CD Loans, Explained

CD Loans, Explained

Certificates of deposit can be a useful tool for saving for short- or long-term goals. But it’s also possible to use a CD to secure a loan.

A CD-secured loan, also referred to as a CD/savings secured loan or share-secured loan, is a type of personal loan that uses the value of a CD account as collateral. They can be found through banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

Here’s a closer look at how CD loans work and how they stack up against unsecured personal loans.

What Is a CD Loan?

With a CD-secured loan, the lender holding your CD uses the money in your CD as collateral. If you don’t repay the loan, the bank can use the CD to cover any losses.

Let’s also answer what is a certificate of deposit? When you open a CD account, you’re depositing a certain amount of money for an agreed-upon time period. During this maturity period, the bank or credit union pays you interest on the money you’ve allotted to the CD.

At the end of the term, you could withdraw your initial deposit and interest earned or roll it over to a new CD. If you withdraw the money early, you’ll pay a penalty. To avoid that, a CD loan could come in handy.

You may invest in CDs if you’re looking for a safe place to keep your money while earning interest. Similar to savings accounts and money market accounts, CDs come with FDIC protection, up to the applicable limits.

How Do CD-Secured Loans Work?

If you take out a CD loan, the lender will charge interest. So you’ll be earning interest on the CD but paying interest on the CD-secured loan (if your CD is paying under 1%, loan rates might start at 2% over that rate).

Some of the general characteristics of CD loans are:

• Low fixed interest rates

• Predictable monthly payments

• Continued interest earned on the CD funds

• Can use the loan for a variety of expenses

How much you can borrow with a CD-secured loan depends on the lender. You may be able to borrow a particular maximum dollar amount based on your CD value or up to 100% of the value.

Some lenders establish a set end for repaying the loan, and others give you the entirety of the CD term to repay what’s owed. In addition, some may offer an interest rate reduction when you enroll in automatic payments and no prepayment penalty if you repay the loan early.

Who Might CD Loans Be Right For?

In general, you might consider a CD loan if:

• You have cash saved in a CD that you’re comfortable using as collateral for a loan

• You have a financial emergency and you want to be able to access the money in your CD without paying an early withdrawal penalty

• You’re unsure if you’d be able to qualify for another loan or line of credit based on your credit history or income

• Your bank or credit union’s CD loan terms are more attractive than the options

With that in mind, here are the main pros and cons to weigh with a CD/savings secured loan.

CD Loan Pros

A CD-secured loan may offer these benefits:

• Interest rate may be lower than other personal loans

• Predictable payments, thanks to a fixed rate

• The ability to build credit

• Earning of some interest as your CD matures

• Avoidance of early withdrawal penalty

• Potentially faster and easier approval than for other types of loans

CD Loan Cons

Here’s why you might think twice about a CD loan:

• You risk forfeiting all the money in your CD if you default on the loan

• Your CD funds may be frozen during the loan term so you won’t be able to make emergency withdrawals if needed

• CD loans aren’t as common as other types of personal loans, so your bank or credit union may not offer them

• Your lender may charge fees

• Borrowing limits are determined by your CD’s value

CD Loan vs. Personal Loan

While CD-secured loans can be convenient, there are reasons why you may want to consider an unsecured personal loan instead.

You don’t have to put your savings or other assets on the line to borrow money, and you don’t risk losing them if you default on a personal loan for some reason.

Next, you may be able to borrow more with a personal loan than you could with a CD-secured loan.

You may be able to find and get approved for an unsecured personal loan with an interest rate that is competitive with a CD loan’s. Lenders may consider:

• How much you want to borrow

• What the money will be used for

• Your credit scores

• Income

Debt-to-income ratio

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

The Takeaway

CD-secured loan or unsecured personal loan? Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Borrowing from a certificate of deposit puts it at risk if, for any reason, you can’t repay the loan.

SoFi offers unsecured personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 with a fixed rate and no fees.

If you need cash, check your rate on a SoFi Personal Loan today.

Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
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What's a Promissory Note?

What’s a Promissory Note?

Most people will borrow money at some point in life, and some will lend money. While an IOU might suffice for smaller amounts, a more binding agreement can be helpful when dealing with larger sums. With a promissory note, two parties formalize the lending of money.

Through this legal agreement, both the borrower and the lender consent to clearly defined repayment terms. Promissory notes can be used for a variety of purposes, including personal and commercial transactions.

