Can I Use Checks With an Old Address?

Can I Use Checks With an Old Address?

If you’re wondering if it’s okay to use checks with an old address, the answer is yes…most of the time.

Encountering a checkbook with your old address isn’t so unusual these days. Checks can come in handy from time to time, but many of us don’t need to use them all too often in this era of online electronic payments. Because of this, it’s easy to see how a checkbook might collect dust and the address on the checks might become outdated.

Read on to learn when it’s possible to use checks with an old address. You’ll find out:

•   Can you use a personal check with an old address?

•   Can you use a personal check with a wrong address?

•   What about business checks with an old or wrong address; are they okay to use?

•   Do checks expire?

•   How can you update checks when you move?

•   What are alternatives to using personal checks?

Can You Use a Personal Check With an Old Address?

Can you use a check with an old address? It is possible to use a check with an old address on it as long as it still has the correct routing and account numbers on it. If those numbers properly identify which bank and account the money should come from in order to pay a check, you’re good to go. That being said, it’s a good idea to let the bank know about a change of address to ensure they send statements and other important info about the account to the correct location.

If someone were to use a check with an old address on it, it can be helpful to let the recipient know about the address being wrong just in case they need to send a receipt or create any other correspondence regarding the payment via mail.

But what if the check writer got a new bank account number or the bank changed routing numbers (this can happen, for instance, when one bank merges with another)? In this situation, it is necessary to order new checks with the correct information on them. This is a great time to update the address on the check, too. Making sure a check’s routing numbers and account number are accurate is something to take seriously. If someone knowingly writes a check for an account that has already been closed, this is considered a form of fraud known as writing a bad check. Because of this, it’s a good idea to confirm check details are current and accurate whenever you move or switch banks to, say, open a new checking account.

Can You Use a Business Check With an Old Address?

It is possible to use a business check vs. a personal check that has an old address on it as long as the account number and routing number are accurate. The main difference between business checks and personal checks is that business checks can be a bit harder to deposit in a personal checking account. This however doesn’t really affect the person writing the check.

Can You Use a Personal Check With a Wrong Address?

It’s fair to wonder, is it okay if my checks have the wrong address? Whether it’s a typo or you moved, this situation definitely happens.

While writing a personal check with the wrong address on it isn’t ideal, it is possible to use one. As mentioned earlier, as long as the routing number and account number for your checking account are accurate, the check can be cashed properly. All of that being said, the check writer may want to inform the check recipient of their current correct address in case they need to mail them a receipt or any other type of communication.

Can You Use a Business Check With a Wrong Address?

As explained earlier, it is possible to write a business check with the wrong address on it as long as the routing number and account number listed on the check remain accurate. Most businesses will want to order new checks with the correct address on them to avoid confusion surrounding where their business is located and where correspondence should be directed. But they don’t need to worry if they have old checks left to use up. They should still be fine to issue.

Do Unwritten Checks Expire?

How long will a check be good for? As long as someone keeps their account open and the correct account number and routing number remain on a check, they won’t expire. However, there is still a situation to consider. If someone closes a bank account, this means the checks associated with the account become unusable. Another situation to be aware of is that bank routing numbers can change, especially when banks merge. So it’s always worth confirming if a check’s information is up to date.

When Are Checks With an Old Address Unusable?

As we mentioned, checks with an old address on them only become unusable if the routing number or account number listed on the check are inaccurate. This causes problems because these numbers are used to verify that the check is good and identify the account the money needs to be withdrawn from in order to process the check.

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Ordering New and Correct Checks

If someone needs new checks for any reason — such as a desire to update their address — these are the steps they’ll generally take to order new ones.

•   Log on to their online bank account. It’s usually possible to order checks online or via a mobile account dashboard.

•   Request a counter check. If someone is really in a rush and can’t wait for new checks to come in the mail, they can go to a local bank branch and purchase counter checks. These will have your account information on them, and they typically cost $1 or $2 per check.

•   Review terms and fees. All banks charge different fees to buy checks or a checkbook, so double check how much doing so will cost.

Changing Your Address on Checks

Can you use checks with your old address? You can.

•   If you need to change the address listed on the checks in your personal checkbook, order more checks via one of the methods previously mentioned. This can be done online or in-person at the bank.

