Does Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Cover Keys Locked in a Car?

Does Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Cover Keys Locked in a Car?

Roadside assistance coverage is designed to help motorists in trouble get back on the road. That usually includes helping drivers who have locked their keys in their car. Keep in mind that some plans place an annual limit on the number of calls for service or the amount they’ll reimburse you for specific services — including lockout assistance.

Read on for more information about what to expect when you sign up for auto insurance roadside assistance.

How Much Does It Cost to Unlock a Car?

If you don’t have roadside assistance and lock your keys in the car, expect to pay as much as $300 to have a locksmith come to your aid. The price varies depending on several factors, including the time of day, age and model of your car, and how far the locksmith has to drive. If you’re close to where the locksmith is working and your call comes in during normal business hours, the cost could be closer to $75 to $150.

There may be additional fees, however, if you’ve lost your key completely (rather than locking it in the car) and the locksmith has to cut a new one for you.

But if you do have roadside assistance coverage, all or some of the cost could be covered. Some plans cover getting you back into the car, for example, but not the cost of a replacement key, key fob, or repair of a damaged keypad.

Recommended: Ways to Save Money on Car Maintenance

Should You Call Roadside Assistance to Unlock Your Car?

When deciding whether to call roadside assistance to unlock your car, think safety first. If you’ve had an accident, you’ve locked a pet or child in the car, or you feel in danger in some way, make your first call 911.

But if you feel safe, roadside assistance is probably your best bet. You’ll get help quickly and with the least amount of risk to you, any passengers, and your vehicle. (Just remember to program the number into your phone.)

Recommended: How Does Car Insurance Work

Common Roadside Assistance Service Benefits

Roadside assistance can be useful when you’re stranded on the side of the road and need a repair or some other type of service. This can be especially important for seniors, first-time drivers, people with a physical disability, and parents of young children.

Here are some of the most common circumstances for which a motorist might use roadside assistance:

Towing

If your car can’t be quickly or safely repaired or restarted where it is, roadside assistance can have it towed to a nearby qualified repair shop.

Battery Jump-start

Roadside assistance can jump-start a dead battery. In some cases, they may be able to install a new battery on site.

Flat Tire Change

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get out and change your own tire on the roadway. Roadside assistance providers are trained to take care of flats on scene — if you have a spare available — or have your car towed to a location where the tire can be changed.

Emergency Fuel or Electric Car Battery Charge

If you run out of gas, roadside assistance may offer free fuel delivery to your location. And if the battery on your electric vehicle needs a charge, you may be able to have your car towed to the nearest charging station at no cost. (However, expect to pay for the fuel or the battery charge.)

Recommended: What Does Car Insurance Cover

How to Choose the Right Roadside Service Provider

Before you go shopping for coverage, check to see if it’s already provided by your auto insurance, vehicle manufacturer, credit card company, or an organization with which you’re associated. Customer reviews can indicate how reliable a provider is.

Be aware that some plans that come with a new car cover you for only a limited period of time, from a few months (as with a free trial) to a few years (such as the length of your limited warranty).

Roadside assistance is typically offered for an annual fee. Some plans provide only the basics (which usually includes lockout service), while others offer several tiers of benefits. When choosing your level of coverage, know that cheaper plans often have lower limits on the numbers of calls you can place, or cover only a portion of towing and other services. Read the fine print to make sure you understand what you’re getting.

Has your insurance gone up after an accident? If you’re doing some personal insurance planning, see how a new SoFi auto policy might fit in your overall strategy. You may be able to lower your car insurance premiums by bundling it with other types of insurance coverage.

Recommended: Car Insurance Terms, Explained

Ways To Get Your Car Open If You’re Locked Out

Locking your keys in your car is a maddening experience, especially when you’re running late or alone in a dark parking lot. If you’re stressed out, you may want to call for help right away. But if you’re up for trying a DIY break-in, here are a few tips.

Use a Wire Hanger

If your car has a manual lock, you can try threading a hanger or similar tool through the rubber gasket around the driver’s side window and into the door frame to pull up the lock-pin. Keep in mind that this method can damage your car, which could cost more than waiting for a pro.

Go Through the Trunk

If your trunk is open, you might be able to access the backseat. Check to see if there’s a panel you can push that allows you to crawl through to the car’s main interior.

