woman holding laptop

Retirement Plan Options for the Self-Employed

Being your own boss is great, and the retirement plan options when you’re self-employed — like a SEP-IRA or solo 401(k) — can be surprisingly robust.

Not only do you have more options in terms of self-employed retirement plans than you might think, some of these plans come with higher contribution limits and greater tax benefits than traditional plans. That’s especially true since the passage of the SECURE 2.0 Act, which has favorably adjusted the rules of many retirement plans.

Key Points

•   Self-employed individuals have robust retirement plan options like SEP-IRA and solo 401(k) with high contribution limits and tax benefits.

•   These plans are similar to traditional ones, allowing long-term contributions and investment selections.

•   SEP-IRAs are ideal for business owners with employees, offering simplified contributions that are tax-deductible.

•   Solo 401(k) plans suit owner-only businesses, allowing substantial contributions as both employer and employee.

•   SIMPLE IRAs are designed for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, enabling both employer and employee contributions.

What Are Self-Employed Retirement Plans?

In some ways, self-employed retirement plans aren’t so different from regular retirement plans. You can set aside money now, select investments within the account, and continue to contribute and invest for the long term.

Similar to traditional retirement plans, you have two main categories most self-employed plans fall into:

•   Tax-deferred retirement accounts (e.g traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRAs and solo 401(k) plans). The amount you can save varies by the type of account. The money you set aside is deductible, and you don’t pay tax on that portion of your income. You do pay taxes on the funds you withdraw in retirement.

•   After-tax retirement accounts (typically designated as Roth IRAs or Roth 401(k) accounts). Here you can also save up to the prescribed annual limit, but the money you save is after-tax income and cannot be deducted. That said, withdrawals in retirement are tax free.

A note about Roth eligibility: Roth IRAs come with income limits. If your income is higher than the prescribed limit, you may not be eligible. Roth 401(k) plans do not come with income restrictions. Details below.

Understanding Beneficiary Rules for Self-Employed Plans

The rules that apply to inherited retirement accounts are extremely complicated. If you’re the beneficiary of an IRA, solo 401(k) or other retirement account, you may want to consult a professional as terms vary widely, and penalties can apply.

Administrative Factors to Consider

When selecting a self-employed retirement plan, it’s important to weigh the set up, administrative, and IRS filing rules. Some plans are easier to establish and maintain than others.

Given that running a plan can add to your overall time and personnel costs, it’s important to do a cost-benefit analysis when choosing a retirement plan when you’re a freelancer, consultant, or small business owner.

💡 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).

Types of Self-Employed Retirement Plans

The IRS outlines a number of retirement plans for those who are freelance, self-employed, or who run their own businesses. Here are the basics.

Traditional and Roth IRAs

What they are: One of the most popular types of retirement plans is an IRA — or Individual Retirement Arrangement.

As noted above, there are traditional IRAs, which are tax deferred, as well as Roth IRAs, which are after-tax accounts.

Suited for: While anyone with earned income can open a traditional or Roth IRA, these accounts can also be used specifically as self-employed retirement plans. They are simple to set up; and most financial institutions offer IRAs.

That said, IRAs have the lowest contribution limits of any self-employed plans, and may be better suited to those who are starting out, or who have a side hustle, and can’t contribute large amounts to a retirement account.

Contribution limits. There is no age limit for contributing to a traditional or Roth IRA, but there are contribution limits (and for Roth IRAs there are income limits; see below).

For tax year 2024, you can contribute up to $7,000 annually to either type of IRA, with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution allowed for people over 50 years old. (For tax year 2023, you may contribute $6,500 per year, $7,500 with the catch-up provision, until April 15, 2024.)

Note that your total annual combined contributions across all your IRA accounts cannot exceed those limits. So if you’re 35 and contribute $3,000 to a Roth IRA for 2024, you cannot contribute more than $4,000 to a traditional IRA in the same year, for a maximum total annual contribution of $7,000.

Income limits: There are no income limits for contributing to a traditional IRA, but Roth IRAs do come with income restrictions. In 2024, that limit is $146,000 for single people (people earning more than $146,000 but less than $161,000 can contribute a reduced amount). For those individuals who are married and file taxes jointly, the limit is $230,000 to make a full contribution, and between $230,000 to $240,000 for a reduced amount.

Tax benefits: The main difference between a traditional vs. Roth IRA is the tax treatment of the money you save.

•   With a traditional IRA, the contributions you make are tax-deductible when you make them (unless you’re covered by a retirement plan at work, in which case conditions apply). Withdrawals are taxed at ordinary income rates.

•   With a Roth IRA, there are no tax breaks for your contributions, but qualified withdrawals are tax free.

Withdrawal rules: You owe ordinary income tax on withdrawals from a traditional IRA after age 59 ½. You may owe a 10% penalty on early withdrawals, i.e. before age 59 ½. There are exceptions to this rule for medical and educational expenses, as well as other conditions, so be sure to check with a professional or on IRS.gov.

The rules and restrictions for taking withdrawals from a Roth are more complex. Although your contributions to a Roth IRA (i.e. your principal) can be withdrawn at any time, investment earnings on those contributions can only be withdrawn tax-free and without penalty once the investor reaches the age of 59½ — and as long as the account has been open for at least five years (a.k.a. the 5-year rule).

