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What to Do Before Starting Your First Job

If you’re gearing up for your first job post-graduation, you might be feeling a mix of emotions. There’s happiness about landing your new gig, excitement about what’s to come, and some nervousness, too.

And then there are all the practical considerations. You’ll need to budget for your new work life to cover things like commuting and your wardrobe. At the same time, you probably have student loans to pay off, and you’ll want a solid plan in place to manage your debt.

That’s a lot! But not to worry. With a little prep, and by taking a few smart steps, you’ll be set to start your new job and start working toward your financial goals.

Researching the Company

You likely researched your new employer before you accepted the position. Now that you’ve got an official start date, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Consider learning about the history of the company. And then brush up on what’s ahead. Is there any information about the direction the firm is headed in or any future plans that have been released? Are new products and services about to be launched?

Researching the broader industry could also be beneficial. Search for general trends that are worth noting. What are their biggest competitors working on?

It’s also a good idea to take a look at your network. Do you know anyone who works at the company you could reach out to? Perhaps there is a friend-of-a-friend who might be willing to chat with you before your first day. Getting some information on the company’s culture could help relieve your anticipatory anxiety. Plus, then you’ll have a familiar face to look out for around the office.

Recommended: 10 Personal Finance Basics

Doing a Dry Run of Your Commute

Worrying and stressing about whether or not you’re going to be on time for your first day is no way to start a job, so do a test run of your new commute. Whether it’s a drive, walk, or bus or train ride, making the commute in advance means you’ll get all of your second guessing, potential detours, and missed turns out of the way.

Plus, this way you can get a sense of the traffic patterns and find out where and when you may need to allow more time. You can also see how much commuting might cost you and figure out ways to pay less for your drive to work.

Planning for the Day Ahead

One good way to destress your morning routine is to prepare everything the night before. Get the coffee ready to go and set on a timer so you don’t have to think about it when you wake up. Plan what to have for breakfast so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Choose your clothes for the big day in advance. Try everything on to make sure it fits and that there aren’t any loose buttons. This will save you precious time in the morning.

If you’re not sure what the standard attire is at your new office, err on the side of being more professional than casual. As you get to know the company culture, you can adjust your outfit choices, which could even help you save money on clothes.

Gathering the Appropriate Paperwork

Before you head into the office, you’ll usually get an email from HR with some information about your first day. It’s worth reading through it carefully and gathering any paperwork that might be needed. Organize the documents and pack them in your bag the night before. If you have questions about benefits, holidays, when you’ll be paid, or anything else, jot them all down and bring them with you so you can go over everything with the HR rep.

Getting to Know the Team

You will likely be collaborating with your coworkers on a daily basis, so first impressions matter. Project a friendly, professional, and fully engaged attitude as you meet and interact with your colleagues.

Be receptive and enthusiastic when you get your first assignment. Listen closely and ask your manager questions so you fully understand your responsibilities. Then you can get down to work.

Updating (Or Creating) Your Financial Plan

Some of the other important work-related changes you’ll need to make involve getting your financial life in shape. You can start by:

Refining Your Budget

A new job means a new salary, which makes this a good time to update or create a budget. Consider making adjustments based on your new salary. If you don’t have an existing budget in place, this could be the perfect time to add some structure to your spending and saving.

If you’re moving to a new city for the job or into a new apartment, it’s wise to start planning for all those moving costs now.

Planning for Future You

Next, focus on building your financial security. Carefully review the options your new company offers for retirement savings. Do they have a 401(k)? And if so, do they offer matching contributions?

Saving for retirement might not be on your radar right now, but it’s never too early to start prepping for your future. Sign up to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan, and contribute at least enough for the company to match your contributions.

Handling Debt

As a recent graduate, you likely have student loans you’re paying off. If that’s the case, part of your financial strategy could include figuring out if your current repayment plan is the best one for you—or if there’s one out there that might be a better fit.

The repayment plan you choose will depend on a variety of factors, including the types of student loans you have, the amount of debt, and your income and profession. If you have federal student loans, you might be eligible for repayment options including income-driven repayment plans, federal student loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness.

