What Is Earnings Per Share & How to Calculate It

Knowing a stock’s earnings per share can be a valuable portfolio benchmarking tool. Think of EPS as GPS for where a public company is on the value map, based on how profitable it has been.

What is earnings per share? It’s a ratio arrived at by taking a company’s quarterly or annual net income and dividing it by the number of its outstanding shares of stock.

Knowing an investment’s EPS gives investors—and portfolio managers—a good indicator of a stock’s performance over a specific period of time and its potential share price performance in the near future.

What is Earnings Per Share?

The starting point for any conversation about the EPS ratio is the earnings report companies issue to regulators, shareholders, and potential investors.

Publicly traded companies must, by law, report their earnings quarterly and annually. Earnings represent the net income a company generates (after taxes and after expenses are deducted), along with an estimate of what profits or losses can be expected going forward.

Typically, investment analysts, money managers and investors look at earnings as a major component of a company’s profit potential, with earnings per share a particularly useful measurement tool when gauging a company’s financial prospects.

While a company’s earnings call represents a publicly traded company’s revenues, minus operating expenses, earnings per share is different.

EPS indicates a firm’s earnings for investors, divided by the company’s number of remaining shares. Earnings per share is perhaps most optimal when comparing EPS rates of publicly traded firms operating in the same industry.

evaluate a company’s stock price going forward.

Even a moderate increase in EPS may indicate that a company’s profit potential is on the upside, and investors may take that as a sign to buy the company’s stock.

Conversely, a small decrease in a company’s EPS from quarter to quarter may trigger a red flag among investors, who could view a downward EPS trend as a larger profit issue and shy away from buying the company’s stock.

Basically, the higher the EPS, the more attractive that company’s stock is to investors. But the higher a stock’s EPS, the more expensive it’s likely to be.

Once investors have an accurate EPS figure, they can decide if a stock is priced fairly and make an appropriate investment decision.

Earnings Per Share Ratio Considerations

Investors should prepare to dig deeper and examine what factors influence EPS figures. These factors are at the top of that list:

•  EPS numbers can rise or fall significantly based on earnings’ rise or fall, or as the number of company shares rises or falls.
•  A company’s earnings may rise because sales are surging faster than expenses, or if company managers succeed in curbing operations costs. Additionally, investors may get a “false read” on EPS if too many company expenses are shed from the EPS calculation.
•  A company’s number of outstanding shares may fall if a company engages in significant stock share buybacks. Correspondingly, shares outstanding may jump when a firm issues new stock shares.
•  A company’s profit margins are also a big influencer on EPS. A company that is losing money usually has a negative EPS number. (Then again, that may send a wrong signal to investors. The company could be on the path to profits, and that trend may not show up in an EPS calculation.)
•  A price to earnings ratio is another highly useful metric to evaluate a stock’s share growth potential. Investors can find a P/E ratio through a proper calculation of EPS (“P” is the price per share; “E” refers to EPS), though it’s easy to look up a P/E ratio on any site that aggregates stock information.

EPS can be reported for each quarter or fiscal year, or it can be projected into the future with a forward EPS.

How to Calculate Earnings Per Share

The most common way to accurately gauge an EPS figure is through an end-of-period calculation. Here’s a snapshot of how it works.

With Preferred Dividends

Investors can calculate EPS by subtracting a stock’s total preferred dividends from the company’s net income. Then divide that number by the end-of-period stock shares that are outstanding.

Basic EPS = (net income – preferred dividends) / weighted average number of common shares outstanding

For example, ABC Co. generates a net income of $2 million in a quarter. Simultaneously, the company rolls out $275,000 in preferred dividends and has 12 million outstanding shares of stock. In that calculation, knowing that shares of common stock are equal in value, the company’s earnings per share is $0.14.

(2,000,000 – 275,000) ÷ 12,000,000= 0.14

Without Preferred Dividends

For smaller publicly traded companies with no preferred dividends, the EPS calculation is more straightforward.

Basic EPS = net income / weighted average number of common shares outstanding

Let’s say DEF Corp. has generated a net income of $50,000 for the year. As the company has no preferred shares outstanding and has 5,000 weighted average shares on an annual basis, its earnings per share is $10.

50,000 ÷ 5,000= 10

In any EPS calculation, preferred dividends must be pared off from net income. That’s because earnings per share is primarily designed to calculate the net income for holders of common stock.

Additionally, in most EPS end-of-period calculations, a company is mostly likely to calculate EPS for end-of-year financial statements. That’s because companies may issue new stock or buy back existing shares of company stock.

In those instances, a weighted average of common stock shares is required for an accurate EPS assessment. (A weighted average of a company’s outstanding shares can provide more clarity because a fixed number at any given time may provide a false EPS outcome, as share prices can be volatile and change quickly on a day-to-day basis.)

The most commonly used EPS share model calculation is the “trailing 12 months” formula, which tracks a company’s earnings per share by totaling its EPS for the previous four quarters.

The Takeaway

Earnings trends, up or down, make earnings per share one of the most valuable metrics for assessing investments. Four or five years of positive EPS activity is considered an indicator that a company’s long-term financial prospects are robust and that its share growth should continue to rise.

A careful EPS calculation can help clarify a short- or long-term view of a company’s financial and share price potential, allowing an investor to make choices based on data and not assumptions.

Ready to put those stock-picking skills to use? Get started with SoFi Invest® today.



SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

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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Source: sofi.com

5 Steps to Grow an Indoor Spice Garden

Spice up your apartment!

Looking to add a little flavor to your apartment? It’s easy to do so, both literally and metaphorically, by growing your own indoor spice garden.

Add a dash of extra fresh ingredients to home-cooked meals using plants grown in your DIY herb garden. They’re shockingly easy to grow! Wish we could say the same about some other members of the flora and fauna community (ahem, orchids).

The benefits of an indoor spice garden

There really are no cons to having your own indoor spice garden. However, the pros are numerous and convincing:

Money savings

Dried herbs and spices are awfully pricy for such small bottles. Five bucks for a tiny jar of tarragon that you’ll probably never fully use? Ridiculous!

By comparison, the supplies necessary for creating and maintaining a DIY herb garden are minimal, since it’s pretty much just young plants, possibly seeds and dirt and grow lights if you’re feeling really adventurous.

Fresher ingredients

You don’t have to be the second coming of Wolfgang Puck to appreciate fresh cooking ingredients. Your dishes will be full of extra flavor, plus you won’t have to wonder where that cilantro has already been or who has previously handled it!

