What Is a Six Figure Salary?

What Is a Six Figure Salary?

When setting income goals, some people use a six-figure salary as a benchmark. But what does it represent exactly? And how do six-figure earners get to that level?

We’ll dig into the legend surrounding the six-figure salary, and whether you need one to build wealth.

How Much Is a Six Figure Salary?

“Six figures” simply refers to a number with six digits. Typically used with money, the term covers amounts from $100,000 to $999,999. (Once you hit 1 million, you’re in seven-figure territory.) Someone with a six-figure salary makes at least $100K.

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How to Make Six Figures

There is no one right way to earn six figures. That said, there are strategies that can better position you for this level of income. Getting a good education, while not absolutely necessary, is a solid foundation for the kinds of jobs that pay in the six-figure range. Another path is to start your own business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists 159 occupations with median salaries of at least $80,000. The degrees required for these jobs range from a high school diploma to a doctoral degree.

It’s important to recognize that certain careers just pay more than others. Once you’ve chosen a high paying field, you can determine the type of education and training you’ll need to pursue.

You’ll also want to learn how to manage and grow your money. A good place to start is by tracking your expenses and savings with a free spending app.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

Average Age to Make Six Figures in the US

According to the U.S Census Bureau, about 15% of households earn between $100,000 and $149,000. Another 8% earn between $150,000 and $199,000. And 10% earn $200,000 or more. Note that this is household income, not individual. Compare those figures to the national average salary of $60,575.

Some workers begin earning six figures in their twenties and thirties. Economists nickname them HENRYs, for “high earners, not rich yet.” But for most people, their “peak earning years” are from age 35 to 54. The majority of people who make six figures will do so in their 30s.

Keep in mind that annual income says nothing about someone’s financial health. An individual making $50K who manages their money well can be in a better place financially than someone making six figures.

Recommended: What Is a Good Entry-Level Salary?

Examples of Jobs That Pay Six Figures

A look at the highest paying jobs by state offers insight into these types of careers. All these jobs make at least $200,000, and all but one are in the medical field. Texas is an outlier. There, chief executives, the highest paying job in the Lone Star State, earn $239,060 on average.

Other types of jobs that can pay a six figure salary include airline pilots ($174,001), IT managers ($136,745), and lawyers ($101,790). A construction project manager earns about $113,257, while a college development officer makes $163,600. It’s probably fair to say that, in any industry, there are successful bosses who make six figures.

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What Does a Six Figure Salary Get You?

What a six figure salary will get you depends on several other factors. A big one is the cost of living in your area. This is how much you spend on housing, transportation, food, and other necessities. When someone lives in a place with a high cost of living, they will typically have less disposable income and less to put into savings than someone who lives in a low cost-of-living location. This can be true even if both are making competitive salaries.

Another factor is household size. For a single person living in California, a six figure salary might be more than enough. However, a family of four living in the same area could be just scraping by.

Recommended: How to Counter a Salary Offer

Do You Need a Six Figure Salary to Build Wealth?

Not by a long shot. That said, you need to have a reasonable income to live on. For example, a $20,000 salary typically isn’t enough for a household to meet basic expenses. Let’s look at rent. The 30% rule recommends spending no more than $6,000 on rent per year (that’s 30% of $20K), which works out to $500 a month. The average rent nationwide is now $2,000, four times what you could afford on a $20,000 salary.

What about a $40,000 salary? This may be enough for a single person in some areas, but probably not for a family. And while an individual could afford basic necessities, they may not have much left for building wealth — that is, saving and investing.

Another factor is existing debt. If you are paying down high-interest credit card balances, it can be hard to also put money toward savings.

The income needed to build wealth then is an amount that covers the cost of living in your location, allows you to pay off any debt, and provides enough extra to set aside money for an emergency fund, retirement, and investing.

Recommended: Salary vs Hourly Pay

How to Build Wealth Without Earning a Six Figure Salary

As we hinted above, the steps to building wealth are the same for any salary. First, pay off your debt, especially high interest credit cards and loans. Money going to interest is money that could be going into your savings or investments.

Second, look for ways to cut back on spending: cooking at home instead of going to costly restaurants, closing fee-based apps that you don’t really need, and so on.

Finally, save and invest the money that isn’t going to credit card debt or other nice-to-have but not necessary expenses.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

The Takeaway

A six figure salary, meaning one between $100,000 and $999,999, is a benchmark for many people who want to meet financial goals. Having a good education is usually helpful but not always necessary, and certain jobs are more likely to come with six figure salaries. Having a good salary is helpful when building wealth, but the same strategies can be utilized on a five figure salary. Tracking your spending and automating your savings are two good first steps.

SoFi’s money tracker app allows you to monitor your accounts on a single mobile dashboard. And it’s free.

Get a bird’s-eye view of your balances on the go.

FAQ

Is a six figure salary good?

In most places in the United States, $100,000 is a good salary, covering the needs of an individual or small family, while building savings.

What does a six figure salary mean?

