Social Finance is really putting themselves out there now! The Financial Services start-up, known as SoFi for short, just paid big bucks to put their name on the most expensive NFL stadium ever built! That stadium is the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. It is the only private company with its name on ANY stadium of a sports team. They are really stepping their marketing game up to promote the many financial products they have released this year.
Who is SoFi?
SoFi is a Financial Services company who provides many services. The CEO Anthony Noto is the former CFO of the NFL, former COO of Twitter, and head of Twitter Ventures. Given his background its not surprising for him to spark a deal like this with the NFL! SoFi started out providing Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing, and have recently expanded their available financial products to other loan types including Mortgage Loans, as well as Insurance. The products which interest me particularly is the Cash Management Account and Investment Account made available in the past year.
SoFi Money Cash Management Account in particular is a hybrid Checking and Savings Account which currently provides a 1.80% Interest Rate. Prior to the Federal Reserve lowering rates yesterday, as well as a month ago in August, it started out with a 2.25% interest rate. This is over 10x higher than the national average for Savings Accounts. The average is much lower for traditional Checking Accounts. The great thing about this account is you get the flexibility of a Checking Account which does not have the monthly withdrawal limits of a traditional Savings Account (6), yet has an interest rate which is in line with some of the Best Online Savings Accounts around! Despite the lowering of interest rates from all banks on Savings accounts, the 1.80% rate is still among the best!
Not only is SoFi going big marketing wise by signing a 20 year deal with the NFL, but they're also going big with rewarding new customers who join their platform! If you open a new SoFi Money account using a referral link like mine, and deposit at least $100, you will receive a $50 bonus in your account! There aren't many banks who are rewarding their customers for opening new accounts, and a few that are require larger deposits and other limitations. In addition, many do not provide the high interest rate of 1.80% like the SoFi Money Cash Management Account. Below are a few more great features of the SoFi Money account
The other major account in my opinion is the SoFi Invest account. With this account you can buy and sell shares of your favorite stocks without paying a trading fee! This is great for people who want to know how to get started investing, or who just don't want to pay fees to invest their money. No fees are always better than paying fees to provide the same service. Not only can you buy shares of stock without paying a trading fee, but you can also buy PARTIAL or FRACTIONAL shares of stock! Interested in a stock that's $100, $200, $500, or even over $1000 per share? Well how about putting just $10 towards it? How about $5? How about JUST ONE DOLLAR?!?!? Yes this is possible with SoFi Invest! All stocks are not available for partial share purchase, as they have to be included in their list labeled as "Stock Bits", however the list is of the most popular stocks and companies you are likely very familiar with. Companies like Apple, Google, or even the almost $2000 a share behemoth Amazon! Yes even you can buy a piece of Amazon with as little as $1.
Just like SoFi Money, SoFi Invest also has a sign-up bonus via referral. With this sign up bonus you only need to deposit $25, and for a limited time (until September 30th) you will receive $50 worth of your favorite stock when using a referral link! After September 30th it will likely go back to its previous sign up bonus of $25 cash reward, after a $25 deposit. Who knows! Either way this is a great no fee investment app, which allows you to put every dollar you have available to invest, fully into the stocks or ETFs you select. Traditional Brokerage Accounts are available, as well as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) you can use to save for retirement and save taxes! Best of all, SoFi Money and SoFi Invest are all available within the same application!
But wait...there's more! SoFi just made cryptocurrencies available for purchase and sell via their SoFi Invest app. Currently you can purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). You can add other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and others to your watchlist at this time, and they may be available for purchase in the future.
2019 has been a very active year for the start-up who began passing out loans in 2011. What's next? More financial products? Maybe an IPO in the near future? Purchasing a NBA team? Who really knows besides the company itself, but as long as they continue to offer great products like SoFi Money and SoFi Invest, and a new feature of SoFi Money called Vaults. I'll discuss Vaults in a later Blog Post or YouTube video, so stay tuned! I'll be here to see how all of their available accounts work for me and the Mobile Money Nation!
This year I attended my first FinCon! For those who don't know, FinCon is a Conference for Financial Influencers and Brands. Attendees go to FinCon in order learn how to better connect with their audience, improve their craft, and of course find ways to increase their income doing the things they love! This will be my first FinCon, and first ever conference I've gone to for personal reasons. I've worked at conferences before, so I'm familiar with the general atmosphere of an event which is pretty much all day. Now I will get to experience it from an attendee's perspective, although I have a good handle on what to expect.
But FinCon is not like your typical conference. At FinCon everyone isn't dressed in their $500, $1,000 or more suit or a dress with shoes to match the price tag. From what I've seen, and heard from listening to FinCon's podcast, is that people come in what they feel comfortable in! For some that may very well be a multi hundred or thousand dollar suit, while for others jeans and a t-shirt suffice. The expectation is for you to be authentically you, and not dress to impress others just for business reasons. I like this approach, even though I understand why it is the opposite for many business conferences. But this is different!
I honestly don't know. I just want to soak in all the knowledge I can, meet all of the people I can, and enjoy spending time with other people who enjoy sharing knowledge which happens to be geared towards Personal Finance. That's what this is about for me, and I suspect many others attending. There are many YouTube content creators and bloggers, a few of which I subscribe to or follow on Social Media, like ChooseFi, His & Her Money, Graham Stephan, and Ryan Scribner just to name a few, which I know are in attendance
Before AJ Mobile Money
Let's first start off with a disclaimer. I am not a tax professional, and I do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Readers should consult their tax advisors! There...I said it!