It’s also worth seeing if your new company offers assistance to employees repaying student loans. A growing number of employers have such programs. If yours is one of them, find out how you can get some help repaying what you owe.

If paying off student loan debt quickly is a priority for you, consider putting any windfalls, like a signing bonus, toward your student loans.

Another option to think about is student loan refinancing. For qualifying borrowers, refinancing could offer better terms, which could potentially lead to savings. But refinancing may not be for everyone. When federal loans are refinanced they become private loans and are no longer eligible for federal repayment plans or protections, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

If you decide that refinancing is beneficial for you, you’ll want to shop around for the best deal. SoFi offers student refinancing loans with low fixed and variable interest rates, flexible terms, and no fees. Plus, SoFi members get free perks like career coaching and financial advice.

Learn what student loan refinancing can do for you, and get prequalified with SoFi in just two minutes.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

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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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9 Ways to Improve Your Financial Life

Making it in life, in a financial sense, isn’t a matter of winning the lottery or saving pennies like a miser. Rather, like many goals, it can depend on developing good daily habits.

If you make small, incremental shifts in how you manage your money, you could grow your net worth significantly. Some of the moves to make can involve reviewing and trimming your recurring bills, bumping up your savings contributions a notch, and other simple changes.

While you may not see your savings double overnight, you can get on a path to growing your wealth. Here are some ideas that can help put you on the road to a better financial life.

1. Reviewing Monthly Expenses

One of the simplest ways to improve your financial health is to take a closer look at exactly where your money is going each month.

Consider tracking expenses for a month or so, and then making a list of how much you’re currently spending monthly on essential and non-essential items.

You may want to list them in order of priority, and then look for places where you could potentially pair back, or, in some cases, completely eliminate the expense.

This might involve canceling inactive memberships and unused subscriptions, and/or re-evaluating your cell, cable and car insurance plans (do you have more bells and whistles than you need? Could you get a better deal elsewhere?).

Or, you might decide to cook more, and get takeout less often, or make fewer trips to the mall.
Another way to knock down recurring bills is to do a little haggling. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to get a provider to give you a better deal or to lower your rate.

For instance, if you see a promotion going on from a competitor, you can always ask your company if they can apply that rate to your account.

You can also call up a hospital to negotiate a medical bill.

Recommended: Are you financially healthy? Take this 2 minute quiz.💊

2. Trying a 30-Day Spending Freeze

One quick way to change your spending habits is to put yourself on a one-month spending freeze, during which you avoid buying anything that isn’t a must. You may identify some ways and reasons you are overspending and be able to scale back.

If that seems too challenging, you might want to pick a single category (such as clothing or shoes) or a specific store to stay away from for 30 days.

To help stay motivated, you might keep track of the money you didn’t spend during your freeze and then put it to use paying down debt, starting an emergency fund, or saving for a downpayment on a home or other short-term financial goal.

This can result in more money in the bank (or fewer bills) at the end of the month.

And once you start seeing the payoff of not giving in to impulse buying, you may find yourself spending less even after the freeze is over.

Recommended: How to Stop Compulsive and Impulsive Shopping

3. Automating Every Bill

Automating your finances not only makes your life easier, it can help boost your financial wellness.
Setting up automatic withdrawals from your bank account to pay all of your bills helps ensure those bills get paid on time. And, when it comes to improving your financial life, paying bills on time can have a pretty significant impact.

For one reason, it helps you avoid paying interest and late-payment fees.

It could also help maintain your credit score. That’s because a significant portion of your credit score is based on payment history. In fact, it’s weighted more than any other factor.

Having a good credit score is important because it can help you qualify for the best interest rates on credit cards and loans, including a home mortgage.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

4. Putting an Extra 1% Towards Retirement

Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, the sooner you start, the easier it is, and the more you’ll have when you do retire.

If you’re not yet maxing out your 401(k) contribution at work (which takes money out of your paycheck before taxes), you may want to increase it by just 1%.

