16 Common Tax Filing Mistakes People Make

Most people who live and work in the U.S. need to file an annual tax return. Depending on your financial situation, your tax return may be simple or complex. If your tax return or financial situation is complicated, with many forms of income, deductions, or credits, you may end up making mistakes on your tax return. Even with a simple return, it’s possible that you might make a mistake that could cause the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to impose fees, interest, or additional payments.

What follows are 15 of the most common tax filing mistakes — and how to avoid making them.

How Common Are Mistakes on Tax Returns?

The IRS does not release detailed statistics about how common mistakes on tax returns are, but they do say that mistakes are much more common when filing paper returns. The agency suggests that taxpayers use software to prepare their returns or work with a reputable tax preparer. This can help eliminate some of the common mistakes that occur with tax returns.

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Does the IRS Care About Small Mistakes?

Yes, the IRS definitely cares about small mistakes on tax returns, though the penalties may not be as large as they are for substantial mistakes. The IRS potentially levies two different kinds of accuracy-related penalties:

•   Negligence or disregard of the rules or regulations penalty

•   Substantial understatement of income tax penalty

In cases of negligence or disregard of the rules or regulations, the penalty is 20% of the amount that was underpaid due to negligence or disregard. For a substantial understatement, the penalty is 20% of the amount that was underpaid due to the understatement on the return.

These potential penalties are on top of still having to pay the tax that you owe.

Recommended: How to File Taxes for Beginners

16 Common Tax Mistakes

Here are a few of the most common tax mistakes.

1. Not Filing Your Taxes on Time

Each year, the IRS sets the deadline for filing your federal income tax return. This date is usually April 15, though it can be extended sometimes if April 15 falls on a weekend or holiday. Not postmarking or e-filing your return by the tax filing deadline can lead to a penalty.

2. Not Putting in the Right Social Security Number

The IRS uses Social Security numbers to match up information it receives from you with information it receives about you from your employer, bank, and other entities. Messing up even a single digit in your Social Security number will disrupt this process and could cause the IRS to reject your return.

Be sure to enter your Social Security number exactly as it is shown on your Social Security card. Do the same with your spouse and anyone else listed on your tax return.

Recommended: Guide to Understanding Your Taxes

3. Not Filing Your Taxes at All

Generally, most people who work in the U.S. and have income over the filing threshold are required to file an annual income tax return. The penalty for not filing is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month that a tax return is late, not to exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.

4. Filing Too Early

While you don’t want to file your taxes too late (after the deadline), you also don’t want to file them too early. You want to make sure that you have received all the W-2, 1099, and other tax forms that are due to you. If you get additional forms after you’ve already filed your taxes, you may need to file an amended return.

5. Inputting the Wrong Bank Information

The IRS encourages people to e-file and choose to have their refund sent via direct deposit. But if you put in the wrong bank routing and account information when filing your tax return, you may delay your refund.

6. Incorrect Information

It’s not only your bank account and routing information that needs to be correct — you need to make sure that all of your other numbers and details are correct. This includes any information from your W-2 or 1099 forms you manually input into your tax return. Using software or a reputable tax preparer can help to minimize the chances you enter incorrect information.

7. Missing Information

If you have more than one bank account and/or a number of investment accounts, you may forget to report income (or losses) from one, or more, of these financial accounts. This is an immediate red flag to the IRS. Keeping track of all your financial paperwork throughout the year can help avoid this problem.

8. Forgetting to Sign the Forms

The IRS says that your return is not valid unless it is signed. If you file a paper return, you (and your spouse, if you’re filing a joint return) must sign the return. E-filed returns can be signed electronically by selecting an electronic PIN.

Recommended: The Fastest Ways to Get Your Tax Refund

9. Forgetting Important Paperwork

If you are working with a tax preparer, make sure to bring, or electronically send, all of your tax-related paperwork. This includes all income statements (such as W-2s and 1099s) and all tax deduction documents (such as Form 1098 for mortgage interest and Form 1098-T for college tuition paid). This will help prevent errors stemming from missing information.

10. Not Taking Advantage of Tax Breaks

You are legally allowed but not required to take any tax deductions or tax credits that you are eligible for. The IRS generally does not care if you pay more tax than necessary. But not taking advantage of tax breaks you’re eligible for can cost you money.

11. Writing the Check to the Wrong Entity

If you owe money to Uncle Sam, be sure to make the check out to the U.S. Treasury. If the check isn’t filled out correctly, the IRS likely won’t cash it. This can result in a late payment — and a penalty. Keep in mind that you can also pay any owed taxes online via IRS Direct Pay or use the electronic payment options in your tax software.

12. Math Errors

The IRS says that math errors are among the most common tax filing mistakes. This is especially true when filling out your tax return on paper, since tax software will generally do all the math for you.

13. Not Claiming All Streams of Your Income

Even if you are paid in cash or don’t receive a W-2 or 1099 form, you are legally required to report all income received in a tax year. Not claiming an income stream, even if it was part-time or “gig work,” may open you up to additional taxes, interest, and/or penalties.

14. Filing Your Taxes Under the Wrong Status

There are requirements that come with the different filing statuses that are available to you, and filing under the wrong status is a common tax filing mistake. For example, you can’t use the “head of household” status just because you make the most money in your family — this tax filing status is only for unmarried people who have to support others. If you’re married, you have a choice of two different types of filing status, and one will likely be more advantageous to you than the other.