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): You are not required to take minimum distributions from a Roth IRA account. You are required to take minimum distributions from a traditional IRA starting at age 73. RMD rules can be complicated, so you may want to consult a professional to avoid making a mistake and potentially owing a penalty.

Solo 401(k)

What it is: A solo 401(k) is a self-employed retirement plan that the IRS also refers to as a one-participant 401(k) plan. It works a bit like a regular employer-backed 401(k), except that in this instance you’re the employer and the employee. There are contribution rules for each role, but this dual structure enables freelancers and solo business owners to save more than a standard 401(k) would allow.

Suited for: A solo 401(k) covers a business owner who has no employees, or employs only their spouse.

Contribution limits:

•   As the employee: For 2024, you can contribute up to $23,000 or 100% of compensation (whichever is less), with an additional $7,500 in catch-up contributions allowed if you’re over 50, for a total of $30,500.

•   As the employer: You can contribute up to 25% of your net earnings, with separate rules for single-member LLCs or sole proprietors.

Total contributions cannot exceed a total of $69,000, or $76,500 if you’re 50 and over.

You can not use a solo 401(k) if you have any employees, though you can hire your spouse so they can also contribute to the plan (and you can match their contributions as the employer), further reducing your taxable income.

Note that 401(k) contribution limits are per person, not per plan (similar to IRA rules), so if either you or your spouse are enrolled in another 401(k) plan, then the $69,000 limit per person must take into account any contributions to that other 401(k) plan.

Income limits: There is a limit on the amount of compensation that’s allowed for use in determining your contributions. For tax year 2024 it’s $345,000.

Tax benefits: A solo 401(k) has a similar tax setup as a traditional 401(k). Contributions can be deducted, thus reducing your taxable income and potentially the amount of tax you owe for the year you contribute. But you owe ordinary income tax on any withdrawals.

Withdrawal rules: You can take withdrawals from a solo 401(k) without penalty at age 59 ½ or older. Distributions may be allowed before that time in the case of certain “triggering events,” such as a disability (you can find a list of exceptions at IRS.gov), but you may owe a 10% penalty as well as income tax on the withdrawal.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): You are required to take minimum distributions from a solo 401(k) starting at age 73. RMD rules can be complicated, so you may want to consult a professional to avoid making a mistake and potentially owing a penalty.

Simplified Employee Pension (or a SEP-IRA)

What it is: A SEP-IRA, or Simplified Employee Pension plan, is similar to a traditional IRA with a streamlined way for an employer (in this case, you) to make contributions to their own and their employees’ retirement savings. Note that when using a SEP-IRA, the employer makes all contributions; employees do not contribute to the SEP.

Suited for: A key difference in a SEP-IRA vs. other self-employment retirement plans is that it’s designed for those who run a business with employees. Employers have to contribute an equal percentage of salary for every employee (and you are counted as an employee). Again, employees may not contribute to the SEP-IRA.

That means, as the employer, you can not contribute more to your retirement account than to your employees’ accounts (as a percentage, not in absolute dollars). On the plus side, it’s slightly simpler than a solo 401(k) to manage in terms of paperwork and annual reporting.

Contribution limits: For 2024, the SEP-IRA rules and limits are as follows: you can contribute up to $69,000 or 25% of an employee’s total compensation, whichever is less. Be sure to understand employee eligibility rules.

As the employer you can contribute up to 20% of your net compensation.

Note that SEP-IRAs are flexible: Contribution amounts can vary each year, and you can skip a year.

Income limits: For tax year 2024 there is an income cap of $345,000 on the compensation.

Tax benefits: Employer and employees can deduct contributions from their earnings, and withdrawals in retirement are taxed as income.

Withdrawal rules: You can take withdrawals from a SEP-IRA without penalty at age 59 ½ or older. Distributions may be allowed before that time in the case of certain “triggering events,” such as a disability (you can find a list of exceptions at IRS.gov), but you may owe a 10% penalty as well as income tax on the withdrawal.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): You are required to take minimum distributions from a SEP-IRA starting at age 73. RMD rules can be complicated, so you may want to consult a professional to avoid making a mistake and potentially owing a penalty.

New rules under SECURE 2.0: Starting in 2024, SEP-IRA plans can now include a designated Roth option. But not all plan providers offer the Roth option at this time.

💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

SIMPLE IRA

What it is: A SIMPLE IRA (which stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) is similar to a SEP-IRA except it’s designed for larger businesses. Unlike a SEP plan, individual employees can also contribute to their own retirement as salary deferrals out of their paycheck.

Suited for: Small businesses that typically employ 100 people or less.

Contribution limits for employers: A small business owner who sets up a SIMPLE plan has two options.

•   Matching contributions. The employer can match employee contributions dollar for dollar, up to 3%.

•   Fixed contributions. The employer can contribute a fixed 2% of compensation for each employee.

Employer contributions are required every year (unlike a SEP-IRA plan), and similar to a SEP, contributions are based on a maximum compensation amount of $345,000 for 2024.

Contribution limits for employees: Employees can contribute up to $16,000 to a SIMPLE plan for 2023, and additional $3,500 for those 50 and up.

Tax benefits: Employer and employees can deduct contributions from their earnings, and withdrawals in retirement are taxed as income.