Here’s a guide to common types of promissory notes, how to create one, and when they may be a good fit for borrowing or lending money.

Intro to Promissory Notes

Put simply, a promissory note is a written promise to pay someone a certain amount by a specified time. The type of promissory note and agreement between the issuer and payee dictate the payment schedule and amount.

Generally, promissory notes include the principal amount, interest rate, date and place of issuance, and signatures from the lender and borrower. There may also be provisions for late fees and recourse if a borrower defaults.

Similar to loans, promissory notes may be secured or unsecured. Unsecured notes are issued based on the borrower’s ability to repay, whereas secured notes use collateral such as real estate or a vehicle.

A promissory note may be issued by a financial institution, but this financing is commonly provided by individuals or businesses, too. Essentially, promissory notes allow anyone to act as a lender, which can be useful for creating legal documentation of a lending agreement between family members and friends.

Types of Promissory Notes

There are several types of promissory notes. Usually, the nature of the loan determines the appropriate type. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common varieties.

Line of Credit Promissory Note

Borrowers can withdraw any portion of funds from a line of credit, up to the established maximum loan amount. Once the money is taken out, the borrower is liable for repaying the lender.

A promissory note can be used to guarantee that the borrower repays money withdrawn from the line of credit. The promissory note can determine the interest rate, repayment schedule, and if the line of credit is secured or unsecured.

According to the 2020 Small Business Credit Survey from Federal Reserve Banks, business lines of credit and home equity lines of credit had approval rates of 79% and 69% , respectively. While a promissory note may be used by these traditional lenders, they are an option for creating a line of credit from other sources.

Investment Promissory Note

Businesses looking to access capital can sell promissory notes to investors instead of taking out a conventional business loan or a line of credit.

Through an investment promissory note, businesses receive capital from investors in exchange for fixed repayments. In the event a business is unable to repay, the investors may acquire the company.

Generally, investment promissory notes are sold at a discount to account for the impact of inflation on future payments. Promissory notes may be sold publicly in some cases but are most often purchased by corporate entities and experienced investors with high net worth who can handle the greater level of risk.

Businesses must be licensed to sell investment promissory notes, which must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors can verify promissory notes at the SEC’s EDGAR database .

Real Estate Promissory Note

Promissory notes can be used in mortgages and other real estate purchases. In practice, borrowers use a home or other property as collateral for a real estate promissory note.

While promissory notes can accompany a mortgage, they are in fact different. The note provides legal documentation of the borrower’s promise to pay, whereas the mortgage outlines the lender’s recourse for foreclosure if the borrower cannot repay the loan. A mortgage may also require a loan contract and more detailed financial information to qualify.

Real estate promissory notes can be used outside a mortgage. For example, two individuals could create such an agreement. Although the lender may not have the power of foreclosure, they can secure the agreement with the authority to place a lien on the property if a borrower defaults. A property lien creates a public record of a borrower’s unpaid debt.

Keep in mind that real estate promissory notes can be traded through brokerages without the borrower’s consent.

Student Loan Promissory Note

College students will likely be required to sign a promissory note for both private and federal student loans.

For private lenders, each student loan may carry its own promissory note since terms can vary. Anyone taking out federal student loans must sign a Master Promissory Note to promise repayment of loans, fees, and interest to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN can cover multiple loans within a 10-year time frame for authorized schools.

Recommended: Understanding Your Student Loan Promissory Note

Vehicle Promissory Note

A vehicle promissory note creates a binding document that promises a borrower will pay a lender for a car or other type of vehicle. This agreement can be between two individuals or a borrower and a conventional lender, such as a bank.

Aside from repayment terms and conditions, it’s important to include the vehicle’s make, model, year, body, and VIN in a promissory note.

Personal Loan Promissory Note

It’s not uncommon to sign a promissory note when acquiring a personal loan from a traditional lender.

A promissory note can also be used for a personal loan between friends and family. Formalizing the loan amount and repayment terms through a promissory note can help avoid disagreement and protect both parties down the line. Compared with typical personal loan requirements, a promissory note can be a more flexible financing option.

Having financial information like credit score and proof of income at the ready can streamline getting approved for a personal loan.

Promissory Note Repayment Options

Besides type, promissory notes can differ by repayment method. Borrowers can expect to repay money and interest through one of the following options:

Lump sum: This requires the entire amount to be repaid in a one-time payment on a specific date. Lump-sum payments are more common with small loans.

