How Much a $200,000 Mortgage Will Cost You

A $200,000 mortgage might cost you more than twice that amount over the course of the loan’s lifetime. That’s thanks in part to the way banks amortize, or parse out the balance of interest to principal in each payment. Of course, how much your specific $200,000 mortgage will cost is a more complicated equation, since personal financial factors like your credit score and debt level will affect your interest rate. And your interest rate, in turn, will affect your total mortgage cost.

Read on for a peek into the mortgage payment on $200K, including sample amortization tables, how much your monthly payment might cost, where to find a loan, and more.

Here’s What a $200,000 Mortgage Costs

When you take out a loan of any kind, the lending institution — often a bank — charges you for the service of giving you the money you need up front. When you repay a loan, you’re repaying both principal (the money you borrowed) and interest (the money the loan servicer is charging you).

Interest is expressed as a rate in the form of a percentage. Higher interest means you’re paying more for the loan — and lower interest, of course, means you’ll pay less. The lowest interest rates are reserved for buyers with the best financial profiles, which may include factors like robust and steady income, a good or excellent credit score, and a low level of existing debt (another factor lenders express in the form of a percentage: DTI, or your debt-to-income ratio).

With all that said, let’s say you take out a $200,000 mortgage to pay for a house that costs $275,000. In this example, you’d have made a down payment of $75,000, or just over 27%. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage term, with a fixed interest rate of 6%, you’d pay almost $232,000 in interest — along with the principal repayment, of course, bringing your total amount paid to almost $432,000. You’ll notice that figure is more than double the original $200,000 you borrowed, and this example doesn’t even include additional fees like property tax or homeowners insurance.

However, interest rates are very powerful here, and even a small decrease in interest can have a big effect on the overall loan cost. For example, imagine everything we’ve just described above remains the same, but your interest rate is 4% rather than 6%. In that scenario, your total interest would be about $143,000, representing a savings of around $90,000. (Insert shocked emoji.)

As you can see, finding the most favorable interest rates possible is really worthwhile for homebuyers. If this is your first time in the home market, a home loan help center can educate you about the buying process.


💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage. Look for a mortgage lender who’s dedicated to closing your loan on time.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


How Much Are Monthly Payments for a $200,000 Mortgage?

Maybe you’re less concerned about how much your $200,000 mortgage will cost you over the long term but are curious about the monthly payment on a $200K mortgage. Again, interest rates have a big effect on monthly mortgage payments, as does the loan’s term (how long you have to repay it). Still, we can offer a few examples.

For a 30-year $200,000 mortgage at a fixed interest rate of 7%, your monthly payments would be about $1,330 (though this figure doesn’t include property taxes or homeowners insurance, which could push your payment hundreds of dollars upward).

For a 15-year $200,000 mortgage with the same interest rate, your monthly payments would be about $1,797 (again, without additional costs included).

You can get more specific figures customized to your circumstances using a mortgage calculator or home affordability calculator online.

Where You Can Get a $200,000 Mortgage

There are ways to get a $200,000 mortgage if you’re sure you’re ready for one. Private banks, credit unions, and lenders who specialize in mortgages are all available to meet your request. You can usually do most of the application online.

One caveat: As we’ve seen above, interest rates can make a huge difference when it comes to the cost of your mortgage over time. Although market factors have a big influence on interest rates, your personal markers also matter, so getting your financial ducks in a row as possible before applying could help you save money in the long run. (So can finding an affordable place to live in the first place.) Additionally, you may want to ask for prequalification quotes from a variety of lenders to see who can give you the best deal.

Recommended: Tips to Qualify for a Mortgage

What to Consider Before Getting a $200,000 Mortgage: Amortization

Remember how we were talking about amortization above? In most cases, lenders amortize loans in such a way that, toward the beginning of the loan, the bulk of your payments are going toward interest. (Although your fixed monthly payments never change, the proportion of how much of that amount goes toward interest versus principal can.)

To understand how this can impact your ability to build equity, we’ve included the following sample amortization schedules for two different types of mortgage loans below. As you’ll see, the remaining principal balance goes down far more slowly than the amount you pay in. For example, in the chart below, although you’d pay a total of almost $16,000 toward your mortgage, the principal only reduces by about $2,000 because nearly $14,000 of your payments go toward interest.

Amortization Schedule, 30-year, 7% Fixed

Years Since Purchase Beginning Balance Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid Total Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $200,000 $1,330.60 $13,935.64 $2,031.62 $197,968.38
3 $195,789.89 $1,330.60 $13,631.29 $2,335.97 $193,453.93
5 $190,949.09 $1,330.60 $13,281.35 $2,685.91 $188,263.18
10 $175,432.38 $1,330.60 $12,159.65 $3,807.61 $171,624.77
15 $153,435.50 $1,330.60 $10,933.39 $5,033.87 $153,435.50
20 $129,388.32 $1,330.60 $8,831.12 $7,136.14 $122,252.17
30 $15,377.96 $1,330.60 $589.30 $15,377.96 $0.00

As you can see, even 20 years into the loan’s 30-year lifespan, you’ll still be paying more toward interest than principal (though the proportion will be much closer to 50/50 than at the beginning of the term).

Next, let’s look at what happens when the home mortgage loan term is reduced to 15 years.

