What is a Stipend?

What is a Stipend?

A stipend is a fixed amount of money given to offset expenses or provide financial support while you’re engaged in a service or contributing to a project. A stipend may be paid in one lump sum, or it might be paid in a series of smaller amounts.

As you’re looking through employment opportunities, you may come across certain positions or experiences that don’t offer a salary but do offer a stipend. Stipends are also common in academia, where a stipend may be offered to grad students to TA classes, assist with research, or conduct research projects on their own.

Read on to learn more about how a stipend works, whether or not you can negotiate a stipend, and how receiving this type of payment may affect your taxes.

How Does a Stipend Differ From a Salary?

A stipend is a fixed sum of money that may be used by an organization to incentivize employees, interns, researchers, teachers, and volunteers. It’s usually meant to help offset expenses for a specified period of time, such as one year or one semester.

Typically, stipends are used in internships or apprentice situations, where the recipient of the stipend is receiving training that benefits them more than an employer.

However, some employers may offer stipends to their employees as one-off payments to help offset work-related expenses, such as travel/commuting, meals, home office expenses, cell phone, professional training, or education.

A salary, on the other hand, is an annual amount agreed upon between a company and an employee that is paid out in regular increments, either monthly, bi-monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly.

A salary may also include benefits such as vacation, insurance, and other benefits within the overall compensation package.

Recommended: What is a Good Entry Level Salary?

Who Receives a Stipend?

Historically, stipends were primarily used as part of an internship or fellowship package. These days, however, it’s not uncommon for employers to use a stipend as a “fringe benefit” added to your overall compensation package.

The stipend may be earmarked for certain expenses and your employer may ask for specific records or notekeeping to access it. Fringe benefit stipends may include:

• Transportation stipends

• Travel stipends

• Education stipends

• Clothing stipends

• Entertainment stipends

• Food stipends

The type of stipends offered usually depends on the nature of your work. For example, if you have to travel frequently for your job, your employer may give a travel stipend to allow you to have flexibility in making your travel plans.

Are Stipends Taxable?

Stipend checks aren’t considered wages so you won’t pay Social Security or Medicare taxes on them. However, you may still have to pay some taxes on a stipend.

If you are offered a stipend for an internship or work in academia, it might be called a “living” stipend, which means it is being given to you to help pay for expenses.

Though taxes will not be taken out, this stipend is likely considered taxable income and you will need to set aside some of your stipend money to pay any taxes owed at the end of the year.

In some academic settings, however, a stipend may be considered a scholarship, and earmarked for educational purposes only (rather than living expenses). In this case, the stipend may not be taxable.

If you’re offered a stipend for academic work, it can be a good idea to speak with a financial professional or your financial aid office to understand how the stipend is meant to be used and how it will be treated tax-wise.

Stipends offered by companies to their employers may or may not be taxable—-it depends on how the company structures the stipend.

In order to keep a stipend non-taxable, a company must set up a reimbursement plan in which employees complete expense reports proving that all business-related expenses are being reimbursed through the payment of the stipend.

For example, if you’re given a travel stipend to go to a client meeting, then the stipend may not be taxable if you provide adequate expense documentation of how the stipend was used and how each payment was an acceptable business expense.

If expenses are not documented — or if the stipend is a “perk” of working at the company, such as a commuting stipend or stipend for in-office meals — then the stipend may be taxable.

If your company is offering you a stipend, it can be a good idea to ask your employer, as well as a tax professional, about any tax implications.

How to Use a Stipend

If you accept an internship or other position that offers a stipend to help cover expenses, it can be a good idea to consider how the money will be spent and set up a budget for basic living expenses.

Unlike a salary or wages, you may need to make a stipend stretch several months. A good first step is to assess your monthly expenses, including:

• Housing

• Food

• Transportation

• Amount set aside for potential taxes

• In case of emergency expenses

A stipend is not generally expected to cover all of the expenses you may incur, so you may need to find ways to stretch your money, such as moving in with a friend or relative, or bring in extra income by getting a side gig or part-time job.

