Community Corner

Why To Get (Or Not Get) a Personal Loan

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. It’s even more true given the uncertain times we are in. Until our national and local economies are set on a more stable and predictable path, it’s probably a good idea to take a more measured approach to spending, and especially to borrowing money.

When it comes to applying for a personal (unsecured) loan, take the time to give it proper consideration. There are always good reasons to borrow. But in the current environment of economic uncertainty, there are also good reasons to hold back.

Reasons to get a loan

  • Pay off high-interest debt – If you qualify for a loan at a low interest rate, using the funds to pay off high-interest debt makes good financial sense and saves you money.
  • Consolidate debt – If you have multiple loans with varying interest rates and due dates, consolidating them into a loan at a lower rate will help you save and make bill paying simpler (and harder to miss) with just one due date.
  • Essential purchases – Your car breaks down, the refrigerator doesn’t chill, and the washing machine just quit in mid-wash. It happens, and these are all items you can’t be without. You can easily justify the need to make these types of purchases.

Reasons to NOT get a loan

  • Unnecessary impulses – Ask yourself if the purchase is really a “need” and not simply a “want” that may change over time. Can you live without it? Can you put off the purchase until a better time? If you had the cash, is this how you would spend it?
  • Unaffordable status symbols – We are bombarded by TV shows, movies and advertising that create a desire for luxury items most of us really can’t afford. Resist the urge! Make it your goal to live within your means.
  • Unsustainable lifestyle – Constantly spending more than you can afford leads to an unhappy and unfulfilling life that is unsustainable as well.

Use credit wisely. At some point, everyone should have the personally satisfying experience of paying off debt, and that can only be accomplished through the responsible use of credit.