couple standing outside of their home

Preapproved vs Prequalified: What’s the Difference?

What does it mean to be prequalified or preapproved for a mortgage? One lets a future homebuyer dream, and the other adds reality to the dream.

Here’s a look at how these two steps vary, how each can play a part in a home-buying strategy, and how one in particular can increase the chances of having a purchase offer accepted.

What Does Prequalified Mean?

Getting prequalified by phone or online usually takes just minutes.

You provide a few financial details to mortgage lenders. The lenders use this unverified information, usually along with a soft credit inquiry, which does not affect your credit scores, to let you know how much you may be able to borrow and at what interest rate.

Getting prequalified can give homebuyers a general idea of loan programs, the amount they may be eligible for, and what monthly payments might look like, the way a home affordability calculator provides an estimate based on a few factors.

You might want to get prequalified with several lenders to compare monthly payments and interest rates, which vary by mortgage term. But because the information provided has not been verified, there’s no guarantee that the mortgage or the amount will be approved.

What Does It Mean to Be Preapproved?

Everyone talks about what direction the housing market is taking, but the reality is that millions of Americans buy homes in any given year. They brush up on types of mortgage loans, and many face the probe known as mortgage preapproval.

Preapproval requires an investigation of your income sources, debts, employment history, assets, and credit history.

Verification of this information, along with a hard credit pull from all three credit bureaus, which may cause a small, temporary reduction in your credit scores, allows the lender to conditionally preapprove a mortgage before you shop for homes.

A preapproval letter from a lender stating that you qualify for a loan of a specific amount can be useful or essential in a competitive real estate market.

When sellers are getting multiple offers, some will disregard a purchase offer if it isn’t accompanied by a preapproval letter.

When seeking preapproval, besides filling out an application, you will likely be asked to submit the following to a lender for verification:

•   Social Security number and card

•   Photo ID

•   Recent pay stubs

•   Tax returns, including W-2 statements, for the past two years

•   Two to three months’ worth of documentation for checking and savings accounts

•   Recent investment account statements

•   List of fixed debts

•   Residential addresses from the past two years

•   Down payment amount and a gift letter, if applicable

The lender may require backup documentation for certain types of income. Freelancers may be asked to provide 1099 forms, a profit and loss statement, a client list, or work contracts. Rental property owners may be asked to show lease agreements.

You should be ready to explain any negative information that might show up in a credit check. To avoid surprises, you might want to order free credit reports from A credit report shows all balances, payments, and derogatory information but does not give credit scores.

Knowing your scores is also helpful. There are a few ways to check your credit scores without paying.

Those who have filed for bankruptcy may have to show documentation that it has been discharged.

Calculate Your Potential Mortgage

Use the following mortgage calculator to get an idea of what your monthly mortgage payment would look like.

Do Preapproval and Prequalification Affect Credit Scores?

Once you decide on a mortgage lender or lenders, you can begin the preapproval process.

Only preapproval requires a hard credit inquiry, but the good news for mortgage shoppers is that multiple hard pulls are typically counted as a single inquiry as long as they’re made within the same 14 to 45 days.

Newer versions of FICO® allow a 45-day window for rate shoppers to enjoy the single-inquiry advantage; older versions of FICO and VantageScore 3.0 narrow the time to 14 days.

You might want to ask each lender you apply with which credit scoring model they use.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

Do I Have to Spend How Much I’m Preapproved for?

No! The preapproval amount is your maximum house-hunting budget. Staying well under that number can’t hurt and might free up money for more than mortgage payments.

Like what? Like a college fund, retirement, and vacations.

And like — groan — emergency home repairs.

Recommended: Guide to First-Time Home Buying

Are Prequalification and Preapproval the Same Thing?

By now you know that they are not one and the same. Here’s a visual on what’s needed for each:



Info about income Recent pay stubs
Basic bank account information Bank account numbers and/or recent bank statements
Down payment amount Down payment amount and desired mortgage amount
No tax information needed Tax returns and W-2s for past two years

Do I Need a Prequalification Letter to Buy a House?