Withdrawal rules: Withdrawals are taxed as income. If you make an early withdrawal before the age of 59 ½ , you’ll likely incur a 10% penalty much like a regular 401(k); do so within the first two years of setting up the SIMPLE account and the penalty jumps to 25%.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): You are required to take minimum distributions from a SEP-IRA starting at age 73. RMD rules can be complicated, so you may want to consult a professional to avoid making a mistake and potentially owing a penalty.

New rules under SECURE 2.0: Starting in 2024, the federal law permits employers that provide a SIMPLE plan to make additional contributions on behalf of employees, as long as the amount doesn’t exceed 10% of compensation or $5,000, whichever is less. This amount will be indexed for inflation.

Under these new rules, student loan payments that employees make can be treated as elective deferrals (contributions) for the purpose of the employer’s matching contributions.

In addition, SIMPLE plans can now include a designated Roth option, but not all plan providers offer the Roth option at this time.

Defined-Benefit Retirement Plan

Another retirement option you’ve probably heard about is the defined-benefit plan, or pension plan. Typically, a defined benefit plan pays out set annual benefits upon retirement, usually based on salary and years of service.

Typically pension plans have been set up and run by very large entities, such as corporations and federal and local governments. But it is possible for a self-employed individual to set up a DB plan.

These plans do allow for very high contributions, but the downside of trying to set up and run your own pension plan is the cost and hassle. Because a pension provides fixed income payments in retirement (i.e. the defined benefit), actuarial oversight is required annually.

The Takeaway

When you’re an entrepreneur, freelance, or otherwise self-employed, it may feel as if you’re out on your own, and your options are limited in terms of retirement plans. But in fact there are a number of options to consider, including various types of IRAs and a solo 401(k).

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).

Easily manage your retirement savings with a SoFi IRA.



SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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.

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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401k egg in a nest

How To Make Changes to Your 401(k) Contributions

Whether you just set up your 401(k) plan or you established one long ago, you may want to change the amount of your contributions — or even how they’re invested. Fortunately, it’s usually a fairly straightforward process to change 401(k) contributions.

How often can you change your 401(k) contributions? You may be able to make changes at any time, depending on your plan. After all, the point of a 401(k) plan is to help you save for your retirement. So it’s important to keep an eye on your account and your investments within the account, to make sure that you’re saving and investing according to your goals.

Learn how to maximize your 401(k), change your 401(k) contributions, and save for retirement.

Key Points

•   Adjusting 401(k) contributions can usually be done at any time, depending on the specific plan rules.

•   Employers may match contributions up to a certain percentage, enhancing the value of saving.

•   Changes in financial circumstances or salary increases can justify modifying contribution amounts.

•   Rebalancing investment allocations periodically is crucial to maintain desired risk levels.

•   Automatic contribution increases can be set up to progressively enhance retirement savings.

Purpose of a 401(k)

A 401(k) is a retirement account that a company may offer to its employees. In some cases, enrollment in the employer’s 401(k) is automatic; in other cases it’s not. Be sure to check, so that you can take advantage of this savings opportunity.

Employees may contribute a portion of their paycheck to their 401(k) account, and employers might also contribute to each employee’s account (again, depending on the plan).

The employer’s portion is called the company’s “match” or matching funds. Typically, an employer might match up to a certain percentage of what the employee saves. One common matching plan is when a company matches 50 cents for every dollar saved, up to 6% of the employee’s total contributions. Terms vary, so it’s best to ask your Human Resources representative what the match is.

The money a participant contributes to their 401(k) plan is technically called an “elective salary deferral” because it’s optional, not required, and those deductions are not included in an employee’s taxable income. That’s why 401(k) and similar accounts (like a 403(b) and most IRAs) are often called tax-deferred accounts: You don’t pay taxes on the money you’ve saved until you withdraw the money in retirement.

This tax benefit can be significant. Every dollar you save reduces your taxable income, which may result in a lower tax bill in some cases.

💡 Quick Tip: The advantage of opening an IRA, like a Roth IRA, and a tax-deferred account like a 401(k) or traditional IRA is that by the time you retire, you’ll have tax-free income from your Roth, and taxable income from the tax-deferred account. This can help with tax planning.

Can You Change Your 401(k) Contribution at Any Time?

While the opportunity to make changes to some employee benefits, like health insurance, are generally only offered once a year during so-called open enrollment periods, many 401(k) plans allow participants to change the amount of their 401(k) contributions at any point. According to Department of Labor guidelines, an employer must allow plan participants to change investments at least quarterly (sometimes more often, if company stock or other high-risk investments are offered by the plan).

These are some of the reasons you may want to change 401(k) contribution amounts.

The Ability to Save More

You may have gotten a raise, or experienced a change in your financial circumstances, and wish to increase the percentage of your savings. Contributions to these plans are typically expressed as a percentage of your annual salary. For example, if you earn $75,000 per year, and your contribution rate is 10%, you would save a total of $7,500 per year. If you got a raise to $80,000 and now wish to contribute 12%, you would save a total of $9,600 per year.

To Get the Match

As discussed above, some 401(k) plans offer a savings match from the employer. In most cases, the match is a set percentage of the employee’s contribution. If you started your 401(k) at a point when you couldn’t get the full match, you may want to increase your contributions to get the full employer match.

