What Is the Coupon Rate of a Bond?

Understanding the Coupon Rate of a Bond

A bond’s coupon rate represents the annual interest rate paid by the issuer, as determined by current market interest rates and based on the bond’s face value. Bond issuers typically pay coupon rates on a semiannual basis.

The coupon rate of a bond can tell an investor how much interest they can expect to collect on a yearly basis. The bond coupon rate is not the same as the bond yield, which investors who buy bonds on the secondary market use to estimate the total rate of return at maturity.

Investment-quality bonds can help with diversification in a portfolio while providing a consistent stream of interest income. Understanding the coupon rate and what it means is important when choosing bonds for your portfolio.

What Is the Coupon Rate?

Bonds represent a debt where the bond issuer borrows money from investors and agrees to pay interest at regular intervals in exchange for the use of their capital. Both governments and non-government entities, like corporations, may issue bonds to raise capital to fund various endeavors.

The coupon rate of a bond is usually a fixed interest rate, typically paid out twice per year. That said, there are some variable-rate bonds, as well as zero-coupon bonds (more on those below). Investors often use the term “coupon rate” when discussing fixed-income securities, including bonds and notes.

Recommended: How Does the Bond Market Work

The Role of Coupon Rates in Bond Investments

Investors can buy individual bonds, bond funds, or bond options, which are derivatives similar to stock options.

The coupon interest rate tells you what percentage of the bond’s face value, or par value, you’ll receive yearly. The rate won’t change during the life of the bond, which is why some bonds are worth more than others on the secondary market.

Coupon rates are typically lower for investment-grade bonds and higher for junk bonds, due to their higher risk.

Example of a Bond’s Coupon Rate

Assume you purchase a bond with a face value of $1,000. The bond has a coupon rate of 4%. This means that for each year you hold the bond until maturity, you’d receive $40, regardless of what you paid for the bond.

If you buy a bond on the secondary market, the story changes somewhat. That’s because bonds trade either at a premium to the par value (higher than the face value), or at a discount to par (lower than the face value). Because the coupon rate of the bond stays the same until maturity, it may represent a higher or lower percentage of the par value — this is called the yield.

History of the Term Coupon

Bond holders used to get literal coupons as a way of collecting their interest payments. This is no longer the case, as interest is paid on a set schedule to the investor directly.


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Calculating the Coupon Rate

The bond coupon rate formula is fairly simple:

Bond coupon rate = Total annual coupon payment/Face or par value of the bond x 100

To apply the coupon rate formula you’d need to know the face or par value of the bond and the annual interest or coupon payment. To find this payment, you’d multiply the amount of interest paid by the number of periodic payments made for the year. You’d then divide that by the par value and divide the result by 100.

Recommended: How to Buy Bonds: A Guide for Beginners

Step-by-Step Calculation of the Coupon Rate

Say you have a bond with a face value of $1,000, which pays $25 in interest to you twice per year.

•   To find the annual coupon payment you’d multiply $25 by two to get $50.

•   You’d then divide the $50 annual coupon payment by the $1,000 par value of the bond. 50 / 1000 = 0.05

•   Then multiply the result by 100 (0.05 x 100) to find that your bond has a coupon rate of 5%.

The Impact of Market Interest Rates on Coupon Rates

How is the coupon rate determined? This is where current market interest rates come into play.

How Interest Rate Fluctuations Affect Bonds

Interest rates can influence coupon rates. An interest rate is the rate a lender charges a borrower. Individual lenders determine interest rates, often based on movements in an underlying benchmark rate. When discussing bond coupon rates and interest rates, it’s typically in the context of changes to the federal funds rate. This is the rate at which commercial banks lend to one another overnight.

Movements in the federal funds rate directly influence other types of interest rates, including coupon rates and bond prices on the secondary market.

When interest rates rise, based on changes to the federal funds rate, that can cause bond prices to fall. When interest rates decline, bond prices typically rise. When bond prices change that doesn’t impact the coupon rate, which stays the same. But a bond’s price is an important consideration for investors who trade on the secondary market because it impacts the yield to maturity.

Strategies for Investors in a Changing Rate Environment

Bond prices can move up or down based on the coupon rate, relative to movements in interest rates.

When interest rates are higher than the bond’s coupon rate, that bond’s price may fall in order to offset a less attractive yield. If interest rates drop below the bond’s coupon rate, the bond’s price may rise if it becomes a more attractive investment opportunity.

When comparing coupon rates and bond prices, it’s important to understand the relationship between the bond’s face value and what it trades for on the secondary market. If a bond is trading at a price above its face value, that means it’s trading at a premium to par. Conversely, if a bond is trading at a price below its face value, that means it’s trading at a discount to par.

An investor who purchases a bond with the intent to hold it until it reaches maturity does not need to worry about bond price movements. Their end goal is to collect the annual interest payments and recover their principal on the assigned maturity date, making it a relatively safe investment as long as the issuer fulfills their obligation.