Turn Your Phone Into a Digital Key

If you’ve already added a digital car key to your smartphone, now is the time to try it out!

Get the Key Code to Make a New Key

After the roadside assistance service person verifies that the car you want to get into is yours, he or she may be able to get the key code from the manufacturer or dealer (or by using decoding tools) and cut you a new metal key.

Recommended: What’s the Cheapest Way to Rent a Car?

The Takeaway

Roadside assistance programs typically cover a wide range of problems that befall motorists for an annual fee. The most common service calls are lockouts, flat tires, battery jump-starts, and emergency fuel delivery when you’ve run out of gas. Most plans consider lockouts a basic service, but you should check the fine print on your plan to verify what’s included.

Did you know that SoFi can help you find the best auto insurance policy for your needs? SoFi offers a true comparison shopping experience, and provides an apples-to-apples comparison against your existing policy to find you a great deal. SoFi can walk you through the whole research process, from explaining about different types of insurance deductibles to offering tips on how to save on car maintenance costs.

SoFi Auto Insurance: Real rates, with no bait and switch.

FAQ

How does roadside assistance open a locked car?

A roadside assistance service provider will likely have several different tools available to pop or pick a car lock, or they may be able to cut a new key for you. If all else fails, your car can be towed to a location where the car can be worked on.

What should you do if your car is locked and the keys are inside?

If you’ve locked in a child or pet, or you feel in danger, call 911 right away. But if you feel safe and you’re looking to get help quickly and with the least amount of risk to you and your vehicle, a call to roadside assistance can be a good choice.

Can 911 help with locked keys in a car?

911 was created to deal with emergencies, and it will be up to the dispatcher to decide how to prioritize your call. If an officer is dispatched, or if one sees you stranded and pulls over to help, you still may have to wait for a locksmith with the proper tools or a tow truck.


Photo credit: iStock/ronstik

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.

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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13 Helpful Tips for You to Afford Moving Out

Moving out of your parental home for the first time can be incredibly exciting: It’s a major milestone in the process of adulting and becoming independent. You’ll likely be paying your own way, keeping your own hours, decorating it as you see fit, and having friends over often.

But despite this anticipation, the process of moving out can also be daunting. Living on one’s own is expensive. It has recently been especially pricey, thanks to inflation and a scarcity of housing. Add to that the fact that when we’re younger, we tend to have lower incomes, and it can be a tremendous financial challenge to afford living on your own.

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

•   How to afford to move out, including the upfront costs

•   How to know how much rent you can afford

•   Tips for making moving out more affordable.

How to Financially Prepare to Live on Your Own

Upfront Costs and Regular Bills

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

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

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

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

Steps to Afford Moving Out

Now that you have an overview of costs and expenses, it’s time to take the next step and drill down on understanding what you can afford, when you’re ready to move out, and how to navigate a move more easily.
These steps will help you get your own place without going broke.

1. Assessing How Much Rent You Can Afford

Are you asking yourself, How can I afford to move out? If so, you are likely most focused on how much rent you can pay. You’ll want to come up with a range of how much rent you can take on while still managing your other necessary bills, such as student loans, health insurance, and car payments.

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

2. Considering a Roommate Situation

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

3. Researching Homes and Locations

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

For instance, if you really value having a short commute, you might search for a studio instead of a one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood you are targeting, if one-bedroom units are pricey. Or, if you are a young single person hoping to rent a house, see what kind of prices you find in a neighborhood that’s adjacent to the one you are targeting or choose to go farther afield. You might find better deals due to more housing supply. A relocation loan at a low interest rate could help make the transition more affordable, especially if you will be saving a good amount on your monthly costs.

Recommended: How to Buy a House Out of State

4. Researching the Cost of Movers

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

Depending on how much you have to move and how far the move is (25 miles? 250?), your costs could be a few hundred or thousands. Get a couple of estimates from companies that come and actually eyeball how much you have.
This will help keep these common moving expenses down in a “no surprises” way. Also, be sure to find out whether moving materials are included; you might be charged for boxes, tape, and moving blankets. Inquire about “drive time” to and from your locations, which you may be billed for. Also remember that if you run out of steam and need help packing, it will cost you.