Recommended: Why Having Emergency Savings Should Be a Financial Priority

Can You Negotiate a Stipend?

There may be some wiggle room, but how much (if any) will depend on several factors, including what the stipend is for, the field you’re in, and the reason for asking for an increased stipend.

For example, if you are a student who received a stipend to do international research, you may find that the cost of travel and lodging is more than the organization or school offering the stipend anticipated. This could be something you could bring to the organizer’s attention, to see if there’s any wiggle room in allocating more dollars.

In addition to assessing your expenses (to see if the stipend will be enough), you may also want to look at similar positions and review what their stipends are. If other positions are offering more, you may want to consider asking for that amount.

In some cases, however, a school, organization, or company may not have wiggle room to access more money and may offer the same stipend to interns or apprentices across the board.

Doing some research and framing the conversation respectfully can be helpful as you navigate the next steps and whether or not the stipend package makes sense for your financial needs.

The Takeaway

A stipend is a predetermined amount of money that is often paid to certain individuals, such as trainees, interns, and students, to help offset some of their expenses.

A stipend can make certain stepping stones toward a degree or job more attainable and affordable.

However, stipends can have financial implications if you’re not aware of how the stipend may be taxed and what records are necessary for any incurred expenses during the stipend.

As you plan for life with a stipend, it can be a good idea to set up a budget and track your expenses to make sure you don’t run out of money mid-program.

With a SoFi Money® cash management account you can easily track your weekly spending right in the dashboard of the SoFi app.

Make it easy to manage your finances with SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/Mykola Sosiukin


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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What Tax Bracket Am I in?

There are seven federal tax brackets for 2021, ranging from 10% to 37%. Generally, the more you earn, the higher your tax rate, and the more money you will owe the IRS in taxes.

How much you’ll pay in federal tax on your 2021 income (due in 2022) will depend on which bracket your income falls in, as well as your tax-filing status–which is whether you’re single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, or a head of household.

When people look at tax charts, however, they often assume that having an income in a particular tax bracket (such as 12% or 22%) means that all of your income is taxed at that rate.

Actually, tax brackets are “marginal,” which means only the part of your income within each range (or “bracket”) is taxed at the corresponding tax rate.

Read on to learn which tax bracket you are in, how to use the 2021 tax chart to figure out how much you will owe, plus tips for how to lower your tax bracket.

2021 Tax Brackets

Below are the tax rates for the 2022 filing season. Dollar amounts represent taxable income earned in 2021. Your taxable income is what you get when you take all of the money you’ve earned and subtract all of the tax deductions you’re eligible for.

Not sure of your filing status? This interactive IRS quiz can help you determine the correct status. If you qualify for more than one, it tells you which one will result in the lowest tax bill.

For Unmarried People

Tax rate of:

•  10% for people earning $0 to $9,950

•  12% for people earning $9,951 to $40,525

•  22% for people earning $40,526 to $86,375

•  24% for people earning $86,376 to $164,925

•  32% for people earning $164,926 to $209,425

•  35% for people earning $209,426 to $523,600

•  37% for people earning $523,601 or more

For Married People Who Are Filing Jointly

Tax rate of:

•  10% for people earning $0 to $19,900

•  12% for people earning $19,901 to $81,050

•  22% for people earning $81,051 to $172,750

•  24% for people earning $172,751 to $329,850

•  32% for people earning $329,851 to $418,850

•  35% for people earning $418,851 to $628,300

•  37% for people earning $628,301 or more

For Married People Who Are Filing Separately

Tax rate of:

•  10% for people earning $0 to $9,950

•  12% for people earning $9,951 to $40,525

•  22% for people earning $40,526 to $86,375

•  24% for people earning $86,376 to $164,925

•  32% for people earning $164,926 to $209,425

•  35% for people earning $209,426 to $314,150

•  37% for people earning $314,151 or more

For Heads of Household

Tax rate of:

•  10% for people earning $0 to $14,200

•  12% for people earning $14,201 to $54,200

•  22% for people earning $54,201 to $86,350

•  24% for people earning $86,351 to $164,900

•  32% for people earning $164,901 to $209,400

•  35% for people earning $209,401 to $523,600

•  37% for people earning $523,601 or more

Recommended: How Income Tax Withholding Works

How Do Tax Brackets Work?