Fresh herbs on a table with tags reading arugula, rosemary, dill, parsley and thyme.

A dash of natural beauty

A bit of extra greenery brightens up any home, especially apartments where space for plants and indoor trees is typically limited. A window sill full of herbs and spices is sure to add extra natural beauty to your space. Then, of course, there’s the benefit of delicious herb-related aromas!

Personal pride

If you’ve never flexed your green thumb before, a DIY herb garden is a perfect way to learn the basic ropes of gardening. There’s no feeling quite like seeing those first shoots peek through the dirt, so give it a try, then pat yourself on the back when everything comes up roses (so to speak!)

Steps to growing herbs indoors

Compared to an outdoor green space, an indoor spice garden is much less difficult. Still, there are decisions to make and steps to follow to achieve success!

Step 1: Pick a location (or two!)

Woman with brunette hair in a blue and white plaid shirt holding a box of spices.

As all plants require at least some sunlight to grow, identify the window spaces that have the best light for the herbs you’re growing. South-facing windows offer the most sunlight during the winter, so those are the best choice for plants that grow best in tropical climates, such as thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary and bay laurel. However, herbs like mint, chives, chervil and parsley don’t require such heavy light, so nurture those near east or west-facing windows.

If you want to get really fancy try setting up grow lights for best results, especially when growing from seeds. Then, it won’t really matter where the plants are!

Step 2: Purchase plants or plant seeds

Three plant containers, one white and two tan, are in a window sill.

Purchase plants any time of year! Pick up a few from the local nursery and consider buying more attractive containers than those plain, black plastic ones they come in. Think farmhouse chic, a la Joanna Gaines!

If planting from seed, start in spring. Buy the seeds you want, as well as a bag of seed starting potting mix. This is very important because heavier types of potting soil aren’t good for helping the germination process.

Some people opt to start the seed-planting process in plastic trays that have a lot of individual cells. Then, transplant the sprouts into clay pots. But you can really do either! Whichever container type you select, place the newly seeded containers out of direct sunlight in a warm room. Use clear plastic to cover them until germination happens, then take the plastic off and place it in sunlight or under grow lights (preferably the latter).

Step 3: Water and fertilize

A woman is watering her plants inside her kitchen with a glass pitcher of water.

Water is another essential ingredient to herb garden success. Be careful not to add too much of a good thing, however. Do not allow the soil to get very wet. Instead, water lightly using a watering can or sprayer to keep the soil slightly moist.

Frequency of watering really depends on how quickly your plants dry out. The amount of sunlight and temperature inside the apartment affects this. Do a fingertip test to make sure each plant really needs watering before you do it.

Starting a week or so after germination, use a liquid houseplant fertilizer a couple of times a month. Follow directions accordingly.

Step 4: HarvestA man is picking herbs from his indoor garden and putting the leaves he pulls off into a small bowl.

Don’t cut into that brand new plant right away! Instead, wait to start snipping until the plant is at least four to six inches tall.

To harvest, cut the outside leaves first. Use kitchen scissors or shears that are both clean and sharp. This will help the plant heal more quickly. Take care not to cut more than one-third of the plant at any given time, so that it can grow and mature at a good, strong pace.

If the plant starts to flower be sure to pinch the buds off, or else it will change from a producing plant to one that is more interested in reproduction.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Two glasses filled with strawberry and lime mojitos topped with fresh fruit and herbs.

Your enjoyment of these herbs is only limited by your imagination! Top your favorite dishes with fresh green onion or cilantro, or cook with sage or thyme for extra flavor. Some even go well as cocktail garnishes (mint)!

The best herbs to grow in your indoor spice garden

The great thing about growing your own herb garden is that you don’t have to plant anything that doesn’t suit your palate. Not a fan of cilantro? Don’t even bother! Put basil on everything? Plant extra!

Certain herbs are extra popular in DIY gardens. When you’re planning your garden, consider these versatile cooking herbs:

  • Lemongrass: Fans of Asian cuisine should definitely plant this easy to grow herb.
  • Parsley: This one is tricky to grow from seed, so perhaps start off with a plant, instead. Never transplant parsley from one container to another!
  • Rosemary: A must for soups and stews, this aromatic herb grows best in full sun.
  • Mint: One of the easiest to grow, mint is a great addition to just about any type of recipe.
  • Chives: Another on the cinch list, chives grow quickly and with little help. They make a wonderful and tasty garnish atop many dishes!
  • Basil: A little trickier than some herbs to grow, basil is well worth the extra effort.

Watch your spice garden grow

With a little effort and TLC, an herb garden is just the thing to spice up your home and cooking. Try your hand at a variety and note what works and what doesn’t. As with any gardening, growing herbs indoors takes time to learn and perfect. Keep at it and before you know it you and your guests will be enjoying flavorful herbs and spices that put the bottled stuff to shame!

Source: rent.com

8 Steps to Buying a Vacation Home

If you’re like many Americans, you dream of having a beach house, a desert escape, or a mountain hideaway. Perhaps you’re tired of staying at hotels and want the comforts of home at your fingertips.

You’re ready to make this dream a reality. Before you do, consider these steps.

How to Buy a Vacation Home

1. Choose a Home That Fits Your Needs

As you begin your search for a vacation home, carefully consider your goals and needs. Start with the location. Do you prefer an urban or rural area? Lots of property or a townhouse with just a small yard to care for?

Consider what amenities are important to be close to. Where is the nearest grocery store? Is a hospital accessible?

Consider your goals for the property. Is this a place that only you and your family will use? Do you plan to rent it out from time to time? Or maybe you plan to be there only a couple of weeks out of the year, using it as a rental property the rest of the time.

The answers to these questions will have a cascade effect on the other factors you’ll need to consider, from financing to taxes and other costs.

2. Figure Out Financing

Next, consider what kind of mortgage works best for you, if you’re not paying cash. You may want to engage a mortgage broker or direct lender to help with this process.

If you have a primary residence, you may be in the market for a second mortgage. The key question: Are you purchasing a second home or an investment property?

Second home. A second home is one that you, family members, or friends plan to live in for a certain period of time every year and not rent it out. Second-home loans have the same rates as primary residences. The down payment could be as low as 10%, though 20% is typical.

Investment property. If you plan on using your vacation home to generate rental income, expect a down payment of 25% or 30% and a higher rate for a non-owner- occupied loan. If you need the rental income in order to qualify for the additional home purchase, you may need to identify a renter and have a lease. A lender still may only consider a percentage of the rental income toward your qualifying income.

