Saving Money as a Family

Perhaps you define your family as you and your partner—or maybe you have a house full of children. No matter how big or small your family is, you have goals to achieve and dreams to accomplish.

Sometimes, you’ll already be able to fund them, but, often, you need to save money to make these dreams comes true, and here you’ll find strategies you can customize for your own family’s wants and needs. When thinking about which strategies are best for saving your family money, always keep your goals in mind.

Ask Yourself These Questions:

1) What are you saving for? Are you saving to create an emergency fund for peace of mind? Will your goals then transition into a savings plan for a fabulous summer vacation?
2) How much do you need to achieve your goals?
3) Where can you cut expenses to free up cash flow and make it easier for your family to save?

Now, look at these tips and customize as needed to help achieve your goals.

Optimize Your Mindset for Saving

If you approach your new saving strategies with excitement, seeing them as an opportunity to accomplish family goals, not only are you probably more likely to be successful, but the process will also be more enjoyable.

With this attitude, strategies that might have seemed too challenging in the past can suddenly be transformed into an adventure. Plus, when the entire family is participating, you naturally create momentum to achieve goals and celebrate progress.

From “Should Have” to “Should” to “Will”

When it comes to money management, virtually everyone has some “should have” items to put on their list:

•   I should have started saving earlier in my life.
•   I should have created a better budget.
•   I should have [Fill in the blank and know you aren’t alone!].

Now, take those thoughts and turn “should have” into the present tense:

•   I should start saving.
•   I should create a better budget.
•   I should [fill in the blank].

Next, make it stronger by changing “should” to “will”:

•   I will start saving.
•   I will create a better budget.
•   I will [fill in the blank].

You’re ready to take positive steps to save. Here are some additional tips to help your family keep the right attitude:

•   Don’t compare your financial situation to anyone else’s. Create a plan that works for your financial situation and goals.
•   Create a savings plan and stick to it.
•   Celebrate successes.

Freeing up Cash Flow to Save

As a starting formula, calculate these three sums:

•   Net monthly income (after taxes)
•   Monthly expenses: housing/utilities, car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, etc.
•   Subtract the second amount from the first and determine how much money you can save out of what remains.

Now, what expenses can you eliminate to free up even more cash flow? Do you have automatic withdrawals for services that you don’t really use anymore?

One place where families can often cut back is food:

•   Create a monthly budget for food expenses, including grocery shopping and eating out.
•   Determine what role restaurants will play in your family budget. Some families are more than willing to give up eating out as part of their new lifestyle, while others like to keep some dining out dollars in their monthly budget.
•   Many families find it helps to plan meals before they go grocery shopping. If that’s you, create a list to follow at the store. If possible, go without any small children who may have different ideas about what you should buy.
•   Manage leftovers well and make sure you use food before expiration dates.

Check contract payments and see if you can get better prices for your home and car insurance, cell phone bills, cable contracts, and more. Will your current vendors match pricing available from their competitors?

Two more ways to free up cash flow are:

•   Determine what loans are close to being paid off: How much will that payoff boost your ability to save? If it’s by a significant amount, consider focusing your energy on paying off those bills.
•   Consider consolidating high-interest credit cards and loans into a low-interestpersonal loan.

Saving My Family Money: Tips for Parents

Children tend to follow the lead of their parents, so how you present any changes in your daily routines is crucial. For example, if you realize that you’re blowing a whole lot of money on game machines at a local pizza place, get creative!

Start making pizzas at home with your kids—complete with silly faces made out of pepperoni and veggies and followed by family game night. The first time you do this, your children might be frustrated, but your enthusiasm and creativity can turn the tide.

If you realize that you overspend on birthday celebrations for your kids, cut back on gift-giving costs but turn the present-opening experience into a game. What if you hid the presents and gave the birthday boy or girl clues to follow? Play music in the background, making it louder when your child is getting closer and lower it when he or she is going in the wrong direction.