Recommended: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

5. Not Making Any Excuses

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

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

6. Having an Emergency Fund Saved Up

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

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

7. Tracking Your Spending

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

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

8. Budgeting for Home Needs

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

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

9. Planning for Unknown or Surprise Expenses

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

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

10. Looking for Cheaper Options on Furniture

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

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

11. Managing Your Finances

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

12. Setting a Moving Timeline

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

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

13. Being Realistic

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

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

Banking With SoFi

Moving out can be expensive, but with a little bit of planning and budgeting (and maybe sharing the costs with a friendly roommate), it can be doable. Need help getting your finances in order in time for a big move? SoFi Checking and Savings is here to help. With our online bank account, you can organize your money, set savings goals, and save your change with Vaults and Roundups. As an added bonus, you can also access your payday (with eligible direct deposits) up to two days earlier and earn an amazing interest rate.

With no account fees and up to 2.00% APY, you’ll earn more interest in one week than you would in one year in a big bank’s checking or savings account—so you can get the most out of your money.

FAQ

How much money should you have saved before moving out?

Figuring out how to move out with lower income varies by person to person. How much money someone needs to move out depends on covering the housing expenses they will pay and other expenses without going into debt. There are also expenses involved such as moving itself and buying new furniture. It can be a good idea to create an emergency fund to cover a few months of expenses before moving out.

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

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

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

You can get an idea of whether or not you’re ready to move out by calculating how much it will cost to live on your own. If you can afford to pay rent and other necessities and have some emergency fund savings, then you may be ready.


Photo credit: iStock/Hache

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.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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Tips for Overcoming Situational Poverty

There are unfortunately many things in life that can rock a person’s financial stability, ranging from divorce to a devastating flood. Situational poverty is a type of poverty that occurs suddenly in circumstances such as these —,say, due to a life event or a natural disaster.

If you’re in the grip of a situation like this, it can feel impossible to get back on your feet. But it is indeed possible to overcome situational poverty. Using a variety of techniques, you can pull yourself out of a difficult and painful moment.

Read on to learn important information and advice, including:

•   What is situational poverty?

•   What are the causes of situational poverty?

•   What can be done to break the cycle of poverty?

What Is Situational Poverty?

Situational poverty is a type of poverty that is the result of a sudden or severe crisis. It usually has a specific cause or triggering event, and the financial difficulties may be only temporary. Those in situational poverty may have ways to steadily improve their finances.

This is in contrast to generational poverty, where at least two generations of a family are born into poverty. In this case, poverty is largely the result of circumstance; people don’t have the knowledge or skills to escape poverty, so often their finances do not improve.

Reasons for Situational Poverty

Situational poverty is often the result of a sudden or severe crisis in a person’s life. While there are many events that may lead to situational poverty, they are often temporary. Here, a look at some of the triggers that can cause this sort of disadvantaged scenario.

Being Born Into a Disadvantaged Background

Being born into a disadvantaged background can contribute to situational poverty; it can also be a factor in generational poverty, which requires at least two generations to be born into poverty.

In terms of situational poverty, if you were born into poor circumstances, even if your parents had been wealthier earlier in their life, it may still be difficult for you to get ahead financially. You might face issues like lack of access to medical care and educational resources. You don’t get that boost into financially stable adulthood that some people do.

Making Bad Financial Decisions

When you are grappling with poverty, you may wonder, why am I so bad with money? But it’s a common enough situation to make a wrong money move and wind up in poverty. Perhaps you made a bad investment or took on a large debt (say, a mortgage) that you couldn’t keep up with. Or maybe you poured all your savings into a business idea that didn’t succeed. Sadly, these things happen every day. In some cases, the consequences of these sorts of decisions can trigger situational poverty.

Experiencing an Unfortunate Tragedy

It’s painful to think about it, but there are many types of tragedies that can send a person’s finances into a downward spiral. For instance, you might lose your house in a hurricane or your spouse (with whom you share your finances) might die unexpectedly. These events can leave a person without the means to live above the poverty line.

Lack of Good Education

Education is a path out of poverty, and sadly, the inverse is true: Not getting a solid education can lead to a person not succeeding financially. They may lack the skills to earn higher wages.

Another poverty trigger: how little financial education most Americans receive. According to the Council for Economic Education, as of 2022, just 23 of the 50 U.S. states require personal finance education as a requirement for high school graduation. When a person lacks a good financial education, they might have bad money management habits, such as indulging in compulsive or impulsive shopping as stress relief or investing in a dicey business proposition. These, in turn, could contribute to a person living in poverty.