Investors looking to buy bonds and resell them before they mature, however, may pay attention to which way bond prices are moving relative to the coupon rate to determine whether selling would yield a profit or loss.

Understanding Coupon Rate vs. Yield

Coupon rate tells investors how much interest a bond will pay yearly until maturity. But there are other metrics for evaluating bonds, including yield to maturity and interest rates. Understanding the differences in what they measure matters when determining whether bond investments are a good fit and what rate of return to expect.

Coupon Rate vs. Yield to Maturity

A bond’s yield to maturity or current yield reflects the interest rate earned by an investor who purchases a bond at market price and holds on to it until it reaches maturity. A bond’s maturity date represents the date at which the bond issuer agrees to repay the investor’s principal investment. Longer maturity dates may present greater risk, as they leave more room for the bond issuer to run into complications that could make it difficult to repay the principal.

When evaluating yield to maturity of a bond, you’re looking at the discount rate at which the sum of all future cash flows is equal to the price of the bond. Yield to maturity can be quoted as an annual rate that’s different from the bond coupon rate. In figuring yield to maturity, there’s an assumption that the bond issuer will make coupon and principal payments to investors on time.

The coupon rate is the annual interest earned while yield to maturity reflects the total rate of return produced by the bond when all interest and principal payments are made.

Coupon Rate vs Interest Rate

While coupon rate and interest rate seem similar, they are distinct. The coupon rate is set by the issuer of the bond, and the amount paid to the bondholder is tied to the face value.

But the prevailing interest rate set by the government is what determines the coupon rate. If the central bank, i.e. the Federal Reserve, sets the interest rate at 6%, that will influence what lenders are willing to accept in the form of the coupon rate.

Also, the price of a bond on the secondary market hinges on the coupon rate. A higher-coupon bond is more desirable than a lower-coupon bond, so its price will be higher.


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Variable-Rate and Zero-Coupon Bonds

Not all coupon rates are fixed. Investors can also consider whether buying variable-rate bonds or zero-coupon bonds might make sense.

Fixed vs. Variable Coupon Rates and Investment Impact

Although bonds typically offer fixed-income payments, some bonds do offer coupon rates that adjust periodically. For that reason these bonds are sometimes called floating-rate or adjustable-rate bonds.

In these cases, the coupon rate adjusts according to a formula that’s linked to an interest rate index such as the SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate), the new benchmark in the U.S. that has largely replaced the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate).

Although these are income-producing bonds, and there is always the possibility that they could offer a higher yield under the right conditions, they are not technically fixed-income instruments, which is something for investors to bear in mind. In addition they come with the risk of default.

Zero-Coupon Bonds Explained

Some bonds, called zero-coupon bonds, don’t pay interest at all during the life of the bond. The upside of choosing zero bonds is that by forgoing annual interest payments, it’s possible to purchase the bonds at a deep discount to par value. This means that when the bond matures, the issuer pays the investor more than the purchase price.

Zero-coupon bonds typically have longer maturity dates, which may make them suitable when investing for long-term goals. This type of bond may experience more price fluctuations compared to other types of bonds sold on the secondary market. Investors may still have to pay taxes on the imputed interest generated by the bond, though it’s possible to avoid that by investing in zero-coupon municipal bonds or other tax-exempt zero-coupon bond options.

The Takeaway

Investing in bonds can help you create a well-rounded portfolio alongside stocks, and other securities, which is why knowing the coupon rate of a bond is important. The coupon rate is the interest rate paid by the issuer, and it’s fixed for the life of the bond — which makes it possible to create a predictable income stream, whether you buy the bond at issuance or on the secondary market.

As you get closer to retirement, bonds can be an important part of your income and risk management strategy, whether you’re investing through an IRA, a 401(k), or a brokerage account.

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SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
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.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

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 Red Herring in Investing & How Does It Work?

What Is a Red Herring?

A red herring is a preliminary prospectus filed by a company that’s planning an initial public offering, or IPO. While a red herring prospectus includes coverage of the company’s operations, total estimated IPO amount, management and competitive market standing, it doesn’t reveal the share price or number of shares to be issued.

The SEC reviews the red herring prospectus, and all subsequent iterations, to make sure that all information is accurate before allowing the company to transition to the final investment prospectus phase.

A red herring prospectus has both investment and regulatory implications for companies heading toward an IPO, and any investors who may be interested in obtaining IPO stock.

Key Points

•   A red herring in an IPO is a preliminary prospectus filed by a company that provides information on operations, estimated IPO amount, management, and market standing.

•   A red herring is not final, and investors must take into considerations that the filing doesn’t include the share price for the IPO or the number of shares to be issued.

•   The SEC reviews a red herring prospectus to make sure that all information is accurate before allowing the company to transition to the final investment prospectus phase.

•   Red herrings offer investors some insight into the pros and cons potentially associated with trading IPO shares of the company in question.

IPOs, Explained

An initial public offering is the process through which a private company goes public, with shares of the company’s stock available to the investing public. The term “initial public offering” simply refers to a new stock issuance on a public exchange, which allows corporations to raise money through the sale of company stock.