This is a salary that contains six digits: from $100,000 to $999,999.

What is an eight figure salary?

This is a salary amount consisting of eight digits: from $10 million annually to $99 million.


Photo credit: iStock/Renata Angerami

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

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Average Cost of Gas Per Month for 2023

Average Cost of Gas Per Month for 2024

The average natural gas bill in the United States is $65 to $70 per month. Your monthly gas bills could vary significantly, depending on the time of year, where you live, the size of your home, and other factors.

Read on for a breakdown of what can cause your gas bill to go up and down from one month to the next, how to budget for those price changes, and how you might be able to lower your costs in the future.

Recommended: Budget Planner and Spending App

How Much Does a Gas Bill Cost Per Month on Average?

The average cost of gas per month in the U.S. has hovered around $60 in recent years. Your household’s cost could be much lower or higher, depending on your location, the appliances you use, inflation, and the ever-fluctuating cost of natural gas. Your bill might be much higher, for example, than that of a friend who has the same size house in a state with a warmer climate. And it could be less than what your next door neighbor pays, if your home is smaller or more energy efficient.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

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Why Is My Gas Bill Higher than Usual?

If your gas bill seems higher than usual, it could be that your provider is charging a higher rate. (You can check that by comparing two or more months’ worth of gas bills, or credit card statements if that’s how you pay your bills.) It could also be that you’re simply using more gas because it’s colder outside. Or maybe you’ve been taking more hot showers or running the dishwasher, clothes dryer, or gas fireplace more often. Working from home is a common reason that utility bills are sometimes higher.

If you can’t come up with a reasonable answer for the cost increase, you may want to talk to your gas provider or check your statement to see if your usage is up. But be prepared: The calculations that go into determining your monthly gas bill can be complicated.

Recommended: What Percentage of Income Should Go to Rent and Utilities?

Understanding the Monthly Cost of Gas

In the U.S., natural gas can be priced in a few different ways, including dollars per therm, dollars per British thermal unit (BTU), and dollars per cubic foot.

Here’s what you really need to know: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the price residential customers pay for natural gas is determined by two major factors:

•   Commodity Cost: The actual cost of the gas.

•   Transmission and Distribution Costs: The costs involved with moving the natural gas from where it’s produced or stored to a local natural gas distribution utility, plus whatever it costs to deliver the gas to customers.

If you live in a state with easy access to residential gas (Alaska, Utah, Washington, Colorado), the monthly rate you pay may be lower than if your utility has to transport the gas a long distance to reach you (in say, Hawaii or Georgia).

The price you ultimately pay for natural gas in your state, city, or subdivision also may be affected by state regulations, taxes and other charges, availability, seasonal consumer demand, and the amount of competition in your location. (By the way, there’s no relation between the cost of natural gas and the price of gasoline.)

Recommended: Cost of Living by State

Average Gas Bill Based on Household Size

Knowing the natural gas rates in your area can help you understand why your bills might be higher or lower than you expected. But the size of your home and the number of people who live there can also influence your average monthly gas bill. Keeping these things in mind can help you predict your gas usage when you make a budget.

Here’s a rough estimate of what the average monthly cost of gas could be for various household sizes, according to ElectricRate.com:

Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Bill
Studio apartment, 1 resident $45 $540
1 bdrm, 1 resident $47 $564
1-bdrm, 2 residents $51 $612
2-bdrm, 2 residents $56 $672
3-bdrm, 2 residents $60 $720
3-bdrm, 3 residents $65 $780

Remember that your costs may be much different depending on how many gas appliances you have in your home, how warm you keep your home in the winter, what you keep the temperature set to on your water heater, and other factors.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

What Uses the Most Gas in a Home?

The top uses for natural gas in U.S. households are heating and water heating. But many homes also use gas for cooking, indoor or outdoor fireplace, clothes dryer, or heating a pool.

Recommended: When Should You Replace Home Appliances

How Can I Lower My Gas Bill?

There are several steps you can take to lower your natural gas bill. (You may be interested in lowering your other gas bill, too.)

Get a Home Energy Assessment

A professional home energy auditor looks at your past bills for information about your energy use, and inspects your home to pinpoint problem areas and offer money-saving suggestions. Your gas company may offer assessments to its customers, or you may be able to get help finding an energy audit program through your state or local government.

Balance Costs Across the Year

If your local utility offers a yearly budget plan, you may be able to spread out your costs so that your bill is roughly the same amount each month. This can keep bills from becoming overwhelming in months when you use more gas. Or you can use a money tracker app to determine your average monthly cost of gas and set aside the appropriate amount.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

When was the last time you even looked at your water heater? Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees can help you save money, prevent family members from accidentally scalding themselves, and protect your pipes. You can also purchase a special blanket or “jacket” to insulate your water heater and make it more efficient.

Look for Leaks

If your doors and windows are getting older, check whether cold air is coming in and warm air escaping. Clear plastic film or weather stripping may be all you need to fix the problem.

