major philosophical and security concern for others—including US regulatory bodies.

Cryptocurrency is an exciting new technology that’s disrupting money as we know it. With SoFi Invest®, members can invest in some of the most popular cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

Find out how to invest in cryptocurrencies with SoFi Invest.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. 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 . The umbrella term “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) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned 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, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.

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What is a Financial Crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it shut down large portions of the economy and brought on a financial crisis. What this crisis will look like in the future remains unknown, but financial crises are not new phenomena. Here’s a look at what a financial crisis entails and what we can learn from crises of the past.

Financial Crisis Definition

During a financial crisis, asset prices drop rapidly, usually over the course of days or a few weeks. This drop is often accompanied by a stock market crash as investors panic and pull money from the market. It may also be associated with bank runs in which consumers withdraw assets for fear they will lose value if they remain in the bank. This type of downturn may be the beginning of a recession.

Recessions are a general period of economic decline during which unemployment may rise, income and consumer spending may fall, and business failures may be up. (To stay up-to-date on the current financial crisis and possible recession visit SoFi’s Recession Help Center.)

Common Causes of Financial Crises

There are a number of situations that can cause a financial crisis, including the bursting of financial bubbles, defaults on debt, and currency crises.

Stock market bubbles occur when stock prices rise precipitously, often driven by speculation and investors overvaluing stocks. As more people jump on the bandwagon and buy stocks, prices are driven higher, a cycle that is not based on the stock’s fundamental value. Eventually this situation becomes unsustainable and the bubble bursts. Investors sell and prices drop quickly.

A failure to meet debt obligations can also lead to a financial crisis. For example, a country may be unable to pay off its debts. This may happen as a country starts to face higher interest rates from lenders worried that the country may not be able to pay back their bonds. As lenders require higher bond yields to offset the risk of taking on a country’s debt, it becomes more and more expensive for that country to refinance. Eventually the country will default on its debt, which can cause the value of its currency to drop.

A currency crisis occurs when a country’s currency experiences sudden volatility as a result of factors such as central bank policies or speculation among investors. For example, a currency crisis may occur when a country’s central bank pegs its currency to another country’s floating currency (one whose value depends on supply and demand) and fails to maintain that peg.

Examples of Financial Crises

The modern financial crises date back hundreds of years, perhaps to the South Sea Bubble of 1720. Here’s a look at a handful of other well-known financial crises that happened in the United States and abroad:

America’s First Financial Crisis

The stage for the United States’ first financial crisis was set in 1790. At that time, the U.S. had few banks, and Alexander Hamilton wanted to bring the financial system to par with the systems that existed in Britain and Holland. To do so he started the first central bank, known as The First Bank of the United States (BUS). To get the bank off its feet, the public could buy shares in the bank with a mixture of cash and government bonds.

Two problems swiftly arose. The demand for government bonds to buy shares lead some investors—led by one William Duer—to try and corner the bond market by borrowing widely to buy bonds. Also, the BUS quickly dwarfed other banks, becoming the nation’s largest lender. Investor flush with credit began to use their newfound cash to speculate in futures and short sales markets.

In spring of 1792, the BUS ran low on hard currency and cut lending. Duer and his cohort were forced to take on new debt to pay off old debt, and tightening credit, led U.S. markets on a downward spiral.

Knowing the financial system he’d worked hard to build was on the verge of collapse, Hamilton was forced to use public funds to buy back U.S. bonds and prop up the price of those bonds. Additionally he had to direct money to failing lenders, and allowed banks with collateral to borrow as much as they wanted with a penalty rate of 7%. Not only was this America’s first financial crisis, it was also the first instance of a government bailout, setting a precedent for future financial crises.

Stock Crash of 1929

Perhaps the granddaddy of financial crises, the 1929 stocks crash came at a time when stock speculation led to booming markets. New technologies, such as radio, were particularly popular investments. At the same time, however, consumer prices were falling and established businesses flagging, creating tension within the economy.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates, in an effort to slow the overheated markets. Unfortunately, the hike wasn’t big enough to slow the economy. It ended up further hurting already weakening businesses, and industrial production continued to fall.

The market crashed October 28 and October 29, 1929. The 29th came to be known as Black Tuesday. By mid-November the market was down 45%. By the next year, banks began to fail. Customers began withdrawing cash as fast as they could, causing bank runs.

The crisis devastated the economy, forcing businesses to close and causing many people to lose their life savings. The crisis sparked the Great Depression, and the Dow wouldn’t climb to its previous heights for 25 years.