Some people may choose to tap equity in their primary home to buy the vacation home. One popular option is a cash-out refinance, in which you borrow more than you owe on your primary home and take the extra money as cash.

3. Consider Costs

While you consider the goals you’re hoping to accomplish by acquiring a vacation home, try to avoid home buying mistakes.

A mortgage lender can delineate the down payment, monthly mortgage payment, and closing costs. But remember that there are other costs to consider, including maintenance of the home and landscape, utilities, furnishings, insurance, property taxes, and travel to and from the home.

If you’re planning on renting out the house, determine frequency and expected rental income. Be prepared to take a financial hit if you are unable to rent the property out as much as you planned. For a full picture of cost, check out our home affordability calculator.

4. Learn About Taxes

Taxes will be an ongoing consideration if you buy a vacation home.

A second home qualifies for mortgage interest and property tax deductions as long as the home is for personal use. And if you rent out the home for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the rental income tax-free.

If you rent out the home for more than 14 days, you must report all rental income to the IRS. You also can deduct rental expenses.

The mortgage interest deduction is available on total mortgages up to $750,000. If you already have a mortgage equal to the amount you on primary residence, your second home will not qualify.

The bottom line: Tax rules vary greatly, depending on personal or rental use.

5. Research Alternatives

There are a number of options to owning a vacation home. For example, you may consider buying a home with friends or family members, or purchasing a timeshare. But before you pursue an option, carefully weigh the pros and cons.

If you’re considering purchasing a home with other people, beware the potential challenges. Owning a home together requires a lot of compromise and cooperation.

You also must decide what will happen if one party is having trouble paying the mortgage. Are the others willing to cover it?

In addition to second home and investment properties, you may be tempted by timeshares, vacation clubs, fractional ownership, and condo hotels. Be aware that it may be hard to resell these, and the property may not retain its value over time.

6. Make It Easy to Rent

If you do decide to use your vacation home as a rental property, you have to take other people’s concerns and desires into account. Be sure to consider the factors that will make it easy to rent. A home near tourist hot spots, amenities, and a beach or lake may be more desirable.

Consider, too, factors that will make the house less desirable. Is there planned construction nearby that will make it unpleasant to stay at the house?

How far the house is from your main residence takes on increased significance when you’re a rental property owner. Will you have to engage a property manager to maintain the house and address renters’ concerns? Doing so will increase your costs.

7. Pay Attention to Local Rules

Local laws or homeowners association rules may limit who you can rent to and when.

For example, a homeowners association might limit how often you can rent your vacation home, whether renters can have pets, where they can park, and how much noise they can make.

Be aware that these rules can be put in place after you’ve purchased your vacation home.

8. Tap Local Expertise

It’s a good idea to enlist the help of local real estate agents and lenders.

Vacation homes tend to exist in specialized markets, and these experts can help you navigate local taxes, transaction fees, zoning, and rental ordinances. They can also help you determine the best time to buy a house in the area you’re interested in.

Because they are familiar with the local market and comparable properties, they are also likely to be more comfortable with appraisals, especially in low-population areas where there may be fewer houses to compare.

The Takeaway

Buying a vacation home can be a ticket to relaxation or a rough trip. It’s imperative to know the rules governing a second home vs. a rental property, how to finance a vacation house, tax considerations, and more.

Ready to buy? SoFi offers mortgages for second homes and investment properties, including single-family homes, two-unit buildings, condos, and planned unit developments.

SoFi also offers a cash-out refinance, all at competitive rates.

Got two minutes to spare? That’s how long it takes to check your rate for a mortgage with SoFi.



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Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. SoFi Home Loans are not available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

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

Your Complete Midtown, Detroit Neighborhood Guide

When you get to the Midtown Detroit area, you’ll have no lack of things to do and enjoy.

Midtown boasts several cultural gems, a revitalized retail experience and several tourist attractions. This area has a lot to offer. So, let’s have a look at where we can stay, shop, enjoy food and enjoy ourselves when in this Detroit neighborhood.

Where is Midtown in Detroit?

The ZIP code for Midtown is 48202 and it’s located in the Greater Detroit Area. The community lies along the west and east sides of Woodward Avenue, between the New Center and Downtown Detroit.

It’s also bounded on the east, west, north and south by the Chrysler, Lodge, Edsel Ford and Fisher Freeways, respectively.

map of midtown detroit

Source: Rent.com

The neighborhood of Midtown Detroit has a lot to offer, perhaps even more so than any other neighborhood in this region. It boasts many of the leading medical facilities, urban learning institutes and museums in the country. This was also once the home of the Dodge Brothers and Charles Lindbergh.

There are also Midtown Detroit apartments as well as several other housing options available. Residents, tourists and visitors can rent brownstone houses, condos, mid-rise or low-rise Midtown Detroit apartments. Here’s a look at some of the average rents to expect:

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,219
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,309

Living in Midtown

Large building on the campus of Wayne University against a blue sky with sun hitting the building and trees.

Midtown Detroit has a whole lot to offer. That’s true even if you’re a tourist or staying there for some time. You get that historic value as well as a modern, liberal atmosphere to balance it all out. Here’s a bit of information about the various sectors available in this district:

Demographics

The population in Midtown Detroit is around 7,408. There’s an urbanized feeling to the place, with most residents living in rental homes. A major chunk of the population is young professionals, most of whom have a liberal mindset.

Education

Midtown Detroit is a university town and also has its own medical campus. It’s got a high concentration of medical facilities and other higher learning institutes, while its local Wayne State University is steadily growing as one of the leading research institutions in the country. In addition to public schools, there’s also the College for Creative Studies for those pursuing careers in art, design, etc.

Safety

In the past, Midtown Detroit wasn’t really known for its safety. Some sources even gave it a poor grade in this department. However, things have now changed and Midtown is one of the safest areas within Detroit.

Wayne State itself, which is the academic core of Midtown, is among the 50 safest options amongst large university campuses within the U.S.

Recreation/Entertainment

Midtown Detroit has one of the best art collections in the country. Visit the Detroit Institute of arts to take a look. If you prefer something more contemporary, head on over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. The Midtown galleries are also open. You can always take a glance back with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History or the Detroit Historical Museum. Top off an active day with a relaxing read at the impressive Detroit Public Library.