Use visuals to help your children become part of the family savings plan. You can create colorful charts to show your youngsters how much you want to save and your progress. Give each one of them fun piggy banks and invite them to start saving. Once there is enough money in a child’s piggy bank, you might take him or her to the bank to open a savings account, and make it a time of celebration.

And most important, pay attention to how you talk about money and saving around your children. Be positive instead of dwelling on the negative. Don’t apologize for giving fewer or less expensive gifts—make the most of the new traditions.

Saving for the Future

As you build up an emergency savings fund (say, three to six months’ worth of living expenses) and otherwise begin to reach your goals, saving for the future may transform into investing. And, although the terms “savings” and “investing” are sometimes interchangeably used, there are stark differences. For example, when you’re building up your savings, you are likely:

•   Adding money to a cash management account in regular increments
•   Saving with a specific purpose in mind for those funds, whether it’s a rainy-day fund or a down payment on a new house
•   Focusing on shorter-term financial goals over the next two to three years

When you invest, you take on a degree of risk. Investments aren’t FDIC insured (like a bank account), and account balances are subject to market fluctuations.

But often, people invest in light of longer-term goals, whether it’s funding your kid’s college education or planning for retirement. Bonds, and mutual funds, are very common investments, as are ETFs.

At SoFi, we believe that everyone should have the ability to invest in their family’s future, and they should be able to access quality investment management. So, even if you’re new to investing, you can start quickly and easily with an initial deposit of $100.

When you make an investment appointment online, you start by letting us know which of these areas is of interest to you:

•   SoFi Invest® Overview
•   Debt Management Strategies
•   Home Ownership Planning
•   Planning for Children
•   Financial Checkup
•   Financial Independence and Retirement Planning Strategies

To benefit from today’s automated investment technology and the insight of professional human advisors, contact SoFi. Because our advisors don’t receive commissions, they don’t try to sell you anything that isn’t in your best financial interest. Instead, they can help create a plan that’s customized for your unique needs and goals.

SoFi is ready to help you invest as a family. Start today by signing up for an investment account with SoFi.


SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
SoFi doesn’t provide tax or legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique. Consult with a qualified tax advisor or attorney.
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.
Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.
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How to Help Pay Off Student Loans Faster Using Momentum

Paying off student loans fast is all about momentum and resourcefulness. Staying up-to-date on your payments—or ideally getting ahead of them a bit—can give you the motivation you need to tackle and clear your student loan debt as quickly as possible.
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When it comes to student loan repayment, there are two great ways to build momentum: prepaying (or paying more than the monthly minimum) and reducing interest rates (through student loan refinancing).

Here are five tips to help you build momentum, so you can pay back student loans faster and make your debt a distant memory.

#1 Learning the Benefits of Prepaying

When considering how to pay off loans fast, you may want to think about saving money on student loan interest by prepaying. That means to make payments in addition to your regular monthly payment.

Generally, there is no penalty for making extra student loan payments (check with your lender or loan servicer to verify this), and it can help you spend less on interest over the life of the loan.

If you haven’t started paying off your loans yet, you can use our student loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments. Then, you can determine how much you want to pay on top of that each month, to help pay off your student loans faster.

As a bonus, it’s amazing how motivating it can be to see your outstanding balance shrink more quickly than you planned by making more than your minimum payment each month.

An important note: Some lenders may apply the additional money to next month’s payment instead of deducting it from your student loan balance if you don’t specify where you want to apply your prepayments. If your goal is to save money on interest and be done with your loans sooner, ask your loan servicer if they can apply any extra payments to your loan’s principal instead.

#2 Taking Control of Your Spending

Prepaying sounds great, but where are you going to come up with that extra cash? You can start by taking stock of where your money currently goes.

Many of us have “leaks” in our spending that we barely notice—whether we’re springing for frequent takeout dinners or have auto-payments on magazine subscriptions that we keep meaning to cancel.

Try recording your daily spending in the notes app on your smartphone or using an app like Toshl , which can help give you better insights into where your money is going. Sites like Mint offer tools that can help you create a livable budget with room for the occasional splurge.

