Things to Budget For After Buying a Home

Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

After you purchase a new home, there are many things to budget for, including moving costs, new furniture, and ongoing expenses such as your mortgage. Although it may seem like many of the significant expenditures are out of the way once you close on a property, there are additional costs that can add up.

To avoid financial surprises, it’s wise to jot down and budget for all of the extra expenses you will encounter when you move into your new place. To help you organize your finances, here are the things to budget for after buying a house.

Moving-Out Expenses to Budget for

Before you take up residence in your new home, you must move all of your things. Even if you pack and move all your belongings yourself, you’ll still have to spend on things like boxes, packing materials, and a truck. And if you use movers, it will cost you even more.

Recommended: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving Your Belongings

There are three main options for moving your belongings:

•   Renting a truck and doing it yourself. It’s more cost efficient than using professional movers, but DIY moving yourself still adds up. You’ll have to pay for the truck rental fee, gas, and damage protection. If you’re moving across the country, you may also have to factor in the costs of shipping some of your items. Even though you can enlist your friends and family to help you do the heavy lifting, the cost of moving yourself can still be significant, and it’s a lot of work.

•   Hiring movers. If you decide to use professional movers, it’s wise to shop around to find the best price. Here’s why: For moves under 100 miles away, the national average cost of moving is $1,400, and it ranges from $800 to $2,500. If you’re moving long distance, the average cost can be as high as $2,200 to $5,700. To cut costs, you can do your own packing, which may save you money.

•   Moving your things in a storage container. Another option is to use a hauling container — you load your things in it, and the container company moves it to your new location. This usually costs between $500 and $5,000, depending on the distance and how much stuff you’re moving. Long-distance moves will usually cost more than local ones.

Moving Supplies

If you decide to go the DIY moving route, you will need to buy boxes, bubble wrap, labels, and tape. And you likely have more items to wrap and box up than you think, which requires even more supplies.

Cleaning Supplies

You’ll probably want to clean your current property before you move out, and you’ll definitely want to clean the new place when you move in. That means buying mops, sponges, cleaning solutions, and paper towels. You may also want to get the carpets cleaned or hire a professional house cleaner if the place needs a deep cleaning.

10 Common Expenses After Buying a Home

Once the move is done, there are other expenses you’ll need to account for as you settle into your new abode. Here are a few things to budget for after buying a home.

Furniture and Appliances

You’ll likely bring some furniture and decor from your old place, but you’ll probably want to purchase some new things as well. For example, if the appliances are outdated, you might want to upgrade to new ones. And you may have more rooms to furnish, which requires additional furniture.

Consider opening a savings account for the new items you want to purchase. It can also help pay for any unexpected costs, such as having to replace a hot water heater that breaks.

Mortgage Payments

As a homeowner, every month you will making a mortgage payment that typically includes:

•   The principal portion of the payment. This is the percentage of your mortgage that reduces your payment over the life of the loan. The more you pay toward principal, the less you will have to pay in interest.

•   The interest. This is the amount you pay to borrow funds from the bank or lender to purchase your home.

If you are using an escrow account to pay your mortgage, other things may be included in your payment, such as your property taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance. This guide to reading your mortgage statement can help you understand all the costs involved in your mortgage payment.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are the taxes you pay on your home. In many cases, these taxes are the second most significant expense after your mortgage. Property taxes are based on the value of your home, which is typically governed by your state. The county you live in collects and calculates the sum due. Usually, property tax calculations are done every year, so the amount you owe may fluctuate annually.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance helps protect your home from damage or destruction caused by events like a fire, wind storm, or vandalism. It can also protect you from lawsuits or property damages you are liable for. If someone slips and falls on your sidewalk, for instance, homeowners insurance will pay for the injured person’s medical bills and the legal costs if they decide to sue you.

The cost you pay for this coverage will vary by the type and amount of coverage you select.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

For borrowers who can’t afford a down payment that’s 20% of the mortgage value, lenders usually require private mortgage insurance (PMI). This type of coverage is designed to protect the lender if you default on your mortgage payments.

PMI can cost as much as a few hundred dollars per month, depending on the sum you borrow.