There are also several places to eat out in Midtown Detroit. One can opt for a variety of cuisines and delicacies, as they have food options from all around the world

Transportation

Midtown Detroit is a walkable community so you can just take off on foot. However, there are several transit systems available in Detroit itself. That’s why getting to Midtown is not a problem for anyone.

There are airport shuttles near the airport, making transportation easy for visitors and tourists. People can also use the DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation) bus system as well as the more updated version called the SMART system (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation). Most of the SMART routes go down the Midtown cores which is convenient for the people there.

Shopping

Once you start exploring Midtown, you’ll get some unique options. There are many handmade or hand-picked items available, with creative vendors at the helm. For everyday essentials, all kinds of grocery stores and supermarkets are also available.

10 things to do in Midtown

midtown detroit

Midtown Detroit has a number of activities and attractions available throughout the year. Here’s a quick view of 10 things you can do while in the neighborhood:

  1. Attend a concert at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
  2. Visit What Pipeline, a gallery featuring contemporary art.
  3. Eat at Mario’s Restaurant, which has served traditional Italian cuisine in the area for decades.
  4. Treat yourself at Avalon Cafe & Bakery.
  5. Play at the Garden Bowl, the longest-running bowling alley in America.
  6. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, a museum with many jewels such as Van Gogh’s and Degas’s works.
  7. Sample women’s clothing at The Peacock Room.
  8. Have a staycation at the El Moore Lodge, a green-efficient and comfortable hotel.
  9. Consume modern American food at The Block.
  10. Visit the Motown History Museum, which offers an immersive experience into the music’s development.

Finding an apartment in Midtown

No matter what your interests are or what you came to Detroit for, there’s something for everyone in the Midtown area. If you want to rent an apartment, it’ll always be just a stone’s throw from art galleries, theatres and so much more. Since the population is young and young at heart, there’s a buzz of activity all around.

Whether you’re looking to rent something in the city or out in Farmington Hills, there’s excitement everywhere you go in Detroit.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in February 2021, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

5 Tips to Hedge Against Inflation

To achieve financial freedom and grow wealth over long periods of time, it’s vital to understand the concept of inflation.

Inflation refers to the ever-increasing price of goods and services as measured against a particular currency. The purchasing power of a currency depreciates as a result of rising prices. Put differently, a rising rate of inflation equates to a decreasing value of a currency.

Inflation is most commonly measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) , which averages the national cost of many consumer items such as food, housing, healthcare, and more.

The opposite of inflation is deflation, which happens when prices fall. During deflation, cash becomes the most valuable asset because it can buy more. During inflation, other assets become more valuable than cash because it takes more currency to purchase them.

The key question to examine is: What assets perform the best during inflationary times?

Federal Reserve try to control inflation through monetary policy. Sometimes their policies can create inflation in financial assets, like quantitative easing has been said to do.

5 Tips for Hedging Against Inflation

The concept of inflation seems simple enough. But what might be some of the best ways investors can protect themselves?

There are a number of different strategies investors use to hedge against inflation. The common denominators tend to be hard assets with a limited supply and financial assets that tend to see large capital inflows during times of currency devaluation and rising prices.

Here are five tips that may help investors hedge against inflation.

1. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that deals in real estate, either through owning, financing, or operating a group of properties. Through buying shares of a REIT, investors can gain exposure to the assets that the company owns or manages.

REITs are income-producing assets, like dividend-yielding stocks. They pay a dividend to investors who hold shares. In fact, REITs are required by law to distribute 90% of their income to investors.

Holding REITs in a portfolio might make sense for some investors as a potential inflation hedge because they are tied to a hard asset—real estate. During times of high inflation, hard assets tend to rise in value against their local currencies because their supply is limited. There will be an ever-increasing number of dollars (or euros, or yen, etc.) chasing a fixed number of hard assets, so the price of those things will tend to go up.

Owning physical real estate—like a home, commercial complex, or rental property—also works as an inflation hedge. But most investors can’t afford to purchase or don’t care to manage such properties. Holding shares of a REIT provides a much easier way to get exposure to real estate.

2. Bonds and Equities

The recurring theme regarding inflation hedges is that the price of everything goes up. What investors are generally concerned with is choosing the assets that go up in price the fastest, with the greatest possible return.

In some cases, it might be that stocks and bonds very quickly rise very high in price. But in an economy that sees hyperinflation, those holding cash won’t see their investment, i.e., cash, have the purchasing power it may have once had.

In such a scenario, the specific securities aren’t as important as making sure that capital gets allocated to stocks or bonds in some amount, instead of holding all capital in cash.

3. Exchange-Traded Funds

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks a particular stock index or group of investment types is another way to get exposure to assets that are likely to increase in value during times of inflation and can also be a strategy to maximize diversification in an investor’s portfolio. ETFs are generally passive investments, which may make them a good fit for those who are new to investing or want to take a more hands-off approach to investing. Since they are considered a diversified investment, they may be a good hedge against inflation.

4. Gold and Gold Mining Stocks

For thousands of years, humans have used gold as a store of value. Although the price of gold can be somewhat volatile in the short term, few assets have maintained their purchasing power as well as gold in the long term. Like real estate, gold is a hard asset with limited supply.

Still, the question of “is gold a hedge against inflation?” has different answers depending on whom you ask. Some critics claim that because there are other variables involved and the price of gold doesn’t always track inflation exactly, that it is not a good inflation hedge. And there might be some circumstances under which this holds true.

During short periods of rapid inflation, however, there’s no question that the price of gold rises sharply. Consider the following:

•  During the time between 1970 and 1974, for example, the price of gold against the US dollar surged from $240 to more than $900 for a gain of 73%.
•  During and after the recession of 2007 to 2009, the price of gold doubled from less than $1,000 in November 2008, to $2,000 in August 2011.
•  In 2019 and 2020, gold has hit all-time record highs against many different fiat currencies.

Investors seeking to add gold to their portfolio have a variety of options. Physical gold coins and bars might be the most obvious example, although these are difficult to obtain and store safely.

5. Better Understanding Inflation in the Market

Ultimately, no assets are 100% protected from inflation, but some investments might be better than others for some investors. Understanding how inflation affects investments is the beginning of growing wealth over time and achieving financial goals. Still have questions about hedging investments against inflation? SoFi credentialed financial planners are available to answer questions about investments at no additional cost to members.

Downloading and using the stock trading app can be a helpful tool for investors who want to stay up to date with how their investments are doing or keeping an eye on the market in general.

Learn more about how the SoFi app can be a useful tool to reach your investment goals.