#3 Using Unexpected Windfalls to Grow your Proverbial Garden

Instead of treating a windfall like “fun money,” use it to get ahead on your debt. Whether you come into money through inheritance, you get a pay out from a stock you’d forgotten you owned, or your boss hands out a surprise bonus, try to put a portion of your surprise cash straight toward your debt.

And don’t just think small—see if you can apply at least 50% of any financial gifts, dividends, bonuses, and raises toward paying down your loans.

#4 Creating Another Income Stream

If your main job isn’t extremely demanding, you might consider adding a side hustle to help pad your debt payments. Sites such as Upwork can connect you with freelance work. If you don’t have the time or inclination to take on another job, you can consider becoming an Airbnb host .

According to recent analysis from SmartAsset , the average host can expect to cover 81% of their rent by listing one room in a two-bedroom apartment on Airbnb.

They also found that, in many cities, it may be possible to pay the entire rent on a two-bedroom apartment with around 20 days of bookings per month. That translates to sizable savings you can put toward your student loans.

#5 Lowering your Interest Rate

If you are a working graduate paying down high-interest student loans, student loan refinancing could be a powerful way to make a dent, if you qualify. For example, securing a lower interest rate can make a big difference in what you have to pay over time.

Bear in mind that if you have federal student loans such as Direct Loans and Graduate PLUS loans, refinancing them with a private lender like SoFi means you will lose certain benefits that come with them, such as access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and income-based repayment plans.

However, some graduates may find they don’t need these benefits and that the cost-saving benefits—and faster payoffs—that can come with refinancing provide more value.

If you’re ready to make a bigger dent in your student loans, and potentially qualify for a lower interest rate, look into refinancing your loans with SoFi.


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.
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.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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I Due: How To Tackle Student Loan Debt Without Sidelining Your Marriage

Getting married soon? Congratulations! Just be warned—there comes a moment in many weddings when half the guests suddenly slip away to watch a big game (just follow the cheers to find your wedding party).

Football especially is a pretty good analogy for a wedding – after all, in both football and marriage, you’re either tackling things together or you’re being tackled by them. Money is a common example of this (in marriage, not football), as the growing number of couples dealing with student loan debt can attest.

Whether the loans belong to you, your spouse or all of the above, once you get married it doesn’t really matter anymore. Paying off debt is now something you can tackle together. It may be tough, but with open communication and planning you can work as a team to get that student loan linebacker off your, er, back.

So what’s the best strategy for taking down student loans without letting them clobber your marriage? Here are five tips for proactively – and collaboratively – running a play that could help lead to the big pay-off: a debt-free happily ever after.

Tip #1: Create Your Big Financial Picture

Preparing to take on a big financial goal usually requires some conversation and preparation upfront. Before making any decisions, sit down and talk about your short- and long-term financial objectives, and make sure you’re both on the same page (or as close to it as possible). This can be an overwhelming topic, so see if you can break it down into chunks.

Have you established a household budget? How do student loans (and paying them off) fit into your long-term and short-term goals? Should you start aggressively paying off debt, or might it be better for you to ramp up over time? What other factors (e.g., buying a home, changing careers, having children, etc.) could affect your decisions?

Not only can this exercise help give you more clarity to create an action plan, it can also actually be kind of fun – after all, planning a life together is part of the reason you got married in the first place. The key is to listen to each other and remember that you’re both on the same team.

Tip #2: Take Advantage of Technology

Once you’re clear on the big picture, it’s time to get into the weeds. Many people have more than one student loan, often with multiple lenders, so a good place to start can be to gather all of your loan info in one place. You can use an online student loan management tool to collect this information, compare student loan repayment options, and even analyze prepayment strategies.

After crunching the numbers, your debt payoff strategy may include putting extra money toward your loans each month, which means creating and sticking to a budget that supports that goal. Platforms like Mint and Learnvest can help you aggregate household accounts and track spending.