No. Nor do you have to have a preapproval letter when making an offer on a house.

But getting prequalified can allow you to quickly get a ballpark figure on a mortgage amount and an interest rate you qualify for, and preapproval has at least three selling points:

1.    Preapproval lets you know the specific amount you are qualified to borrow from a particular lender.

2.    Going through preapproval before house hunting could take some stress out of the loan process by easing the mortgage underwriting step. Underwriting, the final say on mortgage approval or disapproval, comes after you’ve been preapproved, found a house you love and agreed on a price, and applied for the mortgage.

3.    Being preapproved for a loan helps to show sellers that you’re a vetted buyer.

The Takeaway

Prequalified vs. preapproved: If you’re serious about buying a house, do you know the difference? Getting prequalified and then preapproved may increase the odds that your house hunt will lead to a set of jangling keys.

SoFi offers a range of fixed rate mortgage loans with competitive rates and low down payment options.

Looking at investment properties? SoFi has loans for those, too.

It’s a snap to get prequalified and view your rate.

SoFi Mortgages
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SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

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

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, 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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Average Stockbroker Commission Percentage

Investing in the stock market is usually alluring for those trying to grow their money. But there are many things to consider before jumping in — chief among them stockbroker commissions. Stockbrokers often charge commissions and other fees for the use of their services, and these brokerage fees can vary widely.

Investors must pay attention to average brokerage fees when making investment decisions; finding the right broker can play a significant role in long-term financial outcomes. Before delving into how much stockbrokers typically charge for their services, it’s worth understanding their role in an individual’s investment strategy.

What Does a Stockbroker Do?

A stockbroker, or investment broker, is an individual or firm that charges a fee or commission to buy or sell stocks and other securities on behalf of their clients. Using a stockbroker is relatively common for people looking to invest in the market.

Buying stocks isn’t like making other purchases because the channels through which stocks are bought and sold are fairly controlled. While an individual buying a computer could choose to purchase directly from a manufacturer, a store, or a friend, the channels for buying stocks are much more limited. Generally, purchases of stock are required to flow through a stockbroker.

However, there are some instances when someone may buy stocks without a broker, including buying and selling through direct stock and dividend reinvestment plans.

A stockbroker has a license that allows them to trade registered securities, meaning the ability to buy and sell stocks on behalf of clients. But merely acting as an agent for buying and selling stocks doesn’t capture the full extent of what some brokers do. Many brokers offer additional services to clients, like money management and estate planning.

Because the types of services a stockbroker may offer, and the fees they levy on these services, can vary, it’s good to understand the main categories of brokers. In addition to selling shares of companies, a stockbroker may also sell other traded securities such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

What Is the Average Stock Broker Commission Fee?

The amount charged by a brokerage firm for its services can vary greatly. Some firms may charge a flat fee for their services, while others may charge a percentage of the overall value of the transaction. The average fee charged by brokerage firms is typically between 1% and 2% of the total transaction value.

Full-Service vs Discount Stockbrokers

The main two categories of stockbrokers are full-service brokers and discount brokers. You want to understand the differences before opening a brokerage account.

As they sound, a full-service brokerage firm provides more hands-on service, helping clients balance their portfolios and providing other investment advice. Discount brokers allow an investor to buy and sell stock and other assets, but provide few add-ons but still. Commission rates and additional fees vary accordingly.

Because full-service stockbrokers provide an array of services over the year, they typically base their commissions on a more all-inclusive model determined by the value of the investments they manage. While there may also be additional fees, the typical commission structure for a full-service broker is known as the percentage of assets under management. The cost is charged annually and is listed within fee schedules as “x%/AUM” (assets under management).

Discount brokers, synonymous with online brokerage accounts, on the other hand, typically charge a per-transaction flat stock trade fee, regardless of the type of stock or number of shares being bought or sold.

For example, if the stock trade fee is $5 per trade, that’s what an individual would pay whether they were buying five shares of a stock valued at $50 a share ($250) or 500 shares ($25,000).