Due on demand: The borrower must repay the loan upon the lender’s request. Due on demand payment is used frequently for promissory notes between friends and family members. Any promissory note without written payment terms is considered due on demand.

Installment: Installment payments follow a specified schedule (monthly, for instance) to pay back a loan over a longer period of time. Usually payments are structured as equal amounts and include interest.

With (or without) interest: A promissory note can define the interest rate and any related contingencies.

In some cases, a promissory note may employ a combination of repayment options. For example, a vehicle promissory note may include an upfront lump sum followed by installment payments.

What Does a Promissory Note Look Like?

There are different laws in every state regarding promissory notes. One common feature of promissory notes is that they must be written. A verbal agreement between two parties will not qualify as a promissory note or carry the same legal enforceability.

Promissory notes must also include language outlining an agreement and unconditional promise for the borrower to repay the loan. Additionally, the repayment must constitute money, rather than labor, professional services, or other capital.

Other details and elements generally needed in a promissory note include the following:

Amount or principal: How much was borrowed and is to be repaid

Payor: The party promising to repay the debt

Payee: The party lending the money

Interest rate: States how much interest is charged and how it is calculated

Start date: The date the promissory note becomes effective and funding is released to the payor

Maturity date: When the interest and principal must be repaid in full

Without these elements, lenders may have trouble enforcing the promissory note.

The Takeaway

Promissory notes create a binding promise to repay borrowed money. This financial agreement can be used when borrowing money from individuals and financial institutions.

If you’re weighing options, consider a personal loan with SoFi.

SoFi offers no-fee fixed-rate personal loans of $5,000 to $100,000, and the application can be completed entirely online.

Find your rate on a SoFi Personal Loan in a matter of minutes.

Photo credit: iStock/fizkes


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.
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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Mobile Wallets: How They Work & Their Benefits

Mobile Wallets: How They Work & Their Benefits

A mobile wallet app allows you to leave your real, bulky (and likely disorganized) wallet at home by housing digital versions of all those credit, debit, ID, and loyalty cards.

While mobile wallets can be convenient, and are considered safe, it can be confusing to figure out which digital wallet app to use, and whether digitizing the contents of your wallet is worth the effort.

Read on to learn which apps are most widely accepted, how to set up a digital wallet, plus the pros and cons of ditching your old-school billfold and going virtual.

What is a Mobile Wallet?

A mobile wallet is just like it sounds–a “wallet” that lives on your mobile device. It stores credit, debit, gift, store, and loyalty card information so that you can easily pay for goods and services with your smartphone, smartwatch, or another mobile device.

You can even store theater tickets, insurance cards, ID, coupons, boarding passes, and hotel key card information. Some digital wallets also enable you to send money to friends, as well as receive payments.

You may also be able to use your mobile wallet instead of a physical card at some ATMs.

What is the Best Mobile Wallet App?

The major mobile wallets are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, which come already installed on mobile devices. Although they differ in layout, these mobile wallet apps have the same basic function that allows you to pay with a phone tap.

There are also mobile wallets you can download from the app stores, including wallets from banks and merchants such as PayPal, Walmart, and Starbucks.

When choosing a mobile wallet app, you may want to keep in mind that a mobile wallet offered by your credit card company may only be accepted at certain retailers.

In addition, merchant wallets will only work in that merchant’s store or online. For instance, the Starbucks wallet will only work at Starbucks.

Which one you pick will likely come down to how widely you plan to use a mobile wallet–will you use it just at your favorite retailer or more widely? The choice will also depend on what type of device you want to use it with.

How Do I Set Up and Use a Mobile Wallet?

The setup for the major mobile wallet apps is fairly simple: You launch the app, take a photo of your card or enter its information, and follow the step-by-step instructions. This process is then repeated for all other cards entered.

Generally, even if you load up several credit cards into your mobile wallet, only one of them will be your default payment option. That card will be the one that is used to process a purchase. If you want to use a different card, you may need to change the default card before you make the transaction.

Beyond credit and debit cards, the app may also walk you through configuring peer-to-peer payments like Apple Cash or Google Pays’ fund’s exchanges. You may also be able to link your PayPal account.

In addition, you may be able to import retail-store rewards cards, as well as museum or library memberships cards, event tickets, and airline boarding passes. This may involve scanning a QR code or selecting the “add to wallet” button in an email or a text message from the issuer.