HOA Dues

This is a Homeowner’s Association fee, which goes toward the upkeep of property in a planned community, co-op, or condo. The amount can range from a couple of hundred dollars a year to more than $2,000, depending on the amenities you’re paying for (like a pool and landscaping). You typically pay HOA fees monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Utilities

Your utility payments include water, gas, electric, trash, and sewer fees. Some bills like water and electricity are based on the amount you use every month, so monitoring your electric and water usage, like taking short showers and turning lights off, can help lower your cost. Other payments, such as your trash or recycling, might be a fixed amount.

Lawn Care

Maintaining the curb appeal of your home requires landscape services and lawn care. If you choose to mow your own lawn, you may need to factor in the purchase of a mower, which can cost about $1,068 on average. If you hire a lawn service to cut your grass, you may pay $25 to $50 a week.

Pest Control

Pests, such as ants, ticks, rodents, or mice, can wreak havoc on your home and your family’s health. For these reasons, many homeowners hire a pest control company to prevent the infestation of pests around their homes. The company’s initial visit may cost between $150 to $300, then $45 to $75 for every follow-up.

Home Improvement Costs

As a homeowner, there are likely things you want to change about your house. From painting the walls to a complete kitchen renovation, transforming your property can add to the cost of owning a home. According to the HomeAdvisor 2023 State of Home Spending Report, homeowners spend an average of $9,542 on home improvement each year.

Additionally, as the features of your home age, you will need to replace and repair them accordingly.

Common Mistakes After Buying a Home

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying a home is spending more than they can afford. For instance, you may forget to factor in utilities, lawn care, HOA fees, costs of upkeep, and other hidden expenses that come with owning a home. It’s crucial to do your research to determine extra costs and add them up before you move forward with purchasing a property.

Another mistake new homeowners make is taking on too many DIY projects. TV shows can make home renovations look easy. However, many of these projects require professionals who know what they are doing. Attempting a home improvement project could cost you more to fix than hiring a pro in the first place. In fact, about 80% of homeowners that attempt their own renovation projects make mistakes — some of them serious.

Unless you can afford an expert, you may want to rethink purchasing a home that requires a lot of renovation.

The 50/30/20 Rule

For help planning your budget as a homeowner, you can use the 50/30/20 rule, which breaks your budget into three categories:

•   50% goes to to needs

•   30% goes to wants

•   20% goes to to savings

That means you’ll be budgeting 50% of your income to go toward necessities such as housing costs, grocery bills, and car payments. Then 30% will go toward things you want, such as entertainment (movies, concerts), vacations, new clothes, and dining out. The remaining 20% goes towards saving for the future or financial goals such as home improvement projects.

Using a 50/30/20 budget rule is simple and easy. It allows you to see where your money is going and helps you save.

Recommended: How to Track Home Improvement Costs

Lifestyle Tradeoffs in Order to Budget

With so many things to budget for after buying a home, you may need to cut back on spending. Start by looking at your discretionary spending and think about where you can trim back. For example, instead of eating out regularly, you can cook more meals at home. Or perhaps you can put your gym membership on hold and do at-home workouts for a while to stay in shape physically and financially.

Recommended: How to Budget in 5 Steps

The Takeaway

After you buy a house, there are many expenses you may not have accounted for, such as the cost of hiring movers; buying furniture; and getting your new place painted, cleaned, and ready to move into. Making a budget is vital to keep you on track financially, so you can enjoy your new home.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

How much money should you have leftover after buying a house?

After buying a home, the amount you have left will vary depending on your financial situation. However, it’s a good idea to have at least three to six months of living expenses in reserve. That way, in case of an emergency, you can stay afloat financially.

Is it worth putting more than 20% down?

Putting more than 20% down on your home can help lower your monthly mortgage payment and interest because you’ll be borrowing less money. It also gives you more equity in your home from the beginning. But make sure you can afford to pay more than 20% in order not to stretch beyond your budget.

What’s the 50-30-20 budget rule?

The 50/30/20 rule means that you budget 50% of your expenses for needs (housing, groceries, loan payments), 30% for wants (entertainment, eating out, shopping), and 20% toward savings goals (retirement, renovations, new furniture).


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SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*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.

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

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How to Dispute a Credit Report and Win the Dispute Case

How to Dispute a Credit Report and Win the Dispute Case

One of the most important chores on any financial to-do list is to regularly review your credit reports for errors. If an error does appear, disputing it is a fairly simple process with a big potential payoff: It might help build your credit score.