However, many discount brokers these days charge no commission for trading stocks.

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*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

Common Brokerage Fees

Various investment fees and costs are associated with the buying and selling of investments. Investors should consider these brokerage fees when choosing a broker and deciding what investments to make.

Management Fees

An investment’s management fee is the fee the investment manager charges for its services. This fee is typically a percentage of the investment’s assets under management and is deducted from the investment’s returns.

If you use a full-service brokerage that offers money management services, they will often charge a management fee. Some charge as much as 2% and others far less.

Generally speaking, the more money you have invested with a broker or money manager, the lower your management fee will be.

Commission For Trading

Many brokerage firms charge a commission for making trades on behalf of clients. Fees and commissions vary widely depending on the type of transaction and broker. Those fees can be based on a percentage of the transaction’s value — usually between 1% to 2% — or they can be a flat fee.

The commissions for trading depend on whether an investor uses a full-service or discount broker. Because full-service brokers offer a wide range of advice and services, their commissions per trade may be higher than a discount or online brokerage might charge.

Discount brokers offer fewer advice and services, so they can charge a lower flat fee per trade, from less than $5 to more than $30. In recent years, the biggest online brokerage firms have offered no commission trading, partly due to competition and because they instead get paid through a practice known as payment for order flow.

Retirement Account Fees: 401(k)

If you have a 401(k) savings account through your employer, there are several fees to keep in mind when making your investments.

First, you’ll likely be charged an administration fee to maintain the plan. These fees can range from 0.5% to 2% of your 401(k) balance. The 401(k) provider charges this fee to your employer, and the cost is usually passed down to the employees.

Additionally, the actual investments in your 401(k), like mutual funds and ETFs, charge management fees that you’ll have to pay.

Mutual Fund Fees

Investors interested in buying and selling mutual funds must consider the fees associated with these investment vehicles.

Expense Ratio

The expense ratio is the yearly cost that mutual funds and ETFs charge investors to cover operating costs. The expense ratio measures the total costs as a percentage of the fund’s total assets. The fund’s costs may include management, custodial, marketing, and other expenses.

The average expense ratio for an actively managed mutual fund ranges from 0.5% to 1.0%, while passive funds have an average expense ratio of 0.2%.

The costs of operating the mutual fund are deducted from your investment, reducing your returns each year.

Sales Load

Mutual fund investors may pay sales loads — also known as sales charges — when they buy or sell shares of the fund. The sales load is how the broker or advisor gets paid for their service.

A sales load isn’t a flat transaction fee, however. Instead, it’s a percentage of the assets invested.

FINRA caps mutual fund sales loads at 8.5%, though the common range is between 3% and 6%.

Brokerage Fee Impact on Investments Long-Term

Brokerage and investment fees and commissions can eat away at long-term gains. Thus, finding the right broker and investing in low-cost funds can help you achieve your long-term financial goals.

To illustrate, if full-service brokerage charges a 1.5% annual management fee on a $50,000 portfolio, that costs $750 for the investor during a single year. While that charge doesn’t seem significant for one year, those fees will add up and eat into overall returns over time.

Brokerage Fee Pros

One of the benefits of using a brokerage is that you have access to valuable resources, research, and advice. These services may help you make better investment decisions, leading to better financial outcomes. So, you may get what you pay for, even if you think the fees may be steep.

Brokerage Fee Cons

As noted above, brokerage fees can be expensive and eat into investment returns. This is especially a problem if you don’t do your homework and pay attention to all the fees charged by brokers and the kind of investments you make.

Additionally, high brokerage fees may discourage some people from investing, leading to poor long-term financial outcomes.

Is It Worth Using a Stockbroker?

Using a stockbroker, especially a full-service brokerage, can be ideal for investors intimidated by complicated financial markets. The idea of having a licensed professional guide novice investors through every investment decision and trade might seem like a good way to get more comfortable with the principles of investing. But as the above examples illustrate, the average full-service stockbroker commission can make the full-service approach expensive.