Amortization Schedule, 15-year, 7% Fixed

Years Since Purchase Beginning Balance Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid Total Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $200,000 $1,797.66 $13,752.28 $7,819.60 $192,180.40
3 $183,795.53 $1,797.66 $12,580.86 $8,991.02 $174,804.51
5 $165,163.53 $1,797.66 $11,233.95 $10,337.93 $154,825.60
7 $143,740.35 $1,797.66 $9,685.27 $11,886.61 $131,853.74
10 $105,440.55 $1,797.66 $6,916.57 $14,655.31 $90,785.24
12 $75,070.50 $1,797.66 $4,721.12 $16,850.76 $58,219.74
15 $20,775.73 $1,797.66 $796.15 $20,775.73 $0.00

As this chart shows, a mortgage loan with a shorter term can help you build equity more quickly: Notice how principal and interest payments are much closer to equal just five years in, or a third of the way through the loan. Keep in mind that this ability comes at the cost of a higher monthly payment, though, so it may not be possible for all — especially first-time homebuyers who may struggle to meet higher mortgage payments.


💡 Quick Tip: If you refinance your mortgage and shorten your loan term, you could save a substantial amount in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

How Do I Get a $200,000 Mortgage?

Taking out a $200,000 mortgage is a fairly simple process these days. In most cases, your lender can pre-qualify you online or over the phone. While applying for your official approval will take a few more steps, including providing documentation like income verification and tax returns, you can still be approved in as little as a business day—and ready to take over the keys to your dream home.

To get started, reach out to the lender you’ve chosen to learn more about their process. They may make it simple to start your application online. Just don’t forget that interest adds up, and amortization can make it more difficult to build equity quickly. It’s worth checking in to ensure your lender doesn’t charge an early repayment penalty, and that they make it simple to pay additional principal if you’re able.

Recommended: The Cost of Living By State

The Takeaway

Because of interest, a $200,000 mortgage might cost more than $200,000 on top of the principal you borrow. It all depends on your loan term as well as your specific rate — which in turn depends on your financial standing.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

How much does a $200K mortgage cost each month?

With a fixed rate of 7%, a 30-year $200,000 mortgage will cost about $1,330 per month before additional fees, and a 15-year $200,000 mortgage at the same rate will cost closer to $1,800. If your down payment is less than 20% you will likely have to pay for mortgage insurance as well, not to mention property taxes and insurance.

How much income is required to qualify for a $200,000 mortgage?

An income of around $65,000 is in the right ballpark to qualify for a $200,000 mortgage. Income is far from the only important factor lenders consider when qualifying you for a loan, however, and even those who make substantial income may not qualify if they have high levels of debt or other negative factors.

How much is the down payment for a $200,000 mortgage?

Down payment amounts can vary substantially. Some loans allow you to put down as little as 3.5%, which, for a $200,000 home would be $7,000. To avoid having to pay for mortgage insurance, you’d want to put down at least 20%, which is $40,000.

Can I afford a $200K house with a salary of $70K?

What you can and can’t afford is a complex calculation that depends on your lifestyle, where you live, and more. That said, $70,000 is within the feasible range to take out a $200,000 mortgage, particularly if you choose a longer loan term.


Photo credit: iStock/skynesher

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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.

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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How Much Will a $150,000 Mortgage Cost?

A $150,000 mortgage will cost a total of $341,318 over the lifetime of the loan, assuming an interest rate of 6.5% and a 30-year term. It might be tempting to think that a $150,000 mortgage will cost…well, $150,000. But lenders need to earn a living for their services and mortgage loans come with interest.

What’s the True Cost of a $150,000 Mortgage?

The specific price you will pay to borrow $150,000 depends on your interest rate — which, in turn, is based on a wide range of factors including your credit score, income stability, and much more. Here’s what you need to know to get an estimate of how much a $150,000 home mortgage loan might cost in your specific circumstances.


💡 Quick Tip: If you refinance your mortgage and shorten your loan term, you could save a substantial amount in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Where Do You Get a $150,000 Mortgage?

Good news: There are many banks and institutions that offer $150,000 mortgages. For 2024, the maximum amount for most conventional loans is more than $750,000, so the loan you’re considering is well within reach. To see how your salary, debts, and down payment savings affect how much home you can afford, use a home affordability calculator.

However, it’s important to understand that even a $150,000 mortgage may cost far more than the sticker price after interest and associated fees. For instance, let’s say you purchase a $200,000 home with a 25% down payment and a $150,000 mortgage. If your interest rate is 7% and your loan term is 30 years, the total amount you’d pay over that time is $359,263.35 — which means you’d actually pay more than the home price ($209,263.35) in interest alone. (And that’s before closing costs, home insurance, property taxes, or mortgage insurance.)

At prices like that, it may seem like taking out a mortgage at all is a bad deal. Fortunately, property has a tendency to increase in value (or appreciate) over time, which helps offset the overall cost of interest. (Of course, nothing is guaranteed.)

Keep in mind that you can potentially lower the interest rate you qualify for by lowering your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, improving your credit score, or increasing your cash flow by getting a better-paying job. Even a small decrease in interest can have a big effect over the lifetime of a loan. In our example above, with all else being equal, you’d pay only $139,883.68 in interest if your rate were 5% instead of 7% — a savings of nearly $70,000!

Recommended: The Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S.

