College Essentials What to Bring to College_780x440

College Essentials: What to Bring to College

Heading off to college is hands down one of the most thrilling times in a young person’s life. It’s the chance to get to know yourself and your passions, close the childhood chapter of your life, and prepare for the future ahead.

But, before you can do all that, you’re going to need to pack.

Not quite sure what to bring and what to leave behind? Don’t worry, we’re here to help with a college packing list that covers all the essentials from dorm room needs to toiletries and beyond.

What to Pack for Campus Life

Hang on — before we dive into this list, we need to discuss the all-important first step every student should take in their college essential checklist planning, and that’s to reach out to your new roommate.

Once you know who that is going to be, it’s a good idea to reach out and get a feel for their likes and dislikes, how your can work together on a decor theme for the room, and if you can split the cost for shared goods, like microwaves, mini-fridges, or any other items you may share along the way.

Once you know what your roommate is responsible for you can get on your way to make your own checklist.

Shower and Toiletry Needs

Packing up for college means compartmentalizing everything in your daily life. And, for most people, their days begin with a shower. Here are a few of the items needed to set students up for a hygienic semester ahead.

Shower caddy: This is a very important base. Because students will likely be sharing communal showers they will need to cart their goods back and forth to the bathroom, so a sturdy caddy is key.

Bathrobe: On a related note, you’ll be traversing back and from the bathroom for showers. A bathrobe makes it easy to cover up.

Washcloths and towels: This isn’t an item students will want to share. Purchase a few matching sets in a unique color so students always know which color is theirs.

Flip-flops: Again, students will likely be sharing communal showers with many other students. Avoid any potential foot fungus with a simple pair of flip-flops.

Toiletries (Shampoo, Soap etc): Keep it clean from head to toe with shampoo and conditioner. For an added bonus, try a shampoo bar, which will dissipate when it’s done, leaving no plastic bottle pollution behind. Pick up your favorite scent before heading off to college so every time you open the bottle you are reminded of the sweet smell of home.

Toothbrush and toothpaste: It’s easy to pick up a simple toothbrush at any pharmacy, but students could also level-up with an electric brush, or even go for a subscription-based brush so they never have to remember when to replace the brush heads.

Deodorant: Students will be living in close proximity to one another, making it important to stay on top of hygiene and smelling nice. Look for a signature deodorant scent before leaving home.

💡 Quick Tip: SoFi offers low fixed- or variable-interest rates. So you can get a private student loan that fits your budget.

School and Office Supplies

Headphones: Yes, headphones can be used for entertainment, but they can also be a valuable tool in a student’s office supply area too. That’s because, again, you will be sharing a small space with another person so finding peace and quiet may be difficult for study and work time. But, it’s nothing a good pair of noise-canceling headphones can’t fix.

Memory cards or USB flash drives: Students will likely need to transport data files from home to printer, to class, or delivered straight to a professor. Have a few of these handy just in case.

Laptop: Though a typically expensive item, a laptop is critical for a college or university education. It’s how students can get their work done in the dorms, in class, or anywhere in between without having to head to the library for free computer use every time they need the internet. Some schools may have recommendations for laptops based on programs and the requirements for processing power or software.

School Supplies: Sure, the high-tech stuff above is great, but make sure to kick it old school too and purchase a few pens, pencils, highlighters, index cards, and notebooks so you can jot down notes, ideas, and more whenever you need to or if your computer runs out of battery.

Thinking about your current study habits can be a good place to start when evaluating what school supplies you’ll need as you head off to university. Don’t forget textbooks!

Surge protector and extension cords: Because there will likely be multiple students using up all the plugs in a dorm room, it’s a good idea to purchase a surge protector and a few extension cords to protect the electricity from overload.

Recommended: College Freshman Checklist for the Upcoming School Year

Kitchen Supplies

Microwave: A microwave can be a college student’s culinary best friend. Find a sturdy one that can handle reheating food and drinks, or even cook up entire meals.