Red Herring Prospectus

When a company transitions from a private company to public stock issuance, they must file a prospectus, a formal document sharing the new company’s structure, the purpose of the issue, underwriting, board of directors, and other relevant details with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

That prospectus, while not final, may help potential investors make investment decisions based on the information included in the prospectus. A prospectus doesn’t just cover stocks — it’s also required for bonds and mutual funds.

While all stocks include some degree of risk, IPO shares are particularly high-risk investments. Despite the media hype around many IPOs, which often focuses on big wins, the history of IPOs shows plenty of losses as well, owing to the volatility of these shares.

The risks associated with IPO stock is a significant reason why investors are typically asked to meet certain requirements in order to trade IPO shares through a brokerage.

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How a Red Herring Works

Prospectuses are dynamic and change regularly, as new information about a company comes forth. So, an investment prospectus will likely have multiple drafts before a final draft is released after SEC review.

In a red herring document, the prospectus is incomplete and noted as such, with the word “Red Herring” included on the prospectus cover. That disclaimer lets readers know not only that the prospectus is incomplete, but also that the company has filed for an upcoming IPO. The term “red herring” refers to both the initial prospectus and the subsequent drafts.

Additionally, a stock cannot complete its IPO until it fulfills the S-1 registration statement process, which is a primary reason why a red herring prospectus doesn’t include a stock price or the number of shares traded.

The SEC will review a red herring prospectus prior to its release to ensure that all information is accurate and that the document does not include any intentional discrepancies, falsehoods, or misleading information.

Recommended: A Guide to Tech IPOs

Once regulators clear the registration statement, the company can go ahead and transition out of the red herring IPO phase and enter into the final investment prospectus phase. The time between the approval of the registration process and the time that it reaches its “effective date” (which clears the stock for public trading) is 15 days.

In clearing the IPO for stock market trading, the SEC confirms the necessary information is included in the final prospectus, and that the information is accurate and compliant, based on U.S. securities law. Once the company gets through that hurdle they can continue moving through the IPO process.


💡 Quick Tip: Access to IPO shares before they trade on public exchanges has usually been available only to large institutional investors. That’s changing now, and some brokerages offer pre-listing IPO investing to qualified investors.

Red Herring Pros and Cons

Any investor looking to invest in an IPO stock should understand the benefits and investment risks when it comes to red herrings and in investing in IPOs.

Red Herring Advantages

•   Useful overall information on the company. While investors won’t find any information on pricing or share amounts, they can review company history, operational strategies, management team, potential IPO amount, and market performance, among other company particulars.

•   Some financial data points. Red herring IPOs may provide valuable information about how a company plans to use proceeds from an IPO stock offering. Knowing, for example, that a company plans to use stock proceeds to grow the company or to pay down debts gives investors a better indication of company direction, which they can use to make more informed investment decisions.

•   Risk factors. Under a section known as “Risk Factors”, a soon-to-be publicly-traded company lists any potential risk factors that could curb performance and growth. Legal or compliance problems, abundant market competition, and frequent management turnover are just some of the potential risks included in a red herring IPO prospectus – and investors should factor those risks into any potential investment decision.

Red Herring Disadvantages

•   No pricing data. The biggest drawback of red herring IPO prospectus is the fact that the documents don’t provide any guidance on IPO stock pricing or number of shares available. These are obviously critical components of any investment decision, but investors must wait until the registration statement process is fully complete before that data is available.

•   Shifting information. IPO company information can and does change from document version to version. Investors need to be diligent and stay apprised of all information on red herring prospectuses, from version to version, if they’re interested in an IPO stock.

•   Uncertainty. If government regulators cite deficiencies in a red herring prospectus they may half the IPO process until they’re addressed.

Recommended: SPAC IPO vs Traditional IPO: Pros and Cons of Investing in Each

Red Herring Example

A red herring prospectus when filed with the SEC may have the words “Red Herring” stamped on the document as a reminder to prospective investors that the information in the document is subject to change, and that the securities (i.e. shares of stock, or bonds) are not available for sale until the SEC has approved the final prospectus.

The statement typically included in a new company’s prospectus may say:

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and we are not soliciting offers to buy these securities in any state or other jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

The Takeaway

The red herring prospectus is the first version of a new IPO company S-1 prospectus, and may be the first detailed impression that institutional investors and the investing public gets of an initial public offering.

By providing all the necessary information on a new publicly traded company (minus the opening share price and the number of shares available), a red herring prospectus can introduce investors to a new stock, which can provide much of the information necessary for investors to decide whether they’re interested in the company, and willing to assume the risks involved in trading IPO shares (if eligible).

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.


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FAQ

How does a red herring document differ from the final prospectus?

The red herring document is usually shorter than the final filing with the SEC. In addition the final document contains the number of shares in the IPO, as well as the IPO price.

Are there any legal or regulatory requirements associated with red herring documents?

Yes. The SEC must validate all claims and data included in the red herring to ensure that it does not include any false information, or anything that might violate existing laws and regulations. Once the red herring passes muster,

Can investors rely on the information provided in a red herring document when making investment decisions?