When you are ready to pay for purchases you’ll want to make sure the merchant accepts mobile money. These businesses can typically be identified through a contactless payment indicator (usually a sideways Wi-Fi symbol).

You can then just open your digital wallet app, hold the phone near the wireless reader at the register, and authorize the payment. Your phone’s screen will confirm the transaction.

Are Mobile Wallets Safe?

Unlike cash, which can be stolen, and credit cards, which can be copied, the card information you load into a mobile wallet is encrypted. That means that your actual card or account numbers are never shared with the merchant.

Another safety feature: In order to make a payment, you have to unlock your device and also type the passcode or use your fingerprint or face recognition to unlock the mobile wallet.

In the case of theft, it’s not possible for anyone to use a mobile device to make a payment without providing the required security credentials.

These safeguards actually make mobile wallets more secure than carrying physical credit cards and cash, which can easily be compromised.

Pros and Cons of Using Mobile Wallets

Is a mobile wallet right for you? Here are some key pros and cons you may want to consider.

Mobile Wallet Pros

They’re convenient. If you’re out and about without your wallet or bag, you can still make purchases, and use your coupons and rewards cards. You may also be able to get cash at an ATM or check a book out of the library–all from your mobile device.

They’re secure. Mobile wallets provide a layer of security you don’t get with cash or using a debit or credit card. Your payment information is saved in one protected, central location. The card number is never stored in the app itself but is instead assigned a unique virtual number. This protects your money even if your smartphone is lost or stolen.

They can help you track your spending. A mobile wallet can help you track and better manage your spending. All of your transaction information is stored in the app so it’s easy to see how much you’re spending and where each week.

Mobile Wallet Cons

They’re not accepted everywhere. There are still some industries where cash is the only currency accepted. Even in businesses that do take credit, not all of them accept mobile wallets. To accept a mobile wallet, businesses need to have payment readers that take near field communication (NFC) payments, and not all of them have updated readers. This can cause a problem if a mobile wallet is all you have on hand.

Your phone could die. Cell phones often run out of battery life, and if you’re without a charger, that handy mobile wallet will no longer exist. That can put a crimp in your shopping plans or become a major problem if you have important documents such as train passes or concert tickets in your mobile wallet.

You may end up overspending. The thinking on mobile wallets is often similar to that with using a credit card. Because cash isn’t physically leaving your hands, spending can feel less real. If you have spending issues, a mobile wallet can make it easy to spend mindlessly.

Recommended: 9 Tips to Stop Overspending

The Takeaway

A mobile wallet is a digital way to store credit, debit, ID, and gift cards so that purchases can be made using a mobile smart device rather than a physical card.

Mobile wallets can help simplify your financial life. They allow users to make in-store payments without having to carry cash or physical credit cards. They’re easy to use and have hefty safeguards.

However, they aren’t universally accepted. It’s worth your while to determine whether the retailers you frequent accept them to help determine if a mobile wallet is a good option for you.

Looking for more convenient ways to manage your money? With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can spend, save, and earn competitive interest all in one place.

You can also track your weekly spending, pay bills, and send money to friends right from your smartphone using the SoFi app.

Make managing your money simpler and more convenient with SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/hiphotos35


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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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Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Attending medical school can be an extremely rewarding path, it can also be an expensive one. Luckily, there are some great medical school scholarships that can help ease the financial burden of attending medical school. Students thinking about attending medical school, or who are currently enrolled, may want to consider looking into scholarships for medical school.

There are plenty of scholarships for medical students and more general scholarships that they can apply for to help pay for college. Keep reading for a roundup of the best medical student scholarships, how to apply for them, and how much they’re worth.

Related: Finding & Applying to Scholarships for Grad School

Brown Medical and Educational Society Healthcare Scholarship

Dollar amount: Unknown

Application process: To apply for the Brown Medical and Educational Society Healthcare Scholarship , students must complete an application, submit an official college or university transcript in a sealed envelope, and submit three letters of recommendation.

Eligibility: To qualify for this scholarship, students must be an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree at a US based four-year university while studying a healthcare degree such as nursing, dentistry, medicine, and allied health. Recipients must also identify as a member of select ethnic groups and must be U.S. citizens.

Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarships

Dollar amount: $3,000 to $5,000

Application process: The application for the 2021-2022 school year is set to open in December 2021. Applicants can expect to submit essays as a part of the application.