Note: tracking your spending so precisely may feel like ripping off a bandage at first, but over time, this kind of discipline can help you better see where your money goes and help you make conscious choices about your spending. And once you have your budget in place, these apps can be set up to alert you both when spending is getting off track.

Tip #3: Define The Who, What, When

Whether your finances are separate or combined, you’ll probably want to come to an agreement on how to collectively pay all of your financial obligations. Many couples address this based on each person’s share of the total household income.

For example, if one person makes 40% and the other makes 60%, the former might pay 40% of the shared bills and the latter might pay 60%. Others find it simpler and more cohesive to have one household checking account and pay all bills from there.

However you decide to split things up, it could make things much easier to agree upon a plan that accounts for everything, because missed payments can potentially impact your credit (and/or your spouse’s), making your future financial objectives that much tougher to achieve.

Tip #4: Look For Opportunities to Optimize

Okay, so now you’ve established a plan and a budget, and you know who’s on point for each bill. You’re on the path to getting student loan debt off your plate. Is there anything else you can do to speed up the process?

Short of winning the lottery, the most common ways to accelerate student loan payoff are prepayment (meaning, paying more than the minimum) or lowering the interest rate, the latter of which is most commonly accomplished through refinancing.

If you qualify to refinance your student loans, you have a few possibilities: you can lower your monthly payments (by choosing a longer term) or lower your interest rate (which could also lower your monthly payments) – or you could shorten the payment term, and that means you could save money on interest over the life of the loan – money that could come in handy for those other financial goals you’ve both agreed to pursue.

Tip #5: Be on the Same Team

Living with debt is stressful for any couple, but being part of a relationship has its advantages, too. There’s a reason that weight loss experts often recommend finding a “buddy” to help cheer you on and keep you honest in your diet and exercise journey – and the same applies for achieving a big goal like paying off student loan debt.

Keep it positive and keep the lines of communication open, and you may even find that the journey to being debt-free makes your marriage even stronger – so you can take the hits that come your way as easily as your favorite team does.

Check out SoFi to see how you can save money by refinancing your student loans.


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.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Home Loans

Homeownership can be both rewarding and a great financial decision for your future. But as anyone who has dipped their toes into the home-buying process knows, the pressure to find and secure the “right” mortgage loan can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer.

During the early stages of the home-buying process—perhaps while you’re researching neighborhoods and schools, shopping around for properties, and nailing down the details of your budget—it would serve you well to do some research into the types of mortgages available. That way, you’ll feel prepared when the time comes to put down an offer on the perfect home.

As you’ve likely noticed, there are quite a few mortgage loan types available to borrowers. Brace yourself, because the process definitely requires you harness your best inner comparison shopper. You’ll need to consider the ins and outs of each option alongside your personal and financial needs. To help make the decision a bit easier, we’ve compared the advantages and disadvantages of each mortgage type below.

Fixed-Rate Versus Adjustable-Rate Home Loans

First, it’s helpful to know that most home loans come with a fixed or adjustable interest rate. A fixed-rate mortgage means that your interest rate will never change. In other words, your monthly mortgage payment is locked in. Fixed-rate mortgages generally come in 15 or 30-year loans.

A 30-year fixed-rate loan is the most common, though you can save a lot in interest if you opt for a 15-year loan. Monthly payments on a 15-year loan will be much higher than for a 30-year mortgage, so it’s best to commit only if you’re confident that it works in your budget—even in the event of a financial emergency.

An adjustable-rate mortgage, called an ARM, has a fixed, usually lower rate for an initial period and then increases to a more expensive, floating rate tied to the market interest rate index. ARMs are often expressed in two numbers (like 5/1 or 2/28), although those numbers don’t follow one particular formula (they could represent years, months, number of annual payments, etc.). For example, a 5/1 ARM has five years of fixed payments and one change to the interest rate in each year thereafter.

It’s easy to be drawn to the lower initial rate offered on an ARM, but it very well could end up costing more in interest than a fixed-rate loan over the lifespan of your mortgage. An ARM might work best for someone who plans to pay off their mortgage in five years or less, or is committed to refinancing prior to the ARM’s rate increase.