15. Not Getting Help When You Need It

If you have a relatively simple tax return, you may feel comfortable filing your tax return on your own. But as your taxes get more complicated, it may make sense to work with a reputable tax professional. Not getting help when you need it may end up costing you a significant amount of money.

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16. Name/Misspelling Errors

Our final tax filing mistake that is common is, yes, name spelling errors. Make sure that you are checking and double checking all of the names entered into your tax return. Misspelling a name may cause the processing of your return to be delayed.

Tips on Avoiding Tax Mistakes

If you’re looking to avoid tax mistakes, here are a few things to keep in mind:

•   Consider using tax software that can do the math for you and automatically select the right forms for your situation.

•   If your financial situation becomes even more complicated, consider working with a tax professional.

•   Include all the information and tax documents you’ve received from all sources.

•   Make sure to wait to file until you’ve received all your documents, but early enough that you don’t go past the April filing deadline.

The Takeaway

In life, mistakes happen. However, you generally want to avoid them when you’re filling your tax return. Even a small misstep could hold up your return, delay any refund, and lead to interest and penalties. It’s wise to take time to understand your taxes or rely on a tax professional for help. Getting it right the first time around can help you save time — and money.

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FAQ

Does the IRS penalize you for tax filing mistakes?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) charges penalties for certain — though not all — tax filing mistakes. Mistakes that can lead to penalties include:

•   Not filing your return and paying your tax by the due date

•   Failure to pay proper estimated tax

•   Substantially understating your tax liability

•   Understating a reportable transaction

•   Filing an erroneous claim for a refund or credit

Even if you don’t get hit with a penalty, you may still get an unexpected (and unwelcome) tax bill, either right away or possible years later.

How often does the IRS make mistakes with tax returns?

The IRS does not release statistics about how often they make mistakes, but it is almost certainly less often than taxpayers make mistakes. If you think that the IRS has made a mistake when processing your return, you can either contact the IRS directly or work with a reputable tax professional to rectify the situation.

How do I know if I filed my taxes right?

The IRS generally will accept your tax return within a few days. This means they’ve received it and scanned it for basic errors, like missing information or major red flags.

Once your return is accepted, the agency will begin a more detailed process of examining your return — they’ll check your income reports, verify the deductions and credits you’ve claimed, and ensure everything aligns with the tax laws.

If you’re due a refund, the IRS will approve it once they are satisfied your return is accurate. Typically, you can expect a refund within 21 days after you’ve e-filed.

Keep in mind, though, that the IRS has three years from the date you filed your return (or April 15, whichever is later) to perform an audit and potentially charge you additional taxes. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your tax records around for at least three years.


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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 Is Private Credit?

Private credit refers to lending from non-bank financial institutions. Also referred to as direct lending, private credit allows borrowers (typically smaller to mid-sized businesses) to seek financing through avenues other than a standard bank loan.

This type of arrangement can remove barriers to funding for businesses while creating opportunities for investors, as a type of alternative investment. Private credit funds allow institutional and individual investors to pool capital that is used to extend loans and generate returns through interest on those loans.

What Are the Different Types of Private Credit?

Private credit investments can adhere to various investment strategies, each offering a different level of risk and rewards. Within a capital structure, certain types of private credit take precedence over others regarding the order in which they’re repaid.

Senior Lending

In a senior lending arrangement, secured loans are made directly to non-publicly traded, middle-market companies. These loans sit at the top of the capital structure or stack and assume priority status for repayment should the borrowing company file for bankruptcy protection.

Senior debt tends to have lower interest rates than other types of private credit arrangements since the loan is secured by business collateral. That means returns may also be lower, but the preferred repayment status reduces credit risk for investors.

Should the borrowing company fail, senior loans would hold an initial claim on the business’s assets. Those may include cash reserves, equipment and property, real estate, and inventory. That significantly reduces the risk of investors losing their entire investment in the event of bankruptcy.

Junior Debt

Junior or subordinated debt is debt that follows behind senior lending obligations in the capital stack. Loans are made directly to businesses with rates that are typically higher than those assigned to senior debt. Junior debt is most often unsecured though lenders can impose second lien requirements on business assets.

Investors may generate stronger returns from junior debt, but the risk is correspondingly higher. Should the borrowing business go bankrupt, junior debts would only be repaid once senior financing obligations have been satisfied.

Mezzanine Debt

Mezzanine debt is a private credit term that’s often used interchangeably with junior debt, but it has a slightly different meaning. In mezzanine lending, the lender may have the option to convert debt to equity if the company defaults on repayment. There may be some collateral offered but lenders also consider current and future cash flows when making credit decisions.

Compared to junior or senior debt, mezzanine debt is riskier but it has the potential to produce higher yields for investors as the interest rates are usually higher. The risk to borrowers is that if the company defaults, they’ll be forced to give up an ownership share in the business.

Distressed Credit

Distressed credit is extended to companies that are experiencing financial or operational stress and may be unable to obtain financing elsewhere. The obvious benefit to investors is the possibility of earning much higher returns since this type of private credit generally carries higher rates. However, that’s balanced by a greater degree of risk.

Risk may be mitigated if the company can effectively utilize private credit capital to restructure and stabilize cash flow. Should the company eventually file for bankruptcy protection, distressed debt investors would take precedence over equity holders for repayment.

Special Financing

Specialty financing refers to lending that serves a specific purpose and doesn’t fit within the confines of traditional bank lending. This type of private credit is also referred to as asset-based financing since lending arrangements typically involve the acquisition of an asset that is used as collateral for the loan.