Tips for Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty

The scenarios above reveal some of the ways that a person can slip into poverty. Once in that situation and possibly struggling to pay bills, a person can feel it’s impossible to climb out of it. Fortunately, there are several paths that may help you rise up and get on better financial footing. Here, some ideas for how to get out of poverty:

1. Getting a Sound Education

A good education — and specifically a good financial education — is one of the first steps toward getting out of poverty. While financial education classes in school are ideal, you can still learn the basics on your own, even as an adult, such as how to have better money management.

For example, the FDIC’s How Money Smart Are You? can help you learn the basics. Many universities and organizations also have personal finance courses for adults. You will likely also find online courses as well as books available that can quickly and effectively boost your financial IQ and guide you towards making money-smart choices.

2. Having a Close Mentor

Having a great mentor is one of the best ways to learn any skill, and the same applies to escaping situational poverty. A financial mentor can help you learn how to budget, save, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.

There are a few places you can find a financial mentor. You can ask someone you know personally who is good with money, or you can look online for a suitable candidate. Some organizations offer financial mentorship programs, such as T. Rowe Price and the Financial Alliance for Women.

If you search on the internet, be wary. You might ask people in your network to suggest someone, which will help ensure the person has been properly vetted. The last thing you want when you are in poverty is someone who will waste your time or charge a fee and not deliver.

3. Working With Well-Informed Organizations

Another aspect of growing your financial literacy and learning how to overcome situational poverty is to work with trusted organizations. Knowledge is power, and you can tap these resources to learn everything from personal finance basics for beginners to more advanced topics.

Organizations specialize in different aspects of personal finance that could be holding you back. For example, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) helps people who are saddled by large amounts of debt. Another organization, Jump$tart, helps educate students on personal finance. Operation Hope provides financial education to underserved communities.

4. Utilizing Community and Government Resources

There is no shortage of community and government resources that can help if you are experiencing situational poverty. Churches, schools, community centers, and public libraries can offer support within your community.

Beyond your community, there are extensive government resources that can also help. For example, you might qualify for benefits like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or the child tax credit. There are dozens of government programs that use poverty as a qualifying criterion. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has a list of programs on its website.

5. Changing Your Money Mindset

Your mindset can hold you back just as much as it can empower you. It’s worthwhile to try to improve your money mindset. Something that is important to remember is that situational poverty is often temporary.

This is especially true if a bad financial decision or a natural disaster was a major contributor to your lack of funds. These are passing, albeit difficult, moments. By leveraging some of the resources mentioned in this article and practicing financial self-care, you can make progress.

6. Setting Financial Goals

Setting financial goals is important whether you are experiencing poverty or not. But it is even more important when you are hoping to build up your financial resources. Money goals can help you work toward something specific. Take a minute to map out what steps you want to take to move through your situational poverty. Some common goals are developing a budget with positive cash flow and paying down high-interest credit card debt.

Getting specific in this way can be very helpful. You could create a budget and decide to save $25 per week by cutting back on eating out. You would then be able to put that extra money toward your debt. An extra $100 per month can go a long way..

7. Cutting Expenses and Spending Wisely

One aspect of budgeting that can help you pull yourself out of poverty is cutting expenses, as was just mentioned. There are a variety of ways to do this. If you are overspending, you might use the 30-day rule, which involves waiting a full 30 days before making a purchase, so you see if the impulse to spend wears off. It often does. This tactic can help you stop overspending and save money.

Also review ways to lower your monthly expenses. This is where having discipline with money can help. For example, if you have any streaming services, you can pause them until you have your finances in order. Or if you have a cell phone plan, you can switch to a prepaid plan so you aren’t being charged automatically and can take control of your spending. You might also negotiate lower interest rates by calling your credit card issuer; this tactic may yield rewards.

8. Paying Down Your Debt

On the topic of debt, it’s important to recognize that borrowing money can be expensive. Carrying balances on your credit cards, for example, keeps you paying interest, month after month.

If you have large amounts of debt, one of your first priorities should be to pay down those with the highest interest rate first. You might look into a balance transfer credit card, which will give you no or low interest for a period of time. That can help you whittle down debt as it gives you some breathing room from a high APR. Or you might take out a lower interest personal loan to consolidate your debt. Working with a non-profit credit counseling organization is another option to help you manage this common aspect of poverty.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Interest Rate?