Keep reading to learn how to dispute a credit report and win.

How to Get an Accurate Credit Report

Consumers can access their credit reports for free every 12 months from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These credit reporting companies feature similar but not identical data, and any errors may appear on one or more reports.

There are three ways to request a report:

•  Online: AnnualCreditReport.com

•  Phone: (877) 322-8228

•  Mail: Download an Annual Credit Report Request form from the URL above, and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

You can request all three reports at once or each one at different times without paying a fee. Helpful hint: By ordering one at a time and spacing out requests every four months, you can be fairly confident about catching major issues while they’re fresh and easier to dispute. For example, you might order the Experian report in February, the TransUnion one in June, and Equifax in October – all for free.

After your free annual access has ended, you can pay to check your credit reports as often as you like. Credit reporting companies can’t legally charge a consumer more than $13.50 for a report. It’s also possible to access credit reports through specialty consumer reporting companies, some of which charge a fee.

Recommended: What Is the Difference Between Transunion and Equifax

Why It’s Important to Correct Mistakes in Your Credit Report

Credit reports generally make it easy to spot negative financial information like missed payments. However, take care to review your credit report for other incorrect data, however minor, such as former addresses and employers. Common credit report errors include inaccurate bank balances, duplicate account info, and false late payments.

In case of an error, take steps to have the mistake removed as soon as possible. Credit report errors can lead to a bad credit score, impact loan applications, or raise your interest rate. Bad marks on a credit report can also affect your employment options, insurance premiums, and ability to rent an apartment.

Recommended: Developing Good Financial Habits

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Reports

To dispute an error on a credit report, you’ll need to contact each credit bureau that published the error. Mistakes can appear on one report only or all three. Each credit bureau has its own dispute process, so check the instructions on AnnualCreditReport.com or the individual credit bureau sites. You’ll likely need to fill out a dispute form and provide supporting documentation that helps prove an error was made.

If your dispute is accepted, follow up to make sure the credit bureau and the business that supplied the incorrect information update their records accordingly. If a mistake is easy to prove, start with the business that made the error. Be aware that credit bureaus and businesses cannot charge you to correct errors on your report.

In the case that a mistake on a credit report is due to identity theft, it’s important to report that to IdentityTheft.gov and get a personalized recovery plan.

Recommended: Guide to Building Credit With No Credit History

Example Letter for Disputing a Mistake on Your Credit Report

Usually, a dispute needs to be submitted in writing. If you submit a letter via the Post Office, send it certified mail with “return receipt requested.” That way you have proof that the credit bureau received the letter.

The following information should generally be included in a dispute letter:

Identifying Information

The date, consumer’s name, and their address all need to be included in the letter.

Each Item That Needs Disputing

Whether there is one error or many, each one should be outlined briefly and clearly. Identify each error, explain why the information is wrong, and supply the correct information if applicable. Then request to have the error corrected or removed.

Copy of the Credit Report

It can be helpful to enclose a copy of the credit report with the errors circled. Don’t send any original documentation with your letter. Make copies and keep the originals safe in case they are needed again.

Why Consider Credit Score Monitoring

To efficiently keep an eye on your credit reports, you may opt to use a credit monitoring service. These services will update account holders when certain credit updates appear, such as new accounts, hard inquiries, high credit card balances, or a missed payment.

Not only does credit monitoring make it easier for consumers to stay on top of their credit and work toward building their credit score, but it can help catch fraud and identity theft early.

How to Report Credit Scams

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a credit scam, report it to IdentityTheft.gov, a division of the Federal Trade Commission. They will provide a personalized recovery plan, walk you through the steps, track your progress, and even pre-fill forms and letters for you. Then, you should dispute any false information on your credit report.

The Takeaway

Disputing and correcting errors on your credit report is usually straightforward, as long as the mistake can be proven. Whenever possible, reach out directly to the business that reported the mistaken info. Then, follow the dispute instructions for each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Regularly review your credit reports annually to catch errors early, before they negatively affect your financial record – and your life.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

Who always wins a credit dispute?

There is no one party or side that always “wins” a credit dispute. If the consumer can document that an error was made, they will likely win the dispute.