Equipment financing is one example. Say that a construction business needs to purchase a new backhoe. They could get an equipment loan to buy what they need, using the backhoe they’re purchasing to secure it.

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Potential Benefits of Investing in Private Credit

Private credit investing can be an attractive option for investors who are interested in diversifying their portfolios with alternative investments. Here are some of the primary reasons to consider private credit as an asset class.

Income Potential

Private credit can provide investors with current income if they’re collecting interest payments and fees on an ongoing basis. The more private credit investments someone holds in their portfolio, the more opportunities they have to generate regular cash flow.

Return Potential

Investing in private credit may deliver returns at a level well above what you might get with a standard portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The nature of private credit is such that borrowers may expect to pay higher interest rates than they would for a traditional bank loan. That, in part, is a trade-off since private credit offers lower levels of liquidity than other investments.

Investors benefit as long as borrowers repay their debt obligations on time. The exact return profile of any private credit investment depends on the interest rate the lender requires the borrower to pay, which can directly correspond to their risk profile and where the debt is situated in the capital stack.

Diversification

Like other alternative investments, private credit can introduce a new dimension into a portfolio, allowing for greater diversification of that portfolio. Private credit tends to have a lower correlation with market movements than stocks or bonds, which may help insulate investors against market volatility, to a degree.

Additionally, investors have an opportunity to diversify within the private credit segment of their portfolios. For example, an investor may choose to invest in a mix of senior lending, mezzanine debt, and specialty financing to spread out risk and generate varying levels of returns.

What Are the Risks of Investing in Private Credit?

Like any other investment, private credit can present certain risks to investors. Weighing those risks against the potential upsides can help determine whether private credit is the right investment for you.

Borrower Default

Perhaps the most significant risk factor associated with private credit investments is borrower default. Should the borrower fail to repay their debt obligations, that can put the value of your investment in question. In a worst-case scenario, you may be forced to wait out the resolution of a bankruptcy filing to determine how much of your investment you’ll be able to recover.

Again, it’s important to remember that borrowers who seek private credit may have been turned down for traditional bank financing elsewhere. So, your credit risk has already increased. If you have a lower risk tolerance overall, private credit may not be the best fit for your portfolio.

Illiquidity

Private credit investments are less liquid than other types of investments since they operate on a fixed term. It can be difficult to exit these investments ahead of schedule without facing the possibility of a sizable loss if you’re forced to sell at a discount.

In that sense, private credit investments are similar to bonds which also lock investors in for a preset period. For that reason, it’s important to consider what type of time frame you’re looking for when making these investments.

Recommended: Short-Term vs Long-Term Investments

Underwriting

While banks often have strict underwriting requirements that borrowers are expected to meet, private credit allows for more flexibility. Lenders can decide who to extend credit to, what collateral to require if any, and what terms a borrower must agree to as a condition of getting a loan.

That’s good for borrowers who may have run into trouble getting loans elsewhere, but it ups the risk level for investors. If you’re investing in private credit funds that are less transparent when it comes to sharing their underwriting processes or detailed information about the borrower, that can make it more difficult to make an informed decision about your investments.

Ways to Invest in Private Credit

Private credit has traditionally been the domain of institutional investors, though retail investors may be able to unlock opportunities through private credit funds.

These funds allow investors to pool their capital together to make investments in private credit, similar to the way a traditional mutual fund or hedge fund might work. You’ll need to find an investment company or bank that offers access to private credit investments, including private credit funds, funds if you’re interested in adding them to your portfolio.

One caveat is that private credit investments may only be open to selected retail investors, specifically, those who meet the SEC’s definition of an accredited investor, who is someone that fits the following criteria:

•   Has a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding their primary residence

•   Reported income over $200,000 individually or $300,000 with a spouse or partner for the previous two years and expects to have income at the same level or higher going forward

Investment professionals who hold a Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82 securities license also qualify as accredited.

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Who Should Invest in Private Credit?

Given its risk profile, private credit may not be an appropriate investment choice for everyone. In terms of who might consider private credit investments, the list can include people who:

•   Are interested in diversifying their portfolios with alternative investments.

•   Can comfortably assume a higher level of risk for an opportunity to generate higher returns.

•   Understand the time commitment and the risks involved.

•   Would like to support business growth through their investments.

•   Meet the requirements for a private credit investment (i.e., accredited status, minimum buy-in, etc.)

Private credit investments may be less suitable for someone who’s hoping to create some quick returns or is more risk-averse.

How Does Private Credit Fit in Your Portfolio?

If you’re able to invest in private credit, it’s important to consider how much of your portfolio you’d like to allocate to it. While you might be tempted to devote a larger share of your investment dollars to private credit, it’s wise to consider how doing so might affect your overall risk exposure.

Choosing a smaller allocation initially can allow you to test the waters and determine whether private credit investments make sense for you. That can also minimize the amount of risk you’re taking on as you explore new territory with your investments.

When evaluating private credit funds, it’s helpful to consider the fund manager’s track record and preferred investment strategy. A more aggressive strategy may yield better returns but it may mean accepting more risk, which you might be uncomfortable with. Also, take a look at what you might pay in management fees as those can directly impact your net return on investment.

The Takeaway

Private credit is a form of financing sought outside of traditional bank loans. For investors, it may be classified as an alternative investment, and it has its pros and cons in an investor’s portfolio.

Private credit can benefit investors and businesses alike, though in different ways. If you’re an accredited investor, you may consider private credit along with other alternative investments to round out your portfolio. Evaluating the risks and the expected rewards from private credit investing can help you decide if it’s worth exploring further.