9. Avoiding Payday and Predatory Loans

Payday loans offer cash advances before payday to those who need cash quickly, but this money infusion will really cost you. These loans typically have extremely high interest rates. Even with state laws limiting fees to no more than $30 per $100 borrowed, you could still end up paying the equivalent of 400% interest or more. And if you are unable to pay back a payday loan, you may end up in a cycle that has you paying much, much more than the amount of the original loan.

Unfortunately, those who are experiencing poverty may have few options in terms of accessing cash. Not having an emergency fund can compound this problem. Before you turn to payday loans, however, consider the resources in this article. Talk to a local credit union, investigate what are known as bad credit loans (read the fine print carefully), or perhaps start a side hustle to make more money.

10. Making Saving a Priority

Saving should always be a priority, but situational poverty can highlight its importance. Because you are already financially vulnerable, any expense you aren’t expecting could really rock your situation. A big medical or car repair bill could be a huge problem.

That said, you may not have the means to save very much if you are experiencing poverty. But you shouldn’t worry too much about the amount. Any amount that you can set aside — even $15 per week – can help. You can always increase that amount later as your finances improve. You can put your money in a high-yield savings account and earn some extra interest on it as you build your savings (typically the best rates are found at online banks). This money can create a cash cushion in your checking account or bolster an emergency fund.

11. Finding Out Where You Stand

Finding out where you stand can be a powerful exercise. We tend to be our own biggest critics, and that applies to finances, too. When you take a look at the numbers (go ahead and really study your income, cash outflow, assets, and debt), you might find you are doing better than you think.

Granted, this may not be the case when you first find yourself in situational poverty. But as you start to work on things, you might find your debt declining. Or that your savings by age is better than you expect. That can give you the confidence boost you need to keep exercising good financial habits and continue to improve your situation.

Also, even if you are in the midst of situational poverty and your status isn’t great, you will at least know exactly where you are. That benchmark will be what you build from.

12. Comparing Your Struggle With Others

When done properly, comparing your struggle to others can again help you gain perspective and perhaps realize that you are not alone in your journey through situational poverty. Reading or listening to stories of those who have overcome harsh financial realities can not only be inspiring, it can provide some moneywise tactics to try.

Another avenue to consider is accessing local help. Talking about your struggles isn’t always easy, but community resources might give you a safe space to do so. You might find that even though things seem difficult right now, you are doing well considering where you started.

The Takeaway

Situational poverty is a type of poverty typically caused by a life event, such as a divorce, severe health problems (and the resulting bills), or a natural disaster. This type of poverty is usually temporary and can be overcome by boosting your financial education, accessing community and government resources, and prioritizing debt elimination and saving.

One way to make saving a priority is with a SoFi Bank account. When you open an online bank account with direct deposit, you’ll earn a super competitive APY, and qualifying accounts can access their paycheck up to two days early.

With no account fees and up to 2.00% APY, you’ll earn more interest in one week than you would in one year in a big bank’s checking or savings account—so you can get the most out of your money.

FAQ

How can I overcome a poverty mindset?

In terms of how people can get out of poverty, overcoming one’s mindset is a key step. It can be very important to realize that situational poverty is temporary and that you have ways to improve it. This will help you feel empowered to make the changes necessary to improve your finances.

How do I know if I am poor or not?

The federal poverty guideline for 2022 for the lower 48 states and D.C. is an income of $13,590 per year. For Alaska and Hawaii, the guidelines are $16,990 and $15,630, respectively.

How many people are in situational poverty?

It is difficult to know exactly how many people live in situational poverty, in part because it is often temporary. However, a large number of people live in poverty in general. In America, the overall poverty rate was 14.45 in February 2022.


Photo credit: iStock/malerapaso

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.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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Budgeting Tips for Life After Divorce

You may be getting divorced, but you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 34% of women and 33% of men in the United States are right there with you, having endured the end of their unions.

Certainly, though, this life event can cause emotional turmoil, and it may trigger worries about money too. Take heart: The end of a marriage does not have to mean an end to financial security. If you keep calm and make a careful post-divorce budget, you are more likely to stay fiscally fit.