The crash led to a number of financial reforms. The Glass-Steagall legislation separated regular banking, such as lending, from stock market operations. It also gave the government power to regulate banks at which customers used credit to invest.

The government also set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) to help prevent bank runs by protecting customer deposits. The creation of the FDIC helped stabilize the financial system, because individuals no longer felt they needed to withdraw their money from the bank at the slightest sign of economic trouble.

1973 OPEC Oil Crisis

In October 1973, the 12 countries that make up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to stop exporting oil to the United States in retaliation for the U.S. decision to offer military aid to Israel. As a result of the embargo, the U.S. experienced gas shortages, and oil prices in the U.S. quadrupled.

Though the embargo ended in March of 1974, its destabilizing effects are largely blamed for the economic recession of 1973–1975. High gas prices meant American consumers had less money in their pockets to spend on other things, lowering demand and consumer confidence.

Other factors beyond the embargo, including wage-price controls and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, exacerbated the financial crisis. Wage-price controls forced business to keep wages high, keeping them from hiring new employees. In a series of monetary moves, the Federal Reserve quickly raised and lowered interest rates. Businesses unable to keep up with the changes protected themselves by keeping prices high, which contributed to inflation.

The period’s high unemployment, stagnant economic growth, and inflation came to be known under the portemanteau “stagflation.”

Asian Crisis of 1997–1998

The Asian financial crisis began in Thailand in July 1997. It spilled over to other East Asian nations and eventually had ripple effects in Latin American and Eastern Europe.

Before the crisis began, Thailand had pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar. After months of speculative pressure that depleted the country’s foreign exchange reserves, Thailand devalued its currency, allowing it to float on the open market. Malaysian, Indonesian and Singapore currencies were devalued as well, causing high inflation that spread to East Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan.

Growth fell sharply across Asia, investment rates fell, and some countries entered into recession.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped in, providing billions of dollars of loans to help stabilize weak Asian economies in Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea.

In exchange for its loans, the IMF required new rules that led to better financial regulation and oversight.
Countries that received the loans had to raise taxes, reduce public spending, and raise interest rates.

Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008

The origins of the Global Financial Crisis are complicated. They started with government deregulation that allowed banks to use derivatives in hedge fund trading. To fuel this trading the banks needed mortgages and began lending to subprime borrowers who had questionable credit. When interest rates on these mortgages reset higher, borrowers could no longer afford their payments.

At the same time, housing prices dropped as demand for homes fell and borrowers who could no longer afford their payments were now unable to sell their homes to cover what they owed on their mortgage. The value of the derivatives collapsed and banks stopped lending to each other, resulting in a financial crisis and eventually the Great Recession.

As a result of the financial crisis, the government took over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bailed out investment banks on the verge of collapse. Additionally, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill to prevent banks from taking on too much risk again in the future.

European Sovereign Debt Crisis

The European Sovereign Debt Crisis followed swiftly on the heels of the Global Financial Crisis. The crisis largely began in Greece in 2009 as investors and governments around the globe realized that Greece might default on its national debt.

At that point the nation’s debt had reached 113% of its GDP. Debt levels within the European Union were supposed to be capped at 60%, and if the Greek economy slowed down it might have trouble paying off its debt. By 2010, the E.U. discovered irregularities in the Greek accounting system which meant that its budget deficits were higher than previously suspected. Bond rating agencies subsequently downgraded the country’s debt.

Investors were concerned that similar events might spread to other members of the E.U., including Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy who all had similar levels of debt. In response to these concerns investors in sovereign bonds from these countries demanded higher yields to make up for the increased risk they were taking on. That meant the cost of borrowing rose in these countries. And because rising yields lowers the price of existing bonds, eurozone banks that held these bonds began to lose money.

Eurozone leaders agreed on a 750 billion euro rescue package that eventually reached 1 trillion euros by 2012.

Investing During a Financial Crisis

Investing during a recession or financial crisis may not sound like a whole lot of fun. Watching stock prices plummet can give even the most seasoned investor heart palpitations. But keeping an investment plan on track during a crisis is critical to future success. In the face of a financial crisis, there are a few considerations to make.

First, watching a market spiraling out of control may inspire panic, tempting investors to pull their money out of stock. However, that may be exactly the wrong instinct. Bear markets are almost always followed by a recovery, and selling assets may mean that investors lock in losses and miss out on subsequent gains.