You likely won’t notice the difference in your paycheck. But given the power of compounding interest (when your short- or long-term investments earn returns, those returns get reinvested and start to earn returns as well), that small increase can net more significant gains over time.

You may want to set up a timeline for when you want to bump it up another percentage point after you’ve gotten used to the 1%.

If you don’t have a 401(k) at work, you may want to look into opening an individual retirement account (IRA), keeping in mind that there are limits on how much you can put into retirement savings each year.

5. Paying in Cash

What is it about plastic that can make your brain think you’re not really spending money?

One way to curb unnecessary or mindless spending is to leave your credit cards at home and only carry the amount of cash you have budgeted to spend that day, or week.

When you can literally see your money going somewhere, you may find yourself becoming much more intentional in the way you spend it.

It can also be more difficult to get into debt when using cash, which could, in turn, pay off later by helping you avoid high interest credit card payments.

Recommended: Guide to Lowering Your Credit Card Interest Rate

6. Creating Multiple Income Streams

You may not be able to snap your fingers and get a raise at work, but it might be possible to increase your income in other ways. A low-cost side hustle could be the answer.

For example, is there a way to turn one of your hobbies, skills, or interests into some extra funds?

Maybe a favorite local business could use some help managing their social media account or designing or writing copy for their website.

Babysitting a neighbor’s kids, cleaning houses, walking dogs, or running errands for an older person are also options.

Or, you might consider taking up a gig with flexible hours, such as driving for Uber or another rideshare company, delivering food, helping people with small tasks, or personal shopping through one of the many on-demand service apps.

7. Saying “No” to Monthly Fees

Unless you’re looking very closely at your bank statements each month, you might not even be aware of the fees your bank may be charging every month for your checking or savings accounts.

These could include service fees, maintenance fees, ATM fees (if you go outside their network), minimum balance fees, overdraft/insufficient funds fees, and transaction fees. Over time, those little dinks can make a major dent in your account.

If you notice that you’re getting hit with one or more bank fees, you may want to consider shopping around for a less expensive bank or switching to an online-only financial institution.

Because online financial institutions typically don’t have the same overhead costs banks with physical branches do, they generally offer low or no fees.

8. Making Savings Automatic

To start a savings routine, consider opening up a high-yield savings account or checking and savings account, and then setting up automatic, monthly transfers from your checking account into this saving account.

By having a set amount automatically transferred every month, you won’t have to think about (or remember to manually make) this transaction — it’ll just happen.

It’s perfectly okay to start small. Even small deposits of $20 or so will add up.

Before long you may have enough for an emergency fund (i.e., three- to six-months worth of living expenses just-in-case), a down payment, or another savings goal.

9. Knocking Down Debt

Having too much debt can hurt your chances of achieving financial security.

That’s because when you’re spending a lot of money on interest each month, it can be harder to pay all of your other expenses on time, not to mention grow your savings.

Getting rid of debt can have long-range consequences as well.

If you can lower your credit utilization ratio, which shows the amount of available credit you have, you could help establish or maintain your credit scores. And that, in turn, could make it easier to qualify for lower-interest loans and credit cards in the future.

While knocking down debt may seem like a mountain to climb, choosing a simple debt reduction strategy may help.

•   Since credit card debt typically costs the most in interest, you might consider chipping away at these debts first, and then move on to the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on.

•   Another approach is to pay the minimum toward all your accounts and then pay any extra you can afford toward the debt with the smallest balance. When that debt is wiped out, you can move on to the next smallest balance, and so on.

If you can qualify for a lower interest rate, another option might be to take out a personal loan that consolidates all those high-interest debts into one more manageable payment.

The Takeaway

Making it financially doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in a huge paycheck or coming into a windfall (although those things don’t hurt).

Financial wellness is more about being able to live within your means while saving. Making a few incremental changes, such as putting just 1% more of your paycheck into your 401(k), or siphoning off an extra $100 into a savings or checking and savings account each month, can slowly but surely help you build your net worth.