Eligibility: To receive a Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarship , applicants must be a student at a US based medical school and applicants are judged on their financial needs, academic achievements, essays, and community service records.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund

Dollar amount: Unknown

Applicant process: The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund requires students submit their application through the dean of the university at the school they are attending for graduate studies. Students can connect with their school’s fellowship or financial aid office to learn more about what the application process looks like for students at their school. Only select schools participate in this program.

Eligibility: Students must be US citizens and attend a US based accredited and designated higher education institution as a graduate student. National descent is not taken into consideration and students are not limited to pursuing Armenian studies.

The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship

Dollar amount: NHHF has awarded $1,555,000 to 306 awardees as of January 2021.

Application process: Applicants must submit the following supporting documents as a part of their application for the The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship :

• Personal statement or essay that is double-spaced and a maximum of two pages outlining their career goals

• Curriculum vitae that shares up to date employment experience, education history, extracurricular activities, and awards

• One letter of recommendation

• Proof of their US citizenship DACA status, or residency

• Unofficial copy of their school transcripts

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship opportunity, students must have a 3.0 GPA and be currently enrolled full time in a US graduate program studying one of the following subjects:

• Medicine (allopathic or osteopathic)

• Dentistry

• Pharmacy

• Nursing (including BSN)

• Public Health or Public Policy

• Physician Associate

Joseph Collins Scholarship

Dollar amount: $10,000

Application process: Applicants for the Joseph Collins Scholarship must demonstrate an interest in the arts and letters or another type of cultural pursuit that falls outside of the field of medicine and needs to show an intent to specialize in psychiatry, neurourology, or become a general practitioner.

Eligibility: The moral character of the applicant and their scholastic record will be taken into account. Students who are attending medical schools east of the Mississippi river and are ranked in the top 50% of their class are eligible to apply.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

Dollar amount: Full year of scholarship support up to four years.

Application process: To apply for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program , applicants must pass an eligibility screening, submit general information about themselves, their degree, and their backgrounds, as well as providing two letters of recommendation.

In return, recipients of this scholarship will work in primary care in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The time commitment may vary based on how much aid the student received.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants have to be either a US citizen or a US national and be able to submit proof of their status. Applicants must also be enrolled as full-time students and attend an accredited school or academic program in the US or in a US territory.

MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship

Dollar amount: $1,000 to $5,000

Application process: To apply for this scholarship program, applicants must complete the application form provided by MPOWER.

Eligibility: Recipients of the MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship must be international students that are legally allowed to work and attend school in either the US or Canada. They must also be enrolled in a US or Canadian school that MPOWER supports .

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Dollar amount: Up to $90,000 in financial support over two years.

Application process: In order to apply for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans , students must submit the following information and materials in an online application.

• Personal and contact information

• Higher-education history

• Information about the graduate program they are seeking support for

• Three to five recommendations

• Resume

• Two essays

• College and graduate school transcripts

• Standardized test scores

• Optional exhibits

Eligibility: Applicants must be aged 30 or younger by the time of the application deadline and need to plan on either starting or continuing a full-time graduate degree program in the US.

Students may apply before they begin graduate school or while they are enrolled. Applicants must also meet the scholarship’s definition of “new American,” which is an individual whose birth parents were born outside of the US as non-US citizens.

Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program

Dollar amount: $7,000 per year up to four years.

Application process: Applications can be mailed or emailed and must included the following information:

• Official copy of undergraduate and graduate school transcript if applicable

• Official copy of medical school transcript

• Copy of MCAT scores

• Copy of USMLE score or COMLEX score

• Copy of current CV

• Essay

Eligibility: In order to qualify for the Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program , applicants must be third-year medical students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the specialty of family medicine.

Leadership skills, academic achievements, communication skills, identifiable character and integrity, and community service involvement will all be taken into consideration.

How Student Loan Refinancing Can Help

Those who already have medical school debt and may no longer be eligible for medical school scholarships may want to consider refinancing their existing student loans. Under the right terms, refinancing student loans can save money and help them pay down their debt faster. Refinancing student loans involves consolidating student loans through a private lender into a new loan that ideally comes with a better rate and term.

The student loan refinancing process varies by lender, but generally, the borrower ends up with a new loan, which can be easier to manage than multiple loans.

