3 Important Questions to Answer Before Taking Out A Personal Loan

Banks Editorial Team · December 13, 2017

Personal loans are convenient for many different reasons. They are accessible as you don’t need collateral, which also means your loan might be approved faster than other types of loans.

But, because they are unsecured, personal loans come with high interest rates. Taking out a personal loan may feel risky if you’re concerned about bad debt.  Before taking out a personal loan, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Are you clear about why you need a personal loan?

Lenders don’t require you to tell them why you’re taking out a personal loan. However, it’s important that you have a clear picture about why you need a personal loan, and exactly how much you need. By over-estimating how much you need, you may take out a bigger loan than necessary and place yourself under financial strain.

By focusing on something specific, you’ll avoid the trap of using the loan to cover day-to-day expenses. Doing this puts you at a risk for accumulating debt.

Financially, it’s healthiest to take out a loan for things that won’t depreciate in value. Depreciating goods like cars, electronics and other consumer goods don’t have good investment potential.

Taking out a loan for financially strategic reasons will serve you in the long term and decrease the risk of debt. If you’re a homeowner, a personal loan used for renovations will increase your property’s value. If you have multiple debts, you could use a personal loan to consolidate them in order to reduce the overall interest you pay.

However, life is unpredictable and sometimes expenses arise out of the blue. By being clear on why you need a personal loan and doing some research, you’ll make good financial decisions.

2. How much exactly are your monthly expenses?

Hidden costs, rising interest rates and plain old busyness can make keeping track of your monthly expenses a challenge.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to underestimate your expenses if you don’t take stock regularly. Seemingly insignificant increases in expenses can start to add up.

Budgeting carefully improves your chances of paying off your loan. By knowing the exact amount of your current expenses, you will be able to choose a loan repayment plan that you really can afford.

3. Have you done your homework?

It takes time and energy to shop around for the best loan. However, it’s essential to avoid being surprised by unexpected costs – and it’ll help ensure you’ll get the best deal.

When shopping for the best personal loan, look at the interest rate as well as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The interest rate that is usually advertised is nominal and excludes associated fees. The APR is typically higher as it includes both interest and fees.

Weigh up available loan repayment periods according to your budget and financial goals. Inquire about additional costs, such as sign-up fees. Lastly, check if the main terms and conditions sound fair and if you can realistically comply with them. Researching will help prevent costly surprises such as late payment penalties, saving you money.

There are times when a personal loan is essential. Before looking for the best deal, be clear on why you need a loan and how much you’re paying in monthly expenses. Knowing these details is paramount to managing your personal loan well.

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