External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.
Third Party Trademarks: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.

SOIN20099

Source: sofi.com

Your Complete Midtown, Atlanta Neighborhood Guide

Right where I-75 and I-85 connect (hence the “Downtown Connector” name), you’ll find the Atlanta neighborhood of Midtown.

As a business center and many amenities, Midtown remains one of the most coveted areas in Atlanta. Its tree-lined streets, multi-unit small buildings, street-facing retail, green spaces (perfect for a dog!) and walkability are hard to beat.

Midtown is also a hub for the arts, fine dining, late-night bars and the city’s LGBTQIA community. As a newcomer, it is often challenging to get to know the neighborhood and make sure it’s a good fit before you move. Get to know Midtown below.

Where is Midtown in Atlanta?

Nestled between Buckhead to the north and downtown Atlanta to the south, Midtown borders the connector’s east side. Midtown is one of the priciest neighborhoods in the city, thanks to its endless amenities.

The iconic Peachtree Street cuts through half of the neighborhood and follows a semi-grid pattern. All streets are numbered consecutively, with 10th street being a hub for most attractions. Midtown ZIP codes are 30308 and 30309.

map of midtown atlanta

Source: Rent.com

Midtown’s main demographic skews younger, including young families, Georgia Tech students and business professionals. The neighborhood is home to several museums, several Fortune 500 companies like Turner Broadcasting and plenty of ways to reduce your commutes via bike and public transportation.

  • Studio average rent: $1,519
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,205
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,542

Living in Midtown

Living in Midtown is living in the heart of the city. In Atlanta, nightlife, the arts scene and dining all congregate in this 1.2-mile area. From festivals like Music Midtown to cultural events like the Dogwood Festival, you can easily immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s culture. Keep reading to get to know this neighborhood a bit more.

Demographics

Midtown is home to young families, business professionals and students heavily involved in their community — 79 percent have a strong sense of community. According to a report from the Midtown Alliance, two in three residents are millennials or Gen-Xers. The neighborhood has seen five times the population growth compared to the city of Atlanta as a whole.

Transportation

With four MARTA stops available to its residents and ample bike lanes, Midtown residents truly have an array of options to leave their car at home. The neighborhood street grid encourages walking. The Atlanta BeltLine connects to more than five miles of bike lanes as well across the neighborhood.

midtown atlanta ga

Economy

Midtown has over 20 million square feet of office space, with 96% of it being less than a six-minute walk from a MARTA stop. That kind of convenience is rare in Atlanta. Thanks to its proximity to Georgia Tech and its emerging talent, world-class startup incubators and accelerators live within the neighborhood.

Technology Square, a project sponsored by Georgia Tech, has nurtured innovation, research and venture funds within Midtown. Companies like Fortune 500 NCR Corporation are one of many that have moved their headquarters into the area.

Outdoor recreation

With more than 300 acres of green space between Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and nearby smaller parks, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Atlanta’s mild weather. You can also hop onto the BeltLine right on 10th Street to explore beyond Midtown, as the trail connects all 45 neighborhoods in the city of Atlanta.

Entertainment

From jazz nights at the Woodruff Arts Center and exhibitions at the High Museum of Art to plays at the 14th Street Playhouse and concerts at the Fox Theatre, there’s no lack of entertainment in Midtown. You can also find late-night entertainment at bars along Peachtree and 10th Street. On average, you can see more than 3,000 cultural events in Midtown.

Education

Top-ranked institutions like Georgia Tech and SCAD Atlanta have bred talent within Midtown. Corporate innovation centers like Coca-Cola’s and co-working spaces with workshops for entrepreneurs have helped keep Midtown the hub for all things tech in Atlanta.

atlanta botanical garden midtown

10 things to do in Midtown

Thanks to its great walkability, Midtown feels like a real city neighborhood with many attractions that even locals enjoy. Thanks to Atlanta’s mild weather, you can enjoy the neighborhood mostly year-round. But it’s lovely during spring when the dogwoods bloom and in the fall as the tree-lined streets turn from yellow to orange.

Here are 10 out of the many things you can do in Midtown.

1. Alliance Theatre

In the heart of Midtown, you’ll find the Woodruff Arts Center complex and the core of the arts district. Catch a show at the Alliance Theatre, whether it’s the classic A Christmas Carol or one of their new shows that feature emerging Broadway stars.

2. Laughing Skull Lounge

Comedy and improv scene is alive and well in Atlanta. You can get a few laughs at the Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown, a small, less than 75-seat venue inside burger joint, The Vortex.

3. Atlanta BeltLine Eastside trail

The Atlanta BeltLine has several sections, and the Eastside Trail, the first one to debut, comes right through Midtown. You can hop on the trail at Monroe Drive and 10th Street by foot or on your bike. The trail will connect you to other attractions in Old Fourth Ward, like Ponce City Market.

4. The High Museum of Art

Pay a visit (or better yet, become a member) of the Southeast’s leading museum, the High Museum of Art. Part of the Woodruff Arts Center complex, the museum holds more than 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection. Plus ongoing new, visiting exhibitions, like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors.

5. Coffee at Café Intermezzo

For the past 40 years, Café Intermezzo has remained an afternoon beacon for long conversations and delicious cakes in Atlanta. At its Midtown outpost, you can quickly walk over after a long day at the office or on the weekends to enjoy a hot latte and a slice of one of their exquisite desserts.

6. Piedmont Park

One of Atlanta’s main green spaces, Piedmont Park transforms into a concert venue, festival site or just an excellent place to have a picnic depending on the time of year. Right in the middle of the city, the park is an incredible amenity to have nearby with a dog park, a community pool and, of course, plenty of walking trails to unwind at the end of the day.

7. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Attached to the back of Piedmont Park, the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden changes from season to season. From lighting shows during the holidays to large, blooming sculptures during the spring, it’s worth visiting throughout the year.

8. Fox Theatre

The Moorish architecture of the Fox Theatre will take your breath away before you even go in through its doors. The historic landmark now functions as a venue for concerts, plays and musicals. You can also take a ghost tour of the facilities in the fall to learn more about the theatre.

9. Center of Puppetry Arts

Did you know that Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog cut the ribbon on the Center of Puppetry Arts’ opening day? It is one of the only puppet museums in the world. While this family-friendly attraction offers exhibitions and workshops for children, it hosts after-hours adult-only events that are just as fun.