While some lenders only refinance private student loans, SoFi refinances both private and federal student loans. If the applicant can secure a better interest rate, they may end up paying less over the life of their loan.

When a borrower applies to refinance their loan or loans, the lender will generally take their credit score, credit history, and other key financial information into consideration to determine their rates and terms.

It’s worth noting that refinancing federal student loans into private ones causes the borrower to lose out on federal protections. Private lenders may not offer forbearance, deferment, and hardship programs.

Recommended: Private vs. Federal Student Loans

The Takeaway

Scholarships can be an effective way to help medical students pay for med school.

Application processes and eligibility requirements will vary from scholarship to scholarship so it may be helpful to browse around for different scholarships that fit your unique educational and personal profile.

Learn more about SoFi student loan refinancing.

Photo credit: iStock/JohnnyGreig


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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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46 Tips for Joining the Real World

46 Tips for Joining the Real World

It’s finally happened: You got the degree, a fancy new job (or a few prospects to choose from), a lease or mortgage, and maybe a dog or cat. Life is great, right?

Well, maybe not quite.

Now that your college days are over, so too are the comforting routines of class courses, odd (but fun) jobs, late nights out, and the “I’m just a student” excuse to blow off “adult things” like learning what ROI stands for or finding an in-network doctor.

46 Tips for Recent College Grads

Whether you’re just out of college or several years out, you’re hardly alone if you feel you are struggling to pull up your big boy, gal, or non-binary pal pants — or gym shorts if you’re working remotely. Read on for tips for joining the real world and finessing your finances, career, and personal life.

1. Your overall financial situation

Your finances can include a ton of stuff, especially as you get older and your investments and income become more complex. But at its most basic, understanding your financial situation means knowing your credit score, taking stock of your outstanding debts, figuring out ways to pay off student loans (if you haven’t already), and what your monthly bills are.

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

2. Budget

Once you know how much money you have, owe, and make, it’s time to figure out your budget. Even if you have one already, post-graduation is a perfect time to reconsider your budget and make updates as needed. Never made one before? Check out these personal budget tips to help you get started.

3. Job perks

No matter if your job is still shiny and new or an old hat at this point, it’s good to take time to review your employee handbook for perks you may have overlooked. Check out your company’s retirement plan types and health insurance plans. You’ll also want to review potential bonuses and perks, such as free gym memberships, commute stipends, or work-from-home stipends.

4. Retirement savings/401(k)

This may not be the most fun thing to review, but your future self will thank you for taking a weekend to dive into your current 401(k) or review your options for starting one. If you’re not sure where to start (or if you’re not even sure what this is, check out this primer on 401(k) plans.

5. Where you live

Location, local, location, right? Depending on said location, it can be hard to find affordable housing or even a job if your industry isn’t hot in your market. Before signing on the dotted line, consider how much home you can afford to buy or rent, and whether or not you’re ready to commit if you’re buying.

6. Your living situation

You may have been looking forward to living alone for the first time, but your first few years after college may not be the time to make this dream a reality. It can be expensive to live alone, and you may not be approved without a cosigner. Keeping roommates can be a great way to save money.

7. Your salary

Talking numbers can be intimidating for recent grads. Having knowledge about what a good entry-level salary is for your job ahead of negotiations can help you ensure you’re getting a fair offering.

8. Your social media

Even if you’ve already got a job, you may want to take stock of your social media. A professional online presence may help prevent current or future employers from second-guessing hiring you.

9. Networking

Networking is crucial to helping you achieve your career goals. Whether through industry conferences or social media sites like LinkedIn, it’s smart to stay connected with professionals in your industry to get career advice and learn about job openings you may be the perfect fit for.

10. Job offers

When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to take the first job offer that comes your way. But if you know it’s not a great fit and you’re already viewing the job as a stepping stone until you can find something else, you may be better off continuing your job search. Check out this list of things you should consider before taking a job offer.

11. Quality over quantity

This adage exists for a reason, and it applies to friends, experiences, clothes, possessions, and even the way you spend your time. Being mindful of your decisions is a great habit to get into.

12. “You” time

This tip can help you get important stuff done, both professionally and personally. Exercising or taking a 15-minute meditation break may boost your job performance and help you avoid burnout.

13.Emergency fund

Life is full of the unexpected, and that’s why it’s smart to have an emergency fund. Once you have a steady income, it’s wise to take a few weeks (or months, depending on your salary and bills) to build up your emergency fund. Don’t know where to start? This article on how to start an emergency fund could be helpful.