Rebalancing Your Asset Allocation

If you’ve held the account for a while, say a year or more, the original allocation of your investments — i.e. the balance between equities, cash, and fixed income investments — may have shifted. Restoring the original balance of your investments may be a priority, if your strategy and risk tolerance haven’t changed.

Changing Your Asset Allocation

You also might want to shift the asset allocation because your financial strategy has become more aggressive (i.e. tilting toward stocks) or more conservative (tilting toward cash and fixed income).

Setting Up Automatic Increases

Some plans offer participants the option of automatically increasing their contribution rate every year, typically up to a certain percentage (e.g. 15%), and not to exceed the maximum contribution levels. The IRS contribution limit for 401(k) plans for 2024 is $23,000 for participants under age 50. Those 50 and older can save an extra $7,500 in “catch-up contributions”, for a total of $30,500. For 2023, the contribution limit is $22,500 for participants under age 50. Those 50 and older can save an extra $7,500 in “catch-up contributions”, for a total of $30,000.

Setting up automatic increases allows you to save more in your 401(k) each year without having to think about it; this can be beneficial for overcoming the inertia common among some savers.

How to Change 401(k) Contributions: 3 Steps

Again, the 401(k) plan provider will be able to advise participants on how often they can make changes to their contributions, and what the process will look like. For employees unsure of who the plan provider is, the company’s human resource department can point them in the right direction.

In some cases, participants can change their contributions directly through their plan provider’s website. Generally, the process of making changes to a 401(k) looks like this:

Step 1:

The employee contacts their 401(k) provider to discuss how to change contributions for their particular 401(k) plan.

Step 2:

The employee considers how much of their paycheck they want to contribute to their 401(k) moving forward, taking their company’s 401(k) match into consideration, and ideally contributing at least that much. The employee might also change their asset allocation, depending on plan rules.

Step 3:

The participant fills out any forms (online or via paperwork) to confirm their new contribution.

Often, these steps can take just a few minutes, using your plan sponsor’s website.

Why Contribute to a 401(k)? 3 Good Reasons

Contributing to a 401(k) plan is an important way to save for retirement. The funds in a 401(k) are invested, generally in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or target date funds — which can offer the potential for growth over time. Typically there are about eight to 12 investment options in most 401(k) plans.

But perhaps the three best reasons to contribute to a 401(k) plan are the opportunity to save automatically via regular payroll deductions; the potentially lower tax bill; and the ability to get “free money” from your employer match, if it’s offered.

Low-stress Saving

For many people, this type of investment is easy because you can choose how much of your salary to contribute each pay period, and deductions happen automatically. You don’t have to think about your savings, your contributions are taken directly from each paycheck, so it helps to build your nest egg over time.

Lower Taxable Income

Another benefit is the potential for savings during tax season. Since the contributions an employee makes to their 401(k) plan over the course of the year aren’t included in their taxable income, that can lower their overall taxable income. This, in turn, may result in an individual falling into a lower tax bracket and paying less income tax for that year.

And in the future, when they might likely be in a lower tax bracket due to retirement, they’ll pay lower taxes when they withdraw the money from their 401(k) account.

Note: Withdrawing money from a 401(k) account before retirement age may lead to early withdrawal penalties.

Another perk of enrolling in a 401(k) plan is the notion of “free money” from one’s employer. Some companies match a portion of their employees’ contributions — often around 50 cents to $1 for each dollar that an employee contributes.

Typically, an employer might set a maximum matching limit, such as 3% to 6% of the employee’s salary.

This matching contribution is often referred to as free money because the contribution effectively increases an employee’s income without increasing their current tax bill. It’s worth noting that an employer’s match generally vests over the course of three or four years — meaning that the employer-contributed money will accrue in the account, but an employee won’t be able to keep it if they switch jobs, unless they remain with the company for that set period of time.

Setting up Recurring Contributions

When it comes to setting up a 401(k), the process varies by workplace. Some companies offer automatic enrollment to employees, automatically reducing the employee’s wages by a certain amount and diverting that money to the employee’s 401(k) plan, unless the employee chooses not to have their wages contributed.

Or, an employee can choose to enroll, but to contribute a custom amount. This type of contribution is referred to as an elective deferral.

In companies that don’t offer automatic enrollment as an option, employees will need to work with their HR department and retirement plan provider to get their 401(k) set up.

Participants need to decide how much they want to contribute and they may need to choose their investments. They can also opt to take advantage of autopilot settings, and can roll over a 401(k) from a past job into their new one.

💡 Quick Tip: How do you decide if a certain trading platform or app is right for you? Ideally, the investment platform you choose offers the features that you need for your investment goals or strategy, e.g., an easy-to-use interface, data analysis, educational tools.

How Much to Save for Retirement

The Department of Labor (DOL) outlined a few best practices for investing in order to save for retirement.

It estimated that most Americans will need 70% to 90% of their preretirement income saved by retirement, in order to maintain their current standard of living. Doing that math can give plan participants an idea of how much they should be contributing to their 401(k).

Participants might also consider a few basic investment principles, such as diversifying retirement investments to reduce risk and improve return. These investment choices may evolve overtime depending on someone’s age, goals, and financial situation.