Second, investors may want to consider buying more stock when markets are down. Purchasing stock when prices are low during a bear market may provide the opportunity for increased profits as the market turns around.

Down markets can be a good opportunity for investors to stress test their risk tolerance. If falling prices lead to panic, an investor may realize their portfolio carries too much risk for their tastes and may decide to rebalance a portion of their portfolio into more conservative investments. Beware of rebalancing during a financial crisis, however. It can be hard to predict how investments will fair once the market turns around. So it can be better to wait until markets stabilize before making any big moves.

In the end, it’s important to remember that investing is a long-term proposition. Diversified investment portfolios that take an investor’s goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance into account are typically designed to weather short-term financial storms.

If you have questions about building a portfolio, allocating your wealth or how market conditions will affect your financial situations, it can help to talk to a financial planner.

As a SoFi member, you can make a complimentary appointment with a SoFi Financial advisor, who can answer questions you may have regarding your portfolio and the market. Downloading the SoFi app can also help you stay up-to-date on market developments.

Learn more about SoFi Invest® today.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. 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 . The umbrella term “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) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned 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, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

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.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

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What is a Mega Backdoor Roth and How Does It Work?

For those hoping to retire early, or at least before the average retirement age, a mega backdoor Roth IRA can be an effective tool.

Only a certain type of investor will want to employ a mega backdoor Roth IRA as a part of their financial plans. For those people, figuring out how to efficiently save and invest money for retirement can be a challenge. That’s where the mega backdoor Roth IRA enters the conversation.

Below, we’ll walk through what mega backdoor Roth IRAs are and how they work. In addition, we’ll discuss the important details that investors need to know about them.

What is a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA?

The mega backdoor Roth IRA is a retirement savings power move, in which people who have 401(k) plans through their employer—along with the ability to make after-tax contributions to that plan—can rollover the after-tax contributions into a Roth IRA.

Before getting too far in depth, though, it’s important to understand the basics of regular old Roth IRAs.

A Roth IRA is a retirement account for individuals (vs an employer-sponsored account like a 401(k)). Account holders can contribute up to $6,000 per year (or $7,000 for those older than age 50) of their post-tax earnings. That is, income tax is being paid upfront on those earnings—the opposite of a traditional IRA.

The payoff comes later. Individuals can withdraw their contributions at any time, without paying taxes or penalties. For that reason, Roth IRAs are attractive and useful savings vehicles for many people.

But Roth IRAs have their limits—and one of them is that people can only contribute to one if their income is below a certain threshold. In 2021 the limit is $125,000 for single people (people earning more than $125,000 but less than $140,000 can contribute a reduced amount); for married people who file taxes jointly, the limit is $198,000 (or up to $208,000 to contribute a reduced amount).

The Backdoor Roth IRA

Generally, individuals with income levels above those thresholds who wish to contribute to a Roth IRA are out of luck. However, there is a workaround: the backdoor Roth IRA.

A backdoor Roth IRA allows high-earners to fund a Roth IRA account by converting funds in a traditional IRA (which has no limits on a contributors’ earnings) into a Roth IRA. This could be useful if an individual expects to be in a higher income bracket at retirement than they are currently.

However, converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA could result in significant taxes, as the IRS will apply income tax to contributions that were previously deducted.

The mega backdoor Roth IRA

Mega backdoor Roth IRAs involve 401(k) plans. People who have 401(k) plans through their employer—along with the ability to make after-tax contributions to that plan—can roll over up to $37,500 in after-tax contributions into a Roth IRA. That mega Roth transfer limit has the potential to boost an individual’s retirement savings.

It’s complicated, and there are a lot of factors at play. But like the backdoor Roth IRA, the mega backdoor Roth IRA is another way to sidestep the normal contribution limits of Roth IRAs.

How to Pull Off a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA

The mega backdoor Roth IRA process is pretty much the same as that of a backdoor Roth IRA. The key difference is that while the regular backdoor involves converting funds from a Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, the mega backdoor involves converting after-tax funds from a 401(k) into a Roth IRA.

Whether a mega Roth IRA is even an option will depend on an individual’s specific circumstances. These are the necessary conditions that need to be in place for someone to try a mega backdoor strategy:

•  You have a 401(k) plan. People hoping to enact the mega backdoor strategy will need to be enrolled in their employer-sponsored 401(k) plan.