Monthly Payments for a $150,000 Mortgage

When you take out a $150,000 mortgage, you’ll repay it over time in monthly installments — of a fixed amount, if you have a fixed mortgage, or amounts that can change if you take out a variable rate loan.

Your monthly $150K mortgage payment includes both principal (the amount you borrowed) and interest (the amount you’re being charged), and may also wrap in your property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance if applicable. (You’ll only need to pay mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20%.)

But there is another caveat here that some first-time homebuyers don’t know about. Even if your mortgage payments are fixed each month, the proportion of how much principal you’re paying to how much interest you’re paying does change over time — a process known as the amortization of the loan. It’s a big word, but its bottom line is simple: Earlier on in the loan’s life, you’re likely paying more interest than principal, which increases the amount of money the bank earns overall. Later on in the loan, you’ll usually pay more principal than interest.

What to Consider Before Applying for a $150,000 Mortgage

Amortization is important to understand because it can affect your future financial decisions. For example, if you’re not planning on staying in your house for many years, you may find you have less equity in your home than you originally imagined by the time you’re ready to sell — because the bulk of your mortgage payments thus far have been going toward interest. It might also affect when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage.

Most lenders make it easy to make larger payments or additional payments against the principal you owe so that you can chip away at your debt total faster, but be sure to double-check that your lender doesn’t have early repayment penalties.

Of course, there are different types of home loans. Here are some sample amortization schedules for two $150,000 home loans. (You can also build your own based on your specific details with a mortgage calculator or an amortization calculator online.)

Amortization Schedule, 30-year, 7% Fixed

Years Since Purchase Beginning Balance Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid Total Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $150,000 $997.95 $10,451.73 $1,523.71 $148,476.29
3 $146,842.42 $997.95 $10,223.47 $1,751.98 $145,090.44
5 $143,211.82 $997.95 $9,961.01 $2,014.43 $141,197.38
10 $131,574.29 $997.95 $9,119.73 $2,855.71 $128,718.58
15 $115,076.63 $997.95 $7,927.12 $4,048.33 $111,028.30
20 $91,689.13 $997.95 $6,236.43 $5,739.01 $85,950.12
30 $11,533.47 $997.95 $441.97 $11,975.44 $0.00

Notice that, for more than the first half of the loan’s lifetime, you’ll pay substantially more interest than principal each year — even though your mortgage payments remain fixed in amount.

Amortization Schedule, 15-year, 7% Fixed

Years Since Purchase Beginning Balance Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid Total Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $150,000 $1,348.24 $10,314.21 $5,864.70 $144,135.30
3 $137,846.65 $1,348.24 $9,435.65 $6,743.26 $131,103.38
5 $123,872.65 $1,348.24 $8,425.46 $7,753.45 $116,119.20
7 $107,805.26 $1,348.24 $7,263.95 $8,914.96 $98,890.30
10 $79,080.41 $1,348.24 $5,187.43 $10,991.48 $68,088.93
12 $56,302.87 $1,348.24 $3,540.84 $12,638.07 $43,664.80
15 $15,581.80 $1,348.24 $597.11 $15,581.80 $0.00

While a shorter loan term may help you build equity in your home more quickly, it comes at the cost of a higher monthly payment.

How to Get a $150,000 Mortgage

To apply for a $150,000 mortgage, you can search for providers online or go into a local brick-and-mortar bank or credit union you trust. You’ll need to provide a variety of information to qualify for the loan, including your employment history, income level, credit score, debt level, and more.

The higher your credit score, lower your debt, and more robust your cash flow, the more likely you are to qualify for a $150,000 mortgage — and, ideally, one at the lowest possible interest rate. That said, mortgage interest rates are also subject to market influences and fluctuations, and sometimes rates are simply higher than others overall.


💡 Quick Tip: To see a house in person, particularly in a tight or expensive market, you may need to show the real estate agent proof that you’re preapproved for a mortgage. SoFi’s online application makes the process simple.

The Takeaway

A $150,000 mortgage can actually cost far more than $150,000. Depending on your interest rate and your loan term, you may spend more than you borrowed in principal in the first place on interest, and you’ll likely pay a higher proportional amount of interest per monthly payment for about the first half of your loan’s lifetime.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

How much is $150K mortgage a month?

A 30-year, $150,000 mortgage at a 7% fixed interest rate will be about $998 per month (not including property taxes or mortgage interest), while a 15-year mortgage at the same rate would cost about $1,348 monthly. The exact monthly payment you owe on a $150,000 mortgage will vary depending on factors like your interest rate and what other fees, like mortgage insurance, are rolled into the bill.

How much income is required for a $150,000 mortgage?

Those who earn about $55,000 or more per year may be more likely to qualify for a $150,000 mortgage than those who earn less. Although your income is an important marker for lenders, it’s far from the only one — and even people who earn a lot of money may not qualify for a mortgage if they have a high debt total or a poor credit score. (Still, the best way to learn whether or not you qualify is to ask your lender.)

How much is a downpayment on a $150,000 mortgage?

To avoid paying mortgage insurance, you’d want to put down 20% of the home’s purchase price, which if you are borrowing $150,000 would be $50,000 for a home priced at $200,000. Some lenders allow you to put down as little as 3.5% of the home’s price. So if you had a $150,000 mortgage and put down 3.5%, your down payment would be $5,440 and the home price would be $155,440. (Keep in mind these figures do not include closing costs.)