What reason should I put for disputing a credit report?

The reason for disputing an error on a credit report can be a typo, outdated information (more than seven years old), data that belongs to another consumer, or fraud, among other things. Include any supporting documentation you have to help strengthen your argument.

Does disputing a collection notice reset the clock?

No, but a dispute does pause the clock in regard to bill collectors. Once you dispute a debt in collections, the collections agency can’t contact you again until they have provided verification of the debt in writing to the consumer.


Photo credit: iStock/mediaphotos

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*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.

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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What Are Income Verification Documents for an Apartment Application?

Income verification documents, which are typically requested when you’re applying to rent a home or apartment, are documents that prove you have a job and are earning an income.

A landlord requests these documents to ensure that you’re earning enough to cover your rent payments each month. The income verification paperwork requested may vary from landlord to landlord, and the documents may also differ, depending on your specific career situation. The landlord is simply doing their due diligence to make sure you can afford the rental.

Key Points

•   Income verification documents are required by landlords to confirm a potential tenant’s ability to pay rent.

•   Common documents include pay stubs, tax returns or W2 forms, and bank statements.

•   For self-employed individuals, 1099 forms or personal tax returns may be necessary.

•   Additional proof like a letter from an employer can also be used to verify income.

•   These documents help ensure that the rent does not exceed a reasonable portion of the tenant’s income.

How to Show Proof of Income to Rent an Apartment

There are a number of ways that prospective renters can show proof of income to a prospective landlord or property management company. The types of documents you need to produce will likely depend on the specific request from the landlord.

Generally, there are a few standard income verification documents that landlords and property managers are looking for:

•  Pay stubs

•  Tax returns or W2 forms

•  Bank statements

•  A letter from your employer

Typically, a landlord will request two forms of income verification. Often, your pay stubs and tax forms will suffice as proof of income. But in some cases, you may need to submit several months’ worth of bank statements. You might even need to ask your employer to write you a letter to assure the landlord that you have a job and do have income.

How to Show Proof of Income if You’re Self-Employed

If you’re self-employed, the process can be more complicated. You may need to submit 1099 tax forms or your personal tax returns showing regular and steady income going back a couple of years. Depending on the nature of your self-employment, you may have business tax returns, such as a Schedule C if you own and run a small business, that you can use to verify your income.

You can also use bank statements from your business bank account to show a landlord that you have income. The documents required will likely be similar to those you need when applying for self-employed personal loans. Ask the landlord what will work best for them so you will know exactly what documents you should present.

How to Show Proof of Income for Side Hustles

You may have a side hustle — perhaps you make and sell crafts online, for instance — and that’s similar to owning a small business. And you should be reporting the income you make from your side hustle to the IRS on your tax return. By presenting your tax return to a landlord, you can prove that you’re making side hustle income.

If you’re working for a ridesharing app or food delivery service, the company should be sending you a tax statement with your annual earnings so that you can report them on your tax return. You can always show a copy of that tax statement to a prospective landlord.

Why Proof of Income is Important

Proving your income is important when you rent an apartment — or apply for credit, for that matter — because it shows that you have money coming in every month, and are able to fulfill your financial obligations. In other words, it shows the property owner that you can make your rent payments.

Recommended: What Is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

Understanding Rent-to-Income Ratio

Along with proving your income, you need to make sure that your rent is not eating up too much of your paycheck. That’s where the “rent-to-income ratio” comes into play. It calculates the percentage of your total income that you’re spending on rent.

The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross monthly income on housing costs. Depending on where you live, those costs may be a higher or lower percentage of your income, but try to aim for around 30%. An online money tracker can help you keep tabs on your spending.

To figure out your rent-to-income ratio, divide your total annual earnings by 12, which gives you your monthly earnings, and multiply that number by 0.3 (or 30%). The result is how much you can afford to spend on rent per month.

Annual earnings ÷ 12 x 0.3 = How much you can afford to pay for rent

For example, let’s say you earn $50,000 a year. Divide that number by 12 and multiply it by 0.3 and you get $1,250. That’s what you should aim to spend on rent each month. Depending on where you live, you may need to spend more, but that figure gives you a ballpark of where you should be in order to have enough money to pay for your other expenses and hopefully, contribute to your savings as well.