Investors may use the red herring document to inform their basic understanding of the company that is seeking an IPO, but it may not be enough to guide an actual decision to buy shares.

Are there any risks or limitations associated with red herring documents that investors should be aware of?

Red herring documents are an important part of a new company’s IPO process, and as such they contain key information about the company, but investors need to be aware that the details are not finalized, and the terms may change before the final prospectus is filed.


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SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
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.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


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


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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?

Looking to start your own business? You’re not alone. Some 76% of Gen Z and millennials dream of being their own boss, according to a 2022 Microsoft report.

While launching your own business allows you plenty of professional freedom, it can also be expensive. As you’re creating your business plan, one question you’ll likely face early on is, how much does it cost to start a business?

The average small business owner spends around $40,000 in their first full year. But that amount can vary based on a number of factors, including the size, type and location of your business.

Let’s take a closer look at the startup costs of different types of businesses and common ways to cover the expenses.

Key Points

•   Starting a business involves various costs, with the average small business owner spending about $40,000 in the first year.

•   Costs can vary significantly based on the business size, type, and location.

•   Typical expenses include payroll, office space, inventory, and licensing fees.

•   Funding options include personal savings, loans from friends and family, outside investors, and business loans.

•   Effective planning and understanding of startup costs are crucial for setting a solid financial foundation.

Typical Small Business Startup Costs

The old adage is true: You have to spend money to make money. And unfortunately, some of the biggest business costs can come during the startup phase, when you are defining your business goals, finding a location, purchasing domain names, and generally investing in the infrastructure.

In order to make sure your business is on firm financial footing, it’s important to estimate your small business startup costs in advance. Here are some common ones to keep in mind:

Payroll

Many small businesses start out as a company of one. But if you’re planning on having employees, salary will likely be one of the biggest costs you’ll have. After all, offering an attractive pay and benefits package can help you recruit and retain top talent.

In addition to wages, you might also want to budget for other types of payroll costs, such as overtime, vacation pay, bonuses, commissions, and benefits.

Office Space

No matter what your business is, you’ll need somewhere to work. Are you leasing a storefront, or will you buy a membership to a co-working space or startup incubator? If you’re planning to work from home, consider whether your new business will increase your internet or utility bills.

And don’t forget about the supplies you’ll need to do the work. Depending on your business, this could include things like computers, phones, chairs and desks, paper supplies, or filing cabinets.


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Inventory

If you’re starting a business that sells products, you’ll need to have some inventory ready to go. Calculating stock as part of your start-up costs ensures that you can buy your product in advance, so that you’re ready to serve customers from day one.

Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

Some businesses, especially storefronts and restaurants, require more legal leg work than others.

For example, if you’re starting a native-plants landscaping business, will you need a permit? If you’re starting a new bar, will you need a liquor license? Licenses and permits vary by city and state, but most come with an application fee.

Likewise, your new business may require one or more insurance policies to protect you in case of future litigation, so be sure to factor in the cost of monthly premiums.

And don’t forget about the costs associated with registering your business. Whether you plan to set up shop as a sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability corporation or other business entity, you’ll need to pay a nominal fee. The amount will depend on the state where you operate.

And if you plan on enlisting the help of a lawyer, accountant or tax professional to get your business up and running, add those potential costs to your budget as well.

Advertising

Getting the word out about your new business is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that business starts off strong. Whether you want to advertise on social media or take out a billboard, your startup costs should reflect money you plan to put toward taking out ads for your business.

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Differences in Startup Costs Based on Industry

The actual cost of starting a small business can vary by business and industry. Here’s what you might be looking at if you want to start a few common types of small businesses.

Online Business Startup Costs

Like brick and mortar stores, the cost of doing business online varies depending on the type of business you have. But in general, you’ll need to budget for things like:

•   Web hosting service and domain name

•   Web design and optimization

•   E-commerce software

•   Payment processing

•   Content creation and social media

If you’re selling products, you will need to invest in inventory and shipping. If you’re providing services, you may need to hire employees. All of these costs can be significant.

However, one benefit of starting your small business online is that you may be able to keep other costs low. For example, if you can conduct business from home, you may not need to rent office space, which can be a major savings. If you’re able to do the work without purchasing inventory or hiring employees, the startup costs can be even lower.

Average startup cost: $500 to $20,000 or more (depending on your business)

Storefront Startup Costs

If your business idea requires a physical space, your startup costs might range from $1,000 for a small kiosk inside a mall or park to more than $69,000 for something like a home goods store.

Although $69,000 might seem like a daunting number, remember that many smaller, independently owned stores began with a much smaller budget.

Average retail startup cost: $39,210

Restaurant Startup Costs

If you’re betting on bringing in bank by selling your grandma’s famous bánh mì, you could be looking at startup costs of anywhere from $40,000 for a used food truck or cart to up to $3.7 million to buy a franchise restaurant. Typically, small restaurant costs, including coffee shops, fall somewhere in the $80,000 to $3000,000 range.