Taking steps to improve your financial well-being can be simple with the right information and tools. With a SoFi Checking and Savings online bank account, you can track all your spending and saving with a single dashboard. It’s also easy to set up automatic transfers to savings accounts for different goals, all while earning competitive annual percentage yield (APY).

Not a fan of fees? SoFi Checking and Savings doesn’t have any account fees, plus withdrawing cash is fee-free at the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ ATMs worldwide.

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at

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

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

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5 Smart Ways to Handle Supplemental Income

Supplemental income is money that is earned above and beyond a person’s “regular” income, which, for most people, is earned through working a job.

Supplemental income could include income earned through a side hustle, or it could include money from a regular job that is extra: bonuses, overtime pay, tips, commissions, and so forth.

For many people, supplemental income can amount to “extra” money beyond what’s needed to cover their regular expenses. And there are some smart ways to handle that extra income, which may help people reach their financial goals sooner.

What Is Supplemental Income

As noted, supplemental income is money that is earned or otherwise accumulated beyond a typical income stream, like a paycheck. That can include bonuses or tips earned while working a job, too.

Supplemental income can also be earned in the form of a commission, by accumulating dividends on investments, or even by working a second job or side hustle.

There are numerous ways to tap into supplemental income streams, though that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily easy. You should also know that there are generally two types of supplemental income: Active, and passive.

•   Active income: This is often defined as trading time for money. The person puts in time, whether that’s through taking photographs for websites or walking dogs, and is paid for their services in exchange. It’s a typical job, in other words.

•   Passive income: This kind of work involves little to no active investment in time once the gig is established. It could involve selling an uploaded ebook or affiliate marketing, as two examples.

For many people, a side hustle or second job is likely the quickest route to earning supplemental income. But there are government programs out there, too, that can help those in need, like the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI).

A Note About Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration. SSI provides payments to people over the age of 65 who have a disability, including being blind or deaf. To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, people must also have limited financial resources, in addition to meeting the age and disability requirements. The purpose of the program is to help people meet their basic needs.

As the program is designed to help people meet their basic needs, some of the suggestions for handling supplemental income may not be applicable to those earning SSI benefits.That’s because those who do receive those benefits likely won’t have much room in their budget for additional spending, or the need to find ways to deploy that additional income — they’ll need it to cover their basic expenses.

Launching a Side Hustle

When choosing a side hustle or second job, it makes sense to pick one of interest to you; or, even better, one that inspires passion. This can help to prevent boredom and make it more likely that time and energy will continue to be invested in this income-generating activity. What hobbies, for example, can be monetized? Blogging? Making crafts or designing websites?

Ask yourself further questions: How much time can be invested in this side hustle? Can the required time ebb and flow as demands at the main job fluctuate? What resources are available to get started? And, perhaps most importantly, what’s the estimated earning potential?

Having a second job or side hustle isn’t terribly uncommon these days, as many people either need the extra money to make ends meet, or are looking for ways to pad their earnings to add to their savings or investment accounts.

One benefit of side hustles that are based on passive income is that, although work typically needs done up front to establish the side hustle, it shouldn’t need ongoing active involvement. And whether you’re renting out a room in your house, monetizing a blog, or writing ebooks to earn supplemental income, it’s important to keep some things in mind as you start to see that income roll in.

Tips for Using Your Extra Income

1. First, Manage Your Income Taxes

When working for an employer, relevant income taxes are typically withdrawn from each paycheck but, with a side hustle (one that doesn’t involve working for an employer and receiving a paycheck, that is), the worker is responsible for paying federal taxes, FICA, Medicare tax, and any state and local taxes on net income.

That’s because a “hustle” or “gig” is typically a form of self-employment. To help, the IRS has created a Gig Economy Tax Center with plenty of resources and pieces of important information, including that income taxes must be paid on side gig income of $400 or more annually.

Those earning money from a side gig may also need to pay estimated quarterly taxes. The deadline for these payments are:

•   April 15 for payment period January 1–March 31

•   June 15 for payment period April 1–May 31

•   September 15 for payment period June 1–August 31

•   January 15 for payment period September 1–December 31

At the tax-filing deadline, (typically mid-April), a Schedule C usually needs to be filed for people earning money in a self-employed side gig — and, when earning supplemental income, it’s important to deposit enough in a bank account so that funds don’t fall short when tax returns need to be filed. What’s left over after taxes are planned for can be spent in a variety of ways, some ideas might include:

•   Paying off “bad” debt.