Rate increases in the future could be dramatic although there are limits to the annual and life-of-loan adjustments, often leaving adjustable-rate mortgage-holders with much higher monthly payments than if they had committed to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Types of Government Home Loans

The government does not actually lend money to home buyers. Instead, “government home loans” is a catchall for loans that are insured or guaranteed by various government agencies in the event the borrower defaults. This makes the loan less risky for lenders, and allows them to provide mortgages at reasonable rates.

Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Loans:

FHA loans are one of the most popular government loan types for first-time home buyers, because they have the more lenient credit score requirements and down payment requirements. With a 580 credit score, you might qualify with a 3.5% down payment. For more, check out the FHA’s lending limits in your state.

Pros: Because FHA loans are ubiquitous and have lower down payment and credit score requirements, they are one of the most accessible loans. FHA loans give potential homeowners a chance to buy without a big down payment. Additionally, FHA loans allow a non-occupant co-signer (as long as they’re a relative) to help borrowers qualify.

Cons: Historically, the requirements for FHA mortgage insurance have varied over the years. Currently, an FHA loan requires both an up-front mortgage insurance premium (which can be financed into your loan amount) and monthly mortgage insurance. The monthly mortgage insurance has to stay in place until your loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%.

USDA loans:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides home loans in rural areas to borrowers who meet certain income requirements. USDA loans offer 100% financing—so no down payment is necessary—and require lower monthly mortgage insurance (MI) payments than an FHA loan. This type of mortgage loan is offered to “rural residents who have a steady, low or moderate income, and yet are unable to obtain adequate housing through conventional financing.” To find out if you qualify, visit the USDA income and property eligibility site .

Pros: USDA loans come with low monthly MI, and they are accessible loans for low-moderate income borrowers in rural areas.

Cons: You need a credit score of at least 640 to qualify. These loans, like an FHA loan, also require an upfront fee which can be financed into your loan. If you are obtaining a loan with no down payment, this could result in a loan balance higher than your loan amount.

VA loans:

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides loan services to members and veterans of the U.S. military and their families. If you are eligible , you could qualify for a loan that requires no down payment or monthly mortgage insurance.

Pros: You don’t have to put any money down or deal with monthly MI payments, which could save borrowers thousands per year.

Cons: These loans are great to get people in homes, but are only available to veterans.

FHA 203k rehab loans:

FHA 203k loans are home renovation loans for “fixer upper” properties, helping homeowners finance both the purchase of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage. Current homeowners can also qualify for an FHA 203k loan to finance the rehabilitation of their existing home.

Many of the rules that make an FHA loan relatively convenient for lower-income borrowers apply here. An FHA 203k loan does not require the space to be currently livable, but it does generally have stricter credit score requirements. Many types of renovations can be covered under an FHA 203k loan: structural repairs or alterations, modernization, elimination of health and safety hazards, replacing roofs and floors, and making energy conservation improvements, to name a few.

Pros: They can be used to buy a home and fund renovations on a property that wouldn’t qualify for a regular FHA loan. And they only require a 3.5% down payment.

Cons: These loans require you to qualify for the price of the home plus the costs of any planned renovations.

Conforming Home Loans

Conforming home loans are a type of mortgage offered by private lenders. They are not insured by the government, but meet standards set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government sponsored agencies). As of 2018, the conforming loan limit is $453,100 in most of the U.S. and goes up to $679,650 in certain higher-cost areas.

Conventional Home Loans:

Conventional loans are the single most popular type of mortgage used today. These are slightly more difficult to qualify for a conventional loan than a government-backed loan. However, borrowers can obtain conventional loans for a second home or investment property.

Conventional loans typically require a minimum of a 620 credit score and a down payment between 5% and 20%. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) ) if you put 20% down. If you put less than 20% down, PMI is required but you have options. PMI can be paid monthly or can be an upfront premium that can be paid by you or the lender. Monthly PMI needs to stay in place until your loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%.