Average startup cost: $375,000

How to Finance Your Startup Business

Many who want to start a business are overwhelmed by the initial costs, but there are several ways to fund your passion project.

Friends and Family

Perhaps one of the most common ways to raise money for your small business is to ask friends and family to invest in you.

Friends and family loans can be ideal for financing a new small business because you can negotiate low-interest rates, flexible pay-back schedules, and avoid bank fees. Of course, borrowing money from friends and family can quickly become complicated by family drama, so make sure to agree on conditions before taking out a family loan.

Outside Investors

When we hear about startup companies, we frequently hear about so-called “angel investors” sweeping in to fully fund new businesses. But there are other practical ways to fund your small business with outside investors.

Some small businesses use crowdfunding platforms to find investors who each contribute a small amount, and others use startup funding networks to find investors looking to fund their specific type of business. Outside investors want to know that your business is likely to succeed, so you’ll need a solid business plan to land outside funders.

Personal Savings and Investments

Most people end up covering some of their small business start-up costs out of their own pocket. Self-funding your new business venture can be the most convenient option. After all, if you’re your own funder, you don’t have to worry about family drama or picky investors. And putting your own money on the line can be an extra motivation to make sure that your business is set up to succeed.

Of course, it can seem overwhelming to save up enough money to fund your small business. Luckily, there are simple strategies to effectively manage your money.

Business Loans

If you’re looking to purchase equipment, inventory, or pay for other business expenses, a business loan might make sense for you.

There are various types of small business loans available, each with different rates and repayment terms. Note that in some cases, lenders may be reluctant to give loans to a brand-new business. You might need to put up some type of collateral to qualify for funding.

Personal Loans

A personal loan can be used for just about any purpose, which can make it attractive for entrepreneurs who want to turn their passion project into a reality. These loans are usually unsecured, which means they’re not backed by collateral, like a home, car, or bank account balance.

Personal loan amounts vary. However, some lenders offer personal loans for as much as $100,000. Most personal loans have shorter repayment terms, though the length of a loan can vary from a few months to several years.

While there’s a great deal of latitude with how you use the funds, you might need to get your lender’s approval first if you intend on using the money directly for your business.


💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

The Takeaway

Going into business for yourself can be personally and professionally fulfilling. But it can also be expensive, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Estimating your startup costs early on can help ensure you’re on solid financial ground from the get-go. Labor, office space, and equipment are among the biggest expenses facing many entrepreneurs, but there are smaller fees and charges you’ll likely need to consider.

Fortunately, small business owners have no shortage of options when it comes to covering startup costs. Dipping into personal savings, or asking friends and family to invest are popular choices. Taking out a business loan or personal loan is another way to help finance a new business. The money can be used for a variety of purposes, and that flexibility can be especially useful when you’re just starting out.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


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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 recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit 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, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, 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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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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Wash Trading: What Is It? Is It Legal?

Wash Trading: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Wash trading is a practice which involves entering into securities transactions for the express purpose of giving the appearance that a trade has taken place although their portfolio has not substantially changed. Also referred to as round-trip trading, wash trading is a prohibited activity under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

In some cases, wash trading is a direct attempt at market manipulation. In others, wash trading may result from a lack of investor knowledge. This may be the case with wash sales, in which an investor sells one financial instrument then replaces it with a similar one right away. It’s important to understand the implications of making a wash trade and what one looks like in action.

Key Points

•   Wash trading involves investors engaging in the simultaneous buying and selling of securities to create the illusion of trading activity.

•   Wash trading involves the simultaneous buying and selling of the same or similar securities.

•   This practice can be a form of market manipulation or result from a lack of investor knowledge.

•   The goal of wash trading is to influence pricing or trading activity, often through collaboration between investors and brokers.

•   Wash trading is illegal and can result in penalties, including the disallowance of tax deductions for losses.

What Is Wash Trading?

Wash trading occurs when an investor buys and sells the same or a similar security investment at the same time. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also refers to this as a wash sale, since buying the same security cancels out the sale of that security. It’s also called round-trip trading, since you’re essentially ending where you began — with shares of the same security in your portfolio.

Wash trades can be used as a form of market manipulation. Investors can buy and sell the same securities in an attempt to influence pricing or trading activity. The goal may be to spur buying activity to send prices up or encourage selling to drive prices down.

Investors and brokers might work together to influence trading volume, usually for the financial benefit of both sides. The broker, for example, may benefit from collecting commissions from other investors who want to purchase a stock being targeted for wash trading. The investor, on the other hand, may realize gains from the sale of securities through price manipulation.

Wash trading can be a subset of insider trading, which requires the parties involved to have some special knowledge about a security that the general public doesn’t. If an investor or broker possesses insider knowledge they can use it to complete wash trades.

How Does Wash Trading Work?