The federal government uses a progressive tax system, which means that filers with higher incomes pay higher tax rates.

The tax system is also graduated in such a way so that taxpayers don’t pay the same rate on every dollar earned, but instead pay higher rates on each dollar that exceeds a certain threshold.

For example, if your taxable income is $50,000 for 2021, not all of it is taxed at 22%. Some of your income will be taxed at the lower tax brackets, 10% and 12%.

According to the 2021 tax brackets (the ones you’ll use when you file in 2022), an unmarried person earning $50,000 would pay:

10% on the first $9,950, or $995

12% on the next $30,575 ($40,525 – $9,950 = $30,575), or $3,669

22% on the next $9,475 ($50,000 – $40,525 = $9,475), or $2,084.50

Total federal tax due would be $995 + $3,669 + $2,084.50, or $6,748.50

This doesn’t take into account any deductions. Many Americans take the standard deduction (rather than itemize their deductions).

For income earned in 2021, the standard deduction is $12,550 for unmarried people and for those who are married, filing separately; $25,100 for those married, filing jointly; $18,800 for heads of household.

In addition to federal taxes, filers may also need to pay state income tax. The rate you will pay for state tax will depend on the state you live in. Some states also have brackets, and a progressive rate. You may also need to pay local/city taxes.

How to Lower Your 2021 Tax Bracket

You may be able to lower your income into another bracket (especially if your taxable income falls right on the cut-off points between two brackets) by taking tax deductions.

Tax deductions lower how much of your income is subject to taxes. Generally, deductions lower your taxable income by the percentage of your highest federal income tax bracket. So if you fall into the 22% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction would save you $220.

Tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit, or child tax credit, can also reduce how you pay Uncle Sam–but not by putting you in a lower tax bracket.

Tax credits reduce the amount of tax you owe, giving you a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. A tax credit valued at $1,000, for instance, lowers your total tax bill by $1,000.

Many people choose to take the standard deduction, but a tax expert can help you figure out if you’d be better off itemizing deductions, such as your mortgage interest, medical expenses, and state and local taxes.

Whether you take the standard deduction or itemize, here are some additional ways you may be able to lower your tax bracket:

•  Making year-end charitable contributions. For 2021, the IRS will allow people to deduct up to $300 in cash donations to qualifying charities, even if they don’t itemize their deductions (i.e., take the standard deduction).

•  Delaying income. For example, if you freelance, you might consider waiting to bill for services performed near the end of the 2021 until January 2022.

•  Making contributions to certain tax-advantaged accounts, such as health savings accounts and retirement funds, keeping in mind that there are annual contribution limits.

•  Deducting some of your student loan interest. Depending on your income, you may be able to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest paid in 2021.
It can be a good idea to work with a CPA (certified public accountant) or tax advisor to see if you qualify for these and other ways to lower your tax bracket.

Recommended: What Happens If I Miss the Tax Filing Deadline?

The Takeaway

The government decides how much tax you owe by dividing your taxable income into chunks–also known as tax brackets– and each chunk gets taxed at the corresponding tax rate.

There are seven federal tax brackets for the 2021 tax year: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.

The benefit of a progressive tax system is that no matter which bracket you’re in, you won’t pay that tax rate on your entire income.

Depending on your financial situation, you can use both tax deductions and credits to lower the amount you pay Uncle Sam each year.

Knowing your tax bracket can help you get an idea of how much you will owe on your 2021 income.

If you think you might get hit with a sizable tax bill in 2022, you may want to look into changing your paycheck withholdings or, if you’re a freelancer, making quarterly estimated tax payments.

You may also want to start putting some “tax money” aside each month, so you won’t have to scramble to pay any taxes owed when you file in April.

With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can separate your savings from your spending while earning competitive interest on all your money.