Free Trades and Chat With a Planner

With long-term returns that have historically outpaced interest rates on savings, investing in the stock market can be a powerful strategy for financial growth. Even beginners may find investing less intimidating than they thought — and possibly see clear of high stockbroker fees.

With a SoFi Invest® online brokerage account, you can start trading stocks and ETFs with no commissions for as little as $5. If you sign up for a SoFi account, you’ll even get complimentary access to financial planners, SoFi’s non-commissioned fiduciaries who are required to keep your best interests in mind.

Learn some of the advantages of investing with SoFi Invest


How do stock brokerage fees work?

Stock brokerage fees are typically a commission that a broker charges for executing trades on behalf of their clients. These fees can vary depending on the type of trade being executed, as well as the broker’s commission structure.

Are there any alternatives to a brokerage fee?

A brokerage fee is a charge assessed by a broker for their services, which typically include advice, transaction execution, and asset management. There are a variety of alternatives to brokerage fees, including flat fees, subscription fees, and performance-based fees.

SoFi Invest®
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.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA ( Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.


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How Do You Write a Check to Yourself?

How Do You Write a Check to Yourself?

Writing a check to yourself is one way to withdraw money from your bank account or transfer funds from one account to another. While there are other, more high-tech methods for making these transactions, writing a check to yourself is an easy option.

But it’s not the best choice for every situation. Sometimes it’s more efficient to move funds electronically or visit an ATM to make a withdrawal. Here’s when writing a check to yourself makes sense, and how to do it.

How to Write a Check

If you don’t often use your checkbook you may be wondering: How do you write a check? First, be sure to use a pen (that way, the information can’t be erased) and choose blue or black ink. Then, for every check you write, fill in each of the following details:

•  The date

•  Pay to the order of (the person or company the check is for)

•  The amount the check is for in numbers

•  The amount written out

•  Memo (this is optional—you can use it to note what the check is for—or leave it blank)

•  Your signature

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*

Recommended: Ordering Checks – A Complete Guide

How to Write a Check to Yourself

The only difference when you write a check to yourself, versus a check to someone else, is that you put your own name on the “Pay to the order of” line. Then, just like you do for every other check you write, you’ll add the date, the dollar amount written in numbers, the dollar amount written in words, an optional memo, and finally, your signature.

Be sure to record the amount the check is for in the check register that comes with your checks when you order them (you should keep this in your checkbook along with the checks themselves). In the register, write down the date, the check number, the name of the person the check is for and/or what it’s for, and the amount. This will help you balance your checkbook so you know how much money is in your account.

Why Would You Write a Check to Yourself?

Writing a check to yourself is the low-tech way of transferring money from one bank account to another, or withdrawing money from your bank account. Here is when it can make sense to write a check to yourself.

•  Making a transfer. If you’re closing one bank account and opening another, you can move funds by writing a check to yourself. You can also write yourself a check to deposit funds from one account into another at the same bank. Or, if you have accounts at different banks, you can transfer money by writing yourself a check from one bank and depositing it in the other.

•  Getting cash from your bank account. If you want to withdraw money from the bank, you can simply write yourself a check, take it to the teller at the bank, and cash it. Just be sure to endorse the check by signing it on the back.

Examples of When You Would Write a Check to Yourself

If you have money in different bank accounts and need to consolidate your funds in order to make a large purchase, you could write a check to yourself. For example, if you’re remodeling and need to transfer $20,000 from your home equity line of credit (in one institution) to your bank account (in a different institution), you can write a check to yourself to transfer the money.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity

When Writing a Check to Yourself Doesn’t Make Sense

Writing a check to yourself isn’t always the best, most efficient option for transferring funds or obtaining cash. Online banking, electronic transfers, and ATMs are typically faster and easier ways to get transactions done.

Transferring Money Within the Same Bank

For example, if you have two accounts at the same bank and you want to move money from one account to the other, it’s much quicker and more convenient to transfer your money through online banking. Writing yourself a check to do this is a hassle.