On the surface level, a wash trade means an investor is buying and selling shares of the same security at the same time. But the definition of wash trades goes one step further and takes the investor’s intent (and that of the broker they may be working with) into account. There are generally two conditions that must be met for a wash trade to exist:

•   Intent. The intent of the parties involved in a wash trade (i.e. the broker or the investor) must be that at least one individual involved in the transaction must have entered into it specifically for that purpose.

•   Result. The result of the transaction must be a wash trade, meaning the investors bought and sold the same asset was bought and sold at the same time or within a relatively short time span for accounts with the same or common beneficial ownership.

Beneficial ownership means accounts that are owned by the same individual or entity. Trades made between accounts with common beneficial ownership may draw the eye of financial regulators, as they can suggest wash trading activity is at work.

A telling indicator of wash trading activity is the level of risk conveyed to the investor. If a trade doesn’t change their overall market position in the security or expose them to any type of market risk, then it could be considered a wash.

Wash trades don’t necessarily have to involve actual trades, however. They can also happen if investors and traders appear to make a trade on paper without any assets changing hands.

💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

Example of a Wash Trade

Here’s a simple wash trade example:

Say an investor who’s actively involved in day trading owns 100 shares of ABC stock and sells those shares at a $5,000 loss on September 1. On September 5, they purchase 100 shares of the same stock, then resell them for a $10,000 gain. This could be considered a wash trade if the investor engaged in the trading activity with the intent to manipulate the market or to unfairly claim a tax deduction for the loss.

Is Wash Trading Illegal?

Yes. The Commodity Exchange Act prohibits wash trading. Prior to the passage of the Act, traders commonly used wash trading to manipulate markets and stock prices. The Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) also enforces regulations regarding wash trading, including guidelines that bar brokers from profiting from wash trade activity.

The IRS has rules of its own regarding wash trades. The rules disallow investors from deducting capital losses on their taxes from sales or trades of stocks or other securities that are the result of a wash sale. Under the IRS rules, a wash sale occurs when you sell or trade stocks at a loss and within 30 days before or after the sale you:

•   Purchase substantially identical stock or securities

•   Acquire substantially identical stock or securities in a fully taxable trade

•   Acquire a contract or option to buy substantially identical stock or securities, or

•   Acquire substantially identical stock for your individual retirement arrangement (IRA) or Roth IRA

Wash sale rules also apply if you sell stock and your spouse or a corporation you control buys substantially identical stock. When a wash sale occurs, you’re no longer able to claim a tax deduction for those losses.

So, in short, yes, wash trading is illegal.

Difference Between Wash Trading & Market Making

Market making and wash trading are not the same thing. A market maker is a firm or individual that buys or sells securities at publicly quoted prices on-demand, and a market maker provides liquidity and facilitates trades between buyers and sellers. For example, if you’re trading through an online broker you’re using a market maker to complete the sale or purchase of securities.

Recommended: What Is a Brokerage Account?

Market making is not market manipulation. A market maker is, effectively, a middleman between investors and the markets. While they do profit from their role by maintaining spreads on the stocks they cover, this is secondary to fulfilling their purpose of keeping shares and capital moving. Without market makers, trades would take longer to execute and the markets could become sluggish.

How to Detect & Avoid Wash Trading

The simplest way to avoid wash trading as an investor is to be aware of what constitutes a wash trade or sale. Again, this can mean the intent to manipulate the markets by placing similar trades within a short time frame, or it can mean inadvertently executing a wash sale because you’re not familiar with the rules.

In the latter case, you can avoid wash trading or wash sales by being mindful of the securities you’re buying and selling and the time frame in which those transactions are completed. So selling XYZ stock at a loss, then buying it again 10 days later to sell it for a profit would likely constitute a wash sale, if you executed the trade in an attempt to be able to deduct the initial loss.

It’s also important to understand how the 30 days period works for timing wash sales. The 30 day rule extends to the 30 days prior to the sale and 30 days after the sale. So effectively, you could avoid the wash sale rule by waiting 61 days to replace assets that you sold in your portfolio to be on the safe side.

💡 Quick Tip: Look for an online brokerage with low trading commissions as well as no account minimum. Higher fees can cut into investment returns over time.

Wash Trading in Crypto Trading

Cryptocurrency can be a target for wash-trading activity. In the EOS case, wash trades were suspected of being used as a means of driving up investor interest surrounding the cryptocurrency during its initial offering. High-frequency trading has also been a target of scrutiny, as some believe it enables wash trading in the crypto markets. Whether wash trading rules and regulations specifically apply to crypto, however, is a bit murky.

The Takeaway

Wash trading involves selling certain securities and then replacing them in a portfolio with identical or very similar securities within a certain time period. This is done so as to avoid making substantial changes in your portfolio. Wash trading is illegal in practice but it’s also avoidable if you’re investing consciously and with a strategy in place.

Understanding when wash sale rules apply can help you to stay out of trouble with the IRS. If you’re unclear about it, you can consult with a financial professional for guidance.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, 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.

Photo credit: iStock/mapodile


SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
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.