Mini-fridge: Another college kitchen staple is the mini-fridge. Make sure it’s big enough for two roommates and all their in-room dining needs.

Dishes: College students need something to eat off of. Pack up a small collection of plates, cups, bowls, and cutlery before move-in day.

Food containers: Save any leftover goodies with some plastic food storage containers. Keep it simple with a few stackable options.

Coffeemaker: Come on. This is college we’re talking about. College kids deserve to have coffee on tap, but the next best thing is remembering to pack a good coffee maker. Prefer tea? An electric kettle may be your new best friend. Review school policies on having electric appliances in a dorm room.

Room Needs

Under-bed storage: College dorms can be tight. The average dorm room clocks in at just 180-square feet. But, a few key items can make it not only feel a touch larger, it can also make it feel more like home.

Pillows: Take a few pillows to college — a few functional pillows or sleep and another couple of throw pillows for added flare.

Linens: Students should check with their college or university for their dorm room bed sizing, but odds are it’s a twin, or twin XL. Get two sheet sets so students have one to wash and one to make the bed at all times.

Mattress pad: Look, dorm room beds aren’t exactly known for being the most comfortable things on earth. But, an easy way to upgrade student bedding is to purchase a mattress pad or feather bed.

Recommended: College Planning for High School Students

Cleaning Supplies

Going to college means students will now have to fend for themselves, and that goes for household chores too. Here are a few items all students need to get the job done right.

Laundry detergent: Find a favorite scent and stick with it. A good idea may be to find a detergent that works for both colors and whites, just in case the college student in your life forgets the laundry rules.

Vacuum: Keeping a dorm room tidy is easy with a small vacuum. Even a dust buster will do.

Paper towels: Stock up on paper towels to clean up any accidents, or to double as napkins when needed.

Wipes: Keep cleaning simple by purchasing a few canisters of wet wipes and use them regularly to disinfect surfaces.

Recommended: Using Student Loans for Living Expenses and Housing

Preparing to Pay for It All

Looking at this list, it’s clear that getting everything on your college packing list can get expensive. But, rather than stress about if you can afford cleaning supplies, linens, and office supplies, students can financially plan for what’s ahead by looking into all their college funding options, which may include savings, grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

If you still have funding gaps, you may also want to consider applying for a private student loan. These are available from banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Students who have good credit (or cosigners who do) typically qualify for the best rates and terms. Just keep in mind that private student loans don’t offer the same protections, such as government-sponsored forgiveness programs, that come with federal loans.

💡 Quick Tip: Need a private student loan to cover your school bills? Because approval for a private student loan is based on creditworthiness, a cosigner may help a student get loan approval and a lower rate.

The Takeaway

Getting ready for college requires a lot of planning, packing, and organizing. To create your ultimate packing essentials list, think about your current day to day routine — what items do you use the most frequently?

It can be helpful to break the items on your packing list up into categories like school supplies, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom so that you can compartmentalize and review smaller pieces at a time. With all your essentials in hand, you can focus on the big picture… like picking the right college major and figuring out how you’ll cover the cost of your college education.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

 



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


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


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

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What Are Non-Transparent ETFs?

What Are Non-Transparent ETFs?

Unlike ordinary exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which disclose their underlying assets daily, non-transparent ETFs are only required to reveal their holdings on a quarterly or monthly cadence. This ability to conceal their assets can help active non-transparent ETF managers to cloak their strategies for longer periods, with the aim of maximizing performance.

To understand some of the advantages these funds may offer investors, it helps to compare them with standard ETFs.

Why Would You Invest in Non-Transparent ETFs?

For nearly 30 years, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been a mainstay for big institutional investors as well as individuals, thanks to their transparency, tax efficiency, and low cost. Today, the ETF industry in the U.S. has billions, if not trillions, under management.