Explore how SoFi Money® can help you meet your financial goals.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

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

You can buy a car with a credit card in certain circumstances. But it may be smart to ask yourself if this is the best way for you to purchase your vehicle. This post will take you through the pros and cons of buying a car with your card, as well as provide information about what you can expect from the process.

Buying a Car with a Credit Card

You’ve decided how much you want to spend on a new car, and you’ve negotiated a fair price with a dealer. But before slapping down your plastic to purchase a new or used car, you’ll first need to check with your car dealership to verify that they accept credit card purchases, which cards they accept, and how much of the total purchase price they will allow you to charge.

If you go to a dealer that won’t accept credit card purchases, or limits the amount, you’ll have to decide whether to pay another way or to go to another place that sells the car you want and allows credit card purchases.

However, if you’ve selected a car at a dealership that takes credit card payments, your next step is to check your credit limit to determine whether it’s high enough to use one card, or whether you’ll need to spread out the purchase over multiple cards.

If your combined limits aren’t enough, you could pay the difference with a cashier’s check and still reap some of the rewards-point benefits available through credit card use. Or you could ask your credit card companies to increase your limits.

It also makes sense to notify your credit card companies that you intend to use your credit cards to make a large purchase. If you don’t regularly make large purchases on your credit cards, the transaction might get flagged as potentially fraudulent and could get declined.

At a car dealership that does let you pay for a car with a credit card—or at least a portion of it—you might consider using a rewards credit card for that portion. If you have cash to pay the charge before it starts accruing interest, you’re basically getting a zero-percent, short-term loan while taking advantage of the credit card perks.

Recommended: What to Know About Managing Credit Card Rewards

Why Some Car Dealers Don’t Accept Credit Cards

On the surface it might seem odd that auto dealers wouldn’t accept credit cards. Afterall, they want to make a sale, right? Of course they do, but they, like other merchants, must pay processing fees for each credit card transaction they make. These fees tend to be around 2%, and they can add up pretty quickly when you consider that cars can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. By rejecting credit cards, dealers can save themselves the expense and hassle of paying these fees.

If a dealer that normally doesn’t allow credit card purchases makes an exception, expect them to tack on convenience fees of 2% to 4% to help them cover the cost of the transaction. Pay close attention to these fees because they may offset any benefit you might gain from using a rewards card.

Pros of Car Buying With a Credit Card

Under certain circumstances, using a credit card to buy a vehicle can be an excellent strategy to consider, especially if you have money in the bank to pay off the balance in full when your statement comes.

In this scenario, you’ll have a fast and easy way to purchase your car of choice and, depending upon the credit card, you may earn rewards points, something you wouldn’t get if you simply used a cashier’s check to buy the car.

You may have slightly longer to pay off your purchase if you use a credit card that has a zero percent interest rate over a certain period of time, such as six months. In order to avoid interest payments, you must finish paying off your vehicle in that time period. This strategy may be riskier than paying off your full balance immediately. If, for some reason, you can’t pay the balance off within the introductory no-interest period due to unforeseen circumstances, then the card will revert to its regular rate, which may be quite high.

If that happens, the situation can go downhill from there, because some credit card companies will then charge the full interest rate on the entire purchase, not just on the remaining balance. So, in that case, nothing was free and you’ll end up paying a high interest rate on the total balance.

Cons of Car Buying With a Credit Card

The biggest reason not to buy a car with your credit card is that credit card interest rates are typically much higher than other available options. And in some situations you might get stuck with some costly fees.

For example, let’s say that your strategy is to purchase a car on your current credit cards, then transfer the balance to a zero-interest credit card. Besides the challenges listed above, you may add transfer balance fees to the mix. These fees can be as high as 5%, which, on a $20,000 car, is $1,000.

Here’s something else to consider. Having different kinds of debt can actually help with your credit score, so using an installment loan, such as a traditional auto loan, to buy your car instead of a credit card may be helpful to your overall long-term financial situation. And if your credit score is good enough to gain approval for an auto loan with lower interest rates than the average credit card’s rates, you’ll be coming out ahead.