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

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Knowing the Difference Between 'Rich' and 'Wealthy'

Knowing the Difference Between ‘Rich’ and ‘Wealthy’

If someone has a lot of money, you might say they’re rich or even wealthy. But there’s actually a difference between wealthy and rich in terms of how much money you’re talking about and how someone uses their financial resources.

A rich person can have a lot of money or earn a high income, but their money may only go so far if their lifestyle is extravagant or they take on significant debt. They may live in the moment or spend freely, compared to a wealthy person who’s more focused on securing their long-term financial picture.

Is it better to be rich vs. wealthy? Here’s a closer look. Understanding the difference between them can help you to shape your personal financial plan.

Key Points

•   There is a difference between being rich and being wealthy in terms of money and financial resources.

•   Being rich typically means having a lot of possessions and material wealth, while being wealthy is more about having sustainable and lasting wealth.

•   Rich people may focus more on spending and maintaining a certain lifestyle, while wealthy people may prioritize accumulating assets that produce income or appreciate in value.

•   The distinction between rich and wealthy also lies in how they approach investments, expenses, and financial planning.

What Does ‘Rich’ Mean?

If you ask friends, family members, or coworkers whether they’d like to be rich, quite a few of them might say yes. After all, if everyone was satisfied with their financial situation, then get rich quick schemes wouldn’t exist. But what is the difference between rich and wealthy, and does it matter?

If you look up “rich” in a dictionary, the most common definition centers on what a person has. Someone who’s rich has a lot of possessions and material wealth. So a rich celebrity or social media influencer, for example, might own multiple homes, cars, or jewelry that’s worth millions. They may spend their time jet-setting around the world or partying with other rich people.

That’s what it means to be rich in a financial sense, but someone could also be rich in other ways. For example, someone who has an extensive personal network may be said to be rich in friends. And someone who’s extremely well-learned or well-traveled may be described as being rich in knowledge and experience.

There can be significant differences in how one person views being rich compared to another. For example, a Gen Zer thinks that, on average, $394,000 in income is sufficient to achieve rich status. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, believe that you need over $1 million in income to be considered rich, according to a survey from luxury real estate website RubyHome.

What Does ‘Wealthy’ Mean?

When discussing what it means to be wealthy vs. rich, it’s easy to assume they’re similar. Both rich people and wealthy people may maintain a lifestyle that’s posh and out of reach for the average person. The distinction between wealthy and rich, however, is that wealth is more sustainable and lasting than simple riches.

There are different ways to measure wealth. The Census Bureau, for instance, uses net worth to estimate the wealth of American households. Net worth is the difference between your assets (what you own) and your liabilities (what you owe). Someone who is wealthy may prioritize accumulating assets that produce income or appreciate in value over time, while limiting their exposure to debt.

Wealthy people may enjoy much higher incomes than everyday people, and, importantly, they may spend less than they earn. Some wealthy people are born into money; others build their fortunes through a combination of career, entrepreneurship, and careful investment.

When talking about wealth, some make the distinction between new money vs. old money. New money is earned while old money is passed down from generation to generation. In the U.S., many of the wealthiest individuals are well-known business owners or investors, like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. Some of these billionaires were born into wealthy families while others were not.

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Key Differences Between Rich and Wealthy

When comparing rich vs. wealthy people, the way they approach money matters. Rich people may see money as a means to buy things and maintain a certain lifestyle. Wealthy people, on the other hand, may view money as a means of creating more money, either through investments or business ventures.

Here’s a closer look at the difference between wealthy and rich.

Amount of Money

There’s no set dollar amount at which someone goes from being rich to wealthy. Instead, it’s largely about perception. For example, you might feel rich if you normally keep $500 in your bank account and you decide to use a tax refund to bump that up to $5,000. Meanwhile, someone who wins $100 million in the lottery after working a minimum-wage job for years might think of themselves as rich rather than wealthy.

Generally, the higher your net worth, the closer you get to the wealthy vs. rich divide. Someone who has $10 million in assets and no debt, for example, may be in a better position to invest and fund philanthropic efforts than someone who’s making $200,000 a year but has a negative net worth because of debt. The person with the $10 million in assets is wealthy, while the other person’s earning power could put them in the “rich” bucket, though their debt actually erases that upon a closer look.

Investments

People who are rich may put spending and funding their lifestyle ahead of investing. So even though they might pull in a six- or even seven-figure income each year, a lot of that money goes right back out of their bank accounts. They might have some retirement savings if they’re participating in, say, their 401(k) at work, but investing may get pushed to the backburner.

Wealth investing can look very different. Wealthy people tend to invest their money so they can grow it and turn it into more money. They may have money in real estate, the stock market, and other investments that provide them with passive income or aids in building additional wealth for themselves and future generations.

How They Live Their Lives

Money can be a tool for improving your quality of life, but what that life looks like can be very different if you’re rich vs. wealthy. A rich person might think nothing of dropping $10,000 on a shopping trip or last-minute travel. They live in the moment and don’t consider how spending that money today might affect them tomorrow.