How to Best Prepare to Pay Rent

When you are approved by a landlord to rent an apartment, you’ll need to plan and prepare to pay your rent on time and in full every month.

That means having your finances in order. First, you should have a checking account set up. Typically, you’ll pay your landlord by check or through an online portal and either way, you’ll need a bank account in order to do this. You may be surprised to learn that more than 6% of U.S. households (or more than 14 million people) don’t have a bank account. Fortunately, it’s easy to open a bank account if you don’t have one.

Next, make sure that you’re properly budgeting for your rental expenses. You want to make sure that you have enough money in your account to cover the rent when your landlord cashes your check. A budget planner app can help.

There are other expenses that can go along with renting an apartment or home that you may need to pay. Here are a few you should be aware of:

•  Utility bills

•  Renters insurance

•  Parking, maintenance, and fees for amenities such as a gym or pool

Finally, know the terms of your lease. It’s common for rent to go up once a lease expires, which you may discover when you go to re-sign or renegotiate the rent. Unfortunately, renting is not like a fixed-rate mortgage when you have a monthly rate locked in. So don’t be surprised if the costs of staying in your apartment go up after your lease expires.

The Takeaway

Income verification documents offer proof to a landlord or property management company that you have enough money coming in every month to pay the cost of an apartment or home rental. Typically, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements are the only forms of documentation you need. However, if you are a small business owner, you may be required to produce additional documents. The good news: Once you are approved to rent, you can start the process of moving in.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

Can you rent an apartment with no income?

It is possible to rent an apartment with no income, though it likely will be quite difficult. In this instance, having a high credit score can help, because it shows you have a track record of paying your expenses. A healthy savings account can also be useful to prove you have money in the bank.

Can proof of income for an apartment be faked?

It is possible to fake proof of income for an apartment by using online tools to create fake pay stubs and other documents. This constitutes fraud and is illegal, but it does happen.

Is proof of income different for a student?

Yes, it can be, yes. If a student has no income because they are studying full-time, they may need to get a co-signer like a parent or guarantor in order to secure a lease.


Photo credit: iStock/Anna Kim

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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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How to Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives

How to Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives

Claiming unclaimed money from a deceased relative can be fairly straightforward — or more complicated — depending on state inheritance laws and the amount of supporting evidence to back the claim.

When a person dies without a will or other legally binding document outlining the distribution of their financial assets, that money may become “unclaimed” after a designated period of time. Unclaimed money is often turned over to the state where that person lived. However, it is possible for relatives to claim that money through the appropriate channels.

Key Points

•   Claiming unclaimed money from deceased relatives depends on state laws and available evidence.

•   Unclaimed assets may include cash, real estate, stocks, and more.

•   Assets become state property if no direct heir is identified.

•   Claimants may need to provide proof of identity and ownership.

•   The process may involve inheritance tax, but spouses are typically exempt.

What Happens to Unclaimed Money from Deceased Relatives?

When no direct heir is identified, unclaimed money and assets from a deceased relative go to the state government. How soon the money goes to the state after the person dies will vary according to that state’s inheritance laws.

Once unclaimed money ends up in the hands of the government, the state authority will try to identify any relatives that are entitled to claim the money. Typically, a description of the assets and the name of the deceased are posted to one or several public and searchable websites. Some examples of these websites are:

•  Unclaimed.org

•  MissingMoney.com

•  TreasuryDirect.gov

•  FDIC.gov and NCUA.gov

•  PBGC.gov

•  UnclaimedRetirementBenefits.com

•  ACLI.com

Can You Claim Unclaimed Money From a Deceased Relative?

If you believe you are entitled to an unclaimed financial asset of a deceased relative, you can file a claim with the state government or business that is holding it. If you are specifically named as a beneficiary in the deceased relative’s will, the claim process can be relatively smooth. If not, you may still be able to claim that money but it will require supporting documentation or potentially a decision from a presiding probate court judge to ultimately verify the claim.

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Make a Will?

What Types of Financial Assets Can Be Claimed from Deceased Relatives?