Lower the Thermostat

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home during the winter, and turning it down a few degrees more when you’re away. If you keep pretty standard hours, a programmable thermostat can ensure the house is comfortable when you get home from school or work. And if you work from home, you can lower the temp when you go to bed, or pull on a sweater during the day.

Assistance Programs to Help with Your Gas Bill

If you’re struggling to pay your gas bill, you may be able to get some help from a federal, state, or local government assistance program or from a nonprofit agency. Here are a few options to consider:

Weatherization Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps low-income households reduce their energy costs. Program grants, which are administered on the state and local level, provide funding for home improvements designed to increase energy efficiency. For more information about the program and how to apply, check out the WAP website.

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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), operated through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was created to help low-income households pay high home energy bills. Each state has its own rules regarding who is eligible for help and when and how to apply. (Assistance isn’t made directly to households.) For more information, go to the LIHEAP website or call 202-401-9351.

Local Utility Company Programs

Some utility companies offer limited bill-paying assistance programs on their own or working alongside state agencies or nonprofit organizations. Check your local gas company’s website to see if they offer help, or try giving them a call. Your gas company may take special circumstances into consideration when it comes to paying your bill.

SoCalGas, for example, offers past-due bill forgiveness, discounted rates, and extended payment dates for certain qualifying customers. The utility also works with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to provide one-time grants through their Gas Assistance Fund.

Recommended: Free Credit Score Monitoring

The Takeaway

The average cost of gas per month is $65 to $70. The location, size, and age of your home — and, of course, the time of year — can affect your gas bill from one month to the next. So can the number of people in your household and the appliances you use. The rate you pay each month for gas may also fluctuate based on factors over which you have no control. All those things combined can make budgeting for your monthly gas bill a challenge.

How can SoFi help? With SoFi, you’ll get a free budget app that helps you manage where your money is going. You can set up budget categories (including your gas costs), spot upcoming bills, and easily make adjustments as necessary. And it’s free!

Track all of your accounts in one place, and get free credit score monitoring.

FAQ

How much does the average person pay for gas each month?

The average household pays about $60 to $65 per month for natural gas. Your bill could vary significantly, however, based on location, home size, number of residents, your appliances, whether you work from home, and more.

How much should you budget for gas a month?

One way to determine how much to budget for gas each month is to track your spending, then calculate the average monthly amount based on past bills. You may want to budget an amount that’s a bit higher than in the past, just in case the winter is especially cold or gas rates go up. (If you don’t end up needing the extra funds, you can put the money toward your emergency fund or another bill.)

What’s the average price of natural gas in San Francisco?

According to UtilitiesLocal.com, residential natural gas prices in San Francisco rose slowly but significantly from September 2021 to September 2022. Rates increased by approximately 34% year over year.


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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.

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.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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2023 Wedding Cost Calculator Table with Examples

2024 Wedding Cost Calculator with Examples

The question was popped, the answer was yes, and now you’re ready to plan your dream wedding. Which means it’s probably time to set up a meet-and-greet between your vision board and your bank account.

Wedding costs can add up quickly, and if you’re just winging it, it’s easy to get carried away. Using a wedding cost calculator as you work through the planning process can help you manage your money better and create a more realistic budget.

Read on for a breakdown of the costs you can expect as you prepare for your big day.

How Much Will My Wedding Cost?

The cost of a wedding depends on several factors, including where you live, your wedding date, and the size of your guest list. If you go all-out with a big bridal party, designer duds, and a reception for 200-plus, your bill could be significantly more than the current median of $10,000. If you decide to go with a simple ceremony at City Hall, on the other hand, followed by a modest dinner with a few friends, your total spend will likely fall way below the typical wedding cost.

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What Does the Average Wedding Cost?

The most recent SoFi survey found that the median wedding cost is $10,000. But again, that number can vary widely.

Studies have found that couples who live in the South typically spend a bit less on their wedding, while those who live in bigger cities, particularly in the Northeast, can expect higher costs. Trying to match or exceed the standards set by others in your social group can also affect your bottom line.

The popular wedding website The Knot says couples who live in the South typically spend a bit less on their wedding, while those who live in bigger cities, particularly in the Northeast, can expect higher costs. Trying to match or exceed the standards set by others in your social group can also affect your bottom line.

Recommended: Is It Smart to Finance a Wedding?

What Goes into a Wedding Cost Calculator?

A wedding cost calculator uses average wedding costs to help couples break down the expenses they can expect to encounter as they plan their wedding. This budgeting tool can assist couples and their families in prioritizing how they want to spend their money. (Is a designer dress a must? Is a buffet or sit-down dinner a better choice? How many guests can you really afford?)

You also can use a wedding calculator/budget as a checklist to ensure you’ve covered all the details, so there aren’t any surprises (or unexpected wedding expenses) as you close in on the big day.