Learn more here with tips on how to prepare financially for a divorce and soften your landing, including:

•   Why a post-divorce budget is critical

•   How to budget after divorce

•   How to divide kids’ expenses

•   How to adjust to one income

•   How to supplement earnings.

Why Is a Post-divorce Budget Critical?

A realistic budget after divorce is a must. It can often cost a lot more to run two households than one. Still, doing what’s right for your personal life path and well-being comes first; there’s no point staying unhappily wed simply to save money. It can be possible to find steady footing during this transition with the right basic living expenses budget.

Truth is, after the sometimes hefty expense of a divorce lawyer (if you hired one), you will possibly be solely responsible for housing, utilities, groceries, car maintenance, and more.

There are various ways to budget for this, including the 50/30/20 rule and the envelope system, among others. You’ll also likely encounter a variety of tools, including spreadsheets and apps. Take the time to review your options and find an approach that feels right for you.

Recommended: Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

Lifestyle Pre-divorce and Post-divorce Will Be Different

Get ready for changes in your lifestyle and your cash management. Transitioning from couplehood to single status can take time, patience, and being kind to yourself.

You may be responsible for more household chores now, as you may not be able to afford, say, the cleaning person or landscaper you used to employ. Trimming the leisure budget (dinners out, vacations, entertainment, fitness classes) might be necessary, but all is not lost. Prioritize what is most important to your self-care now. This can be a bump in the road, not the end of the line.

Newly Single Life Can Be Taxing Emotionally and Financially

Divorce can affect your spirit as well as your bank account. If you’re struggling and don’t have a therapist, consider finding one and/or joining a support group in your community. No awards are given for white-knuckling a marriage breakup without counsel. We can’t always “adult” our way through rough seas.

Finances for Children May Be Difficult

Children are a hot-button topic for almost all parents, both married and divorced. Meeting their emotional and financial needs can lead to a tug-of-war, especially if you and your ex don’t communicate calmly and effectively.

As your divorce unfolds, pay close attention to what counts as child support. For instance, you may want to continue your child’s soccer league, guitar lessons, or art classes, but these activities may or may not be covered. Also, if you have a teen who is begging for a used car, that large expenditure may not be covered by child support either.

Knowing just what counts as a child support expense, along with careful record keeping, will be important as you develop with your divorce budget. After all, knowledge is power. It will help you negotiate and budget better as a single parent, as well as keep the peace as you co-parent.

Recognize You Can No Longer Rely on Two Incomes

It can be a huge learning curve: Relying on a single salary instead of two. This post-divorce situation can be especially complicated if your ex had the employee benefits, including family health and dental insurance, 401(k) contributions, and a flexible spending account (FSA), where payroll deductions cover everything from child care to eyeglasses.

Now is the time to investigate what options you have to gain self-sufficiency and stay on budget. For example, if you work, does your employer offer an affordable health insurance plan? If you are self-employed, what networking groups could advise you on good options? Do you perhaps qualify for a lower-cost health insurance plan on the marketplace? Invest some time in exploring what’s available that suits your needs and budget.

Potential Questions to Ask Yourself

As you move through your divorce process and onto your newly single life, ask and answer the big questions. These can help you both trouble-shoot and thrive.

•   How much is my income going to change? First, look at joint bank statements (it’s easy online). See how much your spouse and you have each contributed to the family income. In many cases, of course, alimony will come into play, but you need a realistic income-based expectation for that, too.

•   What do I need to let go of? This may take soul-searching. As you go from two to one income, it’s likely that something’s got to give in terms of expenditures. Think creatively about where and how to economize. You might decide to plan and cook ahead for the week to minimize the temptation and expense of eating out. Or perhaps you decide to split an apartment with a friend for a while to save on rent while you get your bearings. It’s your call.

•   How should I supplement my income? If you need to get cash flowing your way, contemplate what’s in your toolbox of strengths and skills. A key benefit of a side hustle is that it can boost your income and fit your schedule. Maybe you’re a super-organized person who offers decluttering skills, a tech-savvy type who can build websites for others, or an animal lover who pet-sits or walks dogs. Other ideas: Fill free hours as an Instacart shopper, Amazon delivery person, or Uber driver.

•   How will we fairly work out financial support for the kids? Are the children dividing their time 50/50 between you and your ex? What will your child support agreement entail? What additional expenses may come up in the future (tutoring, college prep classes)? Think and work it through, possibly with professional guidance which can share the prevailing practices on this front.