Unclaimed money doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of cash; it can also include other assets of value such as:

•  Real estate

•  Forgotten bank accounts

•  Bonds

•  Stocks

•  Certificates of deposit

•  Annuities

•  Royalties

•  401(k)s and other retirement plans

•  Vehicles and other physical assets

Recommended: Unclaimed Money from Scholarships and Grants

What to Expect From the Unclaimed Money Process

If you’re planning to claim unclaimed money, the process will vary depending on the state you’re filing in and the asset in question. In some cases, you can file a claim online, provide proof of identity and any documented proof of ownership, and wait for your claim to be processed. Once the claim is approved, you receive the money. A budget planner can help you make the most of any unclaimed money you receive and also provide valuable financial insights.

In situations where the deceased did not have a will or an executor for the will, a probate court will typically appoint someone to oversee any ownership claims and asset transfers. If this is the case, you may have to wait longer or provide more documented proof in court before your claim is approved.

Once your claim is approved and you receive the money owed to you, you may be required to pay inheritance tax. Again, this depends on which state the deceased lived in. However, spouses are exempt from paying inheritance tax in every state.

The Takeaway

Claiming unclaimed money from a deceased relative is entirely possible. However, the complexity of the process will ultimately depend on the circumstances and location of the deceased. If you believe you’re entitled to claim unclaimed money from a deceased relative, leveraging an estate planning attorney or a financial advisor can help demystify the process and any specifics about your claim. Bottom line: It’s never too early to start thinking about your own estate planning needs and long-term financial goals.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

How do you know if a deceased loved one has left you money?

If a deceased relative has named you as a beneficiary in their will or another legally binding contract, the executor of that document or a probate court will likely reach out to inform you of any unclaimed money you are entitled to. If not, you can still check to see if you are entitled to money by searching one of the public online unclaimed-money databases or by reaching out to the deceased relative’s financial advisor or estate planner.

How do I find assets of a deceased person?

To find the assets of a deceased relative, try looking through their personal property, reach out to relatives and other friends with knowledge of their financial affairs, or inquire with the local probate court or state government agencies.

What happens when you inherit money?

Depending on where you inherit money, you may be required to pay inheritance tax. After that, you are free to do with the money as you please. However, it is often advisable to think hard about how to use that money to support your financial needs or long-term goals.


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SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

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

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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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Salary vs Hourly Pay: How Their Pros and Cons Compare

Salary vs Hourly Pay: How Their Pros and Cons Compare

Salary vs. hourly pay are two ways that businesses classify workers, based on how and when their compensation is doled out. Hourly employees, as you might guess, are paid for every hour of work that they do. Salaried employees, on the other hand, receive a fixed amount of compensation in exchange for their labor, regardless of how long it takes.

There are pros and cons to each, both for employers and employees, and there are numerous rules and laws that can come into play as well. But it boils down to this: Hourly employees’ compensation is tied to the time worked, plus applicable overtime. Salaried employees get a fixed amount.

What Is An Hourly Rate?

An hourly rate is the set per-hour compensation a worker or employee earns in accordance with their employment contract. That hourly rate can be any number above the federal wage floor, or minimum wage, of $7.25 per hour.

The lowest that an hourly worker in the U.S. can earn is $2.13 per hour, as set by federal law, for workers who receive at least $30 per month in tips. No matter the amount, an hourly rate is how much an employee earns for one hour of work.

What Is a Salary Rate?

As mentioned, salaried employees earn a fixed amount regardless of how many hours they work. As such, a salary rate is what an employee would earn over a fixed amount of time, such as a traditional 40-hour workweek. Since we typically discuss salaries on a yearly basis (for example, Job X pays a salary of $50,000 per year), a salary rate could be $961.54 per week ($50,000 annual salary divided by 52 weeks in a year).

The big difference, when it comes to salaried workers, is that there is no potential to earn overtime for working more than the predetermined number of hours (usually 40) as specified by their employer and applicable laws.

If you want to find out what is a good entry-level salary, you can do some research into averages in your industry and geographic area to get an idea.

Recommended: The Highest Paying Jobs by State

Why Are Some Jobs Hourly and Others Salary?

Federal laws and regulations determine whether some jobs can be exempt from overtime pay rules — in other words, salaried. This is to protect some workers from being classified as salaried when they may end up working many more hours in a given week than the standard 40.

Depending on the state you live in, there may be additional rules that stipulate why a position may pay hourly vs. salary.