The DOL recommends that employees contribute all they can to their employer-sponsored 401(k) plan to take advantage of benefits like lower taxes, company contributions, and tax deferrals.

Adding Alternative Investments to a 401(k)

Some savers may find themselves interested in pursuing alternative investments when saving for retirement. An alternative investment takes place outside of the traditional markets of stocks, fixed-income, and cash. This method may appeal to those looking for portfolio diversification. Popular examples of alternative investments are private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, and commodities.

Self-directed 401(k)s allow participants to add alternate investments to their 401(k) portfolio. With a self-directed 401(k), the investor chooses a custodian such as a brokerage or investment firm to hold the amount of assets and execute the purchase or sale of investments on the participant’s behalf. If an employer offers a self-directed 401(k), the custodian will likely be the plan administrator.

The Takeaway

For employees looking to change 401(k) contributions, the process is often as simple as reaching out to your plan provider and confirming that you’re allowed to make a change at this time.

Some companies have rules around when and how often employees can make changes to their contributions. Once you have the go-ahead to make the change, and have considered what works best for your current financial situation and your future goals, it’s generally straightforward.

A company-sponsored 401(k) plan offers many benefits, but once you leave your job, many of those benefits — including the employer-matching program — no longer apply. At that point, you may want to consider doing a rollover of your previous 401(k) to an IRA, so you can remain in control of your money.

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).

Easily manage your retirement savings with a SoFi IRA.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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

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.

SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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


An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the Fund carefully before investing. This and other important information are contained in the Fund’s prospectus. For a current prospectus, please click the Prospectus link on the Fund’s respective page. The prospectus should be read carefully prior to investing.
Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor's risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


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What Is 401k Auto Escalation?

What Is 401(k) Auto Escalation?

One way to ensure you’re steadily working toward your retirement goals is to automate as much of the process as possible. Some employers streamline the retirement savings process for their employees with automatic enrollment, signing you up for a retirement plan unless you choose to opt out.

There are many ways to automate a 401(k) experience at every step of the way. You can have contributions taken directly from your paycheck before they ever hit your bank account and invest them right away. With automatic deductions, you’re more likely to save for your future rather than spending on immediate needs.

In some cases, you may also be able to automatically increase the amount you save. Some employers also offer a 401(k) auto escalation option that could increase your retirement savings amount as you get older. Here’s a closer look at how 401(k) auto escalation works and how it may help you on your way to your retirement goals.

Key Points

•   401(k) auto escalation automatically increases contributions at regular intervals until a preset maximum is reached.

•   The SECURE Act allows auto escalation up to 15% of an employee’s salary.

•   Auto escalation helps employees save more for retirement without needing to adjust contributions manually.

•   Employers benefit from auto escalation by attracting and retaining talent and possibly reducing payroll taxes.

•   Employees should assess if auto escalation aligns with their financial capabilities and retirement goals.

401(k) Recap

A 401(k) is a defined contribution plan offered through your employer. It allows employees to contribute some of their wages directly from their paycheck. Contributions are made with pre-tax money, which may reduce taxable income in the year they are made, providing an immediate tax benefit.

In 2024, employees can contribute up to $23,000 a year to their 401(k), up from $22,500 in 2023. Those aged 50 and older can contribute an extra $7,500, bringing their potential contribution total to $30,500 in 2024 and $30,000 in 2023.

For many individuals, the goal is to eventually max out a 401(k) up to the contribution limit. Employers may offer matching funds to help encourage employees to save. Individuals should aim to contribute at least enough to meet their employer’s match, in order to get that “free money” from their employer to invest in their future.

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that you must choose the investments in your IRA? Once you open an IRA account and start saving, you get to decide which mutual funds, ETFs, or other investments you want — it’s totally up to you.

How 401(k) Auto Escalation Works

An auto escalation is a 401(k) feature that automatically increases your contribution at regular intervals by a set amount until a preset maximum is achieved. The SECURE Act, signed into law in 2019, allows auto escalation programs to raise contributions up to 15%. Before then, the cap on default contributions was 10% for auto escalation programs.

For example, you may choose to set your auto escalation rate to raise your contributions by 1% each year. Once you hit that 15% ceiling, auto escalation will cease. However, you can still choose to increase the amount you are saving on your own beyond that point.

Recommended: Understanding the Different Types of Retirement Plans

Advantages of 401(k) Auto Escalation

When it comes to auto escalation programs, there are important factors to consider — for employees as well as for employers who sponsor the 401(k) plan.

Advantages for Employees

•   Auto escalation is one more way to automate savings for retirement, so that it is always prioritized.

•   Auto escalation may increase the amount employees save for retirement more than they would on their own.

•   Employees don’t have to remember to make or increase contributions themselves until they reach the auto escalation cap.

•   Increasing tax-deferred contributions may help reduce an employee’s tax burden.

Advantages for Sponsors

Employers who offer auto escalation may find it helps with both employee quality and retention as well as with reducing taxes.

•   Auto escalation provides a benefit that may help attract top talent.

•   It helps put employees on track to automatically save, which may increase retention and contribute to their sense of financial well-being.

•   It reduces employer payroll taxes, because escalated funds are contributed pre-tax by employees.

•   It may generate tax credits or deductions for employers. For example, matching contributions may be tax deductible.