Recommended: How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have?

Getting cash out of your account

If you need to withdraw cash from your account, using an ATM can be faster and easier. If you write a check to yourself, you will need to visit the bank and go through a teller in order to cash the check and get your money. Just make sure to use an ATM within your bank’s network to help avoid ATM fees.

Risks and Concerns of Writing a Check to Yourself

When writing a check to yourself, never make the check out to “Cash.” Instead, always put your own name on the “Pay to the order of” line. This helps protect you. Otherwise, if a check is made out to “Cash,” and the check is lost or stolen, anyone can cash it.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax

Other Ways to Move Your Money

There are several other ways to move money that are more convenient than writing a check to yourself This includes wire transfers, ACH transfers, electronic funds transfers, and electronic banking.

Wire Transfer

Often, when people use the term “wire transfer,” they’re referring to any electronic transfer of funds, but the technical definition involves an electronic transfer from one bank or credit union to another. To make a wire transfer, you’ll pay a fee, usually between $5 and $50 and need to provide the recipient’s bank account information.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

ACH or Electronic Fund Transfer

An ACH is an electronic funds transfer across banks and credit unions. If you have direct deposit for your paychecks, for instance, that money is transferred to your bank account through ACH (which stands for Automated Clearing House). You can use ACH to transfer money from an account at one bank to an account at another. The transaction is often free, but check with your bank to make sure.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait

Electronic Banking

Online banking will allow you to move your money from one account to another within the same bank. All you need to do is log into your online account and use the “transfer” feature.

The Takeaway

Writing a check to yourself is one way to transfer money or obtain cash, but there are many methods for doing these things that are often more convenient, such as online banking or electronic transfers. Exploring all the options can help you decide what makes the most sense for you.

For help with managing your money try the SoFi money tracker app. It connects all of your accounts so that you can track your spending, see when your checks clear, and set financial goals.

You can see all your account balances easily and in one place with SoFi—so you’ll know where your finances stand.


Can you legally write a check to yourself?

Yes, it is legal to write a check to yourself, as long as you’re not writing the check for more money than you have in the bank. It would be illegal to write a check for more funds than you have and then try to cash it.

Can I write a large check to myself?

You can write a large check to yourself if you have enough funds in your account to cover the amount. Never write checks for more money than you have in your bank account.

Can you write your own check and cash it?

You can write your own check and cash it at your bank and at any other location that offers this service.

Photo credit: iStock/GOCMEN

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*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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 Stagflation & Will It Happen Again?

The economic term stagflation is a mashup of the words stagnation and inflation — and it’s worth being aware of because of the threat it poses to economies.

Stagflation creates potentially disastrous conditions where people experiencing a decline in purchasing power also feel discouraged against investing. It can create a chain reaction of wealth-destroying events where unemployment climbs and economic output slows, contributing to a national economic malaise.

What Is Stagflation?

Stagflation is a term used to describe a situation when the economy is growing slowly — stagnation — and prices rise rapidly — inflation.

The term was coined by British Conservative Party politician Iain Norman Macleod in a 1965 speech to Parliament. At the time, the United Kingdom was in the midst of simultaneous high inflation and unemployment. In the speech to Parliament, Macleod said, “We now have the worst of both worlds – not just inflation on the one side or stagnation on the other, but both of them together. We have a sort of ‘stagflation’ situation and history in modern terms is indeed being made.”

Usually, economists and analysts will use the unemployment rate as a proxy for economic activity when discussing stagflation. So, a period of stagflation is when unemployment rises while inflation — as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) — accelerates above normally acceptable levels of price growth.

However, like many economic concepts, there is no standard definition of stagflation. Policymakers, elected officials, and investors will use the term stagflation in various economic scenarios.

💡 Recommended: Understanding the Different Economic Indicators

Stagflation vs Inflation

Inflation is a general increase in the average prices of goods and services. In contrast, stagflation is a combination of stagnant economic growth and rising inflation.