Can I afford a $150K house with $70K salary?

Yes, as long as you don’t have a lot of other debt, you can probably afford a $150,000 home if you’re making $70,000 a year. There’s a basic rule of thumb to spend less than a third of your gross income on your housing. With an income of $70,000 per year, you’re making about $5,833.33 per month before taxes — and a third of that figure is $1,925. A $150,000 mortgage might have a monthly payment of as little as $998 per month, even with a 7% interest rate, so it should be affordable for you as long as you don’t have other substantial debts.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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.

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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Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

Unemployment benefits can help you get by in the event of job loss, but this money is subject to taxes just like any other source of income. How much your unemployment benefits are taxed depends on your filing status, tax bracket, and state of residence.

In this guide to unemployment benefit taxes, you’ll learn the ins and outs so you can pay Uncle Sam what you owe. Read on to find out:

•   Are unemployment benefits taxable?

•   How are unemployment benefits taxed?

•   What are tips for paying taxes on unemployment benefits?

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Unemployment Benefits?

Yes, you do have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits. They are taxable like any other income. That means you won’t actually get to keep all the money the government gives you while you’re unemployed. You’ll have to give some of it back, just as you do on many other forms of money you receive. It’s simply part of being a taxpayer.

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How Is Unemployment Taxed?

Now that you’ve learned that unemployment benefits are taxable, consider the details. How much are the taxes, is it just federal or state taxes too, and how do you pay them?

How Much Are Unemployment Benefits Taxed?

No matter which state you live in, your unemployment benefits are taxed at the federal level. That means everyone — including residents of states without income taxes — must pay taxes on unemployment compensation.

How much you owe depends on your filing status and tax bracket. The United States is on a progressive tax system: In general, the higher your adjusted gross income (AGI), the more you’ll pay in taxes.

For the 2023 tax season (filed in 2024), there are seven federal tax brackets, ranging from 10% to 37%.

Before filing your taxes, you’ll receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, reflecting your unemployment benefits. This form will indicate how much unemployment compensation you received as well as how much was withheld, if applicable. You’ll need this form, plus any records of quarterly payments (more on those below) when filing your taxes.

Unemployment Benefit Taxes at the State Level

When determining how much unemployment benefits are taxed, don’t forget that federal taxes may not be the only funds due. Depending on where you live, you may have to pay state income taxes on your unemployment compensation, too. Nine states do not have personal income taxes on what are considered wages:

•   Alaska

•   Florida

•   Nevada

•   New Hampshire

•   South Dakota

•   Tennessee

•   Texas

•   Washington

•   Wyoming

If you live in one of those nine states, you don’t have to pay state income taxes on unemployment benefits.

That said, four states that do have a state income tax also don’t tax your unemployment compensation:

•   California

•   New Jersey

•   Pennsylvania

•   Virginia

If you live in one of the remaining 37 states (or Washington, D.C.), you’ll have to pay state taxes on any unemployment earnings.

How to Pay Taxes on Unemployment Benefit

Like it or not, you’ll owe taxes (federal and maybe state) on any unemployment compensation. Now that you know how unemployment is taxed, consider how you can pay those taxes. You have two main options:

•   Have the taxes withheld like you would from a paycheck

•   Estimate and pay the taxes each quarter

Here’s a closer look at each option.

Withholding Taxes

When you initially apply for unemployment, you can ask to have taxes withheld from your payments. However, federal law has established a flat rate of 10% for tax withholding for unemployment benefits.

When you receive income as wages, you can usually specify how much you want to have withheld via filling out Form W-4.

If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket and need to pay more in taxes than what’s being withheld, you can make quarterly estimated payments for the difference.

If you’re currently receiving unemployment compensation and taxes aren’t being withheld, you can submit Form W-4V.PDF File , Voluntary Withholding Request, to initiate the 10% withholding on future benefit distributions.

Recommended: Does Filing for Unemployment Affect Your Credit Score?

Paying Quarterly

To avoid owing an underpayment penalty when you file your taxes, you may need to make quarterly estimated payments on your unemployment earnings. You can use Form 1040-ES and send in your payment by mail, or you can pay online or over the phone.

If you’re new to estimating taxes, you can use the IRS resource for quarterly taxes , work with an accountant, or use tax software.

Tips for Paying Taxes on Unemployment Benefits

Being unemployed can be stressful, and on top of that, it may be hard to figure out how to properly pay taxes on unemployment benefits you receive. Follow this advice which can help simplify and clarify the process.

•   Opting into tax withholding: When you apply for unemployment, you can opt into automatic tax withholding at a flat 10% rate. While it may not be enough to cover your entire tax liability, it’s a good start — and can keep you from overspending your unemployment compensation.

•   Setting aside money in a high-yield savings account: If you don’t opt in to withholding (or if 10% is not enough to cover your tax liability), you’ll need to pay quarterly estimated taxes on your unemployment income. To avoid accidentally spending that money before it’s due, it’s a good idea to calculate what you’ll owe and put it in a savings account that pays a competition rate that you won’t touch until it’s time to pay Uncle Sam. Bonus: You’ll be earning interest on the money.

•   Keeping track of all your earnings and paperwork: Tax filing can be complicated — there are lots of forms to collect and statements to reference. Keeping clean records of benefit distributions and quarterly payments throughout is crucial to preparing for tax season.