•   An alternative would be to use stick-on address labels to cover and replace the old address that appears on your checks.

Do You Need to Write Your Address on a Check?

Checks typically have an address already printed on them. Therefore it is not necessary for the check writer to write it on the check themselves. However, some people may prefer that only their name appears on their checks. Maybe they know they’ll be moving soon, or perhaps they simply prefer this for privacy and security reasons. If you do need to write your address on a check that doesn’t have your address:

•   Use blue or black pen

•   Print your new address under your name at the upper lefthand corner of the check

•   See if the business or merchant wants your phone number as well; this is a fairly common request so they can reach you if necessary. An altered check may not inspire complete confidence.

Do Checks Need an Address?

Checks do not need to have an address printed on them. However, if you choose to omit an address (say, because you know you’ll likely be moving soon), some businesses may hesitate to accept the check. They might ask for a form of ID or a phone number in case they need to contact you.

Alternatives to Personal Checks

If someone doesn’t want to write a check for whatever reason, these are some of their alternative payment options.

Money Orders

It’s possible to buy a money order from the post office and other select locations. Money orders are a very quick form of payment, and can cost less than $2 in fees.

Cashier’s Checks

A cashier’s check, which usually costs a small fee, can be bought at the bank and is a check that is guaranteed by the bank. It will usually require a visit to the bank to get one, though.

P2P Money Transfer Apps

Here’s a very convenient payment option: P2P money transfer apps — like Venmo — that allow users to instantly transfer cash electronically to an individual as long as they have enough money in their bank account. These may be free to use or can involve a small fee (a percentage of the transaction) depending on a few variables. (Sometimes e-checks, or electronic checks, are a payment option for utilities and other accounts. While not a P2P app, they do allow for a seamless transfer of funds.)

The Takeaway

As long as the routing and account numbers on the check are accurate, it’s possible to use a check with an old, incorrect address on it. That said, it’s a good idea to order new checks with the correct address on them to help lessen any confusion the wrong address might cause with check recipients. Having all your details correct can help make banking as simple as possible.

Here’s another way to simplify your financial life: Manage your money with SoFi. It’s a better way to bank. Sign up for online banking with direct deposit, and you’ll earn 1.80% APY, which happens to be 41 times the current national checking account average. What’s more, we don’t charge you any of the usual fees, like monthly, minimum-balance, or overdraft charges.

SoFi makes banking simpler.

FAQ

Does it matter if the address on my check is wrong?

If you’re wondering, “Can I use old address checks?” here’s the answer: It is possible to use a check with a wrong address on it. The key is to make sure the routing number and account number is still accurate on the check before using it.

Can you cash a check with an incorrect address?

Cashing a check without the correct address on it is possible. Just make sure the recipient knows the writer’s current address in case they need to contact them.

Do checks need an address?

Checks commonly have an address on them, but it’s not a requirement. If you are using a check without an address, the business or service you are playing may require some additional ID or info.


SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.80% 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 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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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Guide to Duplicate Checks

Guide to Duplicate Checks

Because check writing is a less popular form of payment these days, it’s easy to get confused about how the whole process works. When someone writes a paper check, there may be a carbon copy attached to the back of each check. These are known as duplicate checks.

But what exactly are duplicate checks? How do you use them, and when do you need them? Keep reading for more insight, including:

•   What are duplicate checks?

•   Where can you get duplicate checks?

•   Pros and cons of duplicate checks.

•   Alternatives to duplicate checks.

What Are Duplicate Checks?

So exactly what are duplicate checks? If you have ordered these, when you get a checkbook from your bank, you’ll see that attached to the back of each check is a thinner piece of paper known as a duplicate check.

When you write on a check to fill it out, your writing copies over to the duplicate check. In this way, the duplicate that is created can act as a record of the payment made, how much was spent, the day the check was written, and to whom the check was given.

The same information found on the duplicate check should appear in the consumer’s online account, but it can be helpful to have duplicate checks on hand to quickly reference.

How Do Duplicate Checks Work?

What is a duplicate check and how does one work? A duplicate check is attached to the bank of a normal check in the form of a thin piece of paper. This acts as a carbon copy of the original check (also known as the single check). All duplicate checks have the same check number printed on them as the original. The pressure from the check writer’s pen transfers what is written on the original check to the duplicate check.