Traditionally, investors have found ETFs an attractive option because of their liquidity, which has made ETFs more transparent than mutual funds. Unlike mutual funds, you can trade ETF shares throughout the day on an exchange, similar to stocks. And the way shares are created and redeemed gives investors more visibility into the funds’ underlying assets, compared with mutual funds. This ‘transparency’ has been true of both actively managed ETFs as well as passive ETFs, which track an index such as the S&P 500.

But the fundamental transparency of the ETF “wrapper” or fund structure has been a thorn in the side of some active ETF managers, who may prefer less visibility around their holdings for strategic reasons. Hence the appeal of non-transparent ETFs to active managers.

Active non-transparent ETFs — also called ANT ETFs — aren’t required to reveal their assets daily, as noted above; rather they report a snapshot of what they hold on a monthly or quarterly basis, similar to a mutual fund. In some cases they report the assets they hold, but not how much they hold.

Recommended: ETFs vs. Index Funds: What’s the Difference?


💡 Quick Tip: How do you decide if a certain trading platform or app is right for you? Ideally, the investment platform you choose offers the features that you need for your investment goals or strategy, e.g., an easy-to-use interface, data analysis, educational tools.

How Passive vs. Active Strategies Can Impact Transparency

If you think about it, the evolution of active non-transparent ETFs makes sense in the larger context of the ETF universe, where passively managed ETFs comprise more than 90% of that market.

Passively managed ETFs offer some of the lowest ETF fees in today’s market, which is one reason they’re typically cheaper to own than mutual funds. The overall tax efficiency of index ETFs also helps to lower investing costs, and has contributed to their overall popularity with investors.

ETFs, of course, are also valued for their role in adding diversification to investors’ portfolios, with many ETFs invested in specific sectors (e.g. electric vehicles, pharmaceuticals) or securities (e.g. U.S. Treasuries, corporate bonds).

No matter whether an ETF is invested in a broader equity market or a niche sector, passive ETFs are designed to mirror or track the stocks in a certain index. Thus the transparency of these funds is part of how they work.

That’s not true of active ETFs, which rely on the oversight of a fund manager to choose the underlying assets (just like an active mutual fund). But because ordinary ETFs require a daily disclosure of the fund’s holdings, this can hamper an active manager’s ability to execute their investment strategies.

When a fund’s assets are disclosed on a daily basis, the market can bid up the price for their holdings. And while in the short term this might be good (the assets could go up), in the long term it could disrupt the fund manager’s strategies. And, if other investors try to anticipate the trades that active managers might make, sometimes called front running, that could cause asset prices to fluctuate and potentially impact the ETF’s performance.

The Use of Proxies in Non-Transparent ETFs

How might a non-transparent ETF solve this problem?

The way ETFs keep their price in line with their assets is that the sponsor of the ETF trades throughout the day with an “authorized participant.” These authorized participants will create and redeem “baskets” of securities, i.e. the stocks or bonds that the ETF holds, and then trade them to the ETF for shares of the fund, which allows the ETF to stay in line with the price of its underlying stocks.

This process obviously requires a great degree of transparency across the board. So, how does a non-transparent ETF obscure its holdings? The answer is, by the use of “proxies”: These are baskets of stock that are similar to but not identical to the underlying holdings of the ETF.

Thus, non-transparent ETFs are able to occupy a happy middle ground in the ETF world: they enable fund managers to conceal their strategies while keeping the liquidity of pricing that is core to trading ETFs overall.

The History of Non-Transparent ETFs

For years, the ETF industry was composed mostly of index ETFs, which helps to explain why the universe of ETFs is primarily passive. But over time, some investment companies began seeking regulatory approval for non-transparent ETFs, also sometimes called semi-transparent ETFs, in order to pursue more active strategies. The approval for these funds, and the technology underlying the non-transparent strategy, began rolling out in late 2019, and ANT ETFs have seen steady inflows since then.

Though non-transparent ETFs are still a relatively small part of the overall ETF market, this sector is gaining traction and is now approaching $2 billion AUM. This reflects a similar trend among active ETFs, which have also seen more inflows this year.