Other Options for Buying a Car

If you decide to finance some or all or all of your auto purchase, you can apply for a car loan through the dealership or other lenders. Auto loans are typically secured loans that use the vehicle as collateral. So, if you fail to make payments, your lender has the option to repossess the vehicle to cover some of your debt.

Dealers are often able to get same-day financing approved, but there may be some pressure to buy while the salesperson takes advantage of your excitement. Banks and private lenders may take longer to approve an application, but sometimes offer better deals on terms or interest rates. Taking emotion out of the equation when buying a car will allow you to compare rates and terms to get the best deal for your financial situation.

You may also want to consider buying a car with a personal loan, which is an unsecured loan that’s not backed by collateral. Personal loans can be used to cover many expenses, including the cost of buying a car. Because they are unsecured, interest rates on personal loans may be higher than other auto financing options, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness.

The Takeaway

If buying a car is in your future, and you’re ready to start saving, a good move may be to start saving in an account like SoFi Money®, a cash management account where you can save, spend, and earn all in one place.

You can easily create vaults within your SoFi Money account, each for its own purpose (like one for a car fund).

Get started with SoFi Money today to save for your dream car.
 


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.

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Is A Joint Bank Account Right For You?

If you’ve recently gotten married or moved in with your mate, you may wonder whether it makes sense to combine your funds in a shared account, or to continue keeping your finances separate.

Opening a joint checking account can make it much easier for a couple to pay, plan, and track household and other shared expenses. The trade-off to that convenience, however, is giving up some of your financial privacy and independence.

To help you decide if opening a joint account makes sense for your situation, read on. We’ve got all the pros and cons, plus tips on how to open a joint account, along with some alternatives to consider.

How Does a Joint Account Work?

A joint account functions just like an individual account, except that more than one person has access to it.

Everyone named on a joint account has the power to manage it, which includes everything from deposits to withdrawals.

Any account holder can also close the account at any time. And, all owners of a joint account are jointly liable for any debts incurred in relation to the account.

Two or more people can own a joint account–and, they don’t have to be a married couple or even live at the same address.

You can open a joint account with an aging parent who needs assistance with paying bills and managing their money. You can also open a joint account with a teenage child, friend, roommate, sibling, or business partner.

Recommended: How to Combine Bank Accounts

Benefits of Having a Joint Bank Account

Here are some of the pros of opening a joint account.

•  Ease of paying bills. When you’re sharing expenses, such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities, insurance and streaming services, it can be a lot simpler to write one check (or make one online payment), rather than splitting bills between two bank accounts. A shared account can simplify and streamline your financial life.

•  Transparency. With a joint checking account, there can’t be any secrets about what’s coming in and in and what’s going out, since you both have access to your online account. This can help a newly married couple understand each other’s spending habits and talk more openly about money.

•  A sense of togetherness. Opening a joint bank account signals trust and a sense of being on the same team. Instead of “your money” and “my money,” it’s “our money.”

•  Easier budgeting. When all household and entertainment expenses are coming out of the same account, it can be much easier to keep track of spending and stick to a monthly budget. A joint account can help give a couple a clear financial picture.

•  Banking perks. Your combined resources might allow you to open an account where a certain minimum balance is required to keep it free from fees. Or, you might get a higher interest rate or other rewards by pooling your funds. Also, in a joint bank account, each account holder is insured by the FDIC, which means the total insurance on the account is higher than it is in an individual account.

•  Fewer legal hoops. Equal access to the account can come in handy during illness or another type of crisis. If one account holder gets sick, for example, the other can access funds and pay medical and other bills. If one partner passes away, the other partner will retain access to the funds in a joint account without having to deal with a complicated legal process.

Challenges of Having a Joint Bank Account

Despite the myriad advantages of opening a joint account, there are some potential downsides to a shared account, which include:

•  Lack of privacy. Since both account holders can see everything that goes in and comes out of the account, your partner will know exactly what you’re earning and how much you are spending each month.

•  Potential for arguments. While a joint account can prevent arguments by making it easier to keep track of bills and spending, there is also the potential for it to lead to disagreements if one partner has a very different spending style than the other.