Pros: Pretty much any property type you’re considering would qualify for a conventional mortgage. And you have greater flexibility with mortgage insurance if you are putting down less than 20%.

Cons: Conventional loans tend to have stricter requirements for qualification and require a higher down payment that government loans.

Conventional 97 Mortgage:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conventional 97 loan was made to compete with FHA loans. It requires a 3% down payment or 97% loan-to-value ratio, besting the FHA’s 3.5% down payment requirement. A conventional 97 loan also requires that at least one borrower be a first-time homeowner, which they define as someone who hasn’t owned a property in the past three years. Participants in this program will need to have good credit scores and the standard 43% debt-to-income ratio.

Pros: You only need to put down 3%.

Cons: Only single-unit properties qualify, and one of the borrowers must be a “first-time buyer.”

Non-Conforming Loans

If you need a loan that exceeds the limits of both a conforming loan and a government-backed loan, you’ll need a non-conforming loan. A non-conforming loan exceeds the limits set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Jumbo Loans:

Because of their size, jumbo loans tend to have even stricter requirements than regular, conforming loans. Most jumbo loans require a minimum credit score above 700 and a down payment of at least 15%.

Super Jumbo Loans:

For financing of $1 million or more, you are going to need to take out what is called a super jumbo loan. These loans require excellent credit and can provide up to $3 million in financing.

Those looking to fund an expensive property purchase will likely have little choice but to use a jumbo or super jumbo loan. If that’s you, it might require taking some time to get your credit score in good shape.

The process of finding and securing the right mortgage loan requires a little bit of investigation and a whole lot of patience. Happy hunting!

Ready to do some comparison shopping? SoFi offers mortgages with competitive rates, a fast & easy application, and no hidden fees.


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.
SoFi Mortgages not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria#eligibility-mortgage for details.

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How to Buy Mutual Funds Online

Investing: to some people this is an exciting step into the world of building wealth and saving for the future. There are those who love to dig into the finer details of trading, who have the Dow and the S&P scrolling on their various screens and mobile devices at all times, who delight in taking chances with short-term trades—sometimes winning big and sometimes taking a hit.

Then there are those who find the prospect of investing overwhelming—or overwhelmingly boring. Between the jargon and the scrolls of numbers and mountains upon mountains of data and symbols, it can seem impossible to learn the language well enough to make smart decisions that help build your financial security.

And let’s face it: the financial community does not have a track record of being the most inclusive bunch when it comes to asking beginner questions. You know you should start investing so that your savings have the best chance to grow over time, but it’s hard to figure out where to start—or where to find clear answers to questions that matter to you.

Utilizing mutual funds and exchange traded funds is a good place to start. These products can help you create a balanced and diversified portfolio so you don’t have to spend your days poring over the stock market. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of mutual funds, how to find some of the best performing mutual funds, and cover how to buy mutual funds online.

Why Invest in Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds are funds that are made up of a mix of different securities like stocks and bonds. When you buy a share of a mutual fund, you’re buying a fraction of all the securities in the fund. The benefit of this is diversification.

For most beginning investors looking to put a few hundred or a few thousand into an investment portfolio, it would be difficult, expensive, and time consuming to buy enough individual stocks and bonds to create a balanced portfolio.

Buying shares of a fund, on the other hand, gives you access to more diversity. So, if one of the stocks in your mutual fund tanks, that loss will be balanced out by other securities that are continuing to perform well. If, on the other hand, you only had your savings invested in the stocks of two or three companies, and one of those companies goes bankrupt, you’ll take a much bigger loss.

Mutual funds are overseen by money managers whose job it is to monitor the holdings in the fund and make adjustments with the goal of bringing in more capital gains and higher returns for their investors.

The funds can be actively managed or passively managed. An actively managed fund is one in which securities might be more heavily traded with the hopes of bringing high returns, while a passively managed fund might be overseen more conservatively, with smaller adjustments made in order to maintain balance.

What Are Some Examples of Mutual Funds?