•   Establishing an emergency savings account.

•   Saving and investing.

•   Enjoying some discretionary spending.

2. Paying Off “Bad” Debt

Bad debt can be defined, in general, as debt you acquire that results in a net loss. For example, going into debt for a vacation, a big party, clothes and/or gadgets doesn’t add to your net worth. Going into debt for your education or home may gradually add to your net worth in the future.

Bad debt can also refer to loan or lines of credit with higher interest rates, and which are harder to pay off as a result. Supplemental income can be used to pay this debt down or off.

Debt management plans to pay off debt include the snowball or avalanche methods — and a combo of the two, the fireball method. Different strategies work better for different people, so it can be worth experimenting with them to make the best choice.

With the snowball method, list bad debts by the amount owed, from the smallest to the highest. Include credit card debts, personal loans, and so forth. Then, make the minimum payment on each but put extra funds on the one with the smallest balance to get it paid off. Once that balance is zero, home in on the debt with the second smallest balance and keep using this strategy until all bad debt is paid off. Avoid using credit cards during this time.

With the avalanche method, list bad debt in order of its interest rate, from highest to lowest. Make minimum payments on all of them and put extra funds on the one with the highest rate. Pay it off and then move to the next highest rate, and so forth.

With the fireball method, take “bad” debt with interest rates of 7% or more and then list them from smallest to largest. Make the minimum payment on all and then put excess on the smallest of the “bad” debts. Rinse and repeat.

3. Establishing an Emergency Savings Account

Another smart idea is to put supplemental income into an emergency savings account. This can be accomplished in conjunction with a debt payment plan (put half of the excess funds into an emergency account and use the other half to pay down bad debt, for example) or as a single focused goal.

Funds in this account are intended for use if a financial emergency occurs. This can be a leaky roof that requires immediate attention, a significant car repair, or unexpected medical bills. Having a robust emergency fund can help to prevent the need to rely on credit cards to address unanticipated expenses.

It is commonly suggested that emergency savings accounts should contain 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. So, add those monthly bills up and multiply by three — and also by four, five, and six. This gives a range of the rainy-day fund’s goal.

4. Saving and Investing

You could save or invest your extra money! This can include saving for personal goals, from a down payment on a house to a vacation fund, and or for retirement. What’s important is to prioritize how it makes sense to use extra money being earned and then save and invest to help meet those goals. How you save or invest that money would be up to you, but you could look at some common investment choices including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and alternative investments, and more.

5. Enjoy Some Discretionary Spending

Once the financial “need-to” items are checked off the list, it can be okay to use some supplemental income to have fun. You could update your wardrobe, buy a new video game, take in a movie, or even go out to a nice dinner. If it’s within your budget parameters, treating yourself every now and then can be a nice thing to do.

Plus, getting a taste of the finer things may help keep you motivated to make sure your spending stays in check and that you stick to your budget going forward.

The Takeaway

Supplemental income is extra income earned beyond your primary income stream, and finding ways to drive supplemental or secondary income can help you reach your financial goals sooner. It can also help you free up some room in your budget to potentially treat yourself every now and then.

You can also put that extra money to work, by saving it and earning interest, or investing it for the future.

Ready to use extra funds to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an Active Invest account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.

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For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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.

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.


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What Does Life Post MBA Look Like?

Earning an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree is no small feat. Between the work you did in undergrad, the application process, determining how to pay for your MBA education, and completing your studies, internship(s), and other work—you’ve done a lot. You should be proud of yourself!

But what comes next?

After all, you’ve taken a breadth of courses. According to The Princeton Review, core business school
(often taken in Year 1 of a two-year program) cover a range of topics: finance, management, accounting, decision science, organizational behavior, and economics. During Year 2, students may specialize their studies.