Once you are done writing a check, you only pull the original check out of your checkbook and leave the duplicate check in the checkbook so you can reference it when and if you need to. (The original check goes to the person or business you are paying, so they can deposit it, cash it, or sign it over to someone else.) All of the information included in the payee, amount, date, and memo sections transfer over. The one area of the original check that doesn’t copy over is usually the signature. This is to protect you, the account holder, from identity theft in the event someone steals your checkbook. Basically, a duplicate check mirrors the information and can help you verify the check you just wrote. You can see all the details right there, on the carbon copy.

Are Duplicate Checks Legal?

Yes, duplicate checks are legal and simply serve as a record of a check that the account holder already wrote. Where legal issues arise is if someone were to steal a checkbook and try to use a duplicate check to gather the information they need to commit theft or bank fraud.

Where Can I Get Duplicate Checks?

If you have a checkbook, you may already have duplicate checks on hand. If not, you can order this style of checkbook from the bank or credit union where you have a checking account. It can also be possible to order checks from select reputable online check printers who may charge less than a bank does for checks.

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Single vs Duplicate Checks: What’s the Difference?

Single checks look exactly the same as duplicate checks (although the signature doesn’t transfer over to the duplicate check). The same check number is even on both checks. The main difference between single checks and duplicate checks is the thickness of the paper and that the duplicate check acts as a carbon copy of the single check.

Sometimes, a person may refer to single checks as the kind of checks that don’t have the duplicate behind them. In this case, a single check would be a “regular” check that arrived in a checkbook with no copies involved.

Pros of Duplicate Checks

Once the principle of a duplicate check is understood, you may wonder if these are right for you. Here are a few advantages of using duplicate checks.

Safer than Carrying Cash

While someone can easily steal cash out of a wallet, checks are not as simple to steal. This is especially true if you take steps to manage your checkbook well and keep it in a secure place.

Ease of Use

You don’t have to do anything to create the duplicate check thanks to the carbon copy function. No writing the check number, date, payee, and amount in your check register (unless, of course, you want to do so).

Convenience

The whole point of a duplicate check is to make staying organized and tracking former check payments easier. While most check information is available through online bank accounts, having a paper copy can act as a helpful backup.

Checks Can Be Canceled If Stolen

If you have reason to suspect a check was stolen, you can stop payment on the check before it is cashed. Again, that’s a big advantage over cash; once bills are stolen, they are gone.

Cons of Duplicate Checks

Of course, there are also some disadvantages associated with duplicate checks worth keeping in mind.

Security and Privacy Risk

Because duplicate checks have important information on them about your bank and your spending habits, it’s important not to lose a check and minimize the possibility of your checkbook getting stolen.

Cost More Than Regular Checks

Some banks or check providers charge more for duplicate checks than they do single checks.

Will Not Work Where Places Automatically Print Checks

Duplicate checks may not be easily available from all vendors. Not all check providers can create duplicate checks.

Checks Becoming More Increasingly Uncommon

Checks (including travelers checks) are becoming a less popular form of payment as people shift to online payments, electronic checks, and other options. In many cases, it may not be worth the fuss or ordering and managing a checkbook for the occasional payment.

Alternatives to Duplicate Checks

If you want to keep good records of checks you have written but don’t want to hold onto duplicate checks, you have a few options for how to proceed.

•   Log in to an online bank account. Most banks and credit unions give customers an online bank account where you can access information about recent transactions including the information one would find on a duplicate check. A warning: This is not a reliable way to keep track of every check ever written as banks eventually stop sharing old transactions. But it is possible to download these statements and save them electronically.

•   Make a digital copy. You can take a picture of or scan each check you write and store them digitally.

•   Use a check register. To keep all information about written checks in one place, it’s possible to use a check register. These registers can be on paper or can be digital; they capture the check number, payee, when a check was written and for how much. This process can make it easy to balance, say, your high-yield checking account by copying down check-payment information and subtracting the amounts from your balance.