The Big Difference Between Salary vs Hourly Pay

Whether or not a worker earns overtime pay is the single biggest difference between a salaried employee and one who is paid hourly. Overtime pay is paid out at a rate of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate, which is commonly phrased as “time and a half.”

Another way to describe salary vs. hourly pay is “exempt” vs. “non-exempt.” “Exempt,” in this sense, means exempt from overtime wages. Non-exempt employees are owed overtime wages for working more than 40 hours per week.

There are situations in which an employer may end up paying a salaried employee more for working more than 40 hours per week, but it depends on the specific agreement or contract between the two parties.

Additionally, salaried jobs tend to be more administrative, “professional,” or “white collar,” and may offer more or better benefits than hourly jobs. That’s not always the case, but if you’re climbing the corporate ladder and become a salaried employee, you may notice that the entire compensation package is a bit beefier than packages for hourly workers.

Salary Pay

As noted above, salaried employees earn a fixed amount regardless of how long they work. There are some obvious pros and cons to salaried positions, too:

Pros of Salary Pay

The clearest advantage of a salaried position is that an employee will earn the same amount of money during a given time period no matter how long they work. So, if they end up working 30 hours in one week, they still get paid the same as they would have if they worked 40.

Also, as discussed, salaried jobs often have better benefits, such as employer-sponsored health insurance and paid vacation days. Salaried jobs can also be a bit more secure than hourly positions and may offer workers more opportunities for advancement.

Cons of Salary Pay

Salary pay can be double-edged: While you’ll be paid for 40 hours even if you work only 30, you’ll earn the same if you work 50 hours, too. There is no chance for overtime pay if you work more than a standard week. That can be a big drawback for some workers.

Similarly, depending on the specifics of the position, it may be harder to keep your personal and professional life separate. Salaried positions may provide more benefits and job security, but that comes at a cost of more demanding work that may encroach on your personal time.

Hourly Pay

Hourly workers earn their paycheck by the hour. That, like salaried positions, can have pros and cons as well:

Pros of Hourly Pay

It’s worth stating again: The biggest plus to an hourly job is that you are eligible to earn overtime pay. That doesn’t mean hourly workers always will get overtime — many employers go to great lengths to make sure that they don’t — but it’s a possibility. And that can help ensure that you’re not working 50- or 60-hour weeks, which may be more common for salaried employees.

Also, hourly workers may earn double their standard wages on certain days, like holidays. And depending on the industry, working overtime may be standard or expected. That can help push an hourly worker’s earnings above salaried workers’, in some circumstances.

Cons of Hourly Pay

A big disadvantage to hourly-paying jobs is that they can be less secure than salaried positions. Turnover can be high, for example, and if the economy takes a turn for the worse, hourly workers may see their hours reduced, or their positions furloughed or eliminated. Further, hourly jobs aren’t usually very flexible, and may not offer paid time off or sick days to workers, either.

Recommended: Average US Salary by State

The Takeaway

Salaried workers receive a fixed paycheck regardless of the number of hours worked, whereas hourly workers are paid based on the number of hours they clocked. The big differentiator between the two is that salaried workers are not eligible for overtime pay, which is 50% more than their standard hourly rate. Each type of employment has its pros and cons, but usually salaried positions are more secure.

Regardless of how you’re paid, it can be helpful to keep your finances in order by using a budget planner app, complete with a debt payoff planner to help you get ahead.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

Is it better to be paid a salary or an hourly rate?

Generally, salaried positions are often seen as more prestigious and can offer more job security and benefits. Many workers feel it’s better to be paid a salary because one receives a predictable paycheck, but it ultimately depends on the position and the employee’s personal preferences.

What is the advantage of salary pay?

The biggest and most obvious advantage of salary pay is that you have a fixed paycheck coming your way no matter how much (or little) you worked during a given time period. Of course, that can be a disadvantage, too, if you regularly work more than 40 hours per week. It also may be easier to budget with a fixed, salaried income.

What are the budget challenges of being a salaried employee?

Salaried employees are, in a sense, on a fixed income; they’re earning the same amount all through the year, and can’t go for a bigger paycheck by working overtime. If they don’t receive a raise annually, they may see their effective pay decline due to inflation, which can end up straining their budgets.


Photo credit: iStock/.shock

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*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.

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