10. Orpheus Brewery

Atlanta has more breweries than you can count on two hands, all with their niche and personality. Orpheus Brewery, right next to Piedmont Park, hires local artists to illustrate their sour beers’ cans. Head to their beer garden tasting room with a beautiful view of the park.

Finding an apartment in Midtown

With a vibrant arts scene and walkability, Midtown is hard to beat. One of the many neighborhoods around town that are lucky to have access to MARTA trains and buses, plus the Atlanta BeltLine and a high walk score, is easy to get around within the neighborhood.

Get from work to your Midtown apartment by skipping traffic. On the weekends, enjoy the outdoors at Piedmont Park or ride your bike on one of its many bike lanes.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in February 2021, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

Asbestos in Your Rental: How to Know and What to Do

Renting a home may come with certain unseen hazards.

One hazard that could cause serious harm to tenants, if exposed, is asbestos. Commonly found in homes built before the 1980s, asbestos was used in a variety of building materials such as pipe wrap, insulation, floor tile and popcorn ceilings. Friable (or easily crumbled) asbestos is known as a serious health threat, as it can become airborne and easily inhaled.

This article will explain why asbestos is dangerous, how to identify it and what to do if you suspect asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your rental.

Asbestos: An extensive history in building

As creatures of comfort, we have continuously sought after new building materials to make our homes more efficient, cost-effective and, of course, comfortable. From brick and mortar to Tyvek and vinyl siding, new materials are continuously being discovered and used to make more efficient building materials. Updated methods and materials have helped newer homes become incredibly energy efficient and older homes are easily retrofitted, too.

Asbestos was no different, and at the peak of its use, ACMs were considered top-quality products. As the link between exposure to asbestos and serious health conditions like mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer became more clear, asbestos was slowly phased out of building products. It wasn’t until the 1980s when a partial ban occurred which stopped any new ACMs from being used. However, homes built mid-century are likely to contain this once widely used carcinogen.

asbestos

Where might asbestos be?

Loose-fill insulation or pipe wrap are two insulating products that once contained asbestos. In attics and basements, asbestos-based insulation was easy to use and cost-effective for builders. Highly fire and chemical resistant, while remaining lightweight, asbestos-containing insulation products were convenient to work with while achieving outstanding value.

Asbestos was also used in popcorn ceilings, drywall applications, mortar mixes and cement. Its incredible strength provided drywall and masonry with added support. However, ACMs are still prone to deterioration. This is when asbestos fibers become dangerous.

Identifying asbestos and deciding what to do

It’s nearly impossible to identify ACMs with the naked eye. However, there are some clues that can help inform your decision. Having a general understanding of some of the products that used to contain asbestos is important. The next step is knowing if your rented home was built before the 1980s. Any item that was potentially made with asbestos should be treated as if it does until you have it tested. If the material is intact, it should be left alone. If the material is damaged or deteriorated and you suspect asbestos could become airborne, action should be taken.

The first step is to contact your landlord or leasing agent to request any documentation on asbestos tests performed in the past. Sometimes landlords or leasing companies may include this information with your lease. If they have, ensure that the documentation is from a licensed asbestos abatement professional. These individuals are the only ones who can safely perform the tests necessary and determine whether an ACM is safe in its current state.

If your landlord isn’t able to supply documentation of previous asbestos testing, ask them to have a test performed. As a resident, you should avoid trying to test, encapsulate or remove any ACMs yourself. This will only leave you liable in the future. Any reasonable landlord should willingly have tests performed — especially if building materials are deteriorating.

What if your landlord refuses to test?

If your landlord refuses to test the material in question there are a few things you can do. First, getting the material tested at your own expense will at least provide peace of mind. If the material does contain asbestos, it’s important to get an official assessment from a professional.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any specific regulations stating that landlords are required to remove asbestos or even make tenants aware of ACMs upon signing the lease agreement. Unlike lead paint, landlords aren’t even required to have suspected ACMs tested or inspected for safety before renting out a unit.

If airborne asbestos is present at dangerous levels — exceeding OSHA’s exposure limits — landlords must take action to mitigate the hazard. If the landlord remains negligent, one course of action is to prove that the residence is uninhabitable.

Protect yourself and your family

Unfortunately, many hazards often hide throughout the home. While some are obvious, like mold or water damage, others, like asbestos, may hide in the basement or attic. You can’t always protect yourself from these hazards, but you can make yourself more aware of some of the things in homes that could harm you and your loved ones. By doing so, we can mitigate risks to our health and improve the living conditions for ourselves and our families.

Source: rent.com

Getting a Master’s While Working Full Time | ApartmentSearch

Professor lecturing in front of students

If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree to help you stand out from the crowd, congratulations! It’s a big move that can make a significant difference in your career! However, just like a graduate degree can help you move up the corporate ladder, the amount of time and dedication required to get one may force you to take time off work.

If you want the best of both worlds, you may want to try studying while working full-time, but that’s easier said than done! Not sure that’s the right choice for you? Before you decide what to do, ask yourself the questions below — they’ll help you assess your options and prepare for your next big step!

Question #1: Do you feel comfortable asking for help?

Let’s be real: full-time school and full-time work will put a lot of stress on you. Sometimes, you won’t have an option but to ask for help — whether that’s asking your boss to cut you some slack or asking a professor for a deadline extension.

Are you the type of person willing and able to ask for help before small issues snowball into major problems? Consider this before you decide to stick with your job while going to grad school.

Question #2: Are you ready to do your — financial aid — homework?

Working full-time doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for financial aid, grants, and scholarships. However, it does mean that you’ll have to spend time studying your financial aid options before school even starts!

The following links provide advice and resources to help pay for grad school:

  • Types of Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid for Graduate School
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Question #3: When and how will you tell your coworkers and supervisors?

It’s impossible to avoid conflict in your life. Often, the best course of action is to get out in front of potential issues. Accordingly, you’ll want to share your plan with your boss so that if and when a conflict between your studies and your job appears, it will be easier to call out and resolve. And let’s face it, what employer doesn’t love the idea of a hardworking associate striving to learn and achieve more?

A bonus: some employers offer partial or even total tuition reimbursement if the field of study is likely to positively influence your work performance (and their bottom-line). That would take the sting out of your efforts to get a master’s while working full time!

Question #4: Can you relax?

While juggling school and work, it can be hard to take a break, relax, and rejuvenate. Regardless, it’s an integral part of earning a master’s degree while working full-time or tackling any challenge.

Despite that, many people struggle to unplug and unwind! Knowing how and when to relax is a valuable skill and one that’s worth learning before you hop into working and studying simultaneously.