Post-Divorce Budgeting Tips

Once you have mulled over the issues relating to post-divorce life, keep these strategies in mind to help you optimize your finances.

Focusing On Current Income

Base your budget on your income now, after taxes. Do not base it on the projected income you hope to have. Don’t get caught up thinking about your former two-person income. Being pragmatic right now wil likely pay off and help you stay out of debt.

Focusing On Most Important Monthly Expenses

For now, prioritize what it will take to get through daily life. Calculate costs of a roof over your head, a way to get to work, food, child care, healthcare, and other essentials. Take care of people first, starting with yourself; then deal with material things later.

Letting Go of Unnecessary Items

Go ahead and slash some items out of your budget. Perhaps you can jettison a couple of streaming services, cut back on clothes shopping, and mow your own lawn instead of hiring someone else to do it. That feeling of opening up some room in your budget can be priceless.

Giving Yourself Safe and Budget-Friendly Fun

Find the right mood lifters. Avoid expensive, impulsive purchases (say, a new car) when you are feeling emotionally hurt and raw. They can wreak havoc with your finances.

Instead, treat yourself to free or low-cost adventures and experiences. Fresh air can be healing and motivating; local parks and wildlife sanctuaries may offer free guided walks and birdwatching outings. Or perhaps get a membership to The North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association and enjoy free entry to 1,000 member institutions.

Considering Working With a Financial Advisor

As you sort out your finances as you approach a divorce, you may want to enlist a professional versed in the issues that can crop up. Child support, shared credit-card debt, and division of jointly owned real estate can require this kind of guidance. A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) is trained to assist with this and help you get the fairest possible deal.

Post-divorce, you might also seek out an advisor who can help you set up a financial plan so that your spending and saving habits suit your new situation.

The Takeaway

Transitioning from pre-divorce to post-divorce life can stir up fears and insecurities, but you can take concrete steps to manage the unknown. Face facts about income, and set a realistic budget. Prioritize your needs, and be willing to put unnecessary expenses on hold for now. Like so many others, you will find your footing and peace of mind, thanks to patience, flexibility, and wise budgeting.

Looking for a financial institution that can help out? A SoFi online bank account makes it easier to manage finances, follow a budget, and track your income, right on your smartphone or laptop. Sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, and you’ll earn a top-notch 2.00% APY, without any account fees. That means your money could grow faster.

Bank better with SoFi.

FAQ

How do you budget after a divorce?

To budget for post-divorce life, assess and prioritize non-negotiable needs (such as housing, food, utilities, and child care), and phase out or reduce unnecessary extras. Pay attention to the details of your divorce agreement, as alimony and/or child support may impact your finances significantly.

How long does it take to financially recover from divorce?

The timeline for recovering financially from divorce varies tremendously, depending on the particulars of a person’s income, divorce agreement, and other factors. Many people feel it takes at least a few years to fully regain their sense of control over their money, though that could happen much sooner for some.

Will I be poor after divorce?

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that after a divorce, household income for women can drop considerably. This is all the more reason to budget carefully after divorce and seek professional advice. These steps could help you avoid costly mistakes that impact your financial wellness.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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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Buying a Multifamily Property With No Money Down

Buying a Multifamily Property With No Money Down: What You Should Know First

Real estate investments make money through appreciation and rental income. Real estate can diversify a portfolio and act as a hedge against inflation, since landlords can pass rising costs to tenants. But the down payment on multifamily investment properties? At least 20%, or 25% to get a better rate.

It’s true that eligible borrowers may use a 0% down VA loan for a property with up to four units as long as they live there. But those loans serve a relative few and are considered residential financing. Properties with more than four units are considered commercial.

So how can a cash-poor but curiosity-rich person tap the potential of multifamily properties? By not footing the entire bill themselves.

Can You Buy a Multifamily Property With No Money?

When you buy real estate, you typically have two options: Buy with cash or finance your purchase with a mortgage loan.

There are various types of mortgages. If you take out a home loan, you’ll likely need to pay a portion of the purchase price in cash in the form of a down payment.

The minimum down payment you make will depend on the type of mortgage you choose — the average down payment on a house is well under 20% — and it will help determine what terms and interest rates you’ll be offered by lenders.
This money needs to come from somewhere, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come from your own savings account. When investors buy multifamily properties with “no money down,” it just means they are using little to no personal money to cover the upfront costs.