The Takeaway

What is a duplicate check? In short, a duplicate check is a carbon copy of a single check. Though it can’t be used to make a payment, a duplicate check makes record-keeping easier. When you write a single check, the attached duplicate check creates an automatic copy of the check that you can easily reference. While checks are in many cases losing favor, a duplicate check system can be a bonus for those who do like writing checks, as it can make keeping tabs on your account that much easier.

Speaking of easy: Banking with SoFi can make your financial life so much simpler and more rewarding. Sign up for our high yield bank account with direct deposit, and you’ll earn a stellar 1.80% APY and pay no account fees.

Bank better with Sofi.

FAQ

What is a single check?

A single check is the original check that the account holder writes on and gives to someone they want to make a payment to. What are duplicate checks? They are a thinner piece of paper that may be attached to the back of a single check and can act as a carbon copy of it.

What is the difference between a single and duplicate check?

For the most part, single checks and duplicate checks look the same. The main difference is that a duplicate check is a thinner piece of paper and that the signature doesn’t usually copy over from the single check to the duplicate check.

Can you cash a duplicate check?

No, it’s not possible to cash a duplicate check. Only single checks can be cashed. The duplicate check simply serves as a record of the single check.


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 members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.80% 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 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

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Guide to Cleared Funds

Guide to Cleared Funds

We live in a fast-paced world and are accustomed to immediate gratification. Just as we can get groceries delivered in minutes and order a new movie online with a few clicks, so too do we often expect our bank deposits to be available immediately.

But it doesn’t always work that way when it comes to finances. Some things do require a wait, even though it may seem like they should happen instantaneously. When money is put into a bank account, it can take a while for the deposited funds to appear and become available. When that does happen, they are considered cleared funds.

Wondering how this timing works? Keep reading to find out. You’ll learn:

•   What are cleared funds and how do they work?

•   How long does it take for funds to clear?

•   When can you withdraw cleared funds?

•   How do cleared funds and available funds differ?

•   Why are deposits sometimes delayed?

What Are Cleared Funds?

Depositing money into a bank account doesn’t always make those funds appear immediately. It can take time for cleared funds (aka the funds the account holder can access and use) to appear in an account. This is because banks and credit unions place temporary holds on the deposit. When this happens, the account holder can see their “total balance” on their account and their “available balance.” The latter is the amount of the total balance minus any pending deposits. The available balance is, as the name indicates, what is available for use.

Why Banks Put a Hold on Deposits

Here’s why banks don’t immediately declare deposits to be cleared funds: The waiting period can help avoid issues that can arise when a deposit bounces. This process helps protect customers from fraud and from paying unnecessary fees. If a bank were to allow a customer to spend funds from a check that ends up bouncing, the customer would then need to repay the bank the amount they deposited and probably pay an overdraft fee (even if the customer wasn’t at fault).

Some holds take longer than others. Keep in mind that all banks and credit unions have their own policies regarding how long it will take for funds to become available after a deposit. Another factor in terms of funds clearing is that the federal government regulates how long banking institutions can hold onto the funds before they make them available to the account holder.

It can be helpful to review a bank’s policies for holding deposits so you can get a better idea of when cleared funds will become available. That way, you won’t accidentally overdraw your account.

How Do Cleared Funds Work?

Cleared funds appear in a bank account (typically a checking account) after the holding period ends. Usually, this holding period lasts until the next business day, but it can take longer. Weekends and holidays can slow this process down. The type of deposit made can also affect the timeline.

Here’s a specific example: If you deposit a paycheck via an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network, you will probably have to wait a while to access the money. It may take up to five days before that check becomes available cash in your account.

Compare that to the case of electronic deposits made via an ACH. The cleared funds can actually be available as soon as the same day. Having a paycheck deposited via direct deposit or funds put into a flexible spending account that way can help you access your money a lot faster than if you deposited a check at an ATM.

Recommended: How to Set Up Direct Deposit

Breakdown of Times of Cleared Funds

All banks and credit unions have their own timeline they follow surrounding cleared funds. In addition, the federal government sets a maximum limit for how long they can make consumers wait to access their deposit.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the federally allowed wait times for different types of transactions, from wiring money to check deposits.