14. Medical care

This tip is especially important if you’ve moved to a different state or city. Out-of-network bills can be costly, so having a doctor and knowing which hospitals are in-network can help you save money and stress in the long run.

15. First-aid kit and emergency bag

No, that free purse-sized first-aid kit you got your freshman year in college probably isn’t going to cut it. Store-bought first aid kits may be good starting points, but allergy relief pills, antacids, and other over-the-counter medicines will take your kit to the next level.

If you’re inclined to ready an emergency go-bag, consider packing at least three days’ worth of clothes, a mini first aid kit, cash, a flashlight, and other provisions you think you (and your pets or loved ones) may need if you need to leave your home in a rush.

16. Life insurance

If your employer offers life insurance as a benefit, you may be wondering what it is — and if you should pay more to increase the amount. Understanding life insurance types and reviewing these Life Insurance Policy Tips can help you make the right decision for you.

17. Hobbies

Not everything you do has to relate to your career. In fact, it’s likely healthier if you have interests outside of your career. You can learn to play instruments, sing, run, join a local soccer team, play games online, or enjoy any other hobby that helps you unwind and relax.

18. Taxes

Being organized ahead of tax season can help you avoid filing them late. Whenever you get an important piece of paperwork that’ll affect your taxes (such as W2s, charitable contribution receipts, or even home office receipts), you can put these in a safe place so you’re ready to go come tax time.

19. Work-life balance

We all have different ideas for work-life balance. If you’re not sure what yours is, consider taking the first few weeks on the job to figure that out. If you feel tired or overwhelmed, it may be time to renegotiate those work-life boundaries.

20. Basic home repairs

Home repair costs, can add up but you could save a lot by doing them yourself, especially if or when you own your own place and don’t have a landlord to pay for those costs. If you do have a landlord, you could get a discount on your rent by making simple repairs yourself. Just be sure to get a signed agreement from your landlord outlining how that will work.

21. Fear of asking for help

Don’t know how to format a spreadsheet? Can’t remember the protocol for that report? Ask for help. Reaching out for help is key to creating healthy work relationships (and personal ones).

22. Subscriptions

Monthly subscriptions can add up, be them boxes, auto-reorder groceries or personal care items, streaming services, or magazines. Consider looking at what you’re actually subscribed to. Do you really need both Hulu and Netflix, and do you really need that wine-of-the-month membership?

23. Boundaries

It’s easy to lose track of time, especially in a work-from-home situation. You may also feel you need to put in extra hours to impress your boss. But working to the point where you have no time to yourself can be counterproductive.

24. Cooking

Takeout is great, but you could save a ton of money and calories if you cook most of your meals at home. It’s also helpful to plan your groceries ahead of time to avoid overspending and food waste.

25. Speaking up and out

If you think you don’t have much to add to the conversation, agreeing with what someone has said — and tacking on an extra thought — can be a way to participate and not feel like a wallflower.

26. Regular bedtime

Going to sleep around the same time every night can help to ensure you get enough zzz’s so you can make good decisions and keep healthy habits.

27. Investing

The idea of investing may sound intimidating, but you don’t have to be a Wall Street wolf to invest. Many rookies start small. Check out these tips for investing in your 20s.

28. Avoiding compare yourself to others

We all have different goals for our lives, and we all take different paths to get there. It’s smart to embrace your uniqueness and try to avoid the compulsion to compare yourself to coworkers, online friends, or even friends and family.

29. Mistakes are just part of learning

If you are open to criticism, you can be more likely to learn from the experience. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re new. That’s why it’s important to let your mistakes be growth/learning opportunities, both professionally and personally.

30. You’re good enough, smart enough …

Your social media may be full of engagement photos, job promotions, and new puppies. That’s because most people don’t post about fights with loved ones, struggles with balancing their cash accounts, or troubles at work. Keeping that in mind can help you avoid joining the proverbial rat race.

31. Mentors

They can help you navigate your workplace’s ladder, offer advice, and keep you motivated and sane when things get stressful. They also have contacts that may be helpful for you to know.

32. Changing your mind

You’ve probably heard that tons of people end up with jobs outside of what they studied, even after getting a master’s or MBA. It could be that there aren’t a lot of jobs in that field –or maybe they realized that what’s interesting in theory is not in practice. If this turns out to be the case for you, just remember that fulfillment can be found outside of work. And people can change their minds.