•   As assets under management increase, 401(k) companies may offer lower administration fees or even the ability to offer additional services to participants.

Disadvantages of 401(k) Auto Escalation

While there are undoubtedly benefits to 401(k) auto escalation, there are also some potential downsides to consider.

Disadvantages for Employees

Even on autopilot, it can be important to review contributions so as to avoid these disadvantages.

•   Auto escalation may lull employees into a false sense of security. Even if they’re increasing their savings each year, if their default rate was too low to begin with, they may not be saving enough to meet their retirement goals.

•   If an employee experiences a pay freeze or hasn’t received a raise in a number of years, auto escalation will mean 401(k) contributions represent an increasingly larger proportion of take-home pay.

Disadvantages for Sponsors

Employers may want to consider these potential downsides before offering 401(k) auto escalation.

•   Auto escalation requires proper administrative oversight to ensure that each employee’s escalation amounts are correct — and it may be time-consuming and costly to fix mistakes.

•   This option may increase the need to communicate with 401(k) record keepers.

•   Auto escalation may cause employer contribution amounts to rise.

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that opening a brokerage account typically doesn’t come with any setup costs? Often, the only requirement to open a brokerage account — aside from providing personal details — is making an initial deposit.

Is 401(k) Auto Escalation Right for You?

If your employer offers auto escalation, first determine your goals for retirement. Consider whether or not your current savings rate will help you achieve those goals and whether escalation could increase the likelihood that you will.

Also decide whether you can afford to increase your contributions. Perhaps your default rate is already set high enough that you are maxing out your retirement savings budget. In this case, auto escalation might land you in a financial bind.

However, if you have room in your budget, or you expect your income to grow each year, auto escalation may help ensure that your retirement savings continue to grow as well.

If your employer does not offer auto escalation, or you choose to opt out, consider using pay raises as an opportunity to change your 401(k) contributions yourself.

The Takeaway

A 401(k) is one of many tools available to help you save for retirement — and auto escalation can help you increase your contributions regularly without any additional thought or effort on your part.

If you’ve maxed out your 401(k) or you’re looking for a retirement account with more flexible options, you might want to consider a traditional or Roth IRA. Both types of IRA offer tax-advantaged retirement savings, and in 2024, individuals can contribute $7,000 per year across IRA accounts, with an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution available to those aged 50 and older. In 2023, individuals can contribute $6,500 per year across IRA accounts, with an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution available to those aged 50 and older.

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.

FAQ

Is 401(k) auto enrollment legal?

Yes, automatic enrollment allows employers to automatically deduct 401(k) contributions from an employee’s paycheck unless they have expressly communicated that they wish to opt out of the retirement plan.

What is automatic deferral increase?

Automatic deferral increase is essentially the same as auto escalation. It automatically increases the amount that you are saving by a set amount at regular intervals.

Can a company move your 401(k) without your permission?

Your 401(k) can be moved without your permission by a former employer if the 401(k) has a balance of $5,000 or less.


Photo credit: iStock/Halfpoint

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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

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.

SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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Choosing a Retirement Date: The Best Time to Retire

Choosing Your Retirement Date: Here’s What You Should Know

Choosing a retirement date is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make. Your retirement date can determine how much money you’ll need to save to achieve your desired lifestyle — and how many years that money will need to last.

Selecting an optimal retirement date isn’t an exact science. Instead, it involves looking at a number of different factors to determine when you can realistically retire. Whether you’re interested in retiring early or delaying retirement to a later age, it’s important to understand what can influence your decision.

The Importance of Your Retirement Date

When preparing to retire, the date you select matters for several reasons. First, your retirement date can influence other financial decisions, including:

•   When you claim Social Security benefits

•   How much of your retirement savings you’ll draw down monthly or annually

•   In what order you’ll withdraw from various accounts, such as a 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA), pension, or annuity

•   How you’ll pay for health care if you’re retiring early and not yet eligible for Medicare

•   Whether you’ll continue to work on a part-time basis or start a business to generate extra income

These decisions can play a part in determining when you can retire based on what you have saved and how much money you think you’ll need for retirement.

It’s also important to consider how timing your retirement date might affect things like taxes on qualified plans or the amount of benefits you can draw from a defined benefit plan, if you have one.

If your employer offers a pension, for example, waiting until the day after your first-day-of-work anniversary adds one more year of earnings into your benefits payment calculation.

Likewise, if you plan to retire in the year you turn 59 ½, you’d want to wait until six months after your birthday has passed to withdraw money from your 401(k) in order to avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty on any distributions you take.

Boost your retirement contributions with a 1% match.

SoFi IRAs now get a 1% match on every dollar you deposit, up to the annual contribution limits. Open an account today and get started.


Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included.

💡 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).

Choosing Your Date for Retirement

There are many questions you might have when choosing the best retirement date: What is the best day of the month to retire? Is it better to retire at the beginning or end of the year? Does it matter if I retire on a holiday?

Weighing the different options can help you find the right date of retirement for you.

End of the Month

Waiting to retire at the end of the month could be a good idea if you want to get your full pay for that period. This can also eliminate gaps in pay, depending on when you plan to begin drawing retirement benefits from a workplace plan.