However, I thought this would be a fun math experiment. Is it possible for a middle class family of 4 to optimize their federal tax to the point where they won't owe anything at the end of the year? I think there are many ways to do this if you plan correctly! In the past I've used my income from the previous year, plus making adjustments to my W-4 withholding to try and approximate how much tax I will owe at the end of the year, so that I can get my tax bill or perhaps a refund that is as close to ZERO as possible!
BIG TAX REFUNDS & BIG TAX BILLS ARE FOR SUCKERS
First let's discuss why getting a huge refund at the end of the year is not "The Move" at all. When you receive a refund, this means that you've OVER PAID what you OWED in taxes for that year. You're essentially providing the government with an Interest Free Loan! When is the last time someone...anyone, especially an institution given you an interest fee loan? For 99% of us that answer is never! The closest you'll get is a credit card balance transfer, and most charge you a fee upfront, with no interest for a certain time period. Typically 6-12 months. After this time period, if you haven't paid off your card, you will be charged interest for the remaining balance as if you were being charged interest the whole time period. Banks are in the business of making money, so a loan is a means of making money off of your need to access cash.When you pay taxes, you are providing cash for the government to take care of the country or states needs. Now it may not be as efficient as we would like it to be, but that is its purpose.
Let's start with a rough example: You or your family unit provides the government with $1,000 of tax revenue each month, which adds up to $12,000 total at the end of the year. Of that $12,000, let's say you really only owed $9,600. That equals $2,400 at the end of year. Unfortunately that money had no opportunity to compound in order to help your money grow in a savings account or in investments. If instead, you could figure out a formula where you pay the exact amount of taxes you will owe, after taking into account Tax Deductions and Tax Credits, then you could put that money in a savings account or invest it throughout the course of the year. Let's assume you are a tax genius, or know one, and you were able to pay exactly $9,600 throughout the course of the year. What would the $2,400 turn into?
The Newbie Guide to Investing in the Stock Market. How to Get Started with Little Money, or No Knowledge!
There are three main ways that MAJOR wealth is created in the United States, and throughout the World. Those 3 are by creating a Business, selling or renting properties in the Real Estate market, and investing in the Stock Market. Of those 3, guess which is the easiest to get started in, and takes the least amount of money? You guessed it, investing in the Stock Market! Well if it's so easy, why doesn't everyone do it? I think one of the main reasons is that we, as well as your traditional Financial institutions, and investing gurus, make it seem more difficult than it really is.
In the simplest form, all it takes to invest in a company via the stock market is 1) Opening a Brokerage Account (as easy as opening a Checking or Savings Account), 2) Depositing money into that account, and 3) Selecting the company or companies* you would like to invest in! Yes, investing in the stock market is as easy as 1,2,3! So why do Financial Institutions, the gurus on CNBC and other forms of media, as well as your friend's coworker's 3rd nephew who hit it big in the market, make it seem like it is so difficult that you MUST pay them (or someone) to do it? Like most things in life, you can make them as simple or as complex as you want.
For example: Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of our lifetime. Over about a 50 year period, he averaged over a 20% gain per year in the stock market, while the overall market gained about 10% per year. Yes, he basically DOUBLED the average gain of the market, which means there was someone (or thousands of others) who gained less than average in the stock market. Traditional wisdom might tell you to just pay Warren Buffett to invest your money, or someone else may tell you that if you pay them you can get similar gains from the stock market. Or you could literally get the exact same gains as Warren Buffett by purchasing stock in the company he is the head of...Berkshire Hathaway, Ticker: BRK/A or BRK/B. Before 1996 you would have needed $33,500 (now over $319,000) in order to purchase 1 share of BRK/A. But in 1996, Berkshire Hathaway created a 2nd class of their stock (BRK/B) in which its cost per share was only $22 (now over $200). As you can see, both are worth about 10x more now than in 1996, so performance for both classes of stock percentage wise, are basically the same. This made it affordable for the Average Jill to invest in Berkshire stock, and let Warren Buffett literally be the captain of their investment ship.
But Wait, There's More!
Creating a Budget is the first step into getting your finances in order. It opens your eyes to where your money is and isn't going, and forces you to make a change so that 10 minus 10 does not equal negative 5 (debt and interest on debt).
Not creating a budget is kind of like avoiding asking your parents for permission to do something. You know they are going to say no, so you don't ask and you do it anyway. Then later on they find out you did it, and you get in trouble. You're now responsible for the act you previously committed, and now you have to pay for it in some form of a punishment or scolding. You may not receive it immediately, or they may let the incidents pile up before they act upon a punishment.
It's the same with creating a budget. If you write down your income and the bills you need to pay, you will visually realize you may not have enough money to buy everything you want. Then you mentally have to go against what you know you should not do: go out to eat, buy new clothes, buy that new shiny electronic device, continue paying for services you don't really use (looking at you gym membership!).
For some people that's a harsh reality to face. I know it was for me. Especially after graduating from college and not having a job which paid enough for me to seriously think about paying my student loan debt.
Debt is the punishment (spanking or time out) you receive for not asking permission, and the additional interest you pay on debt are the residual memories you have of that punishment. You still feel the sting or disappointment from your parents, days/weeks/months/years later right? But the next question is, after feeling the sting, did you make a change to avoid feeling it again? Or did you follow the same path? Well maybe Mom might not realize what I did, or maybe she won't catch me this time. I'll be able to make up a good story in the Future if this ever comes up. Eventually, you will pay!
AJ Mobile Money
Husband | Father | YouTuber | Former ATLien
Disclosure: Some of the links throughout my site are Affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase or sign up for certain accounts.