Question #5: Do you have the physical and mental bandwidth for grad school and work?

It’s time for a little introspection! Reflect on what your current work-life balance looks like — do you have plenty of time left after the 9-to-5 to hang out with friends, work out, and do the other things you’re passionate about? How many hours a week are you expecting to be at school or studying? Is it going to be manageable? Meditate on these things before you make any big decisions.

Having room left in your schedule for work, life, and studies is one thing — but having space in your home to complete your professional and academic projects is another! Look around your apartment and ask yourself, “Can I create a dedicated space for my studies?”

Whether you have a dedicated home office or an unused dining space that can be converted into one, having a physical room for concentration will help you conquer work and grad school. And if you need temporary furniture to transform a space for the duration of your academic pursuits, turn to CORT Furniture Rental for temporary office and bedroom furnishings.

An Easy A: Finding Your Next Place

Whether you decide to do grad school full-time while staying at work, work and study part-time, or quit work to go to pursue a different trade entirely — ApartmentSearch has your back. Find apartments that fit your budget wherever life takes you!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Guide to Zcash Cryptocurrency

Zcash is a potentially private cryptocurrency that offers unique “shielded” features. The set-up allows for addresses and amounts in a Zcash transaction to be encrypted on the blockchain. Here’s a guide to its privacy features, price performance, technology and history.

What Is Zcash?

Zcash crypto falls under the category of cryptocurrencies known as “privacy coins,” or different types of cryptocurrency that make it hard for outside observers to detect details of the coins’ movements.

Zcash is basically a bitcoin clone with one key difference – the ability for shielded transactions, as mentioned. Zcash relies on a technology known as zk-SNARKS to hide the particulars of Zcash wallet activity.

Zcash transactions are not private by default. For users seeking privacy, the “shielded” feature must be turned on to prevent the transaction from appearing on the public Zcash blockchain.

Zcash Price and Performance

Zcash has soared more than 400% since the end of 2019 to $146.38 in mid-February. Its market cap is $1.62 billion, making it the 47th biggest cryptocurrency market, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Zcash has the third-largest market cap of any privacy coin (with Monero being #1 and DASH being #2).

Zcash Privacy

Zcash was created in response to Bitcoin‘s lack of anonymity. Activity on the Bitcoin blockchain and most other blockchains is transparent. Anyone can see everything that has ever happened on a public blockchain. The details of each transaction, including the parties sending and receiving coins, the time of the exchange, and the amount of value exchanged, are all public knowledge.

Zcash functions differently than Bitcoin in the sense that Zcash activity can be “shielded,” or hidden from the public, so users can transact privately. But if no one can see the details of a transaction, how can they be sure that it even happened? That’s where the privacy tech behind Zcash known as zk-SNARKS comes in.

Zcash is the first large-scale, real-world implementation of a privacy technology called zk-SNARKS. This tech allows for shielded Zcash transactions to be fully encrypted (private) while at the same time being validated under the network’s consensus rules (so everyone knows they really happened).

How “Shielding” Works

Zk-SNARK stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge.” This is a way of sharing data that allows one party to prove to another that they have specific information without revealing what that information is, and without requiring any interaction between the parties.

The exact details of how zk-SNARKs work and how they are applied to the Zcash blockchain are quite technical. Interested readers can reference the Zcash website for all of the intricate workings of this type of encryption technology.

While some people believe this tech offers the best, most comprehensive solution to the issue of private crypto transactions, others have criticized the security of a coin like Zcash.

The fact that the encryption technology used is so new and that the coin was launched using an unorthodox “ceremony” (more on this later) are key points of contention for some crypto observers. On top of that, most Zcash isn’t even private.

As mentioned earlier, transactions made on the Zcash blockchain are not private by default. For the currency to be used privately, a transaction must be “shielded.”

The vast majority of Zcash transactions are not shielded (as of April 2020, only 6% of the Zcash network had been using fully shielded transactions). This could be due to the fact that most wallets and exchanges use public Zcash addresses by default, something many users might not be aware of.

Types of Zcash Transactions

There are four different types of transactions that can be made on the Zcash blockchain. They are:

•  Private
•  Deshielding
•  Shielding
•  Public

Zcash addresses begin with either a Z or a T. Those beginning with a Z are private addresses, and those beginning with a T are transparent. Using different combinations of these two types of addresses allows for the four specific types of transactions.

In a private transaction (Z-to-Z) will be visible on the public blockchain. There’s proof that it occurred and the necessary network fees were paid. The specific details like the transaction amount and addresses involved, however, are encrypted and can’t be seen by the public.

A public transaction (T-to-T) works in the same way that a typical Bitcoin transaction works – everything can be seen on the public blockchain, including the sender, receiver, and amount transacted.

The Zcash website notes that most exchanges and wallets today use T-addresses by default, although more are allegedly moving to shielded addresses over time.

The other two types of transactions involve sending funds between T and Z addresses. In other words, either sending funds from a private address to a public one (Z-to-T, or Deshielding), or sending funds from a public address to a private one (T-to-Z, or Shielding).

Zcash History

Zcash cryptocurrency launched in 2016. The coin was forked from the original Bitcoin code, so both are minable proof-of-work cryptocurrencies that have a hard supply cap of 21 million. The block reward for Zcash also gets cut in half every four years or so to keep the currency deflationary by limiting supply, just like bitcoin.

Zcash has its roots in a 2013 publication called the Zerocoin white paper, which was written by professors Eli Ben-Sasson and Matthew Green. They saw the design of Bitcoin as being a threat to user privacy, and offered their own solutions in response.

But Zerocoin was designed for Bitcoin, meaning Bitcoin developers would have had to implement a lot of complex changes to the Bitcoin blockchain technology to make Zerocoin work. This led to the project being shelved for a time.

Then, in 2015, a cryptographer named Zooko Wilcox created a startup to discover ways that the Zerocoin concept might be successfully implemented in a new cryptocurrency. In 2016, Zcash was announced, and the coin launched in October of that year.

Launch of Zcash

The launch of Zcash is a focal point of many criticisms against the privacy coin. To make its new type of cryptography workable, the Zcash blockchain had to be created using something known as the “Zcash ceremony.”

This “ceremony” involved people from around the world collaborating to create what amounts to a master public key for the blockchain using pieces of a private key. Those involved were instructed to destroy the data they used so that it couldn’t be taken advantage of by someone else in the future, who could potentially use it to compromise Zcash.