•  No individual protection. As joint owners of the account, you are both responsible for everything that happens. So if your partner overdraws the account, you will both be on the hook for paying back that debt and covering any fees that are charged as a result. If one account holder lets debts go unpaid, creditors can, in some cases, go after money in the joint account.

•  It can complicate a break-up. If you and your partner end up parting ways, you’ll have the added stress of deciding how to divide up the bank account. Each account owner has the right to withdraw money and close the account without the consent of the other.

•  Reduced benefits eligibility. If you open a joint account with a college student, the joint funds will count towards their assets, possibly reducing their eligibility for financial aid. The same goes for an elderly co-owner who may rely on Medicaid long-term care.

How to Open a Joint Bank Account

If you decide opening a joint account makes sense for your situation, the process is similar to opening an individual account. You can check your bank’s website to find out if you need to go in person, call, or just fill out forms online to start your joint account.

Typically, you have the option to open any kind of account as a joint account, except you’ll select “joint account” when you fill out your application or, after you fill in one person’s information, you can choose to add a co-applicant.

Whether you open your joint account online or in person, you’ll likely both need to provide the bank with personal information, including address, date of birth, and social security numbers, and also provide photo identification. You may also need information for the accounts you plan to use to fund your new account.

Another way to open a joint account is to add one partner to the other partner’s existing account. In this case, you’ll only need personal information for the partner being added.

Before signing on the dotted line, it can be a good idea to make sure you and the co-owner know the terms of the joint account. You will also need to make decisions together about how you want this account set up, managed, and monitored.

Alternatives to a Joint Bank Account

If you’re not keen on opening a joint bank account, but do need some type of money management system, here are some alternatives you may want to consider.

•  Adding an authorized user to an existing individual bank account. An authorized user has access to the account, but they’re not an owner. You still have full control, which means you can remove them from the account at any time.

•  Joint bank account, plus separate accounts. This allows couples to streamline payment for shared expenses, but also gives each partner some freedom to spend on themselves without having to explain or feel guilty about their expenditures.

•  View-only account. A view-only account gives another person the opportunity to view transactions, but they don’t have the power to manage the account.

•  Joint credit card. A joint credit card allows both you and your partner to use it. If your partner isn’t responsible with the card, however, it can affect both of your credit scores.

The Takeaway

One of the main pros of opening a joint checking account as a couple is that it can simplify paying for shared expenses. Having a joint account can also provide a couple with a clear financial picture, and make it easier for them to track spending and stick to a budget. A joint account also fosters openness and teamwork.

On the downside, sharing every penny can sometimes lead to tension and disagreements, especially if partners have different spending habits and personalities. And, if your partner isn’t responsible with money, you can end up paying for their mistakes.

If you decide to open a joint account, communication can be key. It can be a good idea to lay out expectations with the other account holder and also have regular open and honest discussions about money.

Looking for Something Different?

For couples who are ready to integrate their finances, SoFi Money® makes it easy to create a joint account that gives couples shared access to their money.

When you open a SoFi Money cash management account, you’ll have the option to add a joint account holder. Your partner will then receive an application and, once they fill it out, you can simply approve them as a joint owner of the account from your SoFi account dashboard.

Whether you opt for two individual or one joint account, you and partner won’t pay any account fees, monthly fees, or other common fees.

Learn more about opening a joint cash management account with SoFi Money.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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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33 Ways to Make Money From Home

33 Ways to Make Money From Home

According to a study by Pew Research published late in 2020, 71% of those whose responsibilities can be taken care of digitally are working from home, up from merely 20% pre-pandemic.

As vaccines are distributed and the world begins to open back up, many of us are returning to the office. But if you’re hoping to find real ways to make money from home, take heart: there are many.

Here are 33 possibilities for those asking themselves, “How can I make money from home?”

Easy Ways to Make Extra Money from Home

1. Test Websites

Most websites are well-designed and easy to use because they’re tested by real users— a service they get paid to do. Platforms like UserTesting will link you up with companies who need website testers, and you’ll earn money for each test you do, ranging from $4 to $120, depending on the type of test. There are also opportunities to earn more money for live interviews about your experience.