•  You can make after-tax contributions to your 401(k). Determine whether an employer will allow for additional, after-tax contributions, and what that maximum contribution is. The standard 401(k) contribution limit is $19,500 (or $26,000 for those 50 and older). After-tax contributions allow for the opportunity to save, potentially, tens of thousands more per year. The IRS allows up to $58,000, or $64,500 including catch-up contributions, in total contributions per year.

•  The 401(k) plan allows for in-service distributions. A final piece of the puzzle is to determine whether a 401(k) plan allows non-hardship distributions to either a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k). If not, that money will remain in the 401(k) account until the owner leaves the company, with no chance of a mega backdoor Roth IRA move.

If those conditions exist, a mega backdoor strategy should be possible. Your next step: Open a Roth IRA—so there’s an account to transfer those additional funds to.

From there, pulling off the mega backdoor Roth IRA strategy can be deceptively simple—max out 401(k) contributions and after-tax 401(k) contributions, and then transfer those after-tax contributions to the Roth IRA.

But be warned: There may be many unforeseen hurdles or expenses that arise during the process, and for that reason, consulting with a financial professional to help navigate is likely advisable.

Advantages of the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA

Given that this Roth IRA workaround has so many moving parts, it’s worth revisiting wyhy, exactly, someone would be interested in a mega backdoor Roth IRA.

The main advantage of the concept is for those who are earning too much to contribute to a Roth IRA, but who want to take advantage of tax-free growth. Plus, with a mega backdoor Roth IRA an individual can effectively supercharge retirement savings because more money can be stashed away. It can also offer a way to further diversify retirement savings.

The Takeaway

Strategies like the mega backdoor Roth IRA can be used by some investors to help achieve their retirement goals—as long as specific conditions are met, including having a 401(k) plan that accepts after-tax contributions.

While retirement may feel like a lifetime away, especially if you’re early in your career or still relatively young, most financial professionals generally recommend that you start thinking about it sooner rather than later.

With SoFi Invest® online brokerage account you can size up your retirement goals and start making progress towards accomplishing them. SoFi offers Roth or traditional IRAs, as well as other investment vehicles.

Find out how SoFi can be part of your financial future.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. 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 . The umbrella term “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) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned 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, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

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

Knowing a stock’s earnings per share can be a valuable portfolio benchmarking tool. Think of EPS as GPS for where a public company is on the value map, based on how profitable it has been.

What is earnings per share? It’s a ratio arrived at by taking a company’s quarterly or annual net income and dividing it by the number of its outstanding shares of stock.

Knowing an investment’s EPS gives investors—and portfolio managers—a good indicator of a stock’s performance over a specific period of time and its potential share price performance in the near future.

What is Earnings Per Share?

The starting point for any conversation about the EPS ratio is the earnings report companies issue to regulators, shareholders, and potential investors.

Publicly traded companies must, by law, report their earnings quarterly and annually. Earnings represent the net income a company generates (after taxes and after expenses are deducted), along with an estimate of what profits or losses can be expected going forward.

Typically, investment analysts, money managers and investors look at earnings as a major component of a company’s profit potential, with earnings per share a particularly useful measurement tool when gauging a company’s financial prospects.

While a company’s earnings call represents a publicly traded company’s revenues, minus operating expenses, earnings per share is different.

EPS indicates a firm’s earnings for investors, divided by the company’s number of remaining shares. Earnings per share is perhaps most optimal when comparing EPS rates of publicly traded firms operating in the same industry.

It is likely not, however, the only investment measurement tool when researching stocks and funds. Other key indicators, like share price, market share, market capitalization, dividend growth, and historical performance may also be added to the investment assessment mix.

How to find earnings per share? Investors can find a company’s quarterly and yearly EPS by visiting the firm’s investor relations page on its website or by plugging in the stock’s ticker symbol on major business and finance media platforms.

Basic and Diluted EPS

When companies report earnings per share, they may do so in two forms: basic EPS or diluted EPS. Each have key distinctions that investors should know about:

Basic EPS. This figure includes all of a publicly traded company’s outstanding stock shares.

Diluted EPS. This figure includes all of a company’s outstanding stock shares and investable assets like stock options, stock warrants, and other forms of convertible investments tied to a company’s financial performance that could become common stocks one day.

Basic EPS is a good barometer of a firm’s financial health, while diluted EPS represents a deeper dive into a company’s financial metrics and its use of alternative assets like convertible securities.

One big takeaway for both EPS models is that any major deviation between basic and diluted EPS calculations should be considered a warning sign to investors, as it indicates that a company’s use of convertible securities is complicated and still in flux.