Of course, no one has any way to verify that those involved actually destroyed the data they used in this ceremony, and no one can verify that Zcash was created in the way it claims to have been created.

Today, Zcash is operated by the Electric Coin Company with Zooko Wilcox as its CEO. The company employs a team of cryptographers to continue developing the Zcash blockchain. There is also a non-profit organization known as the Zcash Foundation that helps support this work. Both groups are funded in part by the issuance of new Zcash (ZEC) tokens.

Is Zcash a Good Investment?

Privacy coins in particular have a very uncertain future. Coins like Monero, Zcash, and DASH were delisted from the Bittrex exchange at the start of 2021. Because many people associate them with illicit activity, privacy coins could see their use restricted in various ways.

Exchanges could continue to delist coins with privacy features or regulatory authorities could seek to punish anyone who deals with them through new crypto regulations, perhaps claiming that people use privacy coins to avoid paying taxes on crypto, for example.

Many altcoins have gone to zero over the years, so that possibility also can’t be ruled out.

How to Buy Zcash

Some U.S. exchanges offer Zcash on their platform. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to buy and trade it:

1. Sign up for an account with a cryptocurrency exchange that offers Zcash.
2. Verify your account. This may involve providing documents that confirm your identity and address.
3. Deposit fiat currency or digital money into your account.
4. Buy Zcash with the deposited funds.
5. Withdraw Zcash into your hot or cold wallet.

The Takeaway

Zcash is a privacy coin that allows for completely private or “shielded” transactions. It is the first practical implementation of the zk-SNARK encryption technology. The vast majority of transactions made on the Zcash blockchain are not private and function in the same way as Bitcoin transactions because Zcash was forked from the original Bitcoin code.

SoFi Invest gives investors the tools they need to trade cryptocurrency, stocks, and ETFs. Learn the basics of investing in crypto firsthand by opening an Invest account today.

Learn more about SoFi Invest today.



Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.
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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Source: sofi.com

How Much Money Should You Have Saved For Retirement By 40?

At some point or another, you’ve probably asked yourself, “how much money should I have saved by 40?”

It’s a valid question that can be daunting to think about. The good news is you’re probably already saving money for retirement. The bad news is, you might not be saving enough money to retire when you want.

There are different ways to save money for retirement. The sooner, the better—so that it can start adding up. And that’s exactly what an increasing number of people in their 20s and 30s have been doing.

A Bank of America report found that almost one in four millennials (ages 24-41) have $100,000 or more saved as of winter 2020—a nearly 17% increase compared to that same report in 2015. The rising numbers are promising, but are these savings even enough? We’ll dig deeper into the numbers.

How Much Should I Have Saved by 40?

A general rule of thumb is to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved by the time you’re 30. By your 40s, many financial advisors recommend having two to three times your annual salary saved in retirement money.

In your 50s, conventional wisdom holds that you should have six times your annual salary in your retirement savings by the end of the decade.

How Can I Get My Retirement Money On Track?

If you feel you don’t have enough money saved yet, it’s never too late to get back on track. As you reach your 40s, it’s likely that your income increases, but so do the obligations tied to your money.

You might be saving money for your kids’ college; you probably have mortgage payments and existing debt; you may even be taking care of aging parents. It’s a lot of financial multi-tasking and you have to prioritize.

The key is to establish money goals and create a budget. Tracking your income and spending can help you figure out how much money you need to save for each goal and what kind of investments or savings make sense to achieve your goals.

This can be made much easier by using SoFi Relay to know where you stand with your money, what you spend, and how to hit your financial goals. With SoFi Relay you can track all of your money in one place, plus get credit score monitoring, spending breakdowns, financial insights, and more.

A key priority to think over is paying off any high-interest debt, including credit card debt. Be sure to make the payments on any existing loans to avoid any late fees or penalties for missed payments. It may be worth reviewing any loans you currently hold to see if you could potentially refinance to a lower interest rate.

If you don’t have an emergency money fund yet, consider putting that at the top of your priority list. You could plan to have three to six months’ worth of expenses saved.

Once you have high-interest debt paid off and an emergency money saved, you can allot a larger portion of your funds to save for retirement and other money goals. If you’re playing catch-up with your retirement money, try contributing any financial windfalls toward your retirement savings.

Saving and Investing Money by 40

If you already have a 401(k), there are a number of strategies to max out your 401(k) that are worth looking into. For example, it might make sense to contribute at least enough to qualify for any employer matching your company offers. Why lose out on the “free” money that your employer is willing to contribute to your retirement savings?

Try setting monthly or weekly savings targets to help you stay on track for retirement. You can even set up automatic transfers or deposits, so you don’t have to think about it.

As you’re rethinking how much money you need to save for retirement, it also makes sense to look at your lifestyle goals. That includes figuring out when you might want to retire, what kind of lifestyle you want in retirement, and how much money you might have coming in during retirement.

Where to Save Money for Retirement

Next, you’ll also need to figure out which retirement plan is right for you. There are many ways to save for retirement, even beyond the popular employer-sponsored 401(k). Other options include a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA (to see how much you can contribute to a Roth IRA, check out our Roth Contribution Calculator).

Some people choose to put their retirement savings in more than one type of account. This is useful if you want to set aside more than the yearly contribution limits on 401(k) plans—whether because you’re a high-income earner, or you started saving later in life, or you’re trying to achieve financial independence at a younger age. In that case, it might make sense to leverage a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or after-tax account to save beyond the 401(k) limits.

Investing in a Roth IRA now, with post-tax dollars, can also be useful if you want to withdraw money in retirement without paying taxes on the money. In contrast, 401(k) contributions are tax-deferred, meaning you will be taxed on funds you withdraw in retirement. That said, there are income limits on Roth IRAs, so this might not be an option depending on your salary.

After-tax accounts can be appealing to individuals who plan to achieve financial independence at a younger age and retire early. Unlike qualified plans, which place penalties on withdrawing funds before a certain age, an after-tax account is a pool of money that you can withdraw from without having to worry about penalties if you access the account before age 59 ½.

The Takeaway

While there are conventional rules of thumb as to how much money you should have saved by 40, the truth is everyone’s path to a comfortable retirement looks different. One piece of advice is universal, however: The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better your chances of being in a financially desirable position later in life.

Interested in boosting your retirement savings? You can open a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or after-tax account with SoFi Invest® to supplement your 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan savings.

Find out how SoFi Invest can help you start saving for your future.



SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

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