Type of Deposit

Timeline

Direct Deposit Day of Deposit
Wire Transfer Next Business Day
First $200 of Any Non-”Next-Day” Check Deposited Next Business Day
Cash* Next Business Day
U.S. Treasury Check Next Business Day
U.S. Postal Service Money Order* Next Business Day
State or Local Government Check* Next Business Day
Casher’s, Certified, or Teller’s Check* Next Business Day
Checks and Money Orders Drawn on Another Account at the Same Financial Institution Next Business Day
Federal Reserve Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank Checks* Next Business Day
Any Other Checks or Non-U.S. Postal Service Money Orders Second Business Day After the Day of Deposit
Deposits of Items Noted by “*” at an ATM Owned by the Customer’s Financial Institutions Second Business Day After the Day of Deposit
Deposits Made at an ATM Not Owned by the Customer’s Financial Institution Fifth Business Day After the Day of Deposit

*Deposited in person.

It’s worth noting that these are the maximum hold times allowed; in many cases these deposits happen much quicker. Again, it’s worth reviewing the bank’s funds availability policy. This will be listed in the account agreement given to you, the account holder, when you opened an account. You can also ask the bank for a copy of their holding policies or look online for it.

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When Can You Withdrawal Cleared Funds?

Deposits often clear in segments. That is, a portion of the funds will become available in your checking account before the whole amount deposited is ready for use. In most cases, the bank has to allow the customer to access $225 from the deposit at the start of the next business day. You could either withdraw cash or write a check. Usually the rest of the deposit is available on the second business day, unless something occurs to trigger a delay.

Cleared Funds vs Available Funds

It’s worthwhile to highlight the difference between cleared and available funds. Knowing the distinction between the two can help you avoid overdrawing your account or bouncing checks. Simply depositing a check doesn’t mean you can use the money right away.

•   Regarding a deposit, the $225 that must be made available by the next business day is known as your available funds. So on the next day, you can go ahead and use that amount.

•   However, the rest of your deposit is not yet available. If you try to draw against it, you are risking overdraft and charges. The full amount of the deposit may take up to a few more days to become ready for use. When this happens, it is known as cleared funds.

Reasons Why Deposits May Be Delayed Until They Become Cleared Funds

There are a few different reasons why deposits can be delayed on their path to becoming cleared funds. Let’s examine some of these.

Deposits Over $5,000

When it comes to deposits over $5,000, the bank is usually required to make the first $5,000 of the deposit available within one business day. (Some banks, however, say they can take up to four days to clear the amount.) And as for the rest of a deposit that’s over $5,000? A financial institution can put a longer hold on the remaining amount since it’s such a large amount, and you may find this scenario holds true if you try to use other check-cashing options.

Brand New Customer Accounts

Newer customer accounts (less than 30 days old) can experience deposit delays up to nine days. Although with official checks and electronic payments, partial funds can be available the next day. (If you are in this situation and in a rush to make a payment, you can look into other ways to send money to another’s bank account, such as P2P apps. These can draw upon other available funds.)

Post-Dated or Fraudulent Checks

If a bank has reason to suspect a deposit is suspicious (such as if a check appears to be fraudulent), then it may hold the funds for longer than normal. A couple of examples of what might cause this kind of hold:

•   A check is post-dated, meaning it’s been filled out to show a date that is in the future.

•   A check is more than 60 days old.

The Takeaway

Cleared funds are the funds that become available once a deposit to a bank account clears. That means the money is ready for use. The timeline for funds clearing depends on several factors, such as where, when, and how the deposit was made and how large the amount is. Some funds may clear right away, while others can take a few days. However, federal laws are in place regarding how long a bank can wait to clear funds. By understanding this process, you can likely manage your financial life a little better and avoid situations that involve overdrafts or bounced checks.

Looking for quicker deposits? See how SoFi can help you bank smarter and faster. When you open an online bank account with direct deposit, it’s possible to get paid up to two days early! Plus you’ll earn an amazing 1.80% APY which will help your money grow faster.

Bank better with SoFi.

FAQ

What is the difference between a cleared balance and an available balance?

Before a deposit fully clears and turns into cleared funds, the bank may make some of the deposit available by the start of the next business day. That partial deposit is known as available funds or an available balance.

How long does it take to get money cleared?

Some deposits can happen as soon as the same day, with most happening the next business day. In some cases, though, a deposit can take as long as nine days to clear. Check with your bank to know their timelines.