•   Using IRS Free File: Because you have to pay taxes on all income, including unemployment, you’ll likely want some help. If your adjusted gross income is $79,000 or less, you can get free guided tax preparation through IRS Free File . If your AGI is too high but you’re feeling overwhelmed by how complicated your taxes are, it might be a good idea to pay for tax software or hire an accountant.

•   Being aware of unemployment fraud: It’s possible for criminals to use your personal information to falsely make unemployment claims in your name. If you receive Form 1099-G for unemployment compensation but did not receive any unemployment benefits, follow the Department of Labor’s steps for reporting unemployment identity fraud .

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The Takeaway

Like other forms of income, unemployment benefits are subject to taxes. If you aren’t having taxes withheld from your unemployment compensation — or if the flat 10% rate is not high enough — the IRS requires that you pay quarterly taxes. Paying what you owe on unemployment benefits is an important and necessary step in correctly filing your tax return.

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Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Do you pay less in taxes when you’re on unemployment?

Your tax rate depends on your adjusted gross income. If you earned less income because you were unemployed — and your unemployment checks are smaller than your paychecks had been — you can expect to pay less in taxes.

Are unemployment benefits taxed in states with no income tax?

Unemployment money is taxed at the federal level no matter which state you live in. However, if you live in a state with no state income taxes, you won’t have to pay state taxes on your unemployment benefits. Four states that levy income taxes also exempt you from paying those state taxes on unemployment compensation: California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Was pandemic unemployment taxed?

Pandemic unemployment was not taxed for the 2020 tax year — to a certain degree. Following the historic job loss associated with the initial wave of COVID-19, the government passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which made the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits non-taxable.

However, this was a one-time exclusion. Though the pandemic continued beyond the 2020 tax year, unemployment income became completely taxable once again.


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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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

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Applying for Economic Hardship Deferment

Managing student loan payments can feel like a part-time job. It can be even more overwhelming if you’re experiencing financial trouble, whether that’s due to a job layoff, caring for a family member, or for another reason.

The good news is there are options available to those going through a rough financial patch, including the Economic Hardship Deferment program. But even then, it can be difficult to navigate all of the information on which deferment program you may be eligible to apply for based on the reason for your hardship and the type of student loans you have. So that’s what we’re going to discuss today.

Economic Hardship Deferment, also known as student loan financial hardship, is a program offered in certain cases on federal student loans for borrowers who are eligible and having an exceedingly difficult time making their student loan payments for financial reasons.

Below, we’ll discuss the Economic Hardship Deferment program and what it means for you and your loans, who qualifies to make a hardship claim for student loans, how to apply for the program, and whether it’s the right path for you. We’ll also cover alternatives to Economic Hardship Deferment.

What Is Economic Hardship Deferment?

Student loan deferment allows you to reduce or pause your student loan payments for a designated period of time. An Economic Hardship Deferment is awarded to those who are facing serious financial trouble, as determined by factors such as monthly income and family size.

Those approved for the program can take up to 36 consecutive months of deferment so long as they still meet the qualifications. All participants (except those in the Peace Corps) need to reapply each year.

An important distinction to understand is whether your loans will qualify for a deferment period where interest will accrue, or one where interest does not accrue. Generally, loans that are subsidized will not accrue interest during deferment, whereas an unsubsidized loan will.

In the event your loan qualifies for deferment but will continue to accrue interest, you’ll usually have two options: Make interest-only payments on the loan, or allow interest charges to rack up.

When you allow interest charges to accumulate on an unsubsidized loan, that interest will be tallied up and added to the balance of the loan at the end of the period. This is a process called “capitalization.”

Not only will you have a new, larger balance to pay off, but any future interest payments will be calculated on top of the new, higher balance, meaning you’re paying interest on top of interest. All else equal, the result is that your monthly payments will likely be even higher than they are now.

Which Loans Qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment?

This is a federal loan program, and not all federal loans qualify. Here are a few examples of loans that may qualify (and check the link below for a full, updated list of eligible loans):

•  National Direct Student Loans (NDSL Loans)

•  Federal Family Education Loans (FEEL Loans)

•  Federal Stafford Loans

•  Federal Perkins Loans

•  Federal Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS Loans)

•  Federal PLUS Loans

•  Federal Consolidation Loans

•  National Defense Student Loans

The Economic Hardship Deferment program is typically available for loans borrowed on or after July 1, 1993.

The Economic Hardship Deferment program is only available for federal student loans, so private loans borrowed through independent financial institutions won’t qualify. However, some private lenders offer their own hardship programs. If your lender offers such a program, they will have their own unique qualifications and application process.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask if you are in a difficult financial situation. Remember, lenders don’t want you to default on your loans, and are often willing to work with borrowers to find some sort of solution. With both federal and private loans, never hesitate to call the lender, discuss your situation, and explore options.

Who Qualifies for Economic Hardship Deferment?

To make a hardship claim for student loans, you will have to fill out paperwork and provide documentation proving that you are experiencing financial hardship. Some of the eligibility criteria for an Economic Hardship Deferment will depend on your income, family size, and the poverty income guidelines for your family size in the state where you live (150% of the state poverty level or less). It will also depend on what percentage your student loan payment is of your monthly adjusted gross income.

To qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment, you will need to provide personal information such as your name, Social Security number, and address. You’ll also need to know what type of loan you are requesting economic hardship deferment for.