That scenario may indicate that the company isn’t in an ideal position to provide accurate share value to the investing public at a given time.

Why is EPS Important to Investors?

EPS calculations are not only a snapshot of a company’s profit performance, but they can also be used to evaluate a company’s stock price going forward.

Even a moderate increase in EPS may indicate that a company’s profit potential is on the upside, and investors may take that as a sign to buy the company’s stock.

Conversely, a small decrease in a company’s EPS from quarter to quarter may trigger a red flag among investors, who could view a downward EPS trend as a larger profit issue and shy away from buying the company’s stock.

Basically, the higher the EPS, the more attractive that company’s stock is to investors. But the higher a stock’s EPS, the more expensive it’s likely to be.

Once investors have an accurate EPS figure, they can decide if a stock is priced fairly and make an appropriate investment decision.

Earnings Per Share Ratio Considerations

Investors should prepare to dig deeper and examine what factors influence EPS figures. These factors are at the top of that list:

•  EPS numbers can rise or fall significantly based on earnings’ rise or fall, or as the number of company shares rises or falls.
•  A company’s earnings may rise because sales are surging faster than expenses, or if company managers succeed in curbing operations costs. Additionally, investors may get a “false read” on EPS if too many company expenses are shed from the EPS calculation.
•  A company’s number of outstanding shares may fall if a company engages in significant stock share buybacks. Correspondingly, shares outstanding may jump when a firm issues new stock shares.
•  A company’s profit margins are also a big influencer on EPS. A company that is losing money usually has a negative EPS number. (Then again, that may send a wrong signal to investors. The company could be on the path to profits, and that trend may not show up in an EPS calculation.)
•  A price to earnings ratio is another highly useful metric to evaluate a stock’s share growth potential. Investors can find a P/E ratio through a proper calculation of EPS (“P” is the price per share; “E” refers to EPS), though it’s easy to look up a P/E ratio on any site that aggregates stock information.

EPS can be reported for each quarter or fiscal year, or it can be projected into the future with a forward EPS.

How to Calculate Earnings Per Share

The most common way to accurately gauge an EPS figure is through an end-of-period calculation. Here’s a snapshot of how it works.

With Preferred Dividends

Investors can calculate EPS by subtracting a stock’s total preferred dividends from the company’s net income. Then divide that number by the end-of-period stock shares that are outstanding.

Basic EPS = (net income – preferred dividends) / weighted average number of common shares outstanding

For example, ABC Co. generates a net income of $2 million in a quarter. Simultaneously, the company rolls out $275,000 in preferred dividends and has 12 million outstanding shares of stock. In that calculation, knowing that shares of common stock are equal in value, the company’s earnings per share is $0.14.

(2,000,000 – 275,000) ÷ 12,000,000= 0.14

Without Preferred Dividends

For smaller publicly traded companies with no preferred dividends, the EPS calculation is more straightforward.

Basic EPS = net income / weighted average number of common shares outstanding

Let’s say DEF Corp. has generated a net income of $50,000 for the year. As the company has no preferred shares outstanding and has 5,000 weighted average shares on an annual basis, its earnings per share is $10.

50,000 ÷ 5,000= 10

In any EPS calculation, preferred dividends must be pared off from net income. That’s because earnings per share is primarily designed to calculate the net income for holders of common stock.

Additionally, in most EPS end-of-period calculations, a company is mostly likely to calculate EPS for end-of-year financial statements. That’s because companies may issue new stock or buy back existing shares of company stock.

In those instances, a weighted average of common stock shares is required for an accurate EPS assessment. (A weighted average of a company’s outstanding shares can provide more clarity because a fixed number at any given time may provide a false EPS outcome, as share prices can be volatile and change quickly on a day-to-day basis.)

The most commonly used EPS share model calculation is the “trailing 12 months” formula, which tracks a company’s earnings per share by totaling its EPS for the previous four quarters.

The Takeaway

Earnings trends, up or down, make earnings per share one of the most valuable metrics for assessing investments. Four or five years of positive EPS activity is considered an indicator that a company’s long-term financial prospects are robust and that its share growth should continue to rise.

A careful EPS calculation can help clarify a short- or long-term view of a company’s financial and share price potential, allowing an investor to make choices based on data and not assumptions.

Ready to put those stock-picking skills to use? Get started with SoFi Invest® today.



SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. 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 . The umbrella term “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.

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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