Can you reverse a cleared check?

Once a check has cleared, there is little that can be done to reverse the transaction. If, however, a cleared check is to be found fraudulent, it may be possible for a bank to intervene.


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 1.80% 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 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. 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.

Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio
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Managing Finances When Dealing With Depression

Managing Finances When Dealing With Depression

Depression is a major health issue that can impact all areas of our lives — including how we feel about and manage our money. Given that estimates of depression rates run as high as one out of three U.S. adults, this is surely an important topic to consider. If you or someone close to you is dealing with money depression or has mood issues that interfere with their financial management, you know how challenging this situation can be.

Keep reading for insight into how to manage finances when feeling depressed or stressed about money. Among the topics considered:

•   Is there a correlation between money and depression?

•   Tips for handling your finances when you are dealing with depression.

Is There a Correlation Between Money and Depression?

There’s the old saying that money can’t buy happiness, but there actually may be a correlation between having less money and experiencing depression. Depression is a mood disorder that involves constant feelings of sadness and can make a person experience a lack of interest in and enthusiasm for life.

Studies have shown that having a lower income is a risk factor for depression and that having a higher income can protect against depression. How? When someone has a higher income, they can reduce stressors. They likely don’t have to worry as much about paying bills and managing debt as those who have less money do. They also have the financial resources necessary to pay for the healthcare and treatment that can help with depression.

Tips to Manage Your Finances When Dealing With Depression

If you are experiencing depression, it may make it difficult to focus on managing your money. That symptom described as lack of interest in life may make it hard to prioritize finances or focus on wrangling them.

What’s more, financial worries might negatively impact your mental health. In these situations, you can consider taking the following steps to manage your money better when dealing with depression.

Apply a Helpful Budgeting Model

Budgeting can be a way to take more control of your finances and can help you figure out what your next steps can be to meet your financial goals. To create a budget and stay on track, you can tally up how much you typically spend in a month and subtract that number from how much you earn after taxes. You can then create a spending plan that helps you spend less than you currently do. Or you might integrate financial goals like saving for a down payment or paying down credit card debt. Having a strong budget in place can make it easier to know where you stand money-wise and keep finances organized. You’ll have a good idea of exactly where income is coming from and where spending is going.

There are different types of budgeting methods that can work well, but much depends on what will suit you personally. There are pros and cons to budgets, so if one method doesn’t work for you, don’t feel defeated. Instead, see if another budgeting method might work better. One to consider is the 50/30/20 rule.

Talk With Financial and Health Specialists

No one has to navigate depression or manage their finances alone — it’s always a good idea to ask for help if you feel you need it.

If you need help with your finances, you could work with a financial advisor to help you manage your money and make the right decisions to meet your financial goals. Delegating in this way can be helpful if you are feeling as if you don’t have the focus or expertise to do this yourself. It might be a positive move to let someone else handle these functions. A certified financial planner (CFP) is a great option as they can help you create a budget and make long-term plans for your financial life. If you are looking to invest, you can work with an investment advisor or a certified financial analyst (CFA). All of these professionals can help you learn the most important finance concepts needed to better understand how to manage money. It’s easy to feel like you are “bad” at managing money, but the truth is no one teaches us how to handle our finances. It’s not as if we’re taught any money management tips as a college student. Bringing in a trained professional can help.

Another important angle is to consider consulting your doctor or health insurance provider about mental health resources that may be available. These services may help you manage and improve your mood. There are mental health specialists who focus on helping people who are depressed about money. If this describes your situation, you might search for a therapist with those qualifications to get help with your money depression.

Another option: Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline which is a free, confidential treatment referral and information service that is available 24/7, 365-day-a-year.

Tackle Your Debt

It’s easy to see how having debt can bring a lot of financial stress and anxiety into your life. Not only can debt result in high interest charges, it can hurt your credit score. When creating a budget, going beyond just minimum credit card payments and making extra or higher debt payments can help pay down debt. It’s possible to work with a credit counselor to make a plan for getting out of debt. This may help alleviate depression about money to some degree.