Low levels of inflation are normal for an economy; there’s a reason why movie theater tickets cost more today than they did in the 1950s. Inflation doesn’t become an issue until prices get out of control and spiral upwards. Policymakers within the Federal Reserve like inflation to rise about 2% each year.

You can have inflation without stagflation, but you can’t have stagflation without inflation.

Has Stagflation Ever Happened?

Before the 1970s, economists didn’t think stagflation — a period of rising unemployment and inflation — was possible. Theoretically, inflation should decrease when unemployment increases because workers have less bargaining power to get higher wages. So, the theory goes, stagflation shouldn’t happen.

However, stagflation did occur in the United States from the mid-1970s. During the 1973-1975 recession, the U.S. experienced five quarters where the gross domestic product (GDP) decreased. Inflation peaked at 12.2% in November 1974, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.0% in May 1975.

This stagflation cycle was part of a larger sequence of events called the Nixon Shock.

Responding to increasing inflation in 1971, President Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls and surcharges on imports. This created a perfect-storm condition where, when the 1973 oil crisis hit, those surcharges on imports made prices at the gas pump — and across many U.S. industries — skyrocket to then-record prices. The rising prices helped lead to a wage-price spiral, where inflation led to workers asking for higher wages, which led to more inflation, and so on.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates to combat the inflation of the early-70s, but this only created a recession and high unemployment without tamping down inflation. Thus, a prolonged economic stagnation accompanying inflation occurred — a stagflation situation.

While the economy recovered slightly in the late 1970s, inflation remained a problem for the rest of the decade. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker eventually hiked interest rates to 20% by 1981, triggering a recession to get inflation under control.

💡Recommended: Here are some of the top ways to hedge against inflation.

Will Stagflation Happen Again?

There are debates about whether stagflation will occur again in the United States.

The economy was in a precarious situation in the first half of 2022. Inflation was running hot due to supply chain issues related to the economic fallout of Covid-19, as well as fiscal and monetary policy stimulus. The Federal Reserve started raising interest rates at a historic pace to combat the rising prices. The Fed began an attempt to curb inflation with the hope of a soft landing, in which an economy slows enough that prices stop rising quickly but not so slowly that it sparks a recession.

Like the 1970s, an energy and commodity crisis occurred due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; most of the world subsequently placed economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions led to high oil, gas, and food prices, adding to already hot inflation.

These factors made the chance of stagflation more of a reality. Economic growth, as measured by GDP, declined in the first half of 2022. Inflation was at its highest rate in over 40 years, coming in at a 8.5% annualized rate in July 2022. Because of this, some economists and analysts believe that the economy entered a period of stagflation.

However, other commentators note that the unemployment rate was 3.5% as of July 2022, the lowest in 50 years. Because of this, these commentators claim that there can’t be stagflation.

While no one can predict the future, it stands to reason that events that have happened in the past can happen again. Stagflation may occur again, but this doesn’t have to be a dire situation as long as you prepare your financial situation.

💡 Recommended: SoFi’s Recession Guide and Help Center

How Can Stagflation Impact Investors?

Economic stagnation can have several impacts on investors. Firstly, it can lead to lower returns on investment as companies are less likely to grow and expand in a stagnant economy. This can lead to investors becoming more risk-averse as they seek out investments that are more likely to provide stability and income.

Secondly, stagnation can also lead to higher levels of unemployment, which can, in turn, lead to social unrest and political instability. This can make it more difficult for companies to operate in a given country and lead to investors losing confidence in the economy.

A slowdown of economic activity lasting several months sounds like it can only be a bad thing. But a recession does not necessarily mean the death knell for your finances. For some investors, there are, perhaps surprisingly, compelling strategies to consider when the market is down. Volatility may allow investors to buy low and then make appreciable gains as the market corrects itself.

💡 Recommended: How to Invest During Inflation

The Takeaway

Stagflation occurs when an economy experiences simultaneous high inflation and high unemployment. It’s a situation that often leads to decreased spending by consumers and businesses, which can further stall economic growth and investment returns. Stagflation has occurred before in the U.S. — notably during the Nixon Shock of the early 1970s — and there is no reason to think it won’t happen again at some point.