How to Calculate Wedding Costs

To keep things in perspective and set reasonable priorities, you may want to start by designating a certain percentage of your overall budget for each cost category. A $2,000 dress, for example, would be 10% of a $20,000 budget. A $10,000 reception (venue, catering, music, etc.) would take up 50%. That would leave you 40%, or $8,000, for the rest of your costs (the tux, flowers, photography, etc.).

Knowing the average costs for various categories can also help you fine-tune your budget and save for your wedding. Here’s a look at some of the most common wedding expenditures.

Before the Big Day

You can count on racking up some wedding bills long before you hear wedding bells. (Which is why it can be helpful to use a spending app as soon as you start planning.) Here are some costs you may incur early on in your preparations:

Save the Date Cards: If you want to let your guests know waaay ahead that your big day is coming up, sending “save-the-date” alerts can help. Postcards generally cost 20-55¢ each; refrigerator magnets can range from 30¢ to $1.60. (Costs per item typically go down when you order more.)

Invitations: Two major factors will affect the cost of sending out wedding invitations: An elaborate invitation or one that’s designed just for you will cost more than a standard design. And, of course, you’ll pay more for invitations and postage if you have a large guest list. (Don’t forget to put stamps on the RSVP cards included in each invite.) You could end up paying from $2 to $10 for each invitation and postage.

Wedding Planner: How much would you be willing to pay to hand over some of the stress of planning your wedding to a professional? U.S. couples spend an average of $1,500 for their wedding planner’s services, but your price may vary depending on your planner’s expertise and level of involvement, and the size of your wedding.

Marriage Ceremony

Though it’s what the big day is all about, and the reason friends and family have gathered, it can be easy to overlook the actual wedding ceremony when budgeting. Here are some costs to keep in mind:

Marriage License: This document, which authorizes a couple to marry, can cost anywhere from $20 to $150. You can get your exact cost by calling the issuance office in the county where you plan to marry. In some states, you may be able to lower the cost by taking a marriage preparation course.

Officiant Fee: The officiant is the person who is legally authorized to perform your ceremony. It can be the minister at your church or someone who performs weddings as a full-time or side gig. Officiant fees can vary from about $250 to $800.

Ceremony Venue: Unless you exchange vows at the same location as your reception, you’ll likely have to budget a separate amount for this venue, whether it’s your church, the beach, a private garden, or a public park. The cost will depend on the location and how long you use the space. (Even if it’s a public place, you may have to pay for a permit to hold your ceremony there, or a by-the-hour rental fee.)

Churches typically ask for a “donation,” which can be a mandatory amount or pay-what-you-wish deal. Unless you’re headed to the courthouse, be prepared to pay between $300 to $1,000-plus for a ceremony venue.

Decorations: The cost of decorating for your ceremony will depend on how elaborate you want to get — and what your venue will allow. Keeping it simple with a flower arrangement at the altar could be $60 to $450. But adding ribbons and flowers to the pews, petals in the aisle, or a flowered archway can bump this portion of your floral budget to over $1,000.

Ceremony Music: You’ll likely want to have some kind of live music at your ceremony — maybe a soloist, the church organist, a quartet, or a band. The cost for music can vary significantly depending on how big you go, and can range from $200 to $400 per hour.

Reception

The reception is typically the largest wedding expense and can include several subcategories — from food and entertainment to decorations and, of course, the cost of renting the venue where guests will gather to celebrate. According to WeddingCalculator.com, the average reception ranges from $4,000 to $20,000.

Some all-inclusive venues charge one price for catering, decorations, and more. If you have to hire multiple vendors, though, you’ll need to keep these separate costs in mind:

Venue: Depending on the size and location of the hall, country club, restaurant, etc., you can expect to pay $2,500 to $7,500 just to rent the space for your party.

Catering: The cost of feeding your guests will depend on what you serve (appetizers or a full meal) and how it’s served (buffet or by a waitstaff). Costs generally range from $30 to $80 per guest. You may have to pay extra to rent serving equipment or pay waitstaff at some venues.

Drinks: If you decide to offer an open bar with unlimited alcoholic beverages, you can expect to pay $10 to $20 per person per hour, or more.

Entertainment: Couples often argue over whether to hire a DJ or band — and cost can be the deciding factor. A DJ might charge $450 to $1,250, depending on their popularity, equipment, and how long they’re expected to keep the party going. A live band generally charges a bit more, from $750 to $1,500 for about two hours. (You may have to pay more if you have to rent sound or lighting equipment.)

Decorations: If you decide to add decorations to the venue (with ribbons, confetti, balloons, etc.), you will likely have to pay extra — from $100 to $1,000. A floral centerpiece for each table might incur a separate cost, so it’s important to be clear about what’s included in your package.

Recommended: Wedding Gift Etiquette

Wedding Cake

The cake you choose for your wedding is about much more than dessert. Cutting the cake is a fun tradition and it can be a great photo opp. Design, size, the number of tiers, and delivery can all impact the cost, but plan to pay $3 to $8 per person. The average cost of a cake is about $500.

