Loans for Life – A Guide to Common Types of Loans

Before taking any action that involves the loaning of funds, you need understand the level of responsibility that comes with paying them back. If you’re considering taking out a loan for college, to buy a car or home, or to start a business, read this article first. This guide reviews the pros and cons of common types of loans and can help you make your decision.

Car Loans

The first thing to consider is the source of your funds. Most car dealers offer on-site financing through a lender at signing, or you can borrow money from a bank or credit union. No matter where you borrow from, pay attention to how long you’ll be paying and the interest rate. You should also inquire about different options and possible rebates. Research and compare several different financing options, and request quotes from a minimum of three lenders. Some financing options allow zero percent financing, but no-interest agreements come with hefty monthly payment and can be too expensive for many people. Low monthly payments typically indicate a high interest rate and will cost you more in the long run. Finally, you’re going to want to size up your down payment as much as possible. The more cash you’re able to put down on your vehicle, the better. Making a large down payment keeps you from becoming upside down, or going “underwater”, on your loan.

Student Loans

Before even applying, you need to review your eligibility. Your eligibility refers to your ability to meet the minimum requirements for qualification. For the credit portion, most students need a cosigner, usually a parent. Now, consider who will be responsible for paying funds back. Unless you default, you or your parents will have this responsibility. Next, think about interest rates. Repayment terms are terms outlining your payment plan, and should be carefully reviewed and understood. Most lenders require a promissory note, which is a contract promising that you will repay all of the borrowed funds. Finally, be aware of loan limits that define your boundaries and restrict the amount of money you are eligible to receive under a single program.

Small Business Loans

Another common reason for borrowing is to start a small business. The first thing to think about is the state of your credit. Look up your FICO score, and if it’s unsatisfactory take time to build better credit for attempting to borrow. It’s even helpful to offer your own credit score for review. Prove to lenders that you have the discipline to repay them. You also need a solid business plan and a strategic marketing plan by giving the lender a clear picture of your prospective business. If you’ve never made a business plan, there are online tools available that can help. In addition to a profile of your business, give potential lenders a profile of yourself in the form of a strong personal resume. Sell your business, but also sell yourself as an owner. Finally, before attempting a loan, make sure all personal and professional financial statements are accounted for and available.

Borrowing money for any venture is a serious decision. Do not borrow funds unless you are financially stable enough to repay them, and review all financing options before jumping into a lending agreement. Good luck with all your financial endeavors!