A SoFi Invest® online brokerage account offers members a wide range of investment help and opportunities — from automated investing to a more hands — on approach with active investing. Our platform provides the latest market news, and information investors want about stocks and other investment options, which can help you make decisions even when the economy is on shaky ground.

Find out how to start investing with SoFi Invest.

SoFi Invest®
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.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA ( Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.


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What Is ETH Gas? How ETH Gas Fees Work

What Is ETH Gas? Ethereum Gas, Explained

On the Ethereum platform, “gas” is a unit describing the amount of computational power needed to execute specific operations on the network. Because every Ethereum transaction consumes computational resources, transactions come with a cost. Gas is the fee needed to conduct an Ethereum transaction.

So in essence, an eth gas fee is a transaction fee on the Ethereum platform. Gas is denominated in units called gwei.

What Are Ethereum Gas Fees?

To prevent users from spamming the network with endless transactions, every cryptocurrency requires a small fee to send coins along its blockchain. These fees are typically paid to miners who validate transactions, but the fees also can give users the incentive to mine crypto.

Sending ETH from one Ethereum wallet to another also requires fees. Moreover, the Ethereum network charges fees to run applications on using its blockchain technology, giving an ETH transaction fee an added type of utility. Because ETH fees provide the energy, or power, to run applications on Ethereum, these fees are also called “gas.”

Ethereum fees can only be paid in ether (ETH), or ERC-20 tokens, the native currency of Ethereum. ETH gas prices are denominated in a unit known as “gwei.” And one gwei equals 0.000000001 ETH.

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How Ethereum Gas Works

Ethereum underwent an upgrade in August 2021 known as the London Upgrade, which altered the way that ETH gas fees are calculated.

Pre London Upgrade

Before the London Upgrade, ETH gas worked like this:

•   Assume Alice wants to pay Bob 1 ETH. The gas limit is 21,000 units, while the gas price is 200 gwei.

•   The total fee is calculated as: (gas units (limit) x gas price per unit). In this example, that would equal: 21,000 x 200 = 4,200,000 gwei, or 0.0042 ETH.

•   When Alice sends the ETH, 1.0042 ETH comes from her Ethereum wallet. Bob receives 1.0000 ETH. An Ethereum miner receives 0.0042 ETH.

Post London Upgrade

The London Upgrade was introduced in an effort to make Ethereum’s fees more predictable for users. It also introduced a burn mechanism into Ethereum, to offset issuance of new ETH (there is no limit to how much ETH can be minted).

As of this upgrade, each block has a base fee, which is calculated by the network based on current demand for block space. This base fee gets burned (destroyed), so users are now expected to include a tip or priority fee with each ETH transaction — the greater the tip, the hope is, the more the transaction will gain priority.

This tip provides compensation to miners; many expect that most crypto wallets will integrate a feature that sets the tip fee automatically.

After the London Upgrade, gas works like this:

•   Assume Alice wants to send Bob 1 ETH. The gas limit is 21,000 units, the base fee is 100 gwei, and Alice includes a tip of 10 gwei.

•   The new formula is: gas units (limit) x (base fee + tip). This can be calculated as 21,000 x (100 + 10) = 2,310,000 gwei, or 0.00231 ETH.

•   When Alice sends the ETH, 1.00231 ETH will be subtracted from her wallet. Bob will receive 1.0000 ETH. A miner will receive the tip of 0.00021 ETH. And 0.0021 ETH will be burned.

Alice also has the ability to set a maximum fee for the transaction. The difference between the max fee and actual fee will be refunded. This allows users to set a maximum amount to pay for transactions without having to worry about overpaying.

This makes things more predictable, as under the old transaction fee model, fees could wind up being higher than anticipated during times of extreme network congestion.