Photographer/Videographer

If you’re hoping to capture the best moments of your wedding, you may want to make the photographer, and maybe videographer, one of your budget priorities. Depending on the package you choose, you can expect to pay from $1,500 to $3,000 for wedding photos. A videographer can cost $1,000 to $2,500.

Flowers

We covered the cost of using flowers to decorate for the ceremony and reception above. Here are some other costs to consider:

Bridal Bouquet: The bride’s flowers are in the spotlight throughout the day — in photos, during the ceremony, and even at the reception. For the bouquet of your dreams, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $350.

Boutonnieres for the Guys: If the groom will be wearing a suit or tux, a boutonniere is almost a must, and it will run from $10 to $50. Multiply that price by the number of men in the wedding party if Dad and the other guys will get them, too.

Bridesmaids Bouquets: These smaller bouquets typically cost $25 to $100 each.

Corsages: Corsages, which can be a nice way to recognize special family members and friends, may cost $15 to $30 each.

Petals for Flower Girl: A bundle of rose petals for the flower girl to scatter can cost $20 to $25.

Bride’s Wedding Outfit

The bride’s ’fit — the dress, veil, shoes, jewelry, and more — often takes up a significant amount of the wedding budget. The bride’s wedding dress alone can cost, on average, $1,000 to $4,000. And that’s before alterations (typically $125 to $250).

Groom’s Wedding Outfit

The groom’s gear generally reflects the formality of the wedding, but most men still wear a tux or suit. Purchasing a new tux can cost $500 to $1,000. And tailoring may cost extra. Renting a tux can cost $200 or more.

Wedding Party Costs

Traditionally, members of the wedding party pay for their own outfits, but there may be other expenses you decide to cover if you want to help out with the cost of being in your wedding.

For example, if you’re hiring someone to do the bride’s hair and makeup (average cost: $300), and you choose to include the bridesmaids, you can expect to pay about $150 per person. As with most wedding-day costs, however, you’ll likely encounter a wide range of prices.

Transportation

If you and your wedding party hope to travel in style on your wedding day, you want to look into renting a limo, horse-drawn carriage, party bus, or some other type of transportation. Couples spend an average of $750 for wedding day transportation, but costs will vary based on location, how many vehicles you need, and how many hours you need them.

Wedding Insurance

Once you start budgeting for your wedding, you may decide it makes sense to purchase insurance to protect your investment. Wedding insurance can cover you for several worse-case scenarios. The cost of this type of special-event coverage depends on what you decide to include in your policy. The average cost of a wedding insurance policy is $275.

Total Wedding Cost Example

Until you start making calls and getting price quotes, it will be challenging to get even a rough estimate of how much your wedding will cost in total. But the sooner you start filling in some of the blanks on your budget, the sooner you’ll be able to prioritize where you want your money to go — and get a better idea of what the final bill will be.

Here’s an example of what a couple with a budget of $14,000 and a guest list of 50 might come up with.

Cost

Percent of Budget

Invitations $420 3%
Ceremony: $560 4%
Ceremony Venue $310
Officiant Fee $250
Reception: $6,020 43%
Venue with Wine Bar $3,000
Buffet Dinner $2,220
DJ with Equipment $800
Bride’s Costs: $1,820 13%
Dress $1,070
Alterations $100
Shoes $200
Jewelry $200
Hair & Makeup $250
Groom’s Tuxedo Rental with Shoes & Tie $420 3%
Cake $560 4%
Flowers: $2,100 15%
Bride’s Bouquet $300
Bridesmaids’ Bouquets (2) $200
Boutonnieres for Wedding Party (5) $100
Corsages for Family (6) $200
Flowers for Ceremony & Reception $1,300
Photos $1,540 11%
Limo Rental $560 4%

How to Save Money on Your Wedding

How can you keep your dream wedding from totaling up to a nightmare cost? Here are a few ways to lower the bottom line:

Ask Friends and Family for Help

Do you know someone who’s great at taking photos? Is your cousin an amazing singer? What about a friend who’s a talented baker and cake decorator? If you can find people you trust to take the place of pricier pros, you may be able to reduce some costs — or avoid them entirely.

Eliminate Some of the Extras

If you can do your own hair and makeup, get yourself to the wedding, and/or design and print your own invitations (or go paperless), you may be able to cut some costs without asking for help.

Downsize the Guest List

This can be a tough one, but trimming your guest list is a sure way to trim costs. Consider asking your friends to leave their kids at home, or gently telling your guests that you’re keeping the plus-ones to a minimum.

Go Off the Beaten Path

Choosing an off-peak wedding date; an unusual (and therefore more affordable), wedding venue; or a wedding dress from a department store or consignment shop can save you big bucks.

Recommended: Free Credit Score Monitoring

The Takeaway

Wedding costs can get out of hand quickly, so it’s a good idea to start your planning with a realistic budget. Then, as you go through the planning process, you can use your budget tracker to stay on top of your actual costs — and stay in sync with your other financial goals. In our example above, wedding costs totaled $14,000 for an event with 50 guests. That number covered the invitations, ceremony, reception with wine bar and buffet dinner, DJ, flowers, cake, and the bride’s and groom’s formalwear.

