How Much Auto Insurance Do I Really Need?

Figuring out just how much car insurance you really need can be a challenge.

At minimum, you’ll want to make sure you have enough car insurance to meet the requirements of your state or the lender who’s financing your car. Beyond that, there’s coverage you might want to add to those required amounts. These policies will help ensure that you’re adequately protecting yourself, your family, and your assets. And then there’s the coverage that actually fits within your budget.

We know it may not be a fun topic to think about what would happen if you were involved in a car accident, but given that well over five million drivers are involved in one every year, it’s a priority to get coverage. Finding a car insurance policy that checks all those boxes may take a bit of research — and possibly some compromise. Here are some of the most important factors to consider.

How Much Car Insurance Is Required by Your State?

A good launching pad for researching how much car insurance you need is to check what your state requires by law. Only two states do not require a car owner to carry some amount of insurance: New Hampshire and Virginia. If you live elsewhere, find out how much and what types of coverage a policyholder must have. Typically, there are options available. Once you’ve found this information, consider it the bare minimum to purchase.

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

As you dig into the topic, you’ll hear a lot of different terms used to describe the various kinds of coverage that are offered. Let’s take a closer look here:

Liability Coverage

Most states require drivers to carry auto liability insurance. What it does: It helps pay the cost of damages to others involved in an accident if it’s determined you were at fault. Let’s say you were to cause an accident, whether that means rear-ending a car or backing into your neighbor’s fence while pulling out of a shared driveway. Your insurance would pay for the other driver’s repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and other related costs. What it wouldn’t pay for: Your costs or the costs relating to passengers in your car.

Each state sets its own minimum requirements for this liability coverage. For example, in California, drivers must carry at least $15,000 in coverage for the injury/death of one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property. The shorthand for this, in terms of shopping for car insurance, would be that you have 15/30/5 coverage.

But in Maryland, the amounts are much higher: $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 in bodily injury liability per accident (if there are multiple injuries), and $15,000 in property damage liability per accident. (That would be 30/60/15 coverage.)

And some may want to go beyond what the state requires. If you carry $15,000 worth of property damage liability coverage, for example, and you get in an accident that causes $25,000 worth of damage to someone else’s car, your insurance company will only pay the $15,000 policy limit. You’d be expected to come up with the remaining $10,000.

Generally, recommendations suggest you purchase as much as you could lose if a lawsuit were filed against you and you lost. In California, some say that you may want 250/500/100 in coverage – much more than the 15/30/5 mandated by law.

Recommended: What Does Liability Auto Insurance Typically Cover?

Collision Coverage

Collision insurance pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident with another car that was your fault. It will also help pay for repairs if, say, you hit an inanimate object, be it a fence, tree, guardrail, building, dumpster, pothole, or anything else.

If you have a car loan or lease, you’ll need collision coverage. If, however, your car is paid off or isn’t worth much, you may decide you don’t need collision coverage. For instance, if your car is old and its value is quite low, is it worth paying for this kind of premium, which can certainly add up over the years?

But if you depend on your vehicle and you can’t afford to replace it, or you can’t afford to pay out of pocket for damages, collision coverage may well be worth having. You also may want to keep your personal risk tolerance in mind when considering collision coverage. If the cost of even a minor fender bender makes you nervous, this kind of insurance could help you feel a lot more comfortable when you get behind the wheel.

Comprehensive Coverage

When you drive, you know that unexpected events happen. A pebble can hit your windshield as you drive on the highway and cause a crack. A tree branch can go flying in a storm and put a major dent in your car. Comprehensive insurance covers these events and more. It’s a policy that pays for physical damage to your car that doesn’t happen in a collision, including theft, vandalism, a broken window, weather damage, or even hitting a deer or some other animal.

If you finance or lease your car, your lender will probably require it. But even if you own your car outright, you may want to consider comprehensive coverage. The cost of including it in your policy could be relatively small compared to what it would take to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or stolen.

Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments Coverage

Several states require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments coverage (MedPay for short). This is typically part of the state’s no-fault auto insurance laws, which say that if a policyholder is injured in a crash, that person’s insurance pays for their medical care, regardless of who caused the accident.

While these two types of medical coverage help pay for medical expenses that you and any passengers in your car sustain in an accident, there is a difference. MedPay pays for medical expenses only, and is often available only in small increments, up to $5,000. PIP may also cover loss of income, funeral expenses, and other costs. The amount required varies hugely depending on where you live. For instance, in Utah, it’s $3,000 per person coverage; in New York, it’s $50,000 per person.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Despite the fact that the vast majority of states require car insurance, there are lots of uninsured drivers out there. The number of them on the road can range from one in eight to one in five! In addition, there are people on the road who have the bare minimum of coverage, which may not be adequate when accidents occur.

For these reasons, you may want to take out Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage Many states require these policies, which are designed to protect you if you’re in an accident with a motorist who has little or no insurance. In states that require this type of coverage, the minimums are generally set at about $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. But the exact amounts vary from state to state. And you may choose to carry this coverage even if it isn’t required in your state.

If you’re seriously injured in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t carry liability car insurance, uninsured motorist coverage could help you and your passengers avoid paying some scary-high medical bills.

Let’s take a quick look at some terms you may see if you shop for this kind of coverage:

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI)

This kind of policy covers your medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering after an accident when the other driver is not insured. Additionally, it provides coverage for those costs if any passengers were in your vehicle when the accident occurred.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD)

With this kind of policy, your insurer will pay for repairs to your car plus other property if someone who doesn’t carry insurance is responsible for an accident. Some policies in certain states may also provide coverage if you’re involved in a hit-and-run incident.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)

Let’s say you and a passenger get into an accident that’s the other driver’s fault, and the medical bills total $20,000…but the person responsible is only insured for $15,000. A UIM policy would step in and pay the difference to help you out.

Recommended: How to Pay for Medical Bills You Can’t Afford

Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) Insurance

Here’s another kind of insurance to consider: GAP insurance, which recognizes that cars can quickly depreciate in value and helps you manage that. For example, if your car were stolen or totaled in an accident (though we hope that never happens), GAP coverage will pay the difference between what its actual value is (say, $5,000) and what you still owe on your auto loan or lease (for example, $10,000).

GAP insurance is optional and generally requires that you add it onto a full coverage auto insurance policy. In some instances, this coverage may be rolled in with an auto lease.

Non-Owner Coverage

You may think you don’t need car insurance if you don’t own a car. (Maybe you take public transportation or ride your bike most of the time.) But if you still plan to drive occasionally — when you travel and rent a car, for example, or you sometimes borrow a friend’s car — a non-owner policy can provide liability coverage for any bodily injury or property damage you cause.

The insurance policy on the car you’re driving will probably be considered the “primary” coverage, which means it will kick in first. Then your non-owner policy could be used for costs that are over the limits of the primary policy.

Rideshare Coverage?

If you drive for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, you may want to consider adding rideshare coverage to your personal automobile policy.

Rideshare companies are required by law in some states to provide commercial insurance for drivers who are using their personal cars — but that coverage could be limited. (For example, it may not cover the time when a driver is waiting for a ride request but hasn’t actually picked up a passenger.) This coverage could fill the gaps between your personal insurance policy and any insurance provided by the ridesharing service. Whether you are behind the wheel occasionally or full-time, it’s probably worth exploring.

Recommended: Which Insurance Types Do You Really Need?

Why You Need Car Insurance

Car insurance is an important layer of protection; it helps safeguard your financial wellbeing in the case of an accident. Given how much most Americans drive – around 14,000 miles or more a year – it’s likely a valuable investment.

What If You Don’t Have Car Insurance?

There can be serious penalties for driving a car without valid insurance. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios: If an officer pulls you over and you can’t prove you have the minimum coverage required in your state, you could get a ticket. Your license could be suspended. What’s more, the officer might have your car towed away from the scene.