2. Test Products

Products also need testers, and that testing can be done at home, too. Companies like Product Report Card will pay for opinions on gadgets, personal care products, and more. (Plus, you might get some free stuff in the bargain.)

3. Take Surveys

If you start poking around product testing websites, you’ll notice most of them capture your opinion by using surveys—and there are plenty of other websites that pay for your surveyed opinion, too. Survey Junkie is one popular option, as is Swagbucks. These opps won’t get you rich quick, but they’re a great way to earn some extra money at home.

4. Become a Voice Actor

If you’ve got a voice for radio—or an audiobook, or a video game, or the PA announcement at your local grocery store—you may be able to earn money doing voiceover work in the comfort of your own home. (Or more accurately, the comfort of your own closet, which is probably the most noise-insulated room in the house.)

5. Do Closed Captioning

If you’re a quick typist with the ability to pay close attention to speech, you might make a great transcriptionist or captioner. Companies like Rev make it possible to get paid for captioning video content, and you get to set your own hours.

6. Become a Translator

If you are multilingual, you can put those skills to work by becoming a professional translator. Gengo is one platform where translators can find jobs, choosing the ones that fit their abilities and availability.

7. Teach an Online Course

We’ve all got some valuable talents to share with the world—and chances are there’s someone out there who would pay to learn more about what you’re an expert in. Whether it’s creative writing, singing, or coding in JavaScript, get your knowledge out there and get paid for it with platforms like Udemy and Teachable.

8. Become a Tutor

Similarly to starting your own course, tutors are paid to teach local students who may be studying for the SAT or just trying to improve their grades. Using video chat can expand your client base far beyond your neighborhood.

9. Offer Music Lessons

If you play an instrument or know the ins and outs of voice control, you can leverage those skills into cash money by offering music lessons—in person or online.

10. Write a Book

Okay, okay—this one is not a quick way to make money or a guaranteed one, by a long shot. But if you’ve got the chops and the dedication, you might just actually write the next great American novel. Or memoir. Or essay collection. Just know that as far as the money goes, it’s a slow burn.

11. Start a Blog

If you’re a writer who wants to hone their chops on an ongoing basis—or you’re just looking for a fun and audience-friendly topic like baking or being a mom—starting a blog can translate into earnings over time, thanks in large part to affiliate marketing. However, a successful blog could also land you speaking gigs, public appearances, and other earning opportunities.

12. Become a Freelance Writer

Another way to translate your writing skills into cash: becoming a freelance writer, either on the side or full time. It can be a tough industry to break into, but once you’ve established yourself, it’s totally possible to earn a living wage doing this work. Having examples of your published work is the best way to show a prospective client your writing skills.

13. Or a Freelance Copy Editor

Don’t want to create new content, but happy to read others’ for errors? Language lovers might be able to earn a living as freelance copy editors. Fiverr is one place to find individual copy-editing jobs, though longer-term contract positions are also regularly listed on job boards like Indeed.

14. Or a Freelance Graphic Designer

If you have design skills, you could turn your doodles into dollars by sketching logos for businesses, graphics for company websites, and more. You’ll likely need a portfolio of your work to show prospective clients.

15. Or a Freelance SEO Consultant

You can see where we’re going with this—whatever skills you have, you may be able to leverage into a freelance, at-home source of earnings. SEO in particular is a service that companies will pay mighty well for… after all, good rankings translate into more money in their pockets, too.

16. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you’re the kind of Type-A person whose Google calendar is comprehensive and color-coded, consider channeling those organizational skills into becoming a virtual assistant. Along with offering a great way to make money from home, this gig has the added bonus of a variable work day—you might be scheduling work travel or managing invoices or answering phone calls, but there’s always plenty to do!

17. Sell Your Crafts

If you already spend your downtime enjoying a craft like painting or knitting, why not consider placing your wares up for sale on a site like Etsy? Not only will your art bring smiles to other peoples’ faces—it might also bring you some extra cash.

18. Design a T-shirt (or Mug, or Tote Bag)

Got a witty slogan or beautiful image in mind that just has to be on a shirt somewhere? Make it happen with a website like CafePress or CustomInk, which makes it easy to create and sell your unique designs.