With SoFi’s money tracker app, you can set budgets, categorize your spending, monitor your credit score, and keep an eye on any upcoming bills — all for free.

Say “I do” to SoFi for help planning and tracking your wedding budget.

FAQ

What is a realistic budget for a wedding?

A realistic wedding budget will be different for every couple. The average wedding cost is about $29,000, but that amount can vary significantly depending on the size of the wedding, the location, and other factors.

Is $10,000 a reasonable wedding budget?

You may have to be pickier about splurges than a couple with more to spend, but by setting your priorities early and using a budget tracker, you can get a strong start on sticking to your $10,000 wedding goal.

How do I pay for a wedding I can’t afford?

There are a few different ways you can pay for a wedding if you don’t have enough cash in the bank. One popular option is to take out a personal loan to pay for wedding expenses. Another is to apply for a credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate, which will allow you to pay off the balance interest-free for up to 18 months. Or you might consider waiting until you’ve saved enough to pay all your costs without borrowing.


Photo credit: iStock/Arisara_Tongdonnoi

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.

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What is a Minimalist Lifestyle? Minimalist Lifestyle Tips

Guide to a Minimalist Lifestyle

Many of us struggle to keep up with the demands of our daily lives, which can create stress and anxiety. That’s why some choose a minimalist lifestyle: Fewer possessions make for easier management. Minimalists strive to eliminate anything in their life that does not serve their purpose. This leads to more physical, emotional, and mental space.

There are gradations of minimalism because the mindset change from consumerism to minimalism is a drastic one best done gradually. If that change appeals to you, read on to better understand what a minimalist lifestyle is, its benefits, and how to start on the path to a simpler, more manageable lifestyle.

What Is a Minimalist Lifestyle?

Minimalist living is uncluttered by superfluous items like luxury cars, excessive clothing, and purely decorative furnishings. There can be many reasons someone chooses a minimalist lifestyle; they might want to simplify their life to reduce stress, improve their health, or reduce harm to the environment. They may also want to cut back on expenses and improve their budgeting and finances.

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Surprising Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle

When you have less stuff, it follows that you have less to worry about. A minimalist lifestyle allows you to carry less literal and metaphorical baggage around.

Another benefit is that minimalists buy fewer things, which saves money. From a holistic perspective, minimalism reduces consumerism, and that benefits the planet.

How to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle

Living a minimalist lifestyle can seem daunting for some, requiring a mindset shift. Here’s a window into a more minimalist mindset and lifestyle to give you a taste of what it involves.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car?

Invest in Experiences

Rather than collecting things and possessions, a minimalist lifestyle emphasizes experiences. Minimalists spend, just in a more deliberate way. For example, minimalists may spend on vacations and concerts rather than on cars and jewelry.

Recommended: The Benefits of Living Below Your Means

Audit Your Life

Auditing your life involves deciding what is most important and eliminating anything superfluous. Deciding what is most important can be difficult, but some questions to ask yourself are: How am I doing mentally and physically? What’s important to me now that perhaps wasn’t before? The answer to these and similar questions can help you pinpoint your core values and priorities.

A free budget app can help you audit your spending and evaluate how much of it is really necessary.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

Eliminate Needless Expenses

A meaningless expense to one person may be valuable to another. That’s why conducting a life audit is important to help you decide which expenses are not serving your purpose. For example, a person might discover that buying gas is often unnecessary if they can manage without a car most of the time. Or that mid-price brands and gently used items can be just as nice as luxury goods.

Set Limits and Delegate

A minimalist lifestyle is easier to control. Setting limits and delegating is one way to live a minimalist lifestyle because you have less to manage. For example, you might use an accountant to do your taxes, or hire someone to manage your website. You might have fewer screens or electronics or downsize to a smaller home.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

Honor Your Priorities

The goal of auditing your life is to establish priorities to eliminate what doesn’t align with them. Part of the journey to minimalism is learning to appreciate what you have and not constantly desire new things. Perhaps you and your partner decide to live on a single income while one of you cares for the family. You may also earn less and have to economize.

Minimalist Lifestyle Tips

How do you implement a minimalist lifestyle? Because the changes can be profound, try making small changes at first as you gradually adjust to a new mindset.

Recommended: What Is the 50-30-20 Budget?

1. Declutter Your Environment and Your Mind

A great place to start is to declutter your environment. Start with your home, your workspace, your car. Get rid of things you haven’t used in a while or that you are just hanging onto in case you need them. As the space around you becomes less messy, you might find your thinking becomes more clear.

2. Be a Purposeful Not Prolific Consumer

Minimalists still make purchases, but the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. An example is choosing to use one credit card that serves many purposes rather than five because each one comes with different rewards. Yes, you may benefit from free miles and cash back, but you will also have to buy more to earn those points and rewards, which is consumerism, the antithesis of financial minimalism.