Here are some examples of what you may need to prove to the loan servicer evaluating your eligibility for deferment:

  1. You’ve already been granted Economic Hardship Deferment on loans made under another federal student loan program.

  2. You’re receiving payments under a federal or state public assistance program during the time in which you request your loan deferment. Examples of such programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or other forms of state assistance.

  3. You are serving as a Peace Corp volunteer.

  4. You work full-time (30 hours per week) and your monthly income does not exceed 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state.

Here’s how to tell if you meet this last guideline: First, determine your family size. This includes you, your spouse, any children who receive more than half of their support from you, any unborn children who are to be born during the deferment period, and anyone else living with you for whom you provide at least half of their support.

Next, find your family size on the following table, and compare it to your annual income (divide by 12 to get your average monthly income).

Family Size   Alaska     Hawaii     All Other States  
1 $18,210 $16,770 $14,580
2 $24,640 $22,680 $19,720
3 $31,070 $28,590 $24,860
4 $37,500 $34,500 $30,000
5 $43,930 $40,410 $35,140
6 $50,360 $46,320 $40,280
7 $56,790 $52,230 $45,420
8 $63,220 $58,140 $50,560
Each additional person, add $6,430 $5,910 $5,140

These figures are from 2023 and are subject to change annually.

You are likely to qualify for the student loan financial hardship program as long as you meet one of these prerequisites. If that is the case, and you would like to pursue the option, contact your lender or student loan servicer. Tell them you would like to apply for Economic Hardship Deferment. At this point, they typically ask you a series of questions and have you fill out an Economic Hardship Deferment Request form.

Pros and Cons of Economic Hardship Deferment

Pros

For someone who is in desperate need of reprieve from their student loan payments, the program can be a godsend. You may want to consider taking advantage of this program if the alternative is defaulting on student loans, which can have a long-lasting, detrimental effect on your credit score and history.

If your loans are subsidized, there is no cost to taking an Economic Hardship Deferment.

Periods of deferment are provided to borrowers who need time to find a job, increase their income, or recover from the many myriad of life events that could leave someone in a place of need. There is no shame in this, whatsoever, but it’s a great idea to use the deferment period to work on rebuilding.

Cons

With unsubsidized loans, taking a period of deferment will make the loans in question cost more over time. Even if you make interest payments during your deferment, you aren’t chipping away at the principal, and so all of those payments are essentially a wash. If you don’t make interest payments, the total value of those unpaid interest payments will be slapped on top of the loan balance, increasing your loan balance and the amount you’ll owe in interest, over time.

When the period of deferment ends, your monthly payment will likely be higher than it is now, which may be difficult for someone who is already experiencing financial hardship. Use the program if you need it, but know it can come with some costs in the long term.

It is also extremely difficult to qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment. The program utilizes stringent criteria to determine eligibility with income review using poverty level guidelines as noted above. (For example, a single person working full-time and earning $20,000 per year and living in California who is not already on food stamps or other forms of government assistance would probably not qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment.) This makes the program unavailable to many people who are legitimately having difficulty making their loan payments.

Alternatives to Economic Hardship Deferment

Forbearance

If you do not qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment, an option is to request forbearance. Forbearance is similar to deferment, though interest accrues in all cases, and periods of forbearance generally do not exceed 12 months (and could be shorter). You’ll need to check with your loan servicer to see if you qualify.

Income Driven Repayment Plans

There are four income-driven repayment plans, including the latest SAVE plan, that help make student loan payments more affordable by reducing them to a percentage of your discretionary income. SAVE, for example, caps your payments at 5% to 10% of your income, depending on the types of loans you have. Under other plans, your payments may be capped at anywhere from 10% to 20% of your income.

IDR plans also stretch your repayment timeline out up to 25 years. If you have any debt left over after than, it’s forgiven (though it may be subject to income taxes).

Though your monthly payments will be lower, which provides some immediate relief, you will pay significantly more in interest over time. It is possible to switch to an alternative repayment plan and back again if your financial situation improves.

Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

With 10 years of on-time payments at a qualifying job (like a government worker, a teacher, a doctor, or nurse at a qualifying facility), it is possible to have student loans forgiven with the PSLF program. If you go this route, you’ll usually want to switch to an income-driven repayment plan.

Student Loan Refinancing

Another option to consider for both your federal and private student loans is student loan refinancing. Refinancing is the process of switching out your loan or multiple loans with one new loan at an (ideally) lower rate of interest.

The lower rate of interest could save you money on interest payments over the life of the loan. Use a student loan refinancing calculator to see how lower interest rates affect your monthly payments.

It’s important to know that if you refinance federal loans with a private lender, you will lose access to federal student loan programs such as Economic Hardship Deferment or PSLF.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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What Is a SIMPLE IRA? How Does it Work?

The Ultimate Guide to SIMPLE IRAs for Employees and Small Businesses

If you’re exploring retirement plans, you may be wondering, what is a SIMPLE IRA? A SIMPLE IRA is one type of tax-advantaged retirement savings plans to help self-employed individuals and small business owners put money away for their future.

You may already be familiar with traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs). A SIMPLE IRA, or Saving Incentive Match Plan for Employees, is one type of IRA.

What Is a SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRA plans are employer-sponsored retirement accounts for businesses with 100 or fewer employees. They are also retirement accounts for the self-employed. If you’re your own boss and self-employed, you can set one up for yourself.