19. Become a YouTuber

If you’ve got something to say—and are creative enough to say it with engaging video content—YouTube can be a lucrative way to make money from home. Beware, though: this is a side-gig that can easily take a lot of time and have considerable expense in audio/video equipment.

20. Stream Your Gaming Habits on Twitch

Earning money by playing video games might sound like a fantasy, but platforms like Twitch make it possible—provided you’re actually good, or at least entertaining to watch.

21. Get Paid to Post on Insta

Yes, you can get paid (and get free stuff) to be a brand ambassador on Instagram and other social media platforms—though you’ll likely need good personal branding and a decent following to do it. Some people spend time curating their social media content already, which means those requirements are probably within reach.

22. Sell Your Stuff

If you’re overdue for a closet clean-out, consider selling the stuff you don’t need anymore on an app like LetGo or OfferUp. You know how they say one person’s trash is another’s treasure? Well, in this case, the same item can be both—for you!

23. Sell Your Photos

If you know your way around a DSLR—or honestly just an iPhone—you might be able to sell your stock-photo-worthy snaps for money. Platforms like Alamy and GettyImages are two places to sell or license your pictures.

24. Rent Out Your Clothes

Yes, this is real! Turn that prom dress in your closet into income by renting it out to others. Platforms like RentNotBuy can help.

25. Rent Out Your Camping Equipment

Or your lawnmower, or your bike—basically anything you don’t use on the regular, you could be earning money by renting out. Check out the database at Loanables, which also makes it easy to list your own items for rent. Bonus: sharing items is a way to reduce our overall carbon footprint.

26. Rent Out Your Driveway

There are lots (and lots) of cars on the road these days, which means people need lots of parking space. If you have extra room in your driveway, you can rent it out for pretty good money using platforms like Neighbor and JustPark.

27. Do Data Entry

Are you a quick typist with great attention to detail? These days, companies who need data entry sometimes hire remote workers, which means you can populate those spreadsheets in the comfort of your own home.

28. Or Customer Service

Many of us have some sort of customer service background—and thanks to the magic of the internet, you don’t necessarily need to work in a crowded, noisy call center to put that resume to use. Many companies offer virtual customer service employees, including Amazon. You’ll definitely want to invest in a headset to take those calls with ease, though.

29. Do Medical Coding And Billing

The work might be tedious, but it pays quite well—and although it’s counterintuitive, you don’t have to work at a hospital to do it. Many medical establishments outsource their coding and billing needs, and companies like Aviacode allow medical coders to work from home while earning both a salary and valuable benefits.

30. Start a Podcast

It might be a long shot, but many successful podcasts started as a casual, at-home conversation between friends. If your subject matter is interesting enough to draw advertisers, voila: at-home income!

31. Start An At-home Daycare

Love kids? You could get paid to care for them by offering at-home daycare services for parents who need time to work or meet other commitments. Starting a business like this may require licensing and home modifications, but you can also hire out your services as a babysitter using an app like UrbanSitter or Bambino.

32. Take Up Professional Pet-sitting

Getting paid to hang out with puppies sounds like a dream—but it can be your reality if you charge for pet-sitting services. Apps like Rover make it easy to get started, but you can also just advertise around your neighborhood and by word-of-mouth.

33. Start Your Own Business

Many of the options listed here might provide potential side income, but if your career is one whose services can easily be done without a physical storefront, the internet could be your key to freedom on a full-time basis. Although becoming your own boss certainly takes some up-front investing, as well as energy and time, your income potential won’t be limited by what your employer decides to pay you. A major decision before taking the leap to self-employment is how to get benefits that may have been provided by an employer, such as health insurance and retirement benefits. Having a solid plan will make the path forward easier to navigate.

The Takeaway

Making money from home is great, but getting your budget nailed down can help you keep more of the cash you work for.
One way to put your hard-earned bucks to work for you: SoFi Money®, a cash management platform that’s a great way to spend and save without any account fees.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you reach your savings goals.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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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