That’s a relatively minor inconvenience. Consider that if you’re in a car accident, the penalties for driving without insurance could be far more significant. If you caused the incident, you may be held personally responsible for paying any damages to others involved; one recent report found the average bodily injury claim totaled more than $20,000. And even if you didn’t cause the accident, the amount you can recover from the at-fault driver may be restricted.

If that convinces you of the value of auto insurance (and we hope it does), you may see big discrepancies in the amounts of coverage. For example, there may be a tremendous difference between the amount you have to have, how much you think you should have to feel secure, and what you can afford.

That’s why it can help to know what your state and your lender might require as a starting point. Keep in mind that having car insurance isn’t just about getting your car — or someone else’s — fixed or replaced. (Although that — and the fact that it’s illegal to not have insurance — may be motivation enough to at least get basic coverage.)

Having the appropriate levels of coverage can also help you protect all your other assets — your home, business, savings, etc. — if you’re in a catastrophic accident and the other parties involved decide to sue you to pay their bills. And let us emphasize: Your state’s minimum liability requirements may not be enough to cover those costs — and you could end up paying the difference out of pocket, which could have a huge impact on your finances.

Finding the Best Car Insurance for You

If you’re convinced of the value of getting car insurance, the next step is to decide on the right policy for you. Often, the question on people’s minds is, “How can I balance getting the right coverage at an affordable price?”

What’s the Right Amount of Car Insurance Coverage for You?

To get a ballpark figure in mind, consider these numbers:

Type of Coverage Basic Good Excellent
Liability Your state’s minimum •   $100,000/person for bodily injury liability

◦   $300,000/ accident for bodily injury liability

◦   $100,000 for property damage

•   $250,000/person for bodily injury liability

◦   $500,000/ accident for bodily injury liability

◦   $250,000 for property damage

Collision Not required Recommended Recommended
Comprehensive Not required Recommended Recommended
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Your state’s minimum $40,000 Your state’s maximum
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM, UIM) Coverage Your state’s minimum •   $100,000/person for bodily injury liability

◦   $300,000/ accident for bodily injury liability

•   $250,000/person for bodily injury liability

◦   $500,000/ accident for bodily injury liability

Here are some points to consider that will help you get the best policy for you.

Designing a Policy that Works for You

Your insurance company will probably offer several coverage options, and you may be able to build a policy around what you need based on your lifestyle. For example, if your car is paid off and worth only a few thousand dollars, you may choose to opt out of collision insurance in order to get more liability coverage.

Choosing a Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you might have to pay out personally before your insurance company begins paying any damages. Let’s say your car insurance policy has a $500 deductible, and you hit a guardrail on the highway when you swerve to avoid a collision. If the damage was $2,500, you would pay the $500 deductible and your insurer would pay for the other $2,000 in repairs. (Worth noting: You may have two different deductibles when you hold an auto insurance policy — one for comprehensive coverage and one for collision.)

Just as with your health insurance, your insurance company will likely offer you a lower premium if you choose to go with a higher deductible ($1,000 instead of $500, for example). Also, you typically pay this deductible every time you file a claim. It’s not like the situation with some health insurance policies, in which you satisfy a deductible once a year.

If you have savings or some other source of money you could use for repairs, you might be able to go with a higher deductible and save on your insurance payments. But if you aren’t sure where the money would come from in a pinch, it may make sense to opt for a lower deductible.

Recommended: Different Types of Insurance Deductibles

Checking the Costs of Added Coverage

As you assess how much coverage to get, here’s some good news: Buying twice as much liability coverage won’t necessarily double the price of your premium. You may be able to manage more coverage than you think. Before settling for a bare-bones policy, it can help to check on what it might cost to increase your coverage. This information is often easily available online, via calculator tools, rather than by spending time on the phone with a salesperson.

Finding Discounts that Could Help You Save

Some insurers (including SoFi Protect) reward safe drivers or “good drivers” with lower premiums. If you have a clean driving record, free of accidents and claims, you are a low risk for your insurer and they may extend you a discount.

Another way to save: Bundling car and home insurance is another way to cut costs. Look for any discounts or packages that would help you save.

The Takeaway

Buying car insurance is an important step in protecting yourself in case of an accident or theft. It’s not just about repairing or replacing your vehicle. It’s also about ensuring that medical fees and lost wages are protected – and securing your assets if there were ever a lawsuit filed against you. These are potentially life-altering situations, so it’s worth spending a bit of time on the few key steps that will help you get the right coverage at the right price. It begins with knowing what your state or your car-loan lender requires. Then, you’ll review the different kinds of policies and premiums available. Put these pieces together, and you’ll find the insurance that best suits your needs and budget.

A Simple Way to Get Great Car Insurance

Feeling uncertain about how much auto insurance you really need or what kind of premium you might have to pay to get what you want? Check out SoFi Protect, which uses the Root mobile app to measure your driving habits. The better you drive, the more you can save.


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American Option vs European Option: What is the Difference?

Two of the most popular types of options are American and European. American and European options have a lot in common, but there are some key differences that are important for investors to understand.

Options Basics

One of the reasons investors like options trading is that it provides the right, but not the obligation to the buyer, to buy (call) or sell (put) an asset. Making the choice to buy (call) or sell (put) is known as exercising the option.

Recommended: Call vs Put Option: The Differences

Like all derivatives, the value of options reflects the value of an underlying asset. The value of an option changes as its expiration approaches and according to the price of the underlying asset. Investors using a naked option trading strategy may not have the cash or assets set aside in their portfolio to meet the obligations of the contract.

If the value of the contract or the underlying asset doesn’t increase, the investor would choose to let it expire and they lose only the premium they paid to enter into the contract. Both put and call options contracts include a predetermined price to which the buyer and seller agree, and the contract is valid for a specified period of time.

After the contract ends on the expiration date, so does the option holder’s ability to buy or sell. There are many different options trading strategies that investors can use.

Recommended: What Is a Straddle in Options Trading?

What Are American Options?

America options are the most popular, with both retail investors and institutional investors using them. One of the reasons for their popularity is their flexibility. Traders can exercise their right to buy or sell the asset on any trading day during the term of the agreement.

Most often, American stock options contracts have an expiration period between three and twelve months.

American Option Example

Say an investor purchases an American call in March with a one-year expiry date. The contract states that the investor has the option to purchase stock in Company X for $25 per share. In options terminology, $25 would be known as the option’s strike price. As the price of the underlying stock asset changes, the value of the option also changes.

After the investor purchases the American call options, the value of the stock increases. Within a few months the price was $50. The investor decides to exercise their option to buy, purchasing 100 shares of the stock at the agreed upon strike price of $25/share, paying a total of $2,500. The investor then sells the shares at the current market price of $50/share, making a profit of $2,500 because their value had doubled, not including the premium paid.

Investors can also buy put options, which give them the right to sell instead of the right to buy. With put options the scenario is reversed in that the investor would exercise their right to sell if the asset decreased in value.

What Are European Options?

European options are similar to American options, but holders can only exercise them on the expiration date (not before), making them less flexible.

European Options Example

Let’s say an investor purchases a European call option for 100 shares of Company X with a strike price of $25 and an expiration date six months from the time of purchase. Three months after the contract starts, the price of the stock increases to $50/share. The investor can’t exercise the right to buy because the contract hasn’t reached the expiration date.

When the option holder is able to exercise three months later, the stock is down to $30/share. So the investor can still exercise the option and make a profit by purchasing 100 shares at $25 and selling them for $30. The investor would also need to subtract the upfront premium they made, so this scenario wouldn’t be nearly as profitable as the American option scenario.