3. Digitize Movies and Books

Most of us have bookcases full of books that sit and gather dust. It’s fine to keep some treasured items and classic novels, but you can also download e-books or visit your local library. Declutter your home of old DVDs, CDs, and books you don’t need.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

4. Recycle and Reuse

Reusing shopping bags, refilling a water bottle instead of buying bottled water, or taking your own cup to Starbucks are ways to cut back on trash and single-use products. You’ll save money and help the environment.

5. Get Organized

As you declutter, you’ll find ways to be more organized. Find a space for things you want to keep, and use storage bins and organizers. When everything has a place, you’ll waste less time trying to locate things, and you’ll be more motivated to put things back when you’ve used them.

The Takeaway

A minimalist lifestyle is appealing, considering how busy and cluttered our lives can be. However, changing our mindset is difficult, and getting rid of things (both real and symbolic) we’ve held onto for years can be traumatic. Thankfully, you don’t have to embrace full-on minimalism immediately. You can take small steps to simplify your life gradually as you adapt to minimalist life.

Begin by establishing goals and priorities and by envisioning a less complex life. From there, move to decluttering your environment and organizing. You can also reduce your expenses and financial obligations and delegate tasks you don’t need to do yourself. As you progress, you may find that your mind clears, your life slows down, and you learn to appreciate what you have instead of yearning always to have more.

SoFi’s money tracker app simplifies and manages all of your finances in one place and at no cost. Get credit score monitoring, spending breakdowns, financial insights, and more.

Track your money like a champion with SoFi.

FAQ

How do you live a minimalist lifestyle?

Living a minimalist lifestyle requires prioritizing and eliminating things that do not align with your values. The process of elimination will be different for everyone, but it does not have to be quick or painful. Just removing one thing or downloading a budgeting and money tracking app can help you achieve a simple minimalist lifestyle.

What is an example of a minimalist?

An example of a minimalist is someone who lives with very little furniture, or none at all, or someone who moves to a smaller home. A less extreme version of a minimalist might be someone who simplifies things by clearing items from countertops, buys few clothes, or chooses a vegan diet.

What is the 90 rule for minimalism?

The hardest part of achieving a simpler minimalist lifestyle is decluttering. How do you decide what to get rid of? The 90 rule can help. Choose a possession, and ask yourself if you’ve used that item in the past 90 days. If not, then it’s a candidate for elimination from your life because it is not currently serving a useful purpose.


Photo credit: iStock/Pramote Naksomrit

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.

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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What Are The Tax Benefits of an Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

What Are the Tax Benefits of a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

When people are starting a business, it’s likely that they’ll consider the tax benefits of different company structures. In some cases, founders may create a limited liability company (LLC) specifically for its tax benefits.

Here, we’ll delve into the tax benefits of LLCs for business owners, as well as other pros and cons.

What Is an LLC?

An LLC is a type of business structure available in the United States. A kind of hybrid, it combines some characteristics of corporations with others from a partnership or sole proprietorship.

According to the IRS, LLC owners are called “members.” Depending on the state in which you set up the LLC, members may be individual people, other LLCs, or corporations. There is no maximum number of members that a company can have, and most states allow LLCs with just one member. Check your state for specifics.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

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Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car?

Tax Benefits of Forming an LLC

As mentioned above, company founders may choose an LLC structure especially for its tax benefits. Here, we go into detail about what those benefits are.

Limited Liability

An LLC, as its full name implies, provides limited liability to its members. This means that, if the company fails, the owners’ and investors’ private assets are not at risk and can’t be seized to repay company debts.

Flexible Membership

As noted previously, an LLC can have one member or many, and those members can be individuals or companies. This business structure gives owners significant freedom when starting their company.

Management Structure Options

LLCs can be managed by a member (owner) or by a hired manager. A member-managed LLC may be chosen if the company has limited resources or few members. An owner may select a member with management experience to oversee the business, or they may want all members to actively participate in the company’s operations.

A hired manager is someone who is not a member but has the appropriate experience and skill sets to run the LLC. An accountant or financial advisor can go into detail about the tax benefits of member-manager vs. hired manager approaches. (Here’s what to know if you’re filing taxes for the first time.)

Pass-Through Taxation

LLC member-owners have some control over how their business will be taxed. If there is only one member, it will automatically be treated like a sole proprietorship, and if there is more than one, like a partnership. In those cases, business income will pass through the business to the member-owners, and they’ll only get taxed once. Members will report income and losses on their personal tax returns, while the LLC itself is not taxed. (Learn how business income differs from other types of income.)

Because income and losses are reported as part of members’ personal financial pictures at tax time, taxes will be owed at each member’s personal tax rate.

Alternatively, the LLC owners may decide to be taxed as a corporation. If they choose an S-Corp structure, pass-through taxation still applies.

Recommended: How Long Does It Take Taxes to Come Back?