For example, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business offers courses including technology, health management, and corporate social responsibility. All these subjects are designed to help an MBA grad develop the skills to lead in a business setting.

According to a survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, about 57% of survey respondents reported wanting to acquire new business-related skills and knowledge.

Others hoped the degree would increase their job prospects, help them build a strong professional network, help them make a positive difference in the world and/or lead to an increased salary.

With these skills in hand, there are a number of avenues your post-MBA career can follow. Below, you’ll find some of the paths today’s MBA-holders are considering—and they may not be what you expect. And because MBA students leave school with an average of $70,000 in loans, we’ll dig into possible ways to tackle that debt, too.


According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), MBA grads are likely to find opportunities in the tech world . Major tech companies include Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—and their lesser known counterparts are hiring MBA grads, too. GMAC polled recruiters, and 89% said they were looking to employee people with a business degree.

MBA grads might be hired for work in strategy, product management, business development, finance, operations, or human resources. Depending on your undergraduate degree (computer science, engineering, etc), your previous work experience, and your specialization in grad school, some roles may be a better fit than others.


If you’re an MBA grad aiming to making a positive environmental or social impact, you may be leaning towards a job at the intersection of business and sustainability. You could work for a company devoted to green energy such as a solar power company, or an automobile brand that makes hybrid and electric cars.

You might also want to consider a company that aims to develop new green products, or that wants to make its current business practices more sustainable.

“Environmental issues like climate change and its impacts are going to profoundly affect businesses across almost every sector in coming decades,” said Katie Kross, managing director at the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “Today’s MBA students are launching their careers in a world where natural resource constraints have far-reaching implications for how businesses operate.”

See how refinancing could help
you pay off your MBA sooner.


By definition, an entrepreneur is an innovator who launches and operates a business, often taking on most of the financial risk and reaping most of the rewards.

Business schools recruit future business leaders, so plenty of MBA students attend graduate school hoping to gather the skills necessary to create and run a successful company. Some even started companies before attending business school, gaining valuable experience, with specific questions about how to improve their business.

Cameron McCain is one such MBA grad . According to McCain, the biggest advantages to earning an MBA as an entrepreneur, for him, included building a network. One day, those people may be behind the doors you’re knocking on in your quest for capital. He also says that an MBA helps entrepreneurs fill in the gaps of their own business acumen. For McCain, that meant focusing on finance, an area in which he had less experience.


Fashion, entertainment, and sports companies likely need people with a business background. Take film and television companies, for instance. Like other businesses, they require market data analysis. Which products are succeeding? Which are failing? Being able to look at consumer data and then make strategic business moves is an MBA-taught skill set.

Entrepreneur Cara Withers Shaw , who got her MBA from Pepperdine University, worked for multiple entertainment companies (Disney, Twentieth Century Fox) before launching her own company. She says her time in business school helped her develop the quantitative and qualitative analytical skills she needed to study movie-going data.

But What About My Loans?

If you attended a two-year MBA program at a top business school and took out student loans in order to do so, chances are you’re looking at around $80,000 to over $100,000 in student loan debt.

This doesn’t mean your hard-earned degree isn’t worth it, financially speaking. Debt for B-School grads who attended Harvard, Stanford, or the University of Chicago ranges from $86,000 to $116,000; their average salary is about $161,000. That said, even with a hefty salary, grads’ loans may be overwhelming.

There are strategies that may make your monthly payments more manageable. First, once you know your income, you might spend some time making a new budget that factors your loan payments into your expenses. You might consider setting up automatic payments, which could ease your stress—and keep you from missing a payment.

And refinancing your student loans at a lower interest rate may help lessen the amount of interest you pay over time, potentially saving you money in the long haul. (Keep in mind that if you have federal loans, refinancing means losing access to benefits like student loan forgiveness, especially if you choose to work in the public sector.)

Regardless of the path you choose, your MBA likely played a large part in getting you there. And with a better handle on your student loans, you’ll likely have more energy and time to devote to making it count.

Thinking about refinancing your MBA loans? Find your interest rate with SoFi here.

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