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About Unemployment Loans
Unemployment can be devastating to your financially, and a personal loan may appear to be an appealing choice to help you keep afloat.
Loans for the unemployed are doable, but you’ll likely have to demonstrate that you have another source of income – and the lender may scrutinize your credit history.
Here are some things to consider before asking for a loan if you’re unemployed, as well as some information and alternatives to explore.
Factors lenders may use to evaluate your loan application
When reviewing a new loan application, lenders consider a variety of variables. Finally, they want to know how likely you are to repay the loan.
Because income is frequently a key factor in lending, being unemployed might make acquiring a personal loan more difficult. However, if you have income sources other than a typical work, you may still be able to qualify. Here are some instances of common alternative income.
- Spouse’s income: You may be able to mention your spouse’s salary on your loan application if you’re married and the lender allows it. This may be permitted if the income can be used to assist repay the loan. If you wish to include your spouse’s income as a source of income, you may need to include them as a co-applicant.
- Investments: Capital gains or money from investments such as real estate may indicate your ability to repay your loan. One-time capital gains may be disregarded, but recurring income from dividends or rental properties may be permitted provided the lender allows.
- Retirement benefits: Social Security benefits or regular 401(k) withdrawals may qualify if you’re retired.
- Other payments: Unemployment, alimony and child support may be accepted as other predictable sources of income.
However, be aware that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits lenders from forcing you to reveal certain forms of income, such as public assistance, alimony, and child support.
Your debt-to-income ratio is another element that lenders may evaluate when considering your ability to repay a loan. Divide your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income to arrive at this figure. In general, your gross income is your income before payroll deductions such as taxes and insurance.
If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, a lender may interpret this as a sign that you do not have enough money to cover both your loans and your day-to-day expenses.
Risks of borrowing while unemployed
Taking out a loan entails risks for both the borrower and the lender if you fail to repay it.
Before you borrow while unemployed, consider the following risks:
- Missed payments: One of the most obvious worst-case possibilities when taking out a loan without a job is being unable to repay the debt. Failure to repay a loan can harm your credit, lead to collections, and exacerbate an already difficult financial situation.
- Higher interest rates: If your income is modest, you may still be able to obtain a loan, but the interest rate will most certainly be higher. Greater interest rates result in higher total borrowing expenses.
- Shorter repayment term: If a lender thinks that you are a higher-risk borrower, you may be restricted to loans with shorter repayment terms. This is because a lender is less inclined to assume your financial situation will improve in the near future.
Alternatives to personal loans
- Credit cards: You might already have a personal loan option in your wallet. Some credit cards offer cash advances as a method to use your credit line for something other than normal expenditures. Just be careful: depending on your credit history, credit cards can come with high interest rates — and cash advances might come with their own high rates, too — so it’s better to pay off your balance on time and in full if you use them for short-term requirements.
- Line of credit: A personal line of credit functions similarly to a credit card in that you can add to your balance and pay it off several times during the course of the account. You make a minimal payment each month, paying interest on your outstanding balance and maybe a fee for accessing the credit line. If you meet the qualifications, this could be a viable option.
- Secured loan: Consider using your home or another asset as collateral for a secured loan. Collateral is an asset that you promise to a lender in the event that you default on your loan payments. Interest rates can range from low to extremely high, so it’s not always the best decision. Also, keep in mind that there are fees involved with these forms of loans. The annual percentage rate considers both the interest rate and any fees that may be linked with the loan. Also, keep in mind that if you can’t come up with the cash to make timely loan payments, you risk losing your home, car, or other collateral, as well as whatever equity you may have built up in them.
- Home equity line of credit, or HELOC: This is a credit line tied to the value of your home. It’s a type of secured credit, which means your home serves as collateral, and you risk losing it if you don’t pay on time. Remember to check the APR, which should include the interest as well as any mortgage broker fees and other costs. Check to see if there are any prepayment penalties, if the interest rate increases in the event of a default, and if there is a balloon payment – a huge payment due at the conclusion of the loan period.
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