Employ an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund at the ready when unexpected expenses arise can make those moments much less stressful. Medical bills, car issues, and home repairs can come out of nowhere. If possible, it’s a good idea to carve out a little extra room in a monthly budget to contribute to an emergency fund. That way, if emergency expenses do arise, turning to a credit card or loan won’t be necessary. Experts recommend that people aim to have several months’ worth of basic living expenses in an emergency fund.

Utilize a Savings Account for Future Progress

Alongside an emergency fund, it’s wise to work on building up overall savings. Making financial progress feels good; it also helps us work towards larger future goals and provides a buffer if and when a budget feels a bit tight. It’s possible to open a high-yield bank account that offers interest on savings, so your money can grow over time.

Take It One Step at a Time

Navigating managing money while struggling with depression can be challenging. In this situation, it can be helpful to be patient with yourself as you work through your mood and financial goals. Taking things one step at a time can help you make steady progress without feeling overwhelmed.

The Takeaway

Struggling with feelings of depression can be challenging, especially when you are trying to navigate money matters as well. Take small steps towards gaining financial control by creating a budget, working with financial and mental health professionals, and creating an emergency fund. These moves can help alleviate financial stress that can contribute to depression and also help you manage your money wisely.

To make managing money easier, consider banking where product features are designed to help you get the very most out of their money. That’s what we offer here at SoFi. Open our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, and you’ll enjoy access to your paycheck up to two days early, plus a 1.80% APY (which is 41 times the current national average for checking-account interest rates). Your money will make more money, and you won’t pay any account fees either.

Bank smarter with SoFi.

FAQ

Is it normal to get depressed over money?

It can be quite normal to experience money depression because of financial issues. Studies have found that having a low income is a risk factor for depression. Having a higher income has also been found to help protect against depression by reducing stressors and providing social resources. Plus financial resources may also be used to pay for treatment for existing cases of depression.

What does financial stress look like?

Financial stress can look like other major forms of stress and can impact someone’s physical and mental health. This, in turn, can diminish their relationships and quality of life. Someone experiencing financial stress may feel ashamed, scared, or angry, and they may lash out at their loved ones. Financial stress can lead to feelings of depression as well.

What do you not say to a financially struggling person?

There are no hard and fast rules for what someone should or shouldn’t say to someone feeling depressed about money. Try to be sensitive to their situation. Don’t diminish their emotions and make it seem as if it’s simple to overcome their issues. Be compassionate, and offer support when possible.


SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.80% 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 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
Third Party Trademarks: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
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.

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How Much Should I Spend On Rent?

The answer to the question, “How much should I spend on rent?” is a highly variable one, but, as a guideline, the number is typically 30% of your income.

Figuring out your “magic number” will require a little thought…and math. Individual situations certainly differ. Maybe you have a heavy monthly student-loan payment while your best friend has none. In other words, they have more disposable income than you and could likely pay a higher rent. Or perhaps you have a trust fund which gives you a degree of financial security but your best friend doesn’t: In this case, you might be comfortable putting more towards rent than your pal.

While 30% is a guideline, most Americans are paying more than that right now. The latest figures say that the typical citizen is paying closer to 32% of their income, or about $1,792 per month. Rents have been climbing, increasing by double digits year over year, so it’s not always possible to stick below that 30% guideline.

Here, we’ll take a look at how to budget for your rent, what a reasonable rent is for your income, and how to figure out different angles on what you can afford to pay for rent.

Budgeting: What Should You Spend on Rent?

Whether you rent or own, housing is typically the largest expense the average U.S. consumer must pay for every month.

Determining how much you pay is really a matter of better monthly budgeting. The question isn’t “How much can I spend on rent?” it’s “How much should I spend on rent?” It’s best not to max out your take-home money on rent and leave some wiggle room in your budget. You can take a look at your income after taxes and other deductions are taken out. Then you might look at what you’re spending now on rent, food, entertainment, transportation, clothes, and other costs. What can you afford to pay in rent that will allow you to live comfortably, do what you like (whether that means eating out often or affording vacations), pay your bills, get rid of any debt, and save some money, too?

No matter which rent formula you choose, it all comes back to your budget.

It’s a lot to figure out (and then to stay on top of) once you set your budget and determine how much to spend on rent.