If you don’t have much cash of your own, there are several ways that you can fund the purchase of a multifamily investment property.

6 Ways to Pay for a Multifamily Property

Find a Co-Borrower

If you don’t have the money to front the costs of a property yourself, you may be able to partner with a family member, friend, or business partner. They may have the money to cover the down payment, and you might pull your weight by researching properties or managing them.

When you co-borrow with someone, you’ll each be responsible for the monthly mortgage payments. You’ll also share profits in the form of rents or capital gains if you sell the property.

Give an Equity Share

You may give an equity investor a share in the property to cover the down payment. Say a multifamily property costs $750,000, and you need a 20% down payment. An equity investor could give you $150,000 in exchange for 20% of the monthly rental income and 20% of the profit when the property is sold.

Borrow From a Hard Money Lender

Hard money loans are offered by private lenders or investors, not banks. The mortgage underwriting process tends to be less strict than that of traditional mortgages. Depending on the property you want to buy, no down payment may be required.

These loans have high interest rates and short terms — one to three years is typical — with interest-only payments the norm. For this reason, they may be used by investors who may be looking to flip the property in short order, allowing them to make a profit and pay off the loan quickly.

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


House Hack

House hacking refers to leveraging property you already own to generate income. For example, you might rent out an in-law suite or list your property on Airbnb.

Another option: You could rent out your primary residence and move into one of the units in a multifamily property you buy. This way, you’d probably generate more income than if you had rented out the unit to a tenant.

Finally, you could hop on the ADU bandwagon if you own a single-family home. Accessory dwelling units can take the form of a converted garage, an attached or detached unit, or an interior conversion. The rental income can be sizable. To fund a new ADU, homeowners may tap home equity, look into cash-out refinancing, or even use a personal loan.

Seek Seller Financing

If you don’t have the cash for a down payment on a property, you may be able to forgo financing from a lending institution and get help instead from the seller.

With owner financing, there are no minimum down payment requirements. Several types of seller financing arrangements exist:

•   All-inclusive mortgage: The seller extends credit for the entire purchase price of the home, less any down payment.

•   Junior mortgage: The buyer finances a portion of the sales price through a lending institution, while the seller finances the difference.

•   Land contracts: The buyer and seller share ownership until the buyer makes the final payment on the property and receives the deed.

•   Lease purchase: The buyer leases the property from the seller for a set period of time, after which the owner agrees to sell the property at previously agreed-upon terms. Lease payments may count toward the purchase price.

•   Assumable mortgage: A buyer may be able to take over a seller’s mortgage if the lender approves and the buyer qualifies. FHA, VA, and USDA loans are assumable mortgages.

Invest Indirectly

Not everyone wants to become a landlord in order to add real estate to their portfolio. Luckily, they can invest indirectly, including through crowdfunding sites and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2013 allows real estate investors to pool their money through online real estate crowdfunding platforms to buy multifamily and other types of properties. The platforms give average investors access to real estate options that were once only available to the very wealthy.

REITs are companies that own various types of real estate, including apartment buildings. Investors can buy shares on the open market, and the company passes along the profits generated by rent. To qualify as a REIT, the company must pass along at least 90% of its taxable income to shareholders each year.

As investment opportunities go, REITs can be a good choice for passive-income investors.

The Takeaway

Buying a multifamily property with no money down is possible if you take the roads less traveled, including leveraging other people’s money.

SoFi offers financing for properties with one to four units as well as investment properties. Rates are competitive.

You can check your rate in minutes.

FAQ

Can I buy a multifamily home with an FHA loan?

It is possible to buy a property with up to four units with a standard mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration if the buyer plans to live in one of the units for at least a year. The FHA considers homes with up to four units single-family housing. The down payment could be as low as 3.5%. There are loan limits.

A rarer product, an FHA multifamily loan, may be used to buy a property with five or more units. The down payment is higher. You’ll pay mortgage insurance premiums upfront and annually for any FHA loan.

Is a multifamily property considered a commercial property?

Properties with five or more units are generally considered commercial real estate. Commercial real estate loans usually have shorter terms, and higher interest rates and down payment requirements than residential loans. They almost always include a prepayment penalty.


Photo credit: iStock/jsmith

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