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Average ETH Gas Prices

According to, the average Ethereum Gas price is about 32.79 gwei, as of August 10, 2022. Over the course of the past 12 months, this price has gone as high as 474.57 gwei and as low as 12.28 gwei.

What this means in dollars: Between Jan. 2021 and May 2022, Ethereum’s average daily gas fee was about $40, reaching the highest daily average in May 2022: about $196.63.

As of August 10, 2022, Ethereum average gas fees are about $1.60.

How Will Gas Fees Change in Ethereum 2.0?

The Ethereum project has been working on a massive transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which involves mining, to the more energy-efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) verification model.

By some reports, Ethereum developers have embarked on a test of the PoS blockchain, but the final transition to the new blockchain may not occur until the fall of 2022.

The update has been called Ethereum 2.0, Serenity, or Eth2, but now has been dubbed “the merge.” The plan is to eliminate the PoW mining protocol in favor of a more climate friendly PoS, which promises to reduce certain strains on the network and increase capacity, but it’s unlikely that the cost of gas will go down.

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How Do Ethereum Gas Fees Relate to Transactions?

The way Ethereum gas fees relate to transactions is pretty simple: Each transaction requires a fee to be paid to miners as an incentive for processing the transaction. The general concept is not unlike that of other cryptocurrencies.

The only difference with ETH gas is that because the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is also a state machine, additional fees are required for more complex transactions, such as those involving smart contracts.

What Is the Ethereum Gas Limit?

The standard limit on an Ethereum gas fee is 21,000 units. The ether gas limit refers to the maximum amount of gas a user can consume to conduct a transaction.

Transactions involving smart contracts are more complicated, and require more computational power to execute. So these transactions need a higher gas limit than simpler transactions like sending payments.

Setting a gas limit too high is fine — the EVM will refund what doesn’t get used. But setting a gas limit too low could result in a user losing some ETH and having their transaction declined.

If a user were to place an Ether gas limit of 50,000 for an ETH transfer, for example, the EVM would consume 21,000 and refund the remaining 29,000. But if someone were to set a gas limit of 20,000, and the transaction were to require 21,000 units, the EVM could consume 20,000 gas units as it tries to fulfill the transaction, but the transaction won’t complete.

In this case, the user would hold on to the ETH they tried to send, but their 20,000 gas units would be lost because the EVM consumed it trying to complete the failed transaction.

What Is the Benefit of a Gas Fee?

The benefit of an ETH gas fee post London Upgrade is that users can better anticipate what their total transaction cost will be. They can also send higher tips to miners to prioritize their transactions. This can be useful when someone wants to send money right away and doesn’t want to wait too long for the transaction to confirm.

Another benefit of an adequate ETH gas fee is that it ensures a transaction will be accepted by the network. A too-low fee can result in a transaction being rejected, in which case a user could lose the gas they spent and not have their transaction go through.

Reducing ETH Gas Costs

Developers hoped that the London Upgrade might reduce gas costs, but so far the data doesn’t support this.

Individual users have little to no control over their own gas costs, as the fee is determined by the current state of the network. Because block space is limited, the more transactions that are taking place at any given time, the more competition there will be for transactions in each block. This results in higher fees as users compete to have their transactions be confirmed, bidding gas prices upward.

That said, there are some ways individuals can try to reduce gas fees.

•   Stick to weekend transactions: Typically, gas prices are higher during weekdays and lower on weekends.

•   Initiate transactions at off times: Those who follow gas prices carefully have noticed that the least busy time is between midnight and 4:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

The Takeaway

Depending on the purpose of the transaction, ETH gas can be used toward smart contract functionality or simply for sending ETH or ERC-20 tokens over the Ethereum network. Gas fees vary according to how much activity is on the network at any given time, and thanks to the London Upgrade, users can add more generous tips to help prioritize their transactions.

While the much-heralded upgrade to Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake blockchain is in the works, and promises greater efficiencies on some fronts, it’s not likely to reduce gas fees. That said, as of August 2022, the cost of gas is quite low: about $1.60.

Photo credit: iStock/finchfocus

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