If you have a pension plan at work, for example, your benefits may not start paying out until the first of the following month. So, if you were to retire on the 5th instead of the 30th, you’d have a longer wait until those pension benefits showed up in your bank account.

Consider End of Pay Period

You could also consider waiting to the end of the pay period if you don’t want to go the whole month. This way, you can draw your full pay for that period. Working the entire pay period could also help you to accumulate more sick pay, vacation pay, or holiday pay benefits toward your final paycheck.

Lump Sums Can Provide Cash

If you’ve accumulated unused vacation time, you could cash that out as you get closer to your retirement date. Taking a lump sum payment can give you a nice amount of cash to start your retirement with, and you don’t have to worry about any of the vacation time you’ve saved going unused.

Other Exceptions to Consider

In some cases, your retirement date may be decided for you based on extenuating circumstances. If you develop a debilitating illness, for example, you may be forced into retirement if you can no longer perform your duties. Workers can also be nudged into retirement ahead of schedule through downsizing if their job is eliminated.

Thinking about these kinds of what-if scenarios can help you build some contingency plans into your retirement plan. Keep in mind that there may also be different rules and requirements for retirement dates if you work for the government versus a private sector employer.

Starting a Retirement Plan

The best time to start planning for retirement is yesterday, as the common phrase says, and the next best time is right now. If you haven’t started saving yet, it’s not too late to begin building retirement wealth.

An obvious way to do this is to start contributing to your employer’s retirement plan at work. This might be a 401(k) plan, 403(b), or 457 plan depending on where you work. You may also have the option to save in a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA or SIMPLE IRA if you work for a smaller business. Any of these options could help you set aside money for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis.

If you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, you can still save through an IRA. Traditional and Roth IRAs offer different types of tax benefits; the former allows for tax-deductible contributions while latter offers tax-free qualified distributions. You could also open a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed, which offers higher annual contribution limits.

If you decide to start any of these retirement plans, it may be helpful to use a retirement calculator to determine how much you need to save each month to reach your goals. Checking in regularly can help you see whether you are on track to retire or if you need to adjust your contributions or investment targets.

💡 Quick Tip: Can you save for retirement with an automated investment portfolio? Yes. In fact, automated portfolios, or robo advisors, can be used within taxable accounts as well as tax-advantaged retirement accounts.

Retirement Investing With SoFi

Choosing a retirement date is an important decision, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. Looking at the various factors that can influence how much you’ll need to save and your desired lifestyle can help you pin down your ideal retirement date. Reviewing contributions to your employer’s retirement plan and supplementing them with contributions to an IRA can get you closer to your goals.

Not everyone’s journey to retirement is going to look the same, so you should weigh your options. Think about your goals, and what tools you can use to help you reach them. If you need guidance, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial professional.

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).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.

FAQ

Is it better to retire at the beginning or end of the month?

Retiring on the last day of the month is typically the best option. This enables you to collect all your paychecks during this period. You may also benefit from collecting any holiday pay that might be offered by your employer for that month. As a note, it doesn’t necessarily matter if the last day of the month is a work day for you.

What is the best day to retire?

The best day to retire can be the end of the month or the end of the year, depending on how pressing your desire is to leave your job. If you can wait until the very last day of the year, for example, you can collect another full year of earnings while maxing out contributions to your workplace retirement plan before you leave.

Is my retirement date my last day of work?

Depending on how your employer handles payroll, your retirement date is usually the day after your last day of work or the first day of the next month following the date you stop working.


Photo credit: iStock/Tatomm

SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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.

Claw Promotion: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

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What Is a Senior Checking Account?

What Is a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

A senior citizen checking account is a type of bank account specifically designed for individuals who are typically aged 55 or older. These accounts often offer benefits such as higher interest rates, lower fees, and additional perks tailored to the needs of seniors, such as discounts on travel or entertainment.

Is it worth getting a senior checking account vs. a regular checking account? Sometimes — but not always. Here’s what you need to know.

How Does a Senior Checking Account Work?

A senior checking account works in the same way as a regular checking account. The only difference is that it may offer benefits and features customized for adults above a certain age, which might be 50, 55, or 62, depending on the bank or credit union. Senior checking accounts are more commonly offered by smaller regional banks or credit unions than by large national banks.

Like a standard checking account, senior checking accounts offer a place to safely store your money and manage day-to-day spending. They typically come with paper checks plus a debit card you can use for purchases or cash withdrawals. Checking accounts may also offer features like overdraft protection and direct deposit.

Recommended: 7 Tips for Managing a Checking Account

What Is the Difference Between a Senior Checking Account and a Normal Checking Account?

Overall, a senior checking account serves the same purpose as a regular checking account. However, a senior checking account may have certain age requirements and can come with unique benefits and senior discounts designed to appeal to older adults. Some of these benefits may include:

•   Free checks

•   No monthly service charges or low minimum balance requirement to waive monthly service fees

•   24/7 access to customer service by phone

•   Interest on checking account balances

•   A certain number of out-of-network ATM fees waived

•   Discounts on safe deposit boxes

•   Free services such as notary, cashier’s checks, money orders, and wire transfers

•   Special interest rates on certificates of deposit (CDs) or loans

•   Rewards points for using your debit card

These types of perks make it easier for senior citizens to manage their financial life.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Pros of a Senior Checking Account

A senior checking account generally offers all the benefits of traditional checking, plus some extras. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of opening a senior checking account.