This is why European options are not as valuable or popular as American options. Options pricing reflects this difference. The premium, or price to enter into a European option contract is lower. However, traders can sell their European options at any point during the contract period, so in the example above the trader could have sold the option for a profit when the stock price went up to $50/share.

American Style Options vs European Style

American and European options are similar in that they have a set strike price and expiration date. But there are several key differences between American and European options. These include:

Trading

One main difference between American and European options is traders typically buy and sell European options over-the-counter (OTC) and American options on exchanges.

Premiums

American options typically have higher premiums than European options since they offer more flexibility. If the investor doesn’t exercise their right to buy or sell before the contract expires, they lose the premium.

Settlement

European options tend to relate to indices, so they settle in cash. American options, on the other hand, typically relate to individual stocks or exchange-traded funds and can settle in stock or cash.

Settlement Prices

With American options, the settlement price is the last closing trade price, while with European options the settlement price is the opening price of index components.

Volume

American options typically have a much higher trading volume than European options.

Exercising Options

Traders can only exercise European options at the expiration date, while they can exercise American options at any point during the contract period. Traders can sell either type of option before its expiration date.

Pricing Models

A popular pricing model for options is called the Black-Scholes Model. The model is less accurate for American options because it can’t consider all possible trading dates prior to the expiration date.

Recommended: Black-Scholes Model Explained

Underlying Assets

The underlying assets of most American options are related to equities, European options are typically pegged to indices.

Risks of Americans and European Options

American options are riskier to an options seller because the holder can choose to exercise them at any time.

For buyers, it’s easier to create a hedging strategy with European options since the holder knows when they can exercise their right to buy or sell. Day traders and others who invest in options realize that there are risks involved with all investing strategies, along with potential reward.

The Takeaway

Options are one commonly traded type of investment, and many traders use them to execute a trading strategy. However, it’s possible to build a portfolio without trading options as well.

If you’re interested in a more straightforward approach to investing, one great way to get started is by opening a brokerage account on the SoFi Invest platform. The trading platform lets you research, track, buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and more right from your phone.

Photo credit: iStock/AleksandarNakic


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What to Know Before You Borrow Money Online

There are a variety of ways to borrow money when cash is needed. A few common places to start might be traditional banks or credit unions, or maybe a friend or family member who’s willing and able to consider lending.

If none of those options sound appealing, another option might be to borrow money online. Online lenders are becoming a more mainstream, acceptable alternative to traditional banks. What’s behind this increase in online lending, and what are some ways to borrow money online?

Why Have Online Lenders Grown in Popularity?

When lockdowns started in response to Covid-19 in 2020, people had to find different ways to do things they might have been accustomed to doing in person. Banking and other financial transactions were among those things. Brick-and-mortar banks limited access to branches or hours they were open, and retailers were hesitant to accept physical money. But transactions needed to keep happening, so consumers began moving online to complete them.

Familiarity, for Some Customers

A growing proportion of consumers is accustomed to using computers for many aspects of daily life, and making online financial transactions is no different. More people may be looking for things like:

•   Online applications.

•   Streamlined underwriting processes.

•   Automated funds transfers.

A Different Kind of Personal Service

Whereas in the past, personalization meant having a face-to-face relationship with a banker, personalization in today’s world can mean information that is relevant to an individual’s financial needs. This might look like things that can be more quickly accessed online, such as:

•   Personalized financial trends in a portfolio so they can make informed decisions about their financial goals.

•   Insights about their spending and saving so they can budget monthly income and expenses to meet their needs.

Time Saving

Customers may also want an experience that saves time. Automating tasks is a timesaver that can easily be done with online financial tools. In the case of online lending, the option to set up automatic bill payments and automate other tasks are likely to be considerations when a customer is choosing an online financial company.

Where To Borrow Money Online

When looking for an online lender, elements to consider might be the reputation of the lender, safety precautions the lender has in place, or types of loan products offered. Each person, also, should determine their individual comfort level of doing business with or without personal interaction.

Banks

A traditional bank may be a good option for someone who is more comfortable sharing private financial information at an in-person meeting or who doesn’t know how to borrow money online. Applying for a loan through a traditional bank might include a visit to a brick-and-mortar branch of the bank along with online components, making this a hybrid approach. Since traditional banks have upkeep costs related to physical locations, their fees or interest rates might be higher than other lending options.

Credit Unions

Similar to banks, credit unions generally have physical locations, but may also have online services. Financial services offered by credit unions are similar to banks and other financial institutions. There are usually specific requirements to be a member of a credit union, such as employment-related or residence in a particular region, or membership in a particular group. Credit unions may offer member benefits such as low fees, high savings rates, and low loan rates.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending is akin to matchmaking. A prospective borrower submits an application with an online marketplace, which matches the applicant with investors. Some online marketplaces for P2P lending are Prosper, Upstart, and Peerform. P2P lending may be a good place to look for an online loan for someone who isn’t able to qualify for a loan from a conventional lender, or if an alternative funding source is preferred.

Recommended: What Are P2P Transfers & How To Use Them

Online Lenders

The lack of brick-and-mortar branches might deter some customers, but attract others. The deciding factor for some customers might be how well the process works for them, with less emphasis on having a face-to-face interaction. Another factor in choosing online lending over in-person may be the speed of the process. Online loans and other financial transactions can sometimes be completed faster than going into the physical location of a traditional lender.

Options to Think Twice About

Along with favorable options for lending that are available, there are some that may not bring about the best financial outcomes.

Credit Cards

At its core, a credit card is a short-term loan — specifically, a line of credit. If the account balance is paid in full before each month’s due date, it’s a no-interest loan. Financial drawbacks arise, however, when that balance is not paid in full each month, carrying over a balance due. Credit card interest rates tend to be high, and they accrue on any unpaid balance, compounding what is owed in the next billing cycle. The average credit card annual percentage rate (APR) is currently 18.24% for new credit card offers. Even for existing customers, the APR is high, at an average of 14.54% currently. It’s easy to see how this can lead to a cycle of debt. Paying off a loan over time is probably more efficiently done with other financial tools.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Predatory Lenders

When people look for fast cash, there is probably someone out there who is willing to lend it to them — at a cost. If it seems like there is no other choice available, some people may take on a loan that can be difficult to pay off. Repeat borrowing is common with these types of loans.

•   Payday loans are short-term loans, typically to be paid off in the borrower’s next payday. Interest rates are extremely high, often 400% or more.

•   Title loans or pawn loans use a borrower’s vehicle or other item of value as collateral. The APR on a title loan can be as much as 300%, and lenders often charge additional fees.

The Takeaway

Choosing a lender depends on different factors for different people. Traditional lenders, online lenders, alternative lenders — each can be a valid choice for different financial needs. With online lenders becoming more commonplace, with established reputations in the financial marketplace, looking at options among them might be a good choice.

SoFi is committed to helping its members make sound financial decisions, including sound borrowing decisions. Personal loans from SoFi come with fixed interest rates and terms that work with a variety of budgets and for different financial needs — and no fees.

Learn more about SoFi Personal Loans


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What Is the Coupon Rate of a Bond?

A coupon rate is the nominal interest rate or yield associated with a fixed-income security. A bond coupon rate represents the annual interest rate paid on a bond by the issuer, as determined by the bond’s face value. Issuers typically pay bond coupon rates on a semiannual basis.

The coupon rate of a bond can tell an investor how much interest they can expect to collect on a yearly basis via coupon payments. The bond coupon rate is not the same as the bond yield, which investors use to estimate the total rate of return.

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

What Is Coupon Rate?

Coupon rate is a predetermined percentage of interest, typically paid out twice per year. Investors often use the term “coupon rate” when discussing fixed-income securities, including bonds and notes.

Bonds represent a debt, wherein the bond issuer agrees to periodically pay interest to investors who purchase the bonds in exchange for the temporary use of their capital. Investors can buy individual bonds, bond funds or bond options, which are similar to stock options.