Heightened Credibility

When someone opens an LLC, it shows that they’ve gone beyond just hanging a shingle. Instead, they went through the decision making and paper filing processes involved in setting up the LLC.

Limited Compliance Requirements

According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), another form of business structure — the corporation — has the strictest requirements. In contrast, LLCs have some but fewer.

In general, an LLC should maintain a current operating agreement, hold annual meetings, ensure that they have appropriate shares recorded for each member, and keep records if membership interests transfer. (Find out if you can use a personal checking account for your business.)

Disadvantages of Creating an LLC

So far, the LLC sounds like the ideal low-maintenance company structure. However, there are several caveats to be aware of.

Cost

Forming an LLC can cost a few hundred dollars, which may be more than what a small business wants to spend. The company will also need to file annual reports along with annual fees and taxes. These taxes and fees may cost a miniscule amount or several hundred dollars annually.

No Stock Ownership

When a corporation wants to raise funds, they sometimes issue shares of stock. An LLC cannot issue stock.

Recommended: How to Start Investing in Stocks

Transferable Ownership

Some states may require that an LLC be dissolved if there is a change in ownership. If the people starting the business expect to take in outside investors over the years, a corporation might be a better choice.

How to Form an LLC

Once you’ve decided to start an LLC, you’ll want to choose and reserve a company name that doesn’t conflict with currently existing ones. Typically, an LLC must have what’s called a registered agent: someone who will handle official documents for the company.

Then, you’ll need to document the nuts and bolts of the operating agreement that describes the structure of the company. This can include who owns what portion of the company and who gets to vote on which issues. You’ll detail how profits and losses will be addressed, how the company will be managed, when meetings will be held, and how to handle the business if a member leaves the company or dies. This document should also describe what should happen if the company goes out of business.

Recommended: 2024 IRS Tax Refund Dates

How LLCs Are Different From Other Business Entities

An LLC is formed to be a legal entity that’s separate from its owners and is responsible for its business debts. Here’s how an LLC differs from other company structures.

LLC vs Sole Proprietorship

Profits in an LLC are only taxed once because of the pass-through taxation structure. This is reported on and addressed through owners’ personal tax returns by filing a Form 1040, Schedule C, listing profits or losses. As an LLC owner, you may be taxed as a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a corporation.

A sole proprietorship is owned by one person and is the simplest structure available. A sole proprietorship also involves pass-through taxation with the business owner paying taxes on the business’s profit. There isn’t as much flexibility in filing as a sole proprietor as there is with an LLC.

LLC vs S-Corp

An LLC is a business structure. An S-corp, meanwhile, is a tax classification. Many businesses decide to have their LLC taxed as an S-corp. The nuances can be complicated, so it makes sense to consult your personal accountant or other professional before making this decision.

LLC for Rental Property

If you create an LLC to buy rental homes, you’ll have the benefits of no personal liability and pass-through taxation. There can be a flexible ownership structure, personal anonymity, and fairly simple reporting.

However, it may be harder to finance rental property as an LLC. There can also be significant fees to get the LLC up and running. LLCs for rentals can be more complex at tax time, and property transfers can also be more complicated.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

How to Choose the Right Business Type

Consider how simple or complex your proposed business will become. Do you plan to basically run the business yourself, or will it ideally turn into something bigger? What kind of legal protections will you need based on your business plans?

Entrepreneurs should also weigh the tax benefits of LLCs and sole proprietorships. The two structures, along with partnerships and S-corps, feature pass-through benefits, meaning that profits are taxed only when they’re paid to the company owner(s). A C-corp, meanwhile, is taxed as a company as well as when shareholder payouts are made.

Consult your accountant or financial advisor for specifics on your situation.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

The Takeaway

Limited liability companies (LLCs) come with plenty of advantages and a few disadvantages. As its name implies, the owners’ and investors’ private assets are not at risk if the company should struggle financially. Owners of the LLC are referred to as members. Membership may range from one individual to multiple individuals to other companies.

A major benefit is pass-through taxation, where income passes through the company to its members, who report it on their personal taxes. One disadvantage of LLCs for very small businesses is the startup cost and annual fees, which can run to several hundred dollars a year. Consult a professional to find out whether an LLC is the right fit for your business plan.

No matter what business structure you choose, it’s important to keep track of your finances. SoFi’s spending app provides you with an easy to use online budget planner so you can stay on top of your finances.

Benefit from the insights you’ve always wanted with SoFi.

FAQ

What are the tax benefits of having an LLC?

With an LLC, you’ll have flexibility in deciding the structure under which your company will be taxed. There are more tax benefits of an LLC, including pass-through taxation, which means you’ll only get taxed once at your individual tax rate.

What are the benefits of a limited liability company?

They can include limited liability, meaning that owners aren’t personally responsible for company debts; flexible structures; pass-through taxation; more credibility; and fewer compliance requirements compared to a corporation.

What is the best tax option for an LLC?

Each situation is unique, so consult your accountant or financial advisor for specifics.


Photo credit: iStock/hh5800

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.

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

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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

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

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