💡 Quick Tip: Distributing your money across a range of assets — also known as diversification — can be beneficial for long-term investors. When you put your eggs in many baskets, it may be beneficial if a single asset class goes down.

The Takeaway

Non-transparent ETFs may be a relative newcomer in the multi-trillion-dollar world of ETFs, but they offer an attractive new opportunity for investors who are interested in active investment styles — but still want the cost efficiency and liquidity of an ETF. Non-transparent ETFs also give active fund managers the ability to cloak their strategies, which may aid potential outcomes.

As with all ETFs, they may have a place in an investor’s portfolio. But it’s generally best that investors do some research or consult with a financial professional before investing.

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/ANA BARAULIA


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.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


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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What You Need to Know About SPACs Before You Invest

SPAC stands for “special purpose acquisition company,” and these entities act as a shell that can raise money in order to acquire another active company that wishes to go public.

Companies that want to have an initial public offering (IPO) can use SPACs to make it happen. SPACs themselves are publicly traded, and some investors are buying SPAC shares in an effort to get in as early as possible on companies going public — but it’s rare that the average investor will have access to SPAC shares.

But SPACs, like many investments, are not something you want to jump into without doing some homework first. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new rules to make SPACs more transparent, and limit conflict-of-interest in these mergers.

What Is a SPAC?

SPACs are legal business entities that don’t have any assets or conduct any sort of business activity. In effect, they’re empty husks. That’s why they’re often called “blank check companies.”

As for their purpose, SPACs can be used to take companies public. So, instead of going through the traditional IPO process, many companies are instead using SPACs to get themselves listed on the stock markets.


💡 Quick Tip: Keen to invest in an initial public offering, or IPO? Be sure to check with your brokerage about what’s required. Typically IPO stock is available only to eligible investors.

SPACs and Acquisitions

As for how a SPAC takes a company public, the process is basically a reverse merger, when a private business goes public by buying an already public company.

Here’s a step-by step:

•   A SPAC goes public, selling shares and promising to use the proceeds to buy another business.

•   The SPAC’s sponsors set their sights on a company it wants to take public — an acquisition target.

•   The SPAC often raises more money to acquire the target. Remember, SPACs are already publicly traded, so when it does acquire a target, the target is absorbed by the SPAC, and then becomes public too.

Recommended: What Happens to a Stock During a Merger?

So, why would a company want to use a SPAC transaction to go public rather than go the traditional IPO route? The simple answer is that it can be much faster and easier.

For instance, a merger between a SPAC and its target can take between four to six months, whereas the traditional IPO route can take 12 to 18 months.

How Do I Invest in SPACs?

SPACs are designed to raise money so that they can acquire their target. To raise money, they need investors, which is why they’re generally publicly traded. In theory, retail investors can invest in SPACs — in most cases, a brokerage account is all that’s required. But a 2022 SEC analysis shows that very few retail investors actually gain access to SPAC shares.

5 Things to Know Before Investing in SPACs

Before you pursue what could be a risky investment, run through this list of considerations:

1. Failure to Find Target

SPACs exist for one reason: To acquire a target company and take it public. But there’s a chance that some could fail to do so — something that prospective investors should take seriously. The clock is ticking, too. If a SPAC does not acquire a target within a specific time frame — typically two years — it could liquidate.


💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

2. Investor Dilution

SPAC investors also run the risk that their shares could be diluted, or lose value. Meaning: The folks running the SPAC may throw in additional funding that can erode the value of those shares.

That dilution can happen during the merger process. As the merger takes place, fees are paid, warrants are exercised, and the SPAC’s sponsor receives 20% ownership in the new entity. All this can take ownership from investors’ shares, diluting them.

3. Poor Performance

Some companies that go public via a SPAC transaction don’t do so well after the merger. Their stock values don’t perform as many investors have hoped. This is yet another very real risk that SPAC investors must contend with.

As SPAC targets are private companies, investors can be limited in the amount of research they can do on the targets. Their financial records may be difficult to find. As a result, investors are basically relying on the due diligence of the SPAC sponsor. So there’s an element of trust — and risk — at play.