The coupon rates for their bonds reflect on the bond’s par or face value at issuance. This means the rate won’t change for the maturity of the bond. The coupon interest rate tells you what percentage of the bond’s face value you’ll receive yearly. Coupon rates are typically lower for investment-grade bonds and higher for junk bonds, due to their higher risk.

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

Coupon Rate Formula

The bond coupon rate formula is fairly simple and it looks like this:

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

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

How to Calculate Coupon Rate (Example)

Say you have a bond with a face value of $1,000. That bond pays $25 in interest to you twice per year. To find the annual coupon payment you’d simply multiply $25 by two to get $50. You’d then divide the $50 annual coupon payment by the $1,000 par value of the bond and multiply by 100 to find that your bond has a coupon rate of 5%.

How Does Coupon Rate Affect Bond Price?

Bond prices can move up or down based on its coupon rate, relative to movements in interest rates. When interest rates are higher than the bond’s coupon rate, that bond’s price may fall in order to offset a less attractive yield. If interest rates drop below the bond’s coupon rate, the bond’s price may rise if it becomes a more attractive investment opportunity.

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

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

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

Coupon Rate Comparisons

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

Coupon Rate vs Yield to Maturity

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

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

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

Yield-to-Maturity Formula

To find yield to maturity for a single bond, you’d apply this formula:

Yield to maturity = [Annual Interest + (FV-Price)/Maturity] / [(FV+Price)/2]

So you’d subtract the bond’s current market price from its face value, divide that number by the maturity term and add in the annual interest. You’d then divide that figure by half of the bond’s face value plus its price.

Coupon Rate vs Interest Rate

Interest rates can influence coupon rates. The coupon rate of a bond is the rate of interest paid annually, based on the bond’s face value. Again, the issuer – typically a company or government entity – determines the bond coupon rate at issuance and it does not change.

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

Movements in the federal funds rate can influence interest rates, including coupon rates. When interest rates rise, based on changes to the federal funds rate, that can cause bond prices to fall. When interest rates decline, based on changes to the federal funds rate, bond prices typically rise.

Zero-Coupon Bond Alternative

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

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

The Takeaway

Investing in bonds can help you create a well-rounded portfolio alongside stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other securities. As you get closer to retirement, bonds can be an important part of your income and risk management strategy, whether you’re investing through an IRA, a 401(k), or a brokerage account.

The sooner you get started with investing the better, as the power of time and compounding interest are both on your side. A great way to get started is by opening an online brokerage account on the SoFi Invest investment app, which allows you to begin building a portfolio with ease via your phone.

Photo credit: iStock/Inside Creative House


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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Commodities Trading Guide for Beginners

Investing in commodities — e.g. agricultural products, energy, and metals — can be profitable if you understand how the commodity markets work. Commodities trading is generally viewed as high risk, since the commodities markets can fluctuate dramatically owing to factors that are difficult to foresee (like weather) but influence supply and demand.

Nonetheless, commodity trading can be useful for diversification because commodities tend to have a low or even a negative correlation with asset classes like stocks and bonds.

Commodities fall firmly in the category of alternative investments, and thus they may be better suited to some investors than others. Getting familiar with commodity trading basics can help investors manage risk vs. reward.

What Is Commodities Trading?

Commodity trading simply means buying and selling a commodity on the open market. Commodities are raw materials that have a tangible economic value. For example, agricultural commodities include products like soybeans, wheat, and cotton. These, along with gold, silver, and other precious metals, are examples of physical commodities.

There are different ways commodity trading can work. Investing in commodities can involve trading futures, options trading, or investing in commodity-related stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, or index funds. Different investments offer different strategies, risks, and potential costs that investors need to weigh before deciding how to invest in commodities.

Unique Traits of the Commodities Market

The commodities market is unique in that market prices are driven largely by supply and demand, less by market forces or events in the news. When supply for a particular commodity such as soybeans is low — perhaps owing to a drought — and demand for it is high, that typically results in upward price movements.

And when there’s an oversupply of a commodity such as oil, for example, and low demand owing to a warmer winter in some areas, that might send oil prices down.

Likewise, global economic development and technological innovations can cause a sudden shift in the demand for certain commodities like steel or gas or even certain agricultural products like sugar.

Thus, investing in commodities can be riskier because they’re susceptible to volatility based on factors that can be hard to anticipate. For example, a change in weather patterns can impact crop yields, or sudden demand for a new consumer product can drive up the price of a certain metal required to make that product.

Even a relatively stable commodity such as gold can be affected by rising or falling interest rates, or changes in the value of the U.S. dollar.

In the case of any commodity, it’s important to remember that you’re often dealing with tangible, raw materials that typically don’t behave the way other investments or markets tend to.

Commodity vs Stock Trading

Take stocks vs. commodities. The main difference in stock trading vs commodity trading lies in what’s being traded. When trading stocks, you’re trading ownership shares in a particular company. If you’re trading commodities, you’re trading the physical goods that those companies may use.

There’s also a difference in where you trade commodities vs. stocks. Stocks are traded on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq. Commodities and commodities futures are traded on a commodities exchange, such as the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYME) or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

That said, and we’ll explore this more later in this guide, it’s possible to invest in commodities via certain stocks in companies that are active in those industries.

Types of Commodities

Commodities are grouped together as an asset class but there are different types of commodities you may choose to invest in. There are two main categories of commodities: Hard commodities and soft commodities. Hard commodities are typically extracted from natural resources while soft commodities are grown or produced.

Agricultural Commodities

Agricultural commodities are soft commodities that are produced by farmers. Examples of agricultural commodities include rice, wheat, barley, oats, oranges, coffee beans, cotton, sugar, and cocoa. Lumber can also be included in the agricultural commodities category.

Needless to say, this sector is heavily dependent on seasonal changes, weather patterns, and climate conditions. Other factors may also come into play, like a virus that impacts cattle or pork. Population growth or decline in a certain area can likewise influence investment opportunities, if demand for certain products rises or falls.

Livestock and Meat Commodities

Livestock and meat are given their own category in the commodity market. Examples of livestock and meat commodities include pork bellies, live cattle, poultry, live hogs, and feeder cattle. These are also considered soft commodities.

You may not think that seasonal factors or weather patterns could affect this market, but livestock and the steady production of meat requires the steady consumption of feed, typically based on corn or grain. Thus, this is another sector that can be vulnerable in unexpected ways.

Energy Commodities

Energy commodities are hard commodities. Examples of energy commodities include crude oil, natural gas, heating oil or propane, and products manufactured from petroleum, such as gasoline.

Here, investors need to be aware of certain economic and political factors that could influence oil and gas production, like a change in policy from OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). New technology that supports alternative or green energy sources can also have a big impact on commodity prices in the energy sector.

Precious Metals and Industrial Metals

Metals commodities are also hard commodities. Types of metal commodities include precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Industrial metals such as steel, copper, zinc, iron, and lead would also fit into this category.

Investors should be aware of factors like inflation, which might push people to buy precious metals as a hedge.

How to Invest in Commodities

If you’re interested in how to trade commodities, there are different ways to go about it. It’s important to understand the risk involved, as well as your objectives. You can use that as a guideline for determining how much of your portfolio to dedicate to commodity trading, and which of the following strategies to consider.

Recommended: What Is Asset Allocation?

Trading Stocks in Commodities

If you’re already familiar with stock trading, purchasing shares of companies that have a commodities connection could be the simplest way to start investing.

For example, if you’re interested in gaining exposure to agricultural commodities or livestock and meat commodities, you may buy shares in companies that belong to the biotech, pesticide, or meat production industries.

Or, you might consider purchasing oil stocks or mining stocks if you’re more interested in the energy stocks and precious or industrial metals commodities markets.