A wealthy person may still enjoy the finer things, but their approach might be more balanced. For example, billionaire Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest people in the U.S., but he notably lived in a relatively modest home that he purchased in 1958 for over seven decades. Other wealthy millionaires and billionaires may similarly adopt a frugal mindset or focus on giving away large amounts of their wealth to good causes.

Hobbies

Certain hobbies and pastimes are the domain of the rich or wealthy, simply because of how much they cost. Yachting, big game hunting, and polo are just a few examples of activities that are more commonly the domain of wealthier people who can afford the associated costs.

Rich people may also indulge in those kinds of pastimes but on a smaller scale than those who are wealthy. Instead of buying their own private yacht or plane, for example, they might lease one when they want to plan a getaway. Or instead of going to their private island for the summer, they may splurge on a couple of weeks’ vacation in St. Tropez.

Expenses

Rich and wealthy people can have very different expenses, depending on their lifestyle. A rich person may have a mortgage payment, car payments, private school tuition payments for their kids, and all the regular day-to-day living expenses such as utilities and food. And they may also have credit card bills or student loans to pay each month.

Wealthy people may not have debt-related expenses, such as a mortgage or car payment, since they might own those assets outright. If they use credit cards, those bills might get paid in full each month rather than accruing interest.

Ultra wealthy people may have unique expenses that the rich don’t, such as maintenance for one or more vacation homes, insurance for a private jet or yacht, and staff payroll if they employ housekeepers, landscapers, and other individuals to work in their home. They may also pay out expenses to financial advisors or investment advisors for wealth management services.

Streams of Income

A rich person may rely on their paychecks from working a regular job as their main source of income. They might also earn money from side hustles or businesses they own, but generally, they’re typically working for a living in some way. If they don’t keep up their pace at work, they could lose that status of being rich.

Millionaires and billionaires may be more diverse in terms of where their income derives from. An oft-cited IRS study suggests that wealthier people have seven different streams of income on average. They may have a job, but a large part of their income may come from different types of investments or business ventures. Wealthy people can also generate income from pensions or annuities. It this way, they are less beholden to what you might call the daily grind.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Rich people might make a six-figure or even seven figure income or more, but they may not save or invest much of that income. (Think about those actors and singers you may have read about who have frittered away their fortunes on luxury real estate, travel, fashion, food, and wine.) They might have a budget, but they don’t always stick to it. Perhaps they’re spending more than they make as they attempt to cover their lifestyle. Rich people may not be very forward-thinking in terms of planning for retirement or other long-term goals.

Wealthy people may not have to live by a strict budget either if their assets substantially outpace their spending. But they may take financial planning more seriously and be proactive about things like investing and retirement planning. They may also focus on estate planning and the best ways to pass on as much of their wealth as possible while minimizing taxes for their heirs.

Is It Plausible to Become Wealthy?

Can a regular person become wealthy? The answer is that it depends on where you’re starting from, where you want to go, and your strategy for getting there. Building wealth in your 30s, for example, could be easier if you have a solid income, no debt, and you’re committed to living well below your means. The odds of starting a billion-dollar company and becoming wealthy overnight are, on the other hand, much slimmer.

Having a clear plan and getting an early start are two of the keys to building wealth. The longer you have to save and invest money, the more room that money has to grow through the power of compounding interest. It’s also important to choose investments wisely to maximize their growth potential. Understanding your individual time horizon for investing and your risk tolerance can help you to decide which investment types to include in your portfolio.

Talking to a financial advisor can help you get some clarity on what you might need to do to begin building sustainable wealth. An advisor can review your situation, offer advice, or suggest tactics for creating a realistic budget, paying down debt, saving, and investing for the long-term.

Banking With SoFi

Whether you consider yourself rich, wealthy, or neither of the above, where you keep your money matters. Choosing a bank that charges fewer fees while offering a higher rate on your account can help you make the most of the money you have.

When you open a bank account online with SoFi, you get our Checking and Savings in one convenient package. There are no fees so you get to keep more of your money, and you’ll also earn a competitive APY on balances if you sign up with direct deposit. You can open your account online and conveniently manage it through the SoFi mobile app.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Is a millionaire wealthy?

Whether a millionaire is wealthy depends on how much money they have and how they use it. Someone who has a million-dollar net worth but spends much of what they earn buying things might be rich but not wealthy, compared to someone who has a $100 million net worth and no debt.

Is six-figures rich?

Someone with a six-figure income might consider themselves to be rich if they’re able to enjoy an upgraded lifestyle. For example, traveling frequently or buying luxury items are often associated with people who are rich. However, if that person lives in an expensive city, has a couple of kids in college, and is supporting a special-needs relative, they might not feel rich at all, despite their income. In other words, it depends on personal circumstances.

Is it better to be rich or wealthy?

Being rich vs. wealthy isn’t necessarily a matter of one being better than another. It all comes down to what you do with your money. If you think of yourself as rich, can live the lifestyle you want, and are avoiding debt while investing wisely, then that may be more than enough. And remember that being wealthier might ensure that you’re financially secure, but it doesn’t guarantee greater happiness.


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.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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 recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit 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, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, 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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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