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FAQ

Is Investing in Private Credit Worth It?

Investing in private credit could be worth it if you’re comfortable with the degree of risk that’s involved and the expected holding period of your investments. Private credit investing can deliver above-average returns while allowing you to diversify beyond stocks and bonds with an alternative asset class.

What’s the Difference Between Private Credit and Public Credit?

Public credit refers to debt that is issued or traded in public markets. Corporate bonds and municipal bonds are two examples of public credit. Private credit, on the other hand, originates with private, non-bank lenders and is extended to privately-owned businesses.

Why is Private Credit Popular?

Private credit is popular among businesses that need financing because it can offer fewer barriers to entry than traditional bank lending. Among investors, private credit has gained attention because of its return potential and its use as a diversification tool.

What Is the Average Return on Private Credit?

Returns on private credit investments can vary based on the nature of the loan agreement. When considering private credit investments it’s important to remember that the higher the return potential, the greater the risk you may be taking on.

Is Private Credit a Loan?

Private credit arrangements are loans made between a non-bank entity and a privately owned business. These types of loans allow companies to raise the capital they need without having to meet the requirements that traditional bank lenders set for loans.


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15 Things to Stop Buying When Trying to Save Money

Short of getting a raise, the only way to save more money is to spend less. While that may sound like a bitter pill to swallow, tightening your budget could be a lot easier than you think.

Thanks to the constant allure of consumerism, many of us mindlessly overspend on small recurring expenses that can seriously add up over time. We often don’t realize how much we waste on things we don’t need or, in truth, really care all that much about.

By becoming more intentional in your spending, and cutting out unnecessary costs, you could potentially save hundreds per month with much sacrifice. That’s money you can then put towards things that are important to you, like going on a great vacation, buying a car, or putting a downpayment on a home.

While everyone’s spending habits are different, we’ve got 15 ideas for how to spend less and save more starting today.

Tips For Saving Money

One of the best ways to save money is to take a close look at where your money is currently going each month. You can track your spending by scanning your credit card statements and receipts over the last few months. But a simpler way is to use a budgeting app that syncs with your accounts and keeps track of what you spend in different categories in real time.

Once you have a bird’s eye view of your cash flow, you may realize that you’re spending more than you thought (or want to) in certain categories. You may also find some easy places to cut back — such as getting rid of a monthly subscription you rarely use or switching to a cheaper cell phone plan.

If you want to get started saving right away, we’ve got some simple suggestions for things you can stop buying right now. Eliminating even small recurring expenses can add up dramatically by the end of a year.

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15 Things to Stop Buying If You Are Trying to Save Money

To start saving money right away, stop buying these 15 things.

1. Multiple Streaming Services

With the proliferation of streaming services now available, it can be easy to sign up for more platforms than you can possibly watch. Consider picking one or two services that you actually watch consistently and getting rid of the rest. Or, stagger your streaming services so that you have each one for a few months out of the year. That can give you access to all the shows you want but keeps the price down.

2. Unused Gym Membership

A gym membership can be worth the cost if you’re actively using it. But if you rarely see the inside of your gym these days, it might make sense to cancel your membership and find lower-cost fitness alternatives, such as running/walking outside, lifting weights at home, or following free workout videos on YouTube.

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3. Premium Cable

Premium cable subscriptions come with a high monthly price tag and often include tons of channels you never watch. To save money fast, think about cutting back to basic cable or negotiating for a cheaper rate with your provider. Or, cut the cord entirely and just use a few streaming services. If you still want live TV channels, consider options like Sling TV or YouTube TV.

4. The Daily Coffee

You may really enjoy your morning (or afternoon) takeaway coffee, but if you add up how much you’re actually shelling out on coffee drinks each month — and year — you might decide that there are better uses for this money. Consider buying a quality coffee maker or French press and (if you don’t have one) a portable coffee mug, so you can make your delicious brew to go at home.

5. Name Brand Items

Generic brands typically have the same ingredients and offer comparable quality to name brands but for a fraction of the price. Whether you’re shopping in the supermarket or a drug store, opt for the generic option whenever it’s offered. This small change can lead to significant savings without compromising your needs or lifestyle.

Recommended: How Much Should I Spend on Groceries a Month?

6. Extended Warranties

These days, you can get extended warranties on practically everything — appliances, cars, electronics, and even homes. While having that extra protection may sound like a good idea, it typically comes at a hefty cost. And, the odds of you using an extended warranty is low. Companies have done the math and generally offer warranties that end before the usual problems crop up — otherwise they would lose money. A better bet: Skip the extended warranty and put that money into your emergency fund.

7. Greeting Cards

Surprising but true: A greeting card can set you back as much as $10. Rather than a canned card from a greeting company, most people would likely rather you share your own words and thoughts. Consider stocking up on a box of pretty cards that are blank inside. You can then personalize and customize each one for any occasion, whether it’s a birthday, baby shower, or wedding.

8. Bottled Water

While keeping bottled water on hand is convenient, the cost can add up, especially if you have a family. A simple way to spend less at the grocery store each week is to give each person in your household their own reusable water bottle to fill with tap or filtered water. You can then take bottled water (and if you really want to save, all store-bought drinks) off your shopping list. This will not only save money but also reduce plastic waste.