Trading commodities stocks is the same as trading shares of any other stock. The difference is that you’re specifically targeting companies that are related to the commodities markets in some way. This requires understanding both the potential of the company, as well as the potential impact of fluctuations in the underlying commodity.

You can trade commodities stocks on margin for even more purchasing power. This means borrowing money from your brokerage to trade, which you must repay. This could result in bigger profits, though a drop in stock prices could trigger a margin call.

Futures Trading in Commodities

A futures contract represents an agreement to buy or sell a certain commodity at a specific price at a future date. The producers of raw materials make commodities futures contracts available for trade to investors.

So, for example, an orange grower might sell a futures contract agreeing to sell a certain amount of their crop for a set price. A company that sells orange juice could then buy that contract to purchase those oranges for production at that price.

This type of futures trading involves the exchange of physical commodities or raw materials. For the everyday investor, futures trading in commodities typically doesn’t mean you plan to take delivery of two tons of coffee beans or 4,000 bushels of corn. Instead, you buy a futures contract with the intention of selling it before it expires.

Futures trading in commodities is speculative, as investors are making educated guesses about which way a commodity’s price will move at some point in the future. Similar to trading commodities stocks, commodities futures can also be traded on margin. But again, this could mean taking more risk if the price of a commodity doesn’t move the way you expect it to.

Trading ETFs in Commodities

Commodity ETFs (or exchange-traded funds) can simplify commodities trading. When you purchase a commodity ETF you’re buying a basket of securities. These can target a picture type of commodities, such as metals or energy, or offer exposure to a broad cross-section of the commodities market.

A commodity ETF can offer simplified diversification though it’s important to understand what you own. For example, a commodities ETF that includes options or commodities futures contracts may carry a higher degree of risk compared to an ETF that includes commodities companies, such as oil and gas companies, or food producers.

Recommended: How to Trade ETFs

Investing in Mutual and Index Funds in Commodities

Mutual funds and index funds offer another entry point to commodities investing. Like ETFs, mutual funds and index funds can allow you to own a basket of commodities securities for easier diversification. But actively managed mutual funds offer investors access to very different strategies compared with index funds.

Actively managed funds follow an active management strategy, typically led by a portfolio manager who selects individual securities for the fund. So investing in a commodities mutual fund that’s focused on water or corn, for example, could give you exposure to different companies that build technologies or equipment related to water sustainability or corn production.

By contrast, index mutual funds are passive, and simply mirror the performance of a market index.

Even though these funds allow you to invest in a portfolio of different securities, remember that commodities mutual funds and index funds are still speculative, so it’s important to understand the risk profile of the fund’s underlying holdings.

Commodity Pools

A commodity pool is a private pool of money contributed by multiple investors for the purpose of speculating in futures trading, swaps, or options trading. A commodity pool operator (CPO) is the gatekeeper: The CPO is responsible for soliciting investors to join the pool and managing the money that’s invested.

Trading through a commodity pool could give you more purchasing power since multiple investors contribute funds. Investors share in both the profits and the losses, so your ability to make money this way can hinge on the skills and expertise of the CPO. For that reason, it’s important to do the appropriate due diligence. Most CPOs should be registered with the National Futures Association (NFA). You can check a CPO’s registration status and background using the NFA website.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Commodity Trading

Investing in commodities has its pros and cons like anything else, and they’re not necessarily right for every investor. If you’ve never traded commodities before it’s important to understand what’s good — and potentially not so good — about this market.

Advantages of Commodity Trading

Commodities can add diversification to a portfolio which can help with risk management. Since commodities have low correlation to the price movements of traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds they may be more insulated from the stock volatility that can affect those markets.

Supply and demand, not market conditions, drive commodities prices which can help make them resilient throughout a changing business cycle.

Trading commodities can also help investors hedge against rising inflation. Commodity prices and inflation move together. So if consumer prices are rising commodity prices follow suit. If you invest in commodities, that can help your returns keep pace with inflation so there’s less erosion of your purchasing power.

Disadvantages of Commodity Trading

The biggest downside associated with commodities trading is that it’s high risk. Changes in supply and demand can dramatically affect pricing in the commodity market which can directly impact your returns. That means commodities that only seem to go up and up in price can also come crashing back down in a relatively short time frame.

There is also a risk inherent to commodities trading, which is the possibility of ending up with a delivery of the physical commodity itself if you don’t close out the position. You could also be on the hook to sell the commodity.

Aside from that, commodities don’t offer any benefits in terms of dividend or interest payments. While you could generate dividend income with stocks or interest income from bonds, your ability to make money with commodities is based solely on buying them low and selling high.

The Takeaway

Commodities trading could be lucrative but it’s important to understand what kind of risk it entails. Commodities trading is a high-risk strategy so it may work better for investors who have a greater comfort with risk, versus those who are more conservative. Thinking through your risk tolerance, risk capacity, and timeline for investing can help you decide whether it makes sense to invest in commodities.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to invest in commodities, including futures and options (which are a bit more complex), as well as stocks, ETFs, mutual and index funds — securities that may be more familiar. To explore some ways you might invest in commodities, open an online brokerage account with SoFi Invest®. And remember: SoFi members have access to complimentary financial advice from a professional.

Photo credit: iStock/FlamingoImages


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.
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.
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What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan (MPPP)? How Is It Different From a 401k?

A money purchase pension plan or MPPP is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that requires employers to contribute money on behalf of employees each year. The plan itself defines the amount the employer must contribute. Employees may also have the option to make contributions from their pay.

Money purchase pension plans have some similarities to more commonly used retirement plans such as 401(k)s, pension plans, and corporate profit sharing plans. If you have access to a MPPP plan at work, it’s important to understand how it works and where it might fit into your overall retirement strategy.

What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan?

Money purchase pension plans are a type of defined contribution plan. That means they don’t guarantee a set benefit amount at retirement. Instead, these retirement plans allow employers and/or employees to contribute money up to annual contribution limits.

Like other retirement accounts, participants can make withdrawals when they reach their retirement age. In the meantime, the account value can increase or decrease based on investment gains or losses.

Money purchase pension plans require the employer to make predetermined fixed contributions to the plan on behalf of all eligible employees. The company must make these contributions on an annual basis as long as the plan is maintained.

Contributions to a money purchase plan grow on a tax-deferred basis. Employees do not have to make contributions to the plan, but it may allow them to do so. The IRS does allow for loans from money purchase plans but it does not permit in-service withdrawals.

What Are the Money Purchase Pension Plan Contribution Limits?

Each money purchase plan determines its own contribution limits are, though they can’t exceed maximum limits set by the IRS. For example, an employer’s plan may specify that they must contribute 5% or 10% of each employee’s pay into that employee’s MPPP plan account.

Annual money purchase plan contribution limits are similar to SEP IRA contribution limits. For 2022, the maximum contribution allowed is the lesser of:

•   25% of the employee’s compensation, OR

•   $61,000

The IRS routinely adjusts the contribution limits for money purchase pension plans and other qualified retirement accounts based on inflation. The amount of money an employee will have in their money purchase plan upon retirement depends on the amount that their employer contributed on their behalf, the amount the employee contributed, and how their investments performed during their working years. Your account balance may be one factor in determining when you’re able to retire.

Rules for money purchase plan distributions are the same as other qualified plans, in that you can begin withdrawing money penalty-free starting at age 59 ½. If you take out money before that, you may owe an early withdrawal penalty of 10.

Like a pension plan, money purchase pension plans must offer the option to receive distributions as a lifetime annuity. Money purchase plans can also offer other distribution options, including a lump sum. Participants do not pay taxes on their accounts until they begin making withdrawals.

The Pros and Cons of Money Purchase Pension Plans

Money purchase pension plans have some benefits, but there are also some drawbacks that participants should keep in mind.