33. Getting help

Unemployment, Medicaid, and other social nets exist for a reason. There are going to be choppy waters, and these services are meant to help. Using them because you got laid off or furloughed isn’t shameful.

34. Home maintenance

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vents? Do you know how to change the filter in your HVAC? Avoiding these kinds of things for too long can result in big maintenance bills — and potentially be a safety hazard. Not sure what to clean? Check out this ultimate house maintenance list.

35. Growth mindset

When you’re starting out in a new career, you know that you have a lot to learn and need to put in time and effort to advance. After a few years on the job, though, the learning curve can become less steep, making it easy to attribute your success to talent more than to anything else. That is the definition of a fixed mindset. Someone with a growth mindset knows that the key to advancing in one’s career (and evolving as a human being) is to continually be open to learning, improving, and taking on new challenges.

36. Travel

Hopping on a plane and traveling to far-flung places can get a lot harder to do the more “adult” you become. You have to take time off work, arrange a house sitter, find kid- or pet-friendly destinations (or pay a sitter to take care of them) and maybe even have to schedule time for important work meetings or tasks even while you’re on vacation. Even if you’re broke and paying off debt, it’s possible to travel cheap!

37. Saying no

Don’t want to go out for drinks? Can’t finish that report by Monday? Your best bet may be to just be honest. Taking on too much may only backfire, so learning to say no without feeling guilty can be important for your mental health and work-life balance.

38. Lifestyle creep

Lifestyle creep can ruin your budget. The more your income increases, the more you may want to spend. While a pay raise may mean you can splurge on that fancy latte with oatmeal foam, double-shot espresso with coconut milk, and a pump of vanilla, you may want to double-check that the increase in lattes doesn’t mean a decrease in your savings.

39. Sales versus deals

Cheap clothes or stuff on clearance aren’t a deal if you don’t need them or they don’t last very long. For some things, such as your new professional wardrobe, Tip No. 11 about quality over quantity definitely applies.

Recommended: 9 Tips for Finding the Best Deals Online

40. Side jobs

Seems like everyone is hustling, but you may want to be careful that the side gig doesn’t take up too much mental or emotional bandwidth. If it is, you may want to dial it back or find a new side job that doesn’t unduly add to your stress — and possibly interfere with your ability to do your main job.

41. Meal planning

Now that you’re shopping for your own groceries, planning out your meals can be an easy way to save money on food. Taking an extra half hour to take stock of your leftovers and cabinet items can save you from buying stuff you already have or throwing out perfectly good leftover lasagna.

42. Your home office

Are you going to be working from home for some or all of your week? Having ergonomic, comfortable, and functional furniture can help keep your back and neck from hurting and your mind from getting distracted. Click here for some home office ideas if you’re in need of some inspiration.

43. Pets

Before bringing a pet home, you may want to check if you can afford vet bills and cover emergency situations, like a dog biting a visitor or having to kennel your dog for a sudden trip out of town. It may also be important to consider the time pets take. Will you be able to take your pup on walks or to the dog park? Before you dive in, you can check out this list of cheapest pets for lower maintenance friends you may want to adopt instead.

44. Your caffeine fix

Basically, your mom was right: as convenient as buying a coffee on your way to work is, it can add up day after day, week after week, year after year. Making your morning caffeinated drink at home can lead to real savings.

45. Car insurance

If you have a car that’s over 10 years old, you may want to consider auto insurance. This could save you money in the long term if you need maintenance or repair work done to your trusty old wagon.

46. What’s most important to you?

You may think and feel that you can do it all. And maybe you can at first. But at some point, you may find yourself having to back-burner some of your goals. When that happens, you may want to make sure they aren’t all the ones that reflect your values and bring you joy.

The Takeaway

Your post-college years can be exciting and fun while also being confusing and difficult. With your increase in income and independence may come a host of challenges of responsibilities you have to manage. That’s why it may be smart to ask friends, family, and mentors for help.

And if your student loan payments are getting in the way of you living your best post-college life, you may want to consider refinancing your student loans. (Please note: in refinancing, you’ll be forfeiting certain federal student loan benefits including payment suspension and repayment programs.) SoFi is a leader in the private student loan space, offering refinancing options with no application or origination fees.

Check out your interest rate in just a few minutes—with no strings attached.

Photo credit: iStock/Rattankun Thongbun


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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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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