And if you can reduce your rent payment, you’ll likely have a bit more flexibility in choosing where to allocate your money — whether that’s spending it, paying down debt, or saving for a future goal. Along with reducing small indulgences, sticking to a reasonable rent can be an effective way to free up more cash in your budget.

That’s a tall order in today’s hot housing market, for sure. But it can make a huge difference in terms of your overall financial health and your stress level. Wondering how to make rent every month can be a real source of anxiety. It may be better to, say, ward off “lifestyle creep” and rent a home with one or two fewer perks or amenities to keep the price down.

Recommended: Smart Debt Payoff Strategies

Strategies for Figuring Out How Much to Spend

Next, let’s dig into how to figure out the amount you can spend on rent every month. We mentioned a ballpark figure, but remember: There’s no single magic formula, and everyone’s situation is different.

That said, there are several formulas out there that you can use as a guide. Here are three:

The 30% Rule

We’ve already mentioned this rule of thumb — one that’s been around for decades — which puts the ideal housing costs at 30% of your after-tax income, no matter how much you earn.

That rather broad guideline dates back to the Brooke Amendment, which capped public housing rents at 25% of an individual’s income in 1969. Congress raised the cap to 30% in 1981, and eventually it became the go-to guide for determining “cost burden” — the amount of income a family could spend and still have enough left for other expenses — even those who aren’t in low-income households.

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Critics of this model advise using it as a starting point rather than a rule when determining a spending limit. Depending on how much you earn, 30% of your income could be more — or less — than you actually can afford to pay in rent.

Your location could also influence whether or not the 30% rule is realistic for you, since depending on where you live, accessibility may be a factor. Can a person who makes $40,000 even find a rental for $1,000 a month in most cities? It would likely be a challenge.

And, again, when you’re looking at renting a home, you’ll likely want to weigh what you’ll get vs. what you’ll give up. This isn’t just in money, but in time, safety, and happiness. Is the cool place downtown worth it if you can’t afford to go out and enjoy the nightlife? Is a longer commute or a roommate out of the question, or could those options open doors to your dream home?

Recommended: Price to Rent Ratio in the Top 50 Cities

The 50/30/20 Approach

If you’re a disciplined budgeter, you may already be familiar with this model, which was made popular by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.

The 50/30/20 budgeting method suggests dividing your after-tax income into three main categories, putting 50% toward needs (essential costs like housing, transportation, groceries, utilities, etc.), 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings.

Following those guidelines, your rent would qualify as a need. But it remains up to you to decide how much of that 50% you want to — or feel you have to — spend on housing.

If your home is your castle, and your castle is in a major city or tech hub, it could be a lot. Which means you may have to make adjustments to other “essentials” in your budget or perhaps borrow from other categories (so …maybe fewer massages and dinners out).

The Budget Backwards Formula

Another way to budget is to look at your take-home pay and work backwards, deducting your expenses to see how much of a range you have for rent. Maybe you take home $4,000 a month. From that figure, deduct things like student loans and credit card debt you are paying down. Do you have a high-yield savings account where you are stashing some cash — say, are you putting money towards a vacation or new car fund? Subtract those too.

Then look at your typical monthlies in terms of food, utilities, transportation, gym memberships and subscription services, and the like. Take those off the remaining monthly amount and take a look at what is left. Of that sum, how much can you put towards rent, keeping aside some cash for discretionary spending? Once you know what number suits your finances, you can go hunting for a rental.

The Takeaway

Figuring out how much you can spend on rent involves some basic math. For instance, one common guideline says that 30% of your income (before taxes) can be allotted to rent. But everyone’s financial profile is different. Some people live in cities that are pricey; other people have student and car loans taking a big bite out of their money. Use the guidelines here to figure out the right number for you, and recognize where you may need to compromise. For instance, if you are paying off debts for the next couple of years, maybe it’s a good moment to consider having a roommate. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

Flexibility also matters when it comes to your personal banking, and SoFi understands that its clients have different needs. If you’re planning on opening a bank account online, consider our Checking and Savings. You can spend, save, and earn all in one place — complete with mobile transfers, photo check deposit, and customer service. Plus, when you sign up with direct deposit, you will earn a terrific 1.80% APY and pay zero account fees.

See how SoFi Checking and Savings can help make budgeting, saving, and spending that much easier.


SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.80% 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 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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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