Pros of Money Purchase Plans

Here are some of the advantages for employees and employers who have a money purchase plan.

•   Tax benefits. For employers, contributions made on behalf of their workers are tax deductible. Contributions grow tax-free for employees, allowing them to put off taxes on investment growth until they begin withdrawing the money.

•   Loan access. Employees may be able to take loans against their account balances if the plan permits it.

•   Potential for large balances. Given the relatively high contribution limits, employees may be able to accumulate account balances higher than they would with a 401(k) retirement plan, depending on their pay and the percentage their employer contributes on their behalf.

•   Reliable income in retirement. When employees retire and begin drawing down their account, the regular monthly payments through a lifetime annuity can help with budgeting and planning.

Disadvantages of Money Purchase Pension Plan

Most of the disadvantages associated with money purchase pension plans impact employers rather than employees.

•   Expensive to maintain. The administrative and overhead costs of maintaining a money purchase plan can be higher than those associated with other types of defined contribution plans.

•   Heavy financial burden. Since contributions in a money purchase plan are required (unlike the optional employer contributions to a 401(k)) a company could run into issues in years when cash flow is lower.

•   Employees may not be able to contribute. Depending on the terms of a plan, employees may not be able to make contributions to the plan. However, if the employer offers both a money purchase plan and a 401(k), they could still defer part of their salary for retirement.

Money Purchase Pension Plan vs 401(k)

The main differences between a pension vs. 401(k) have to do with their funding and the way the distributions work. In a money purchase plan, the employer provides the funding with optional employee contribution.

With a 401(k), employees fund accounts with elective salary deferrals and option employer contributions. For both types of plans, the employer may implement a vesting schedule that determines when the employee can keep all of the employer’s contributions if they leave the company. Employee contributions always vest immediately.

The total annual contribution limits (including both employer and employee contributions) for these defined contribution plans are the same, at $61,000 for 2022. But 401(k) plans allow for catch-up contributions made by employees aged 50 or older. For 2022, the total employee contribution limit is $20,500 with an extra catch-up contribution of $6,500.

Both plans may or may not allow for loans, and it’s possible to roll amounts held in a money purchase pension plan or a 401(k) over into a new qualified plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if you change jobs or retire.

Recommended: IRA vs 401(k)–What’s the Difference?

Employees may also be able to take hardship withdrawals from a 401(k) if they meet certain conditions, but the IRS does not allow hardship withdrawals from a money purchase pension plan.

MPPP Plan 401(k) Plan
Funded by Employer contributions, with employee contributions optional Employee salary deferrals, with employer matching contributions optional
Tax status Contributions are tax-deductible for employers, growth is tax-deferred for employees Contributions are tax-deductible for employers and employees, growth is tax-deferred for employees
Contribution limits (2022) Lesser of 25% of employee’s pay or $61,000 $61,000, with catch-up contributions of $6,500 for employees 50 or older
Catch-up contributions allowed No Yes, for employers 50 and older
Loans permitted Yes, if the plan allows Yes, if the plan allows
Hardship withdrawals No Yes, if the plan allows
Vesting Determined by the employer Determined by the employer

The Takeaway

Money purchase pension plans are a valuable tool for employees to reach their retirement goals. They’re similar to 401(k)s, but there are some important differences.

Whether you save for retirement in a money purchase pension plan, a 401(k) or another type of account the most important thing is to get started. If you don’t have access to a money purchase pension plan or similar plan at work there are other options you can pursue, such as opening an IRA online through the SoFi Invest brokerage platform. The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more time your money will have to grow through the power of compounding interest.

FAQ

Here are answers to some additional questions you may have about money pension purchase plans.

What is a pension money purchase scheme?

A money purchase pension plan or money purchase plan is a defined contribution plan that allows employers to save money on behalf of their employees. These plans are similar to profit-sharing plans and companies may offer them alongside a 401(k) plan as part of an employee’s retirement benefits package.

Can I cash in my money purchase pension?

You can cash in a money purchase pension at retirement in place of receiving lifetime annuity payments. Otherwise, you can start taking Early withdrawals from a money purchase pension plan are typically not permitted and if you do take money early, taxes and penalties may apply.

Is final salary pension for life?

A final salary pension is a defined benefit plan. Unlike a defined contribution plan, defined benefit plans do pay out a set amount of money at retirement, typically based on your earnings and number of years of service. Final salary pensions can be paid as a lump sum or as a lifetime annuity, meaning you get paid for the remainder of your life.

Photo credit: iStock/ferrantraite


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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Source: sofi.com

Cyclical vs Non-Cyclical Stocks: Investing Around Economic Cycles

Cyclical investing means understanding how various stock sectors react to economic changes. A cyclical stock is one that’s closely correlated to what’s happening with the economy at any given time. The performance of non-cyclical stocks, however, is typically not as closely tied to economic movements.

Investing in cyclical stocks and non-cyclical stocks may help to provide balance and diversification in a portfolio. This in turn may help investors to better manage risk as the economy moves through different cycles of growth and contraction.

Cyclical vs Non-Cyclical Stocks

Cyclical Stocks Non-Cyclical Stocks
Perform Best During Economic growth Economic contraction
Goods and Services Non-essential Essential
Sensitivity to Economic Cycles Higher Lower
Volatility Higher Lower

A cyclical investing strategy can involve choosing both cyclical and non-cyclical stocks. In terms of how they react to economic changes, they’re virtual opposites.

Cyclical stocks are characterized as being:

•   Strong performers during periods of economic growth

•   Associated with goods or services consumers tend to spend more money on during growth periods

•   Highly sensitive to shifting economic cycles

•   More volatile than non-cyclical stocks

When the economy is doing well a cyclical stock tends to follow suit. Share prices may increase, along with profitability. If a cyclical stock pays dividends, that can result in a higher dividend yield for investors.

Non-cyclical stocks, on the other hand, share these characteristics:

•   Tend to perform well during periods of economic contraction

•   Associated with goods or services that consumers consider essential

•   Less sensitive to changing economic environments

•   Lower volatility overall

A non-cyclical stock isn’t 100% immune from the effects of a slowing economy. But compared to cyclical stocks, they’re typically less of a roller-coaster ride for investors in terms of how they perform during upturns or downturns. A good example of a non-cyclical industry is utilities, since people need to keep the lights on and the water running even during economic downturns.

Cyclical Stocks

In the simplest terms, cyclical stocks are stocks that closely follow the movements of the economic cycle. The economy is not static; instead, it moves through various cycles. There are four stages to the economic cycle:

•   Expansion. At this stage, the economy is in growth mode, with new jobs being created and company profits increasing. This phase can last for several years.

•   Peak. In the peak stage of the economic cycle, growth begins to hit a plateau. Inflation may begin to increase at this stage.

•   Contraction. During a period of contraction, the economy shrinks rather than grows. Unemployment rates may increase, though inflation may be on the decline. The length of a contraction period can depend on the circumstances which lead to it.

•   Trough. The trough period is the lowest point in the economic cycle and is a precursor to the beginning of a new phase of expansion.

Understanding the various stages of the economic cycle is key to answering the question of what are cyclical stocks. For example, a cyclical stock may perform well when the economy is booming. But if the economy enters a downturn, that same stock might decline as well.

Examples of Cyclical Stocks

Cyclical stocks most often represent things that consumers spend money on when they have more discretionary income.

For example, that includes things like:

•   Entertainment companies

•   Travel websites

•   Airlines

•   Retail stores

•   Concert promoters

•   Technology companies

•   Car manufacturers

•   Restaurants

The industries range from travel and tourism to consumer goods. But they share a common thread, in terms of how their stocks tend to perform during economic highs and lows.