What investors should know is that many companies that have gone public through a SPAC underperform compared to the broader market at large.

4. Big Names Can Cloud Investor Judgment

It can be easy to get caught up in the hype around certain SPACs. Whether the SPAC itself is targeting a particularly noteworthy company to take public, or if it’s being managed by a big-name investor or famous person, the glitz and glamor may blind investors to certain risks.

It may be fun to think that you’re getting in on an investment with a celebrity. But that doesn’t mean that the investment they’re attached to is necessarily a good one, or the right one for you.

5. Uncertain Future

SPACs, in recent years, were a hot commodity. But since there are some significant risks involved in investing in SPACs, regulators stepped in to make some changes that would protect average investors.

Given the lack of transparency around SPACs and the general fast-and-loose approach that the markets are talking to them, the government and other watch dogs are already calling for some reforms.

Among them: Tamping down on SPAC hype, like protecting investors from misleading information or expectations, enhancing disclosures, and being more forthcoming about the risks to investors.

The Takeaway

There’s a lot to consider about SPACs from an investor’s point of view. But the important thing to remember is that SPACs are speculative, risky investments. Investing in SPACs will likely require a high risk tolerance for most investors, and it’s a good idea that you have your other financial ducks in a row before dedicating any money to it.

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.



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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Mortgage Interest Deduction Explained

Homeownership has long been a part of the American dream, and it opens the door to benefits like the mortgage interest deduction for those who itemize deductions on their taxes.

Itemizing typically makes sense only if itemized deductions on a primary and second home total more than the standard deduction, which nearly doubled in 2018.

Here’s what you need to know about the mortgage interest deduction.

What Is the Mortgage Interest Deduction?

The mortgage interest deduction allows itemizers to count interest they pay on a loan related to building, purchasing, or improving a primary home against taxable income, lowering the amount of taxes owed.

The tax deduction also applies if you pay interest on a condominium, cooperative, mobile home, boat, or recreational vehicle used as a residence. The deduction can also be taken on loans for second homes, as long as it stays within the limits.

States with an income tax may also allow homeowners to claim the mortgage interest deduction on their state tax returns, whether or not they itemize on their federal returns.

What Are the Rules and Limits?

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was a game-changer for the mortgage interest deduction. Starting in 2018 and set to last through 2025, the law greatly increased the standard deduction and eliminated or restricted many itemized deductions.

For the 2022 tax year, the standard deduction is $25,900 for married couples filing jointly and $12,950 for single people and married people filing separately. For 2023, the standard deduction is $27,700 for married couples filing jointly and $13,850 for single people and married people filing separately.

If you itemize deductions, you’re good to go and can deduct the interest. There’s further good news, as you may also be able to deduct interest on a home equity loan or line of credit, as long as it was used to buy, build, or substantially improve your home.

The loan must be secured by the taxpayer’s main home or second home and meet other requirements. For tax purposes, a second home not used for income is treated much like one’s primary home. It’s a home you live in some of the time.

The IRS considers a second home that’s rented some of the time one that you use for more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the number of days you rent it out (whichever number of days is larger). If you use the home you rent out for fewer than the required number of days, it is considered a rental property—one that you never live in, and not eligible for the mortgage interest deduction.

Generally, your interest-only mortgage is 100% deductible, as long as the total debt meets the limits.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, you can deduct home mortgage interest on the first $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately) of debt. Higher limitations ($1 million, or $500,000 if married filing separately) apply if you are deducting mortgage interest from debt incurred before Dec. 16, 2017.

You can’t deduct home mortgage interest unless the following conditions are met:

•   You must file Form 1040 or 1040-SR and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).
•   The mortgage must be a secured debt on a qualified home in which you have an ownership interest.

Simply put, your mortgage is a secured debt if you put your home up as collateral to protect the interests of the lender. If you can’t pay the debt, your home can then serve as payment to the lender to satisfy the debt.