For small business owners, SIMPLE IRAs are an easy-to-manage, low-cost way to contribute to their own retirement while at the same time helping employees to contribute to their savings as well.

How Does a SIMPLE IRA Work?

Now that you know the answer to the question, what is a SIMPLE IRA?, you are probably wondering how this plan works. A SIMPLE IRA is one of the different types of retirement plans available. In order for an employee to participate, they must have earned at least $5,000 in compensation over the course of any two years prior to the current calendar year, and they must expect to make $5,000 in the current calendar year.

It is possible for employers to set less restrictive rules for SIMPLE IRA eligibility. For example, they could lower the amount employees are required to have made in a previous two-year time. However, they cannot make participation rules more restrictive.

Employers can exclude certain types of employees from the plan, including union members who have already bargained for retirement benefits and nonresident aliens who don’t receive their compensation from the employer.


💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

SIMPLE IRA vs Traditional IRA

When it comes to a SIMPLE IRA vs. Traditional IRA, the two plans are similar. However, there are some key differences between the two. A SIMPLE IRA is for small business owners and their employees. A traditional IRA is for anyone with an earned income.

The eligibility criteria is different for the two plans. To be eligible for a SIMPLE IRA, an employee must have earned at least $5,000 in compensation over the course of two years prior — and expect to make $5,000 in the current calendar year. With a traditional IRA, an individual must have earned income in the past year.

And while both types of IRAs are tax deferred, a traditional IRA allows individuals to make tax deductible contributions, while only an employer or sole proprietor can make tax deductible contributions to a SIMPLE IRA.

One of the biggest differences between the two plans is the contribution amount. Individuals can contribute $6,500 in 2023 to a traditional IRA (or $7,500 if they are age 50 or older) and $7,000 in 2024 (or $8,000 if they are 50 or over), while those who have a SIMPLE IRA can contribute $15,500 in 2023 and $16,000 in 2024 (plus an extra $3,500 for those age 50 and older for both 2023 and 2024).

SIMPLE IRA vs 401(k)

SIMPLE IRAs have some similarity to 401(k)s. Both are employer-sponsored plans that eligible employees can contribute to. Contributions made to both are made with pre-tax dollars, and the money in the accounts grows tax-deferred. Both types of plans give the employer the option to make matching contributions to employees’ plans.

One major difference between the two plans is that while self-employed individuals can’t open a 401(k), they can set up a SIMPLE IRA for themselves.

Additionally, individuals can contribute much more to a 401(k) than they can to a SIMPLE IRA. In 2023, those with a 401(k) can contribute $22,500 to the plan, plus an extra $7,500 for those 50 and older. In 2024, they can contribute 23,000 to their 401(k) and an additional $7,500 if they’re 50 or older. In comparison, in 2023, individuals can contribute $15,500 to a SIMPLE IRA, plus $3,500 extra for those 50 and up. For 2024, they can contribute $16,000, plus an additional $3,500 if they are 50 or older.

SIMPLE IRA Contribution Rules

Employer Contribution and Matching Rules

When an employer sets up a SIMPLE IRA plan, they are required to contribute to it each year. They have two options: They can either make matching contributions of up to 3% of an employee’s compensation, or they can make a nonelective contribution of 2% for each eligible employee, up to an annual limit of $330,000 in 2023 and $345,000 in 2024.

If the employer chooses the latter option, they must make a contribution to their employees’ accounts, even if those employees don’t contribute themselves. Contributions to employee accounts are tax deductible.

Employee Contributions

Eligible employees can choose to contribute to the plan, as well. In 2023, SIMPLE IRA contribution limits are up to $15,500 in deferrals. Those 50 and older can contribute an extra $3,500 in catch-up contributions, which brings their annual maximum contributions up to $19,000. In 2024, eligible employees can contribute up to $16,000, while those 50 and older can contribute an additional $3,500. Those contribution levels may change over time, as the government adjusts them to account for inflation.

Contributions reduce employees’ taxable income, which gives them an immediate tax benefit, lowering their income taxes in the year they contribute. Contributions can be invested inside the account and may grow tax-deferred until the employee makes withdrawals when they retire.

IRA withdrawal rules are particularly important to pay attention to as they can be a bit complicated. Withdrawals made after age 59 ½ are subject to income tax. If you make withdrawals before then, you may be subject to an additional 10% or 25% penalty. Account holders must make required minimum distributions from their accounts when they reach age 73.

Establishing and Operating a SIMPLE IRA Plan

SIMPLE IRAs are relatively easy to put in place, since they have no filing requirements for employers. Employers cannot offer another retirement plan in addition to offering a SIMPLE IRA.

If you’re interested in opening a SIMPLE IRA, banks and brokerages may have a plan, known as a prototype plan, that’s already been approved by the IRS.

Otherwise you’ll need to fill out one of two forms to set up your plan:

•   Form 5304-SIMPLE allows employees to choose the financial institutions that will receive their SIMPLE IRA contributions.

•   You can also fill out Form 5305-SIMPLE, which means employees will deposit SIMPLE IRA contributions at a single financial institution chosen by the employer.

Once you have established the SIMPLE IRA, an account must be set up by or for each employee, and employers and employees can start to make contributions.