There are many different types of mutual funds, which are made and managed to give investors access to different types of investments strategies. Here are a few categories of mutual funds:

Asset class funds:

These are funds that are designed around the concept of investing in similar types of assets that have similar risks such as small cap growth stocks or high-yield bonds. These mutual funds help you diversify over a single asset class and are just one part of a balanced portfolio.

Industry funds:

Industry funds invest in a mix of securities within a specific market or industry such as technology, oil, or agriculture. Similar to asset class funds, they help you invest in a range of companies within a specific area.

Target date funds:

Target date funds work a little differently. They are a set-it-and-forget-it investment tool designed to help you grow your investments over a set period of time. These are mostly intended for retirement portfolios.

For instance, a forty-year target date fund will carry higher risk securities in the beginning years with the goal of potential high returns. Then, over time, the fund will steadily shift towards lower risk investments designed to retain growth from earlier years. These can be a good option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time managing their 401(k)s or IRAs.

Exchange traded index funds:

Exchange traded index funds (ETFs) are a little different than traditional mutual funds but have become a popular and cheaper alternative in recent years. ETFs are designed to track an index like the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000 and carry the same proportion of securities in these indexes.

For instance, if you invest in an ETF that tracks the S&P, your investments are likely to rise and fall very similarly to the index on a daily basis. Because ETFs track indexes, they require little overseeing by money managers and thus have much lower fees than other mutual funds.

While a mutual fund is only priced once a day and is bought and sold through its sponsor, an ETF can be traded like a stock between investors, and like a stock, its value changes throughout the day.

A low-cost way to invest in
high-growth companies.




Distributor, Foreside Fund Services, LLC

What Are the Best Performing Mutual Funds?

This is a tough question to answer, as it depends a lot on what kind of performance you’re looking for. The best performing mutual fund for short-term growth probably won’t be the best mutual fund for long-term growth. It also depends on the category of mutual fund you’re looking for.

There are many companies out there that have made a business out of rating stocks and mutual funds, and plenty of investment experts eager to predict future performance.
Reading up on what the experts think and consulting the ratings is one way to get engaged and learn about investing.

Doing so might lead you to some great investment choices (or at least steer you from some bad ones), however it’s important to keep in mind that mutual funds are primarily rated based on their past performances, and past performance is not an accurate predictor of future performance.

Before choosing mutual funds, consider what your investment goals are, how much investment risk you’re comfortable taking on, and how involved you want to be in managing your portfolio. Working with a professional can often help you clarify your goals and choose mutual funds that work for you.

Investing in Mutual Funds Online

In the past, most people worked one-on-one with financial advisors and financial planners in their communities to help them manage their portfolios. While these professionals help people invest and help people keep their portfolio balanced through market fluctuations, their services also cost quite a bit—which could cut into savings, particularly in years when the market was down.

Online investing has changed this model quite a bit. In fact, it can be quite cost-effective to buy mutual funds online yourself.

In order to buy mutual funds (or stocks or ETFs) you’ll first have to open an investment or brokerage account. Some investment accounts are set up for retirement purposes, like 401(k)s and IRAs, and come with tax incentives. These may have some restrictions on the types of mutual funds and securities you can invest in.

Related Content: What is an Individual Retirement Account?

Once you’ve got an account and have transferred in the savings you want to invest, you can pick the mutual funds you want to buy and simply buy them. Most banks will charge a small commission fee when you trade securities.

You might also want to consider opening an online wealth management account to start your portfolio. For example, with a SoFi Invest® account, you can access complimentary advice tailored to your investment goals as well as technology that helps you choose the right mix of securities to fit your needs.

For those who want to invest and grow their wealth stress-free without having to learn and monitor the markets, an invest account might be the right solution.

Ready to invest for your future? Open a SoFi Invest account to gain access to technology that helps you target the right asset allocation for your goals—as well as complimentary expert advice.


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SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
Diversification can reduce some investment risk. It can’t guarantee profit or fully protect against loss.
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.
SoFi doesn’t provide tax or legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique. Consult with a qualified tax advisor or attorney.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.

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