A qualified home is your main home or second home. The home could be a house, condo, co-op, mobile home, house trailer, or a houseboat. It must have sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.

Know that the interest you pay on a mortgage on a home other than your main or second home may be deductible if the loan proceeds were used for business, investment, or other deductible purposes. Otherwise, it is considered personal interest and is not deductible.


💡 Quick Tip: Don’t overpay for your mortgage. Get your dream home or investment property and a great rate with SoFi Mortgage Loans.

How Much Can I Deduct?

No doubt you want the answer to that question. In most cases, you can deduct all of your home mortgage interest. How much you can deduct depends on the date of the mortgage, the amount of the mortgage, and how you use the mortgage proceeds.

The IRS says that if all of your mortgages fit into one or more of the following three categories at all times during the year, you can deduct all of the interest on those mortgages. (If any one mortgage fits into more than one category, add the debt that fits in each category to your other debt in the same category.)

1. Mortgages you took out on or before Oct. 13, 1987 (called grandfathered debt).

2. Mortgages you (or your spouse if married filing jointly) took out after Oct. 13, 1987, and prior to Dec. 16, 2017, to buy, build, or substantially improve your home, but only if throughout 2020 these mortgages plus any grandfathered debt totaled $1 million or less ($500,000 or less if married filing separately).

(There is an exception. If you entered into a written contract before Dec. 15, 2017, to close on the purchase of a principal residence before Jan. 1, 2018, and you purchased the residence before April 1, 2018, you are considered to have incurred the home acquisition debt prior to Dec. 16, 2017.)

3. Mortgages you (or your spouse if married filing jointly) took out after Dec. 15, 2017, to buy, build, or substantially improve your home, but only if throughout 2020 these mortgages plus any grandfathered debt totaled $750,000 or less ($375,000 or less if married filing separately).

The dollar limits for the second and third categories apply to the combined mortgages on your main home and second home.

What Are Special Circumstances?

Just like you need to understand your home loan options, you need to know the special situations where the IRS says you might or might not qualify for the mortgage interest deduction.

You can deduct these items as home mortgage interest:
•   A late payment charge if it wasn’t for a specific service performed in connection with your mortgage loan.
•   A mortgage prepayment penalty, provided the penalty wasn’t for a specific service performed or cost incurred in connection with your mortgage loan.

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

Is Everything Deductible?

The government is only so generous, and there are many costs associated with homeownership. Some of them are not tax deductible under the mortgage interest deduction, like homeowners insurance premiums.

One caveat: You might be able to write off a portion of insurance, as well as utilities, repairs, and maintenance, if you have a home office and deduct those expenses on Schedule C.

Also not on the list for inclusion in the mortgage interest deduction are title searches, moving expenses, and reverse mortgage interest. Because interest on a reverse mortgage is due when the property sells, it isn’t tax deductible.


💡 Quick Tip: Have you improved your credit score since you made your home purchase? Home loan refinancing with SoFi could get you a competitive interest rate with lower payments.

How to Claim the Mortgage Interest Deduction

An itemizer will file Schedule A, which is part of the standard IRS 1040 tax form. Your mortgage lender should send you an IRS 1098 tax form, which reports the amount of interest you paid during the tax year. Your loan servicer should also provide this tax form online.

Using your 1098 tax form, find the amount of interest paid and enter this on Line 8 of Schedule A on your tax return. It’s not a heavy lift but gets a tad more complicated if you earn income from your property. If you own a vacation home that you rent out much of the time, you’ll need to use Schedule E.

Furthermore, if you’re self-employed and write off business expenses, you’ll need to enter interest payments on Schedule C.

The Takeaway

You can take the mortgage interest deduction if you itemize deductions on your taxes. Keep in mind that it’s typically only worth taking if the write-offs exceed the standard deduction.

The mortgage interest deduction, though, can be a bonus of sorts, especially if you’re a homeowner with a second home.

As with all matters that affect your taxes, you’ll want to consult with your financial advisor about claiming the deduction.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.



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*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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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.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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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