•   Unique perks: Eligible account holders can often enjoy special perks like free checks, waived monthly service charges and transaction fees, and discounted banking services.

•   Earn interest: It’s not guaranteed everywhere, but some senior checking accounts allow account holders to earn interest on their deposits.

•   Security: Like regular checking accounts, funds stored in a senior checking account (up to a certain amount) are safe and secure, thanks to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insurance,

•   Accessibility: As with any checking account, it’s easy to access your money from a senior checking account when you need it. You can usually make withdrawals in a variety of different ways, including at a branch with a teller, using a debit card at an ATM, writing a check, and making an online bank transfer.

•   Debit card: Typically, senior checking accounts come with debit cards which make it easy to pay for purchases without having cash on hand.

•   Direct deposits: Instead of waiting for paper checks in the mail, checking account holders can set up convenient direct deposits.

Cons of a Senior Checking Account

There are also disadvantages associated with senior checking accounts. Here are some to mull over.

•   Age requirements: Senior checking accounts often have age requirements. Depending on the bank or credit union, you may need to be 50-plus, 55-plus, or 62-plus.

•   Minimal interest: Some senior checking accounts offer interest. However, annual percentage yields (APYs) are generally low. You can likely get a significantly better return on your money by storing it in a high-yield savings account.

•   Minimum balance: Some senior checking accounts may require you to keep a minimum balance to avoid monthly maintenance fees or earn interest.

•   May not be better than a regular account: Many of the promoted perks of a senior checking account may also be available with a standard checking account.

•   Fees: While senior checking accounts tend to charge fewer or lower fees, they can come with account management fees, overdraft fees, and other fees

•   May get better perks with a regular checking account: If you keep a large balance in your checking account, you may be better off with a premium checking account, which could offer more perks and services than a senior checking account.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Senior Citizen Checking Account

Before opening a senior checking account, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

•   Convenience: Does the bank or credit union have enough branches and ATMs? Is their website easy to use? Do the bank’s customer service options fit your preferences?

•   Special services and features: Compare a few different senior citizen checking account options. What perks do they offer? Do these services and features matter to you? A free safety deposit box and a special rate on a CD won’t be useful if you don’t plan to use those products.

•   Minimum balance requirements: Does the account have a minimum balance requirement? Will this threshold be easy to meet? If not, you might end up paying a monthly maintenance charge.

•   Fees: Senior citizen checking accounts tend to have fewer fees than typical checking accounts. Still, it’s worth comparing the different fees each account charges. Consider overdraft fees, ATM fees, nonsufficient funds fees, as well as fees for services you may use, such as money orders or wire transfers.

Is a Senior Checking Account Worth It Over a Normal Checking Account?

It depends. Since there are numerous banking choices these days, including traditional banks and credit unions and online-only institutions, it generally pays to shop around and compare benefits and perks of different checking accounts.

As you shop around, keep an eye out for minimum balance requirements and monthly (and any other) fees. If a senior checking account will actually save you money, it could be worth it. If you could do better with a regular checking account, then you may want to skip the senior account.

How Can I Apply for a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

The process of opening a checking account for senior citizens is generally the same as opening a regular checking account. Here’s a look at the steps that are typically involved.

1.    Complete the application. You can generally do this either online or in person at a branch and will need all your basic information (including a government-issued photo ID, proof of address, and Social Security number).

2.    Designate beneficiaries. Once your application is approved, you can choose a beneficiary for your account.

3.    Deposit funds. If an opening deposit is required, you can typically do this by transferring funds from another account (either at the same or a different bank) or using a check, cash, or a debit card.

If you plan to close your other checking account, you’ll want to wait until all outstanding payments and deposits going in or coming out of that account have cleared. Also be sure to change any online bill payments and direct deposits from your prior checking account to your new checking account.

Recommended: How To Switch Banks in 3 Easy Steps

The Takeaway

Senior checking accounts generally come with benefits tailored to older adults, such as lower fees, higher interest rates, and additional perks like free checks or discounts on services.

If you’re over a certain age, prefer traditional banking services, and value these benefits, a senior checking account could be worth it. However, if you’re looking to switch your bank account, it’s wise to compare the features and fees of different accounts to determine which one offers the best value. Depending on your needs and goals, you might find that a checking account with no age requirements is a better fit.

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

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

FAQ

What is senior banking?

Senior banking refers to banking services and accounts specifically designed for older individuals, typically aged 55 or older. These accounts often come with features and benefits tailored to the needs of seniors, such as lower fees, higher interest rates, and additional perks like free checks or discounts on services. Senior banking may also include financial planning and retirement services to help seniors manage their finances more effectively.

What is the age restriction for senior checking accounts?

Depending on the bank or credit union, the age restriction for a senior checking account may be age 50, 55, or 62.

What is the age limit for a senior citizen bank account?

The age limit for a senior bank account can vary depending on the financial institution. In general, senior bank accounts are available to individuals who are aged 55 or older. However, some banks may offer senior accounts to individuals as young as 50, while others may set the age limit at 62 or older. It’s best to check with the specific bank or credit union to determine the age requirements for their senior banking products.


Photo credit: iStock/Deagreez

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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