Cyclical Stock Sectors

The stock market is divided into 11 sectors, each of which represents a variety of industries and sub-industries. Some are cyclical sectors, while others are non-cyclical. The cyclical sectors include:

Consumer Discretionary

The consumer discretionary sector includes stocks that are related to “non-essential” goods and services. So some of the companies you might find in this sector include those in the hospitality or tourism industries, retailers, media companies and apparel companies. This sector is cyclical because consumers tend to spend less in these areas when the economy contracts.

Financials

The financials sector spans companies that are related to financial services in some way. That includes banking, financial advisory services and insurance. Financials can take a hit during an economic downturn if interest rates fall, since that can reduce profits from loans or lines of credit.

Industrials

The industrials sector covers companies that are involved in the production, manufacture or distribution of goods. Construction companies and auto-makers fall into this category and generally do well during periods of growth when consumers spend more on homes or cars.

Information Technology

The tech sector is one of the largest cyclical sectors, covering companies that are involved in everything from the development of new technology to the manufacture and sale of computer hardware and software. This sector can decline during economic slowdowns if consumers cut back spending on electronics or tech.

Materials

The materials sector includes industries and companies that are involved in the sourcing, development or distribution of raw materials. That can include things like lumber and chemicals, as well as precious metals. Stocks in this sector can also be referred to as commodities.

Recommended: Commodities Trading Guide for Beginners

Cyclical Investing Strategies

Investing in cyclical stocks or non-cyclical stocks requires some knowledge about how each one works, depending on what’s happening with the economy. While timing the market is virtually impossible, it’s possible to invest cyclically so that one is potentially making gains while minimizing losses as the economy changes.

For investors interested in cyclical investing, it helps to consider things like:

•   Which cyclical and non-cyclical sectors you want to gain exposure to

•   How individual stocks within those sectors tend to perform when the economy is growing or contracting

•   How long you plan to hold on to individual stocks

•   Your risk tolerance and risk capacity (i.e. the amount of risk you’re comfortable with versus the amount of risk you need to take to realize your target returns)

•   Where the economy is, in terms of expansion, peak, contraction, or trough

For example, swing trading is one strategy an investor might employ to try and capitalize on market movements. With swing trading, you’re investing over shorter time periods to reap gains from swings in stock prices. This strategy relies on technical analysis to help identify trends in stock pricing, though you may also choose to consider a company’s fundamentals if you’re interested in investing for the longer term.

One way to simplify cyclical investing is to choose one or more cyclical and non-cyclical exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Investing in ETFs can simplify diversification and may help to mitigate some of the risk of owning stocks through various economic cycles.

Recommended: How to Trade ETFs: A Guide for Retail Investors

The Takeaway

Cyclical stocks tend to follow the economic cycle, rising in value when the economy is booming, then dropping when the economy hits a downturn.

If you’re ready to try cyclical investing, an online brokerage account can help you purchase individual cyclical stocks and others, bonds, ETFs, and other securities. With SoFi Invest, it’s possible to get started investing with as little as $5 and start building a well-rounded portfolio.

Find out how to get started with SoFi Invest.

Photo credit: iStock/Eoneren


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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.
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.
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.
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Source: sofi.com

Does Cryptocurrency Have Trading Hours?

Good news for those who simply can’t peel themselves away from studying cryptocurrency charts or watching the crypto markets: Crypto trading hours are much more expansive than those of the traditional stock market.

In fact, crypto trading hours are 24-7 — the market never closes. There are some caveats, of course, depending on your individual cryptocurrency exchange of choice. This article will dive deep into crypto trading, when it happens, and how to get in on it.

How Crypto Trading Works

If you’ve had any experience with other market types, even the stock exchange, you likely already have a good grasp of how crypto trading works. Most people access the market through a crypto exchange, where buyers and sellers can meet and transact assets.

For those buyers and sellers, the exchanges simplify the trading process by showing real-time values for various cryptocurrencies (the actual cryptos on a given exchange will vary), and allow traders and investors to buy, sell, and trade. Of course investors can still spend hours poring over crypto charts, but an exchange streamlines the trading process.

For most end users, it’s pretty much the same process as buying or selling stocks in an online brokerage account.

Recommended: How to Invest in Cryptocurrency

Are There Time Limitations on Crypto Trading Networks?

Though crypto exchanges are similar to services that allow users to buy or trade stocks and other assets, there are some differences. One of the most important differences is time limitations — or, the hours of the day during which transactions can be executed.

If you’re trading assets like stocks, bonds, and ETFs, transactions are executed during the market’s open hours, and to a lesser extent, the after-hours market. That’s generally 9:30 am ET to 4 pm ET, Monday through Friday, and 4 pm ET to 8 pm ET for after-hours trading.

But some assets can be traded 24 hours per day. The foreign exchange(forex) market is an example—traders can swap currencies all day between Monday and Friday. The crypto markets are likewise much looser with trading hours, in that the crypto markets never actually close.

Cryptocurrency Trading Hours vs Stock Market Trading Hours

The stock market has set operating hours, from 9:30 am ET until 4 pm ET, Monday through Friday. The markets are closed during weekends and holidays.

Conversely, the crypto markets operate non-stop. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t certain days or times that are better to trade, of course, since the numbers of traders and overall level of liquidity in the markets can vary. But access to the crypto markets is always open.

So, you can get real-time updates on crypto prices, add some coin to your portfolio, or fine-tune your crypto day-trading strategies at odd hours, on weekends, and on holidays.

Pros and Cons of Crypto Always Being Tradeable

There are some pros and cons to the fact that there are no defined crypto market hours.

For instance, during times when fewer traders are on the market, it can affect crypto exchange liquidity, and make values more volatile (read more about the volatility of Bitcoin). Conversely, the open-ended hours of the market can make it easier to research and execute trades at your convenience.

Pros of 24-7 Crypto Trading

There are some advantages to the crypto markets always being open. These are the top benefits:

•   Convenience for traders

•   Higher potential returns due to bigger market and liquidity

•   Access to markets anytime, anywhere

Cons of 24-7 Crypto Trading

Of course, there are also potential downsides to crypto’s non-stop market:

•   Some exchanges and platforms may limit market access to certain times

•   Higher risks and volatility on certain days and times

•   Lack of regulated market hours means traders could miss big market movements

How Non-Stop Crypto Trading Impacts Institutions

There are some ways in which the non-stop crypto market affects institutions — banks and exchanges, in particular.

The stock market takes a break every day, and every weekend. That gives all the players in the market —individual investors and institutions — a chance to assess and reposition their assets for their next moves. But since crypto trades all the time, there are stretches during the 24-hour day when banks and exchanges are effectively closed, and money isn’t being moved around as quickly or efficiently as it would during business hours.

This can cause lags — if a crypto trader is trying to deposit money into their crypto exchange account to execute a trade at, say, 2 am ET on a Sunday night, that money won’t actually move until the next day. That has the potential to cause some friction in the markets.

In short, there’s a mismatch between the standard business hours of many institutions and the 24-hour nature of the crypto markets, which may have an effect on the markets.

How Do Weekends Affect Crypto?

The crypto markets are volatile, and even more so on the weekends. In fact, crypto values often crash during the weekends for a few key reasons:

•   Less trading volume: A lot of people take the weekends off, and that includes from crypto trading. As such, the volume of trades takes a dip. With lower volume, the trades that are executed (especially big ones) can have an outsized effect on the markets — more so than during times with higher trading volume.

•   Margin trading: Many traders trade crypto “on margin,” meaning that they borrow money to execute trades. And when prices drop, it may trigger a “margin call,” which means those margin traders must repay their loans. That forces traders to try and move some money around, but with banks closed on the weekends, it can make things more difficult, and in effect, potentially cause crypto values to fall further.