Notice Requirements for Employees

There are minimal paperwork requirements for a SIMPLE IRA. Once the employer opens and establishes the plan through a financial institution, they need to notify employees about it. This should be done by October 1 of the year the plan is intended to begin. Employees have 60 days to make their elections.

Eligible employees need to be notified about the plan annually. Any changes or new terms to the plan must be disclosed. At the beginning of each annual election period, employers must notify their employees of the following:

•   Opportunities to make or change salary reductions.

•   The ability to choose a financial institution to receive SIMPLE IRA contribution, if applicable.

•   Employer’s decisions to make nonelective or matching contributions.

•   A summary description provided by the financial institution that acts as trustee of SIMPLE IRA fund, and notice that employees can transfer their balance without cost of penalty if the employer is using a designated financial institution.

Participant Loans and Withdrawals

No loans are allowed to participants in a SIMPLE IRA. Withdrawals made before age 59 ½ are subject to a possible 10% or 25% penalty.

Rollovers and Transfers to Other Retirement Accounts

For the first two years of participating in a SIMPLE IRA, participants can only do a tax-free rollover to another SIMPLE IRA. After two years, they may be able to roll over their SIMPLE IRA to other non-Roth IRAs or an employer-sponsored plan such as 401(k).


💡 Quick Tip: Want to lower your taxable income? Start saving for retirement with a traditional IRA. The money you save each year is tax deductible (and you don’t owe any taxes until you withdraw the funds, usually in retirement).

The Advantages and Drawbacks of a SIMPLE IRA Plan

While SIMPLE IRAs may offer a lot of benefits, including immediate tax benefits, tax-deferred growth, and employer contributions, there are some drawbacks. For example, SIMPLE IRAs don’t allow employees to save as much as other retirement plans such as 401(k)s and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs.

In 2023, employees can contribute up to $22,500 to a 401(k) account, with an extra $7,500 in catch-up contributions for those 50 and older. In 2024, they can contribute up to $23,000 to a 401(k), plus an additional $7,500 for those 50 and over. Individuals with a SEP IRA account can contribute up to 25% of their employee compensation, or $66,000, whichever is less, in 2023. They can contribute up to $69,000 or up to 25% of their compensation, whichever is less in 2024.

The good news is, employees with SIMPLE IRAs can make up some of that lost ground. Employers may be wondering about the merits of choosing between a SIMPLE and traditional IRA, but they can actually have both.

Employers and employees can open a traditional or Roth IRA and fund it simultaneously. For 2023, total contributions to IRAs can be up to $6,500, or $7,500 for those ages 50 and older. For 2024, total IRA contributions can be up to $7,000, or $8,000 for those 50 and over.

Here some pros and cons of starting and funding a SIMPLE IRA at a glance:

Pros of a SIMPLE IRA

Cons of a SIMPLE IRA

Easy to set up, with less paperwork than other retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s. Lower contribution limits than other plans, such as 401(k)s and SEP IRAs.
Employers have lower upfront and management costs to run the plan. Withdrawals made before age 59 ½ are subject to a possible 10% or 25% penalty.
Contributions are tax deductible for employers and employees. There is no Roth option that would allow employees to fund the retirement account with after-tax dollars that would translate to tax-free withdrawals in retirement.
There are no filing requirements with the IRS.

Eligibility and Participation in a SIMPLE IRA

As mentioned previously, there are some rules about who can participate in a SIMPLE IRA. Here’s a quick recap.

Who Can Establish and Participate in a SIMPLE IRA?

Small business owners with fewer than 100 employees and self-employed individuals can set up and participate in a SIMPLE IRA, along with any eligible employees.

Employers can’t offer any other type of employer-sponsored plan if they set up a SIMPLE IRA.

Employees’ Eligibility and Participation Criteria

In order for an employee to be eligible to participate, they must have earned at least $5,000 in compensation over the course of any two years prior to the current calendar year, and they must expect to make $5,000 in the current calendar year.

Employees can choose less restrictive requirements if they choose. They may also exclude certain individuals from a SIMPLE IRA, such as those in unions who receive benefits through the union.

Investment Choices and Account Maintenance

The employer chooses investment options for the SIMPLE IRA and maintains the plan. Employees then select the investment options they want.

Investment Choices Under a SIMPLE IRA

Typically, there are more investment choices with a SIMPLE IRA than there with a 401(k). Investment options can include stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and bonds.

Understanding SIMPLE IRA Distributions

There are particular rules for SIMPLE IRA distributions, and it’s important to be aware of them. This is what you need to know.

Withdrawal Rules and Tax Consequences

As discussed previously, withdrawals made before age 59 ½ are subject to income tax plus a potential 10% or 25% penalty. Withdrawals made after age 59 ½ are subject to income tax only and no penalty. Account holders must make required minimum distributions from their accounts when they reach age 73.

The 2-Year Rule and Early Withdrawal Penalties

There is a two-year rule for withdrawals from a SIMPLE IRA. If you make a withdrawal within the first two years of participating in the plan, the penalty may be increased from 10% to 25%.

The Takeaway

SIMPLE IRAs are one of the easiest ways that self-employed individuals and small business owners can help themselves and their employees save for retirement, whether they’re experienced retirement investors or they’re opening their first IRA.

These accounts can even be used in conjunction with certain other retirement accounts and investment accounts to help individuals save even more.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.


Photo credit: iStock/shapecharge

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

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