9. Impulse Purchases

Those little purchases you make here and there without thinking can add up. Consider setting a 24 hour (or longer) waiting period for any item you have a sudden urge to buy but really don’t need. You may find that the urge passes. Or, try a “no-spend” week or month where you pause all unnecessary spending for a set time period. This can not only save cash but shed light on things you’re buying but can easily do without.

10. Pre-Cut Fruits And Vegetables

Pre-washed and cut produce (and bagged salads) are certainly convenient, but generally cost a lot more than whole fruits and veggies. This is an easy thing to stop buying — prepping produce at home doesn’t take that much time and you may find that your fruits and veggies actually taste fresher.

11. Books

Instead of paying for books, consider getting a (free) library card. This will give you access to countless print, digital, and audiobooks, both at your local library and through partnerships they might have with other libraries and streaming services. This is one of the easiest ways to cut back on spending.

12. Disposable Products

Buying disposable items — like paper plates, plastic cups, napkins, and paper towels — adds up and all of it an unnecessary expense. Consider using real dishware, cloth napkins, and washable cleaning cloths. Your weekly grocery bill (and bags) will get instantly lighter. Avoiding disposable items is also kinder to the environment.

13. Takeout/Delivery

It’s fine to get takeout every once in a while, but if you’re looking to save cash quickly, consider writing off all takeout/delivery for a month (or maybe two). Instead, plan and shop for your meals and do some meal-prepping on the weekend. That way, cooking won’t feel like a chore at the end of a long work day. You’ll end up saving money on food while still eating well.

14. Bank Fees

If your bank charges you monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees, consider switching to a bank that offers free checking and savings accounts. To avoid getting hit with hefty overdraft fees, keep tabs on your balance to ensure you can cover your checks and debits. To avoid ATM fees, plan ahead and stop at an in-network machine before you go out.

💡 Quick Tip: Bank fees eat away at your hard-earned money. To protect your cash, open a checking account with no account fees online — and earn up to 0.50% APY, too.

15. Fancy Cleaning Supplies

Nowadays stores carry a different cleaning product for every spot in your home. There’s tile cleaner, sink cleaner, floor cleaner, window cleaner, you name it. Rather than purchase a dozen different specialized cleaning products, you can simply make your own all-purpose cleaner: Mix one cup of distilled water, one cup of white vinegar, the juice of half a lemon and about 15 drops of essential oil and put it in a spray bottle.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


The Takeaway

Everyday items that drain your budget include expensive daily coffee, unnecessary subscription services, takeout/delivery, brand name products, and daily impulse shopping. Once you stop spending money on these things, you should start to see extra money in your checking account that you can now transfer to your savings account — cha-ching!

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Commodity ETF: What It Is and Examples

Commodity exchange-traded funds are ETFs that invest in hard and soft commodities. Commodities are raw materials — e.g. grain, precious metals, livestock, energy products — used for direct consumption or to produce other goods. Crude oil, corn, and copper are examples of commonly traded commodities.

Investing in a commodity ETF can offer exposure to one or more types of commodities within a single vehicle. There are different types of commodity ETFs to choose when building a diversified portfolio.

What Is a Commodity ETF?

A commodity ETF is an exchange-traded fund that specifically invests in commodities or companies involved in the extraction or production processing of commodities.

An ETF or exchange-traded fund combines features of mutual funds and stocks, in that they offer exposure to an underlying group of assets (e.g. stocks, bonds, derivatives). But unlike mutual funds, ETFs trade on an exchange.Whether you have broad or narrow exposure to commodities within a single ETF can depend on how it’s managed and its objectives.

Like other exchange-traded funds, commodity ETFs can be bought and sold inside a brokerage account. Each fund can have an expense ratio, which determines the cost of owning it annually, and brokerages may charge transaction fees when you buy or sell shares.

Commodity ETFs fall under the rubric of alternative investments, which also applies to private equity and hedge funds.

đź’ˇ Quick Tip: Alternative investments provide exposure to sectors outside traditional asset classes like stocks, bonds, and cash. Some of the most common types of alternative investments include commodities, real estate, foreign currency, private credit, private equity, collectibles, and hedge funds.

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

Start trading funds that include commodities, private credit, real estate, venture capital, and more.


How Do Commodity ETFs Work?

Commodity ETFs are pooled investments, with multiple investors owning shares. The fund manager determines which commodities the fund will hold and when to buy or sell holdings within the fund. When you buy shares of a commodity ETF, you invest in everything that’s held within the fund.

In many cases, that includes commodities futures contracts. A commodity futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a set amount of a commodity at a future date for a specified price. That’s an advantage for investors who may be interested in trading futures but lack the know-how to do so.

A commodity ETF may follow an active or passive management strategy. Many commodity ETFs are structured as index funds. An index fund aims to track and match the performance of an underlying benchmark. These types of commodity ETFs are passively managed.

Actively-managed funds, by comparison, typically aim to outstrip market returns but may entail more risk to investors.

Types of Commodity ETFs

Commodity ETFs aren’t all designed with the same objectives in mind. There are different types of commodity ETFs you might invest in, depending on your goals, diversification needs, and risk tolerance.

Here are some of the most common ETF options commodities investors may choose from.

Physically Backed ETFs

A physically backed ETF physically holds the commodity or commodities it trades. For example, a physically backed ETF that invests in precious metals may store gold, silver, platinum, or palladium bars in a secure vault at a bank.

It’s more common for physically backed ETFs to hold hard commodities like precious metals, since these are relatively easy to transport and don’t have a shelf life expiration date. It’s less likely to see physically backed ETFs that invest in agricultural goods like wheat or corn, as they cannot be stored for extended periods.

Futures-Based ETFs

Futures-based ETFs invest in commodities futures contracts, rather than holding or storing physical commodities. That can reduce the overall management costs, resulting in lower expense ratios for investors.

A futures-based ETF may hold commodities contracts that are close to expiration, then roll them into new contracts before the expiration date. Depending on the price of the new futures contract, this strategy may result in a cost or gain for investors.

Commodity Company ETFs

Commodity company ETFs invest in companies that produce or process commodities. For example, this type of ETF may invest in oil and gas companies, cattle farming operations, or companies that operate palm oil plantations.

These types of commodity ETFs are similar to equity ETFs, since the investment is in the company rather than the commodity itself.

Examples of Commodity ETFs

Commodity ETFs are not always easily identifiable for investors who are new to this asset class. Here are some of the largest commodity ETF options with a focus on mitigating inflation.

•   SPDR Gold Trust (GLD). SPDR Gold Trust is the largest physically backed gold ETF in the world. The ETF trades on multiple stock exchanges globally, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

•   Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE). This commodity ETF invests in companies in the energy industry, including oil and gas companies, pipeline companies, and oilfield services providers.

•   Invesco DB Agriculture Fund (DBA). The Invesco DB Agriculture Fund tracks changes in the DBIQ Diversified Agriculture Index Return, plus the interest income from the fund’s holdings. The index itself is composed of agricultural commodity futures.

•   First Trust Global Tactical Commodity Strategy Fund (FTGC). This commodity ETF is an actively managed fund that offers exposure to energy commodities futures.

•   Invesco Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 ETF (PDBC). PDBC is another actively managed ETF that invests in commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments offering exposure to the most in-demand commodities worldwide.

Pros and Cons of Commodity ETFs

Commodity ETFs have pros and cons like any other investment. It’s helpful to weigh both sides when deciding whether this type of alternative investment aligns with your overall wealth-building strategy.

Pros

•   Diversification. Commodity ETFs can offer a very different risk/return profile than traditional stocks or bonds. Commodities in general tend to have a low correlation with stocks, which can help spread out and manage risk in a portfolio.

•   Inflationary protection. Commodities and inflation typically move in tandem. As the prices of consumer goods and services rise, commodity prices also rise. That can offer investors a hedge of sorts against the impacts of inflation.

•   Access. Direct investment in commodities is generally out of reach for the everyday investor, as it may be quite difficult to hold large quantities of physical goods or raw materials. Commodity ETFs offer a simple and convenient package for investing in commodities without taking physical possession of underlying assets.

Cons

•   Volatility. Compared with other investments, commodities can be much more susceptible to pricing fluctuations as supply and demand wax and wane. Unexpected events, such as a global drought or a war that threatens crop yields, can also catch investors off guard.

•   No dividends. While some ETFs may generate current income for investors in the form of dividends, commodity ETFs typically do not. That could make them less attractive if you’re looking for an additional stream of passive income or are interested in reinvesting dividends to buy more shares.

•   Cost. Physically backed ETFs may pay storage fees to hold underlying commodities. Those costs may be folded into the expense ratio, making the ETF more expensive for investors to own.

Why Invest in Commodity ETFs?

Commodity ETFs can be worth investing in for those who wish to hedge against inflation or generate positive returns when stocks appear to be faltering. They also represent a more accessible alternative to direct investment in commodities, which may be difficult for an individual investor to manage.

Investors who are already trading futures contracts or are learning how to do so may appreciate the accessibility that commodity ETFs can offer. Commodity ETFs tend to be highly liquid, meaning it’s relatively easy to buy and sell shares on an exchange, a feature other alternative investments don’t always share.

A commodity ETF may be less suitable for an investor who has a lower risk tolerance or isn’t knowledgeable about the commodities market or futures trading. Talking to a financial advisor can help you determine whether commodities are something you should be pursuing as part of your broader investment plan.

đź’ˇ Quick Tip: Are self-directed brokerage accounts cost efficient? They can be, because they offer the convenience of being able to buy stocks online without using a traditional full-service broker (and the typical broker fees).

Tax Considerations When Holding Commodity ETFs

The type of commodity ETF you invest in can determine their tax treatment. Futures-based ETFs, for example, may experience losses or gains as contracts that are approaching expiration are replaced with new ones. Additionally, commodity ETFs that hold gold, silver, platinum, or palladium may be subject to a higher capital gains tax rate as the IRS considers precious metals to be collectibles.

Furthermore, the IRS 60/40 rule specifies that 60% of commodity capital gains or losses will be treated as long-term, while 40% are treated as short-term capital gains or losses for tax purposes. This rule does not consider how long you hold the investments, which could make commodity ETFs less favorable for investors who hold assets for one year or more.

It’s also important to be aware of how a commodity ETF is structured legally. Many operate as limited partnerships (LPs), which means they pass on annual income and gains or losses as a return of capital. Investors bear the responsibility of reporting their portion of fund profits and losses on Schedule K-1. If you’re not familiar with how to do so, that could add another wrinkle to your year-end tax prep.

The Takeaway

Adding a commodity ETF or two to your portfolio may appeal to you if you’re hoping to add some diversification to your holdings, and are comfortable with a potentially more volatile investment. When deciding which commodity ETFs to invest in, it’s wise to consider the underlying investments and the fund’s overall management strategy, as well as the fees you’ll pay to own it.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest in alts to take your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds.

FAQ

Why is it risky to invest in commodities?

Commodities can be volatile. Commodity prices depend on supply and demand, which can change dramatically owing to weather patterns, technological innovations, supply chain issues, and more.

Do commodity ETFs pay dividends?

Commodity ETFs typically don’t pay dividends to investors, regardless of which type of ETF you have. The goal of investing in commodity ETFs is more often capital appreciation rather than current income.

Is it better to trade physical commodities or ETFs?

For most investors, trading raw material commodities simply isn’t feasible. There are issues of transport, storage, insurance, and liquidity. For that reason, commodity ETFs have emerged to give investors exposure to desired commodities without the physical demands.


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

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

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


*Borrow at 10%. Utilizing a margin loan is generally considered more appropriate for experienced investors as there are additional costs and risks associated. It is possible to lose more than your initial investment when using margin. Please see SoFi.com/wealth/assets/documents/brokerage-margin-disclosure-statement.pdf for detailed disclosure information.
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If you invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) through SoFi Invest (either by buying them yourself or via investing in SoFi Invest’s automated investments, formerly SoFi Wealth), these funds will have their own management fees. These fees are not paid directly by you, but rather by the fund itself. these fees do reduce the fund’s returns. Check out each fund’s prospectus for details. SoFi Invest does not receive sales commissions, 12b-1 fees, or other fees from ETFs for investing such funds on behalf of advisory clients, though if SoFi Invest creates its own funds, it could earn management fees there.
SoFi Invest may waive all, or part of any of these fees, permanently or for a period of time, at its sole discretion for any reason. Fees are subject to change at any time. The current fee schedule will always be available in your Account Documents section of SoFi Invest.


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

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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

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How to Invest in Commodities: Ways to Invest, Pros/Cons

Commodities are the raw materials or basic goods that are used to produce many of the things you use every day. Investing in commodities such as crude oil, soybeans, livestock, and wheat can be an effective way to diversify a portfolio, hedge against inflation, and potentially generate returns.

Why Invest in Commodities?

Commodities are alternative investments that offer a low correlation to traditional asset classes like stocks or bonds. Thus, holding commodities in your portfolio can help minimize the impact of market volatility, as commodities prices are driven largely by supply and demand rather than the mood of the market.

Investing in commodities can also be a strategic play for investors who are hoping to counter the effects of rising inflation. As prices for consumer goods rise, the prices of the underlying commodities used to produce them also tend to rise. Stock prices, by comparison, do not always move in tandem with inflation.

Commodities can also be highly liquid assets, depending on how you’re trading them. Liquidity may be of importance to investors who are focused on generating short-term returns, versus a longer-term buy-and-hold approach.

đź’ˇ Quick Tip: While investing directly in alternative assets often requires high minimum amounts, investing in alts assets through a mutual fund or ETF generally involves a low minimum requirement, making them accessible to retail investors.

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

Start trading funds that include commodities, private credit, real estate, venture capital, and more.


5 Ways to Invest in Commodities

If you’re considering investing in commodities, there are several options to choose from. The one that makes the most sense for you will depend on your risk tolerance, time frame for investing, and how much capital you have to invest.

1. Physical/Direct Ownership

Physical ownership of commodities may be impractical for most individual investors as it involves taking ownership of the actual commodity. Purchasing and storing two tons of wheat, or maintaining 1,000 live animals likely isn’t realistic if you don’t have the proper facilities.

On the easier end of the spectrum, precious metal investors may hold gold or silver as bullion, or coins inside a secure bank vault. But even then, holding quantities of specific metals also require storage, insurance; and reselling these commodities comes with liquidity issues.

2. Commodity Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Commodity mutual funds and exchange-traded funds can offer exposure to commodities without requiring you to hold anything physically. There are three broad categories of commodity funds you might invest in:

•   Physically backed funds. These funds maintain direct ownership of commodities, specifically, precious metals. A gold commodity ETF, for example, may hold gold bars at a bank.

•   Futures-based funds. Futures-based commodity ETFs invest in futures contracts. We’ll explain those in more detail shortly, but in general, a future contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price on a set date.

•   Commodity company funds. Commodity company funds invest in commodity producers. For example, you might buy shares in an oil ETF that invests in oil and gas companies, oilfield servicers, and pipeline companies.

The main difference between a commodity mutual fund and a commodity ETF is how they’re traded. Mutual fund prices are set at the end of the trading day, while ETFs trade on an exchange just like a stock. Both commodity mutual funds and ETFs charge expense ratios, which represent the cost of owning the fund on an annual basis.

3. Commodity Futures Contracts

Commodity futures contracts are an agreement to buy or sell an underlying asset at a future date. The contract includes the price at which commodities will be bought or sold. Futures are derivative investments, meaning their value is determined by the price of another asset, i.e., the commodities you’re agreeing to trade.

Trading commodity futures contracts can be risky, as outcomes rely largely on investors making correct assumptions about which commodity prices will move. It’s possible to lose money on futures contracts if you’re expecting prices to increase but they decline instead.

4. Individual Stocks

Investing in stocks of commodity companies is another way to gain exposure to this asset class. For example, if you’re interested in adding energy sector assets to your portfolio you might buy shares in companies that produce oil, natural gas, solar technology, and so on.

Purchasing individual stocks can ensure that you’re only owning the companies that you want to, unlike a commodity mutual fund or ETF, which can hold dozens of different investments. However, picking individual stocks can be a bit more time-consuming and it may take more capital to buy shares if you’re choosing high dollar stocks.

5. Hedge Funds

Hedge funds are private investments that pool money to buy and sell assets, similar to a mutual fund. The difference is that hedge funds tend to use high-risk strategies like short-selling and may require a higher minimum investment to buy in or limit access to accredited investors only. Under SEC rules, an accredited investor is someone who:

•   Has $200,000 or more in annual income ($300,000 for married couples) for the previous two years and expects the same level of income going forward

•   Has a net worth exceeding $1 million, not including their primary residence

Financial professionals who hold certain securities licenses also qualify for accredited status.

Hedge funds can potentially offer higher returns than other commodity investments, but the risks are greater as well. If you’re considering private investment in commodities through a hedge fund you may want to talk to a professional about the pros and cons.

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

How Do You Open a Commodities Investing Account?

Opening a commodities trading account is no different from opening any other type of brokerage account. You’ll first need to decide which brokerage you want to trade with, then complete the necessary paperwork and funding requirements to start trading.

Personal Information

When you open a brokerage account, you’ll need to provide some basic details about yourself. That includes your:

•   Name

•   Date of birth

•   Social Security number

•   Email and phone number

•   Mailing address

•   Driver’s license number

•   Annual income

•   Net worth

•   Employment status

•   Investment objectives and risk tolerance

You may also be asked about your experience with investing and your citizenship status. You’ll need to disclose whether you’re employed by a brokerage firm.

All of this information is required to verify your identity, meet FINRA’s suitability requirements, and comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Net worth and income information may also be used to determine whether you meet the standards for an accredited investor.

Minimum Funds

The minimum amount of money you’ll need to invest in commodities through your brokerage can depend on what you’re investing in. If you’re buying individual commodities stocks, then the stock’s share price will determine how much you’ll need based on the number of shares you plan to buy.

With commodity mutual funds minimums are typically determined by the brokerage. So you might need $1,000, $3,000, or $5,000 to get started, depending on what you’re buying. Commodity ETFs sell on a per-share basis, similar to stocks.

Some brokerages offer fractional share trading, which allows you to buy shares of mutual funds, ETFs, or stocks in increments. The minimum investment may be as low as $1, though it’s important to keep in mind that it can take time to build up the commodity portfolio of your portfolio when investing in such small amounts.

Trading futures can be a little trickier as you may need to meet a minimum investment requirement and margin requirements. Margin is a set amount of money you’re required to deposit with the brokerage as a condition of trading futures contracts.

Margin is typically calculated as a percentage of the contract but it can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Commodities

Investing in commodities has advantages and disadvantages, and it may not be right for every investor. Examining the pros and cons can help you make a more informed decision about whether it’s something you should pursue.

Pros

•   Commodities can help you diversify your portfolio beyond traditional stocks and bonds.

•   Investing in commodities can act as an inflationary hedge since commodity prices usually move in sync with increases in consumer prices.

•   Commodity ETFs and mutual funds offer a lower barrier to entry versus direct investment or hedge funds, making commodities more accessible to a wider range of investors.

•   Returns may potentially outstrip stocks, bonds, and other investments.

•   Commodity trading may generate short-term profits

Cons

•   Commodity prices can be volatile, as they may be affected by natural disasters, geopolitical conditions, and other factors.

•   Investing in commodities is generally riskier than other types of investments since supply and demand can impact trading.

•   Holding physical ownership of commodities may not be feasible for every investor.

•   Futures trading in commodities is highly speculative and while there may be potential for higher returns, there’s also more risk involved.

Is Investing in Commodities Right for Me?

Whether commodity trading makes sense for you can depend on your preferences concerning risk and your time horizon for investing. You might consider commodities if you are:

•   Comfortable trading the potential for higher returns against higher risk

•   Looking for short-term gains versus a long-term, buy-and-hold investment

•   Savvy about futures contracts (if you plan to trade futures)

•   Have sufficient capital to meet minimum investment requirements

Before investing in commodities, it’s helpful to learn more about the different types and their associated return profiles. It’s also wise to consider any costs you might pay to trade commodity ETFs, mutual funds, and stocks or the margin requirements for commodity futures trading.

The Takeaway

Although the commodities market is complex, commodities themselves are tangible products that are relatively easy to understand. Investing in commodities can take many forms, including direct or cash investment via the spot market, or by investing in commodity-related funds.

Although trading commodities comes with its own set of risks, commodities may offer some protection against inflation and traditional market movements, because these products are driven by supply and demand.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest in alts to take your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds.

FAQ

Are there IRA accounts that specialize in commodity trading?

Some brokerages offer an IRA that’s designed for trading commodity futures contracts. You may also be able to gain exposure to commodity ETFs or mutual funds with a regular traditional or Roth IRA.

How much money do I need to invest in commodities?

The amount of money you’ll need to invest in commodities will depend on which vehicle you’re using. With a commodity stock or ETF, the amount of money required would depend on the share price and the number of shares you plan to purchase. Direct investment, hedge fund investments, or commodity futures contracts may require a larger financial commitment.

Can you make money with commodities?

Investors can make money with commodities through capital appreciation or by trading futures contracts. Returns may be higher than traditional assets but you may need to accept a greater degree of risk when trading commodities.

What is the risk profile for someone investing in commodities?

Investing in commodities often means being comfortable with more risk, as commodity prices can fluctuate quickly. You may want to limit your commodities allocation to 5%-10% of your portfolio to minimize your risk exposure.


Photo credit: iStock/filadendron

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