•   Hourly mismatches and liquidity: With banks closed on weekends but the crypto markets firing away at all hours, traders may have trouble getting more money into their crypto exchange accounts. This can limit market liquidity, potentially adding yet another systemic and chaotic element to weekend crypto trading.

Are Some Days Or Times Better to Trade Crypto?

There are times and days that are generally more favorable to crypto traders to execute trades. The best times and days to trade crypto is generally “whenever works for you” but research shows that professional traders tend to be more active during weekdays.

Monday tends to be the day when traders historically see the biggest returns when trading, followed by Friday and Saturday. And as for which hours of the day are the most fruitful? Data shows that the markets are busiest around 12 pm ET.

But as with any investing, past performance and trends are no guarantee of future outcomes. There’s no promise that trading during these days or times will translate to bigger returns (or any returns) for an individual trader or investor. It’s also worth keeping in mind that these trends are likely to change with time.

The Takeaway

The crypto markets are a wild, non-stop ride. And because they’re so volatile, it’s best to take a measured approach to trading and investing in crypto. But that said, you won’t be limited by crypto market hours, as you might when trading stocks or bonds, because cryptocurrency trading can occur 24/7, every day of the year.

If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, you can trade cryptocurrency on more than two dozen coins with SoFi Invest®, including Bitcoin, Chainlink, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Solana, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Cardano, and Enjin Coin.

Find out how to get started with SoFi Invest.

Photo credit: iStock/Stefan Tomic


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.
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.
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

What Is Volume in Cryptocurrency?

Trading volume is a metric that investors use to see how often an asset is trading hands, indicating how popular it is to buy or sell that asset at any given time. Investors examine trading volume for a variety of securities, including stocks, bonds, and international currencies.

In cryptocurrency, in particular, trading volume is an important factor that traders use to determine the potential trajectory of a coin.

Recommended: Crypto 101: Crypto for Beginners

Crypto Trading Volume Meaning

Crypto trading volume measures how many times a coin changes hands over a given time frame. Investors analyze crypto volume baked on either trades taking place on a given crypto exchange or on all exchanges combined.

The most common timeframe for measuring volume is 24 hours, and the most common format used to show this metric is a bar chart. Typically when high volume cryptocurrency trading can mean an increase in prices and low volume cryptocurrency could indicate prices falling.

Calculating Cryptocurrency Volume

Calculating crypto trading volume requires determining the total value of a type of cryptocurrency that has changed hands in a given period. For example, if the total amount of bitcoin (BTC) traded on Binance in the last 24 hours added up to $10 billion, then the 24-hour trading volume of BTC on Binance was $10 billion.

Why Is Volume Important in Cryptocurrency?

Tracking cryptocurrency is particularly important when trading coins with low crypto liquidity on smaller exchanges, the importance of volume becomes apparent. Say a trader wants to sell one million SHIB coins, for example. But the hypothetical exchange she is using doesn’t have a lot of SHIB volume. To sell 1 M SHIB could require going through dozens of buy orders, each one being at a slightly lower price than the one before it.

This results in the trader receiving a lower price for her coins than she might have if the exchange had higher volumes (a phenomenon referred to as “slippage”). In extreme cases, there might not be any buy orders at all, and a trader would have to make new sell orders, hoping they get filled at some point.

Likewise, if someone wants to buy a coin with low volume, they could end up spending more money than they would have if trading volumes were higher. Having to buy up existing sell orders bids prices higher.

Higher volume tends to translate to higher price stability and less volatility. Of course, times of extreme fear or greed might bring surges in volume and large price movements. But, in general, coins or assets that consistently have higher volume tend to have less volatility.

What Does Cryptocurrency Volume Indicate?

Crypto trading volume indicates interest in a cryptocurrency. The more people are buying and selling something, the higher the volume, which can drive even more interest in that cryptocurrency.

Surges in trading volumes suggest either strongly bullish or strongly bearish sentiment. Meme coins like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) have enjoyed plenty of volume during their big market run-ups. Over time, interest in such coins tends to wane, and volume tapers off along with the price.

A high-volume cryptocurrency can become a low-volume cryptocurrency and vice versa.

Low trading volume means investors aren’t very interested in buying or selling a particular asset. There could be any number of reasons for this. When prices and trading volumes diverge, this can mean that prices aren’t telling the whole story.

Can Volume Be Faked in Crypto?

Yes, it’s possible to exchange volumes through a practice known as “wash trading.” This practice involves placing buy and sell orders at nearly the same time. The orders can cancel each other out and not result in any material movement of markets. This gives the appearance of an active market but is really just noise.

According to crypto research firm Messari , “it is well known that many exchanges conduct wash trading practices in order to inflate trading volume.”

The exchanges may believe that higher volume will entice traders into using their platform, and the more traders that use their platform the more money they make.

Wash trading can take place in several different ways, including:

•   A trader colluding with an exchange

•   A trader colluding with another trader

•   The use of high-frequency trading algorithms

In cryptocurrency markets, high-frequency trading (HFT) algorithms may account for much of the fake volume. These are basically computer bots that can make large numbers of trades very fast.

Concerns about fake volume on exchanges may be one reason that some traders prefer decentralized exchanges, on which it’s harder to fake volume.

Crypto by Volume

Coinmarketcap is a commonly cited source for crypto prices and trading volumes. But the site makes no distinction between exchanges that may have high amounts of wash trading and those that do not. Messari provides “real” volume data, gleaned from exchanges that they believe with a high degree of confidence do not engage in wash trading.

This distinction is important to make because when looking at volumes for different coins or exchanges, the results can be very different depending on the source.

On December 9, the top 5 crypto assets by 24hr trading volume according to Coinmarketcap were:

1.    Tether (USDT)

2.    Bitcoin (BTC)

3.    Ethereum (ETH)

4.    Binance USD (BUSD)

5.    XRP (XRP)

However, according to Messari, the top 5 crypto assets by 24hr “real” trading volume were:

1.    Bitcoin (BTC)

2.    Ethereum (ETH)

3.    Cardano (ADA)

4.    USD Coin (USDC)

5.    Tether (USDT)

These rankings show that the popular stablecoins USDC and USDT are among the top 5 coins by volume with or without alleged fake trading transactions.

Binance’s exchange token, BUSD, is fourth when including wash trades, but didn’t make the top five for real volume. Cardano (ADA), a cryptocurrency designed for cheap, fast transactions and smart contracts, ranked second in real volumes but didn’t make the top five for volumes that include wash trading.

Bitcoin (BTC), the oldest and largest cryptocurrency, had volume of more than twice the next-highest volume coin.

Is Volume a Necessary Metric for Valuing Coins?

Many crypto traders see volume as the most important metric for valuing a cryptocurrency.

In 2018, nearly 40% of 39% of respondents to a Coindesk survey chose volume as the indicator they couldn’t live without. The main reason they gave was that other technical indicators rely on an individual’s ability to interpret charts, while volume is more objective.

When price and volume fall together, traders may believe that the market is exhausted and will reverse course soon. On the other hand, when price rises and volume falls, investors often see that as a bearish sign that means prices will pull back soon.

The Coindesk survey quoted one trader as saying that trading volume “speaks to the sincerity of price action.” In other words, the movement of prices alone can be deceiving. When factoring in volume, it can be easier to get a more comprehensive view of how the market is behaving.

The Takeaway

Cryptocurrency volume trading is a measure of how many cryptocurrency transactions are taking place. Much of what’s been covered here also applies to volume in stocks, although there are more regulations around wash trading in equities.

If you’re interested in beginning to trade cryptocurrency, a great way to get started is by opening an investment account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. SoFi members can manage their investments in up to 40 different coins through the SoFi app.

Photo credit: iStock/hsyncoban


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 . 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) Cryptocurrency is offered 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, please visit www.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. